The Wandsworth Liberal Democrats welcome the news that Wandsworth Council intends to roll out a range of measures across the borough in the coming weeks and months to help keep pedestrians and cyclists safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
These measures have been long awaited, and we look forward to seeing the steps that the council propose to make towards street improvements to enable social distancing for residents and workers walking and cycling through the borough. We encourage the Council to be bold in their proposals.
It is so important to maintain social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19 and it is critical that the Council acts fast to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians on our roads. This is particularly important for those that are vulnerable. Without proper social distancing it makes it incredibly difficult for these residents to leave their houses.
Many residents have also remarked on how pleasant the streets have been to walk and cycle around in recent weeks and the improvement in air quality has been clear. It is important that we take any positive learning that we can from the last difficult few weeks and build upon it for the future.
It has taken Wandsworth Council longer to produce these measures than our neighbouring borough, Richmond Council, with whom Wandsworth Council share services and staff. Richmond Council announced and introduced some temporary measures over a week ago with more to come before a committee meeting in June. We know council officers have been working hard over the last few weeks, so we hope that these delays have been due to logistical reasons, and not a political reluctance from the Tory-led Wandsworth to introduce these vital measures..
These changes will affect everyone in different ways. If you have ideas, feedback and suggestions to we urge you to email the Rapid Response Team and let them know your thoughts and also to share your suggestions with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Wixley, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly candidate for Merton & Wandsworth said: "Wandsworth Council has done an incredible job in supporting residents in these challenging times and will continue to play a vital role in keeping us all safe and well when the lockdown is eased. I am pleased that the Council has invited residents to submit their ideas for improving local travel and I would encourage them to do so. There’s a wealth of knowledge in the local community that can help us to reshape our roads, pavements and public spaces to work for all users. As we've seen during the pandemic, it’s possible to create change if we want to."
Jon Irwin, a long-standing safer streets campaigner said, “Across London we are seeing local councils introducing low traffic neighbourhoods so that streets become attractive, safe and healthy places. We strongly encourage Wandsworth Council to do the same. The local team have made suggestions for low traffic neighbourhoods across Tooting that we feel lend themselves to similar measures. We have submitted these proposals to Wandsworth Council and will continue to keep pressure on the Council to take practical steps to ensure the safety of all within our community. We also encourage the council to engage with residents as widely as possible.”