Brighton becomes the first UK city to close road for daily exercise

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Brighton and Hove Council have set a precedent for other UK towns and cities by becoming the first local authroity to close off a road in order to help local people get their daily exercise safely, whilst adhering to social distancing regulations. 

Maderia Drive, which runs alongside the seafront promenade, will be closed to vehicles every day from 8am-8pm, starting today. It is hoped that this will give runners and walkers a wider space in which to exercise, making it easier for them to adhere to the “2 metres apart” rule.

Earlier this month, the council put up dozens of signs along the seafront to remind people of social distancoing guidelines.

In a statement on the Council website, councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of the city’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said:

Madeira Drive is a long, wide road right by the seafront and will create an extra safe open space for local people in the area to use for their daily walk or bike ride. It will provide a traffic-free place for the many residents in that area who do not have access to a garden.

Practising social distancing is making us all aware of the importance of public spaces and making us rethink how we use them, but I would also ask that cyclists and pedestrians respect each other’s space and safety in this shared area.  We’re all in this together.

We are pleased to be able to offer this change so quickly and are considering other locations to see if we can extend this to other roads in the city.

Other cities around the world have been reallocating road space in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including Vancouver, which has made some roads traffic-free, and Berlin, where cycle lanes have been widened.

In the UK, it has been reported that Manchester and and Hackney councils are condisering following Brighton’s lead, in an attempt to reduce crowding in public parks.

 

Featured image: © Paul Gillett via Geograph.

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