14th August 2020
Social Distancing Scheme implementation
Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council working together on major social distancing scheme in the town.
Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council are working in partnership on a major social distancing project in the town, which will see space for pedestrians widened on key roads in the town centre.
The plans, which are due to be implemented next week, will see traffic access on the Town Bridge managed by traffic lights, and a new one-way system implemented on Market Street and Silver Street, bringing significant benefits to pedestrians and visitors to the town, and improving air quality.
The temporary scheme is expected to last at least six months, and potentially up to 18. Throughout its duration it will be monitored by cameras that will provide anonymised data on traffic flows and more to inform the next steps for the project. If successful, and depending on the feedback from residents and businesses, there is potential to make the changes permanent.
Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to make social distancing in Bradford on Avon easier and safer for pedestrians and visitors, and at the same time improve air quality in the town.
“We recognise that queues on the Town Bridge could become long, but we’ll be monitoring this throughout the six months of the scheme and will make changes as appropriate.
“We also want to encourage people that make short car journeys across the town to walk or cycle where possible, while those that use the town as a thoroughfare to and from Bath and the M4 should seek alternative routes to avoid the Town Bridge and one-way system.
“This project is a great example of partnership working between Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council, and will bring many benefits to the town, its residents and businesses.”
Cllr Dom Newton, Leader of Bradford on Avon Town Council and Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, said:
“This temporary scheme will provide safer pedestrian routes across the town centre to allow for social distancing, while also providing a great deal of information that will inform decisions about traffic flow into the future – building on our strategic aims of improving air quality and pedestrian safety in the town centre.
“This is not a small investment for us as a Town Council – but it is a huge opportunity to both understand and hopefully improve the long-term issue of Bradford on Avon being a through-route for regional traffic, and improving conditions in the centre of our beautiful town.”
Traffic that approaches the Town Bridge from the south will then have to turn left, up Market Street, which will become a one-way street. The footways will also be significantly widened to accommodate more pedestrians and allow effective social distancing.
Silver Street will also be turned into a one-way street, with traffic only allowed to travel down it from the north, and the footways also widened here to enable shoppers and other pedestrians to socially distance.
Cyclists will have an alternative route to Silver Street from the Town Bridge via Bridge Yard development through that new development up Mill Lane, to the top end of Silver Street.
Please see the list of FAQs below for further information on the scheme.
Why are you doing this?
Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council are working in partnership on this project to enable residents and visitors to socially distance while walking around the town, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The scheme will also help to improve air quality in the town.
What is an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) and what does it mean for this project?
An ETRO is a legal document that establishes traffic and parking restrictions, similar to a standard Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). The difference with an ETRO, and what makes it ‘experimental’, is that it can be made after a short notice period with no statutory consultation ahead of its implementation and amended during its duration.
ETROs can run for a maximum period of 18 months, during which time, statutory consultation responses are collected. Once the scheme starts, we will have more details on how you can submit these responses to suggest changes to the scheme. In the meantime, you can find out more here.
During the initial months of the ETRO period, changes can be made to address any issues identified or to improve the working of the scheme. The scheme must be in place unaltered for six months before it can be made permanent.
At the end of the ETRO period, both Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council will take into account the feedback received throughout the life of the ETRO and work with partners, before making a decision on whether to make any of the changes permanent, or to revert the streets back to the way they were.
What are the details of the plan?
The Town Bridge, Market Street and Silver Street will all have changes made to them, with the footways widened to enable people to socially distance.
The Town Bridge will have traffic lights installed on it to allow one lane of traffic through at a time. Traffic that approaches the Town Bridge from the south will then have to turn left, up Market Street, which will be a one-way street. The footways will also be significantly widened to accommodate more pedestrians and allow effective social distancing. Silver Street will also be turned into a one-way street, with traffic only allowed to travel down it from the north, and the footways also widened here to enable shoppers and other pedestrians to socially distance.
Which streets will be affected by this scheme?
The streets that will be affected are the Town Bridge, Market Street and Silver Street.
Won’t this affect businesses and the number of people who visit them?
Similar schemes in other towns have improved the shopping experience for pedestrians, and we hope that this scheme will do the same. We will be monitoring the effect on businesses as part of the scheme.
How will this scheme affect air quality in the town?
There are nitrogen dioxide monitoring locations in Bradford on Avon town centre, and during the COVID-19 lockdown period, these stations measured a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide compared to the same period in 2019. We are confident that this project will also bring significant benefits to the air quality in the town centre, and we will be monitoring and reporting on this.
How long with the scheme last?
The scheme will last for six months initially, and could last up to 18 months. At the end of this period, both Wiltshire Council and Bradford on Avon Town Council will take into account feedback before making a decision on whether to make any of the changes permanent, or to revert the streets back to the way they were.
How will you monitor the scheme?
We will monitor the success of the scheme using advanced camera and analytical technology from a company called Vivacity Labs, which uses machine learning to identify pedestrians and vehicle types and count them. This data will be anonymised but will include:
- Pedestrian, cycling and traffic movements at key locations
- Traffic counts
- The volume of through traffic in the town
- The effectiveness of social distancing
All monitored data will be anonymous.
How much does the scheme cost?
The scheme will cost £30,000 to implement. This is being wholly funded by Bradford on Avon Town Council, with Wiltshire Council, as the highways authority, providing officer time and expertise to implement the scheme.
How can I have my say on this?
Once the scheme is implemented, you will have the chance to comment through the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) process. You can find out more here.