Council to introduce emergency road safety measures to help maintain social distancing

Hackney Town Hall

Hackney Council is introducing the first parts of a package of emergency measures to improve road safety and social distancing throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

At seven sites where residents are experiencing difficulties with social distancing, footpaths will be widened with barriers and parking will be suspended to help people walk and shop safely. 

The Council is also temporarily restricting parking on Broadway Market and closing it to through-traffic, to improve pedestrian safety in this high footfall area.

The measures will make it easier for residents to maintain social distancing while walking for daily exercise or obtaining essential items, such as food and medicine. 

At each of the sites, the Council will ensure that deliveries to food retailers can continue as required. 

The seven sites where the Council is widening pavements are: 

  • Sainsbury’s Local, Mare Street (south of Ash Grove)

  • Chatsworth Road (various shops)

  • Sainsbury’s Local, 27-33 Blackstock Rd, N4 2JF 

  • Iceland, Mare St, near Well Street

  • Sainsbury’s Local, Lower Clapton Road

  • Tesco Express, East Road

  • Co-Op, New North Road

The Council has also written to Transport for London to request similar measures outside food retailers on Transport for London’s road network. 

Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
While it’s incredibly important that people follow the public health advice on staying at home, except for daily exercise or essential shopping, we’re doing everything we can to help reduce the spread of coronavirus by giving our residents more space for social distancing on our streets wherever the road layout permits.

By widening pavements at congested sites, we’re reallocating space to pedestrians to ensure that they can follow Government public health guidance wherever possible. This compliments the work we’ve already undertaken to keep our parks open and accessible to all by installing hundreds of banners, posters, and stenciled messages to remind people of public health guidance.

The coronavirus pandemic is also encouraging people to think differently about how much space is allocated to private cars. Now, more than ever, our residents are finding that they need space to safely walk and cycle. These new healthy streets measures to widen pavements and introduce restrictions to parking and through-traffic at Broadway Market are further examples of our commitment to keeping the people of Hackney safe at this difficult time.

The Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Chris Whitty, has said that social distancing measures may be needed until the end of 2020. As the ‘lockdown’ period comes to an end and movement is relaxed, it will be more important than ever to enable people to do this safely, both from the coronavirus and its indirect effects, such as the serious deterioration we’ve witnessed in driver behaviour. That’s why, alongside these initial emergency measures to widen pavements and pedestrianise a busy shopping area, we are also working on wider measures aimed at increasing Hackney’s existing 120 modal filters, to ensure that we protect our residents from the coming road safety and air pollution emergency should we fail to act. 
Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm