Lewisham Council is starting work on emergency temporary measures to make it easier to walk and cycle today (June 15).  

The plans, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, include widening footpaths, suspending parking on some streets, and adding barriers to prevent rat-running.

The first phase of measures, to be put in place today and tomorrow (June 16), will start with suspending parking and loading bays in Dartmouth Road, Coulgate Street, Hither Green Lane, Foxberry Road, Sangley Road, Staplehurst Road, and Wells Park Road. 

Along with this, modal filters will be placed in six streets this week to block through-traffic – these include Scawen Road, George Lane, Kitto Road, Glenbow Road, South Row, Bishopsthorpe Road, and Silverdale.  

All locations will have exemptions for emergency service vehicles and buses.  

Futures measures include creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists along key routes, which include the A21/A2209/A2210 corridor, including Deptford Church Street, Brookmill Road, Lewisham High Street, along with Bromley Road, the Lewisham Road corridor, Belmont Hill, Lee Terrace corridor, Brockley Rise, Brockley Road, Shardeloes Road corridor, Perry Hill corridor, Southend Lane, Downham Way corridor, Lee Road, Burnt Ash Hill, Baring Road corridor, and Ladywell Road corridor.   

The council is also planning to bring in school streets, which will be closed to traffic during drop-off and pick-up times.  

Councillor McGeevor, cabinet member for environment and transport said: “At the start of 2020, nobody would have thought that Lewisham’s streets would ever be empty, but the impact of COVID-19 has led to fewer vehicular journeys and many people walking and cycling for local journeys.  

“Vehicles are starting to return to our streets, but we are determined to provide a safe environment for those walking and cycling trips and to change our travel habits, starting with measures to make walking and cycling more appealing to everyone. 

“Informed by local people, including the stakeholder groups, Lewisham Pedestrians and Lewisham Cyclists, these initiatives are consistent with years of thought into how to create a sustainable transformation of our streets.  

“Now we are ready to roll out our first measures, and are planning more for the future.   

“We want to see how effective they are in creating much needed safe space for pedestrians and cyclists for social distancing and to help everyone get around as lockdown restrictions are eased. 

“In a borough with high levels of obesity, ten minutes of walking or cycling twice a day would make a huge contribution to good health, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, both of which are risk factors for COVID-19.  

“It would also help keep our air quality higher, which has happened during the lockdown.”