In her latest column, Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington, is encouraging people to fill out a survey on how the borough's streets can be made permanently safer.
Since the lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic began, it’s become clear that even after it ends we will have to keep taking measures to protect ourselves and others by changing the ways that we live, work and travel.
As strange as it may sound, one of the silver linings of the lockdown is that it has helped to show us that some of these changes may also have other positive effects.
Nowhere is this truer than in how we get around our city region.
Over the past few months traffic volumes across Greater Manchester have dropped by 60 per cent.
Walking now accounts for 33 per cent of all journeys taken, and levels of cycling have gone up 22 per cent compared to before the lockdown.
The challenge now will be to keep as many of these benefits as possible once the fight against coronavirus is over.
That’s why Greater Manchester has launched the #SafeStreetsSaveLives campaign, with the aim of introducing a range of measures to both make our streets coronavirus-safe and encourage people to cycle or walk.
This is particularly important in Tameside as almost a third of our residents do not own a car, and public transport capacity is likely to be significantly reduced to comply with social distancing requirements.
Some of our proposals include zoning off areas for cyclists and pedestrians, and opening up more pavement space by removing ‘pinch points’ and guard rails.
Other plans we’re considering include the creation of ‘access only’ quiet streets, upgrading our existing cycling lanes, creating temporary crossings and introducing traffic calming schemes.
Due to the fast pace of the current situation, most of these changes will be implemented at first as quickly as possible on a temporary basis.
However we want to go further than this, so we’re asking residents whether they’d like some of these temporary solutions being made permanent, as well as if they’d support more long-term changes in Tameside.
You can fill out the survey and look at more detailed information about the measures we’re proposing on the council’s website at https://www.tameside.gov.uk/safestreets.
The consultation will run until 5pm on July 2, and all the feedback we receive will be reviewed and considered as part of our plans.
By taking part you will not only be helping us keep Tameside safe from coronavirus, but you’ll also be playing a role in deciding what life after the pandemic will look like for us all.