Lancashire County Council is introducing a temporary road closure in Ormskirk to help social distancing and encourage people to walk and cycle for regular journeys as lockdown restrictions are eased but there remains a need to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The county council has been working closely with district and borough councils to safely reopen town centres as footfall increases, and prioritise walking and cycling due to continued restrictions on public transport.
The government has advised that everybody should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible, however with the two-metre social distancing rule currently in place there is only effective capacity for one tenth of passengers on existing services.
People are instead being encouraged to cycle or walk, or drive, to minimise the number of people with whom they come into close contact with. If too many people who previously used public transport choose to drive this could lead to more traffic congestion in busy areas, so the county council is taking advantage of government funding available to quickly introduce temporary measures to make it easier for people to cycle and walk, and maintain safe social distancing.
These measures include ‘point-closures’ on roads to prevent them being used as ‘rat-runs’ where more suitable routes are available for through-traffic, creating a quieter way for cyclists. Vehicles can still access the full length of the road to reach homes and businesses via short diversion routes.
On Monday 17 August a temporary road closure will be introduced on Yew Tree Road, Ormskirk, between Hill Crest Road and Croftson Avenue.
Vehicles accessing north of numbers 29/32 Yew Tree Road and Hillcrest Road will be required to access from the north and County Road. Vehicles accessing south of 29/32 Yew Tree Road and Croftson Avenue will be required to access from the south and Burscough Road. A signed diversion will be in place.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Over the last few months we have all seen significant changes to our day to day lives, to how businesses operate and how people use our public spaces, as a result of the measures taken by every one of us in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re working closely with councils throughout Lancashire to make our town centres as safe as possible as lockdown measures ease and footfall increases.
“Current advice is to avoid using public transport unless your journey is really necessary, so instead we’re asking people to walk and cycle if they can.
“Our focus is to prevent the spread of the virus, and make it easier to walk and cycle due to the continuing restrictions on public transport.
“We’ve already introduced some temporary measures to create more space for people to keep apart in the busiest areas of Ormskirk town centre, and this point closure on Yew Tree Road will help to make it easier for people to cycle as an alternative to using public transport or driving.
“These measures are part of our emergency response to help Lancashire control and recover from the coronavirus, and we will keep them under review.”