City Council to free up pavement space

Work planned to help businesses and pedestrians maintain social distancing.

Oxford City Council have announced that they are working with Oxford Direct Services (ODS) to introduce a raft of new measures to free up pavement space in Oxford city centre.  The aim is to help pedestrians and businesses maintain social distancing as restrictions ease.

The list of new measures released by the Council include:

  • Temporarily restricting the use of advertising A-boards on all city centre pavements, with exceptions for businesses agreed on a case-by-case basis where space allows.
  • Temporarily reducing the number of busking spots, to maximise space for walking and cycling and to avoid audience clusters developing.
  • Temporarily restricting peddling on all city centre streets.
  • Temporarily removing the two daytime street trading spots in Cornmarket Street.
  • Removing abandoned bikes more quickly. Bikes that are clearly unfit to be ridden will be removed immediately, and those secured in public places for more than 36 hours will be removed, and stored by the council.
  • Adjusting waste collection times to avoid peak pedestrian flow hours, where possible, and to enhance the ability to clean the streets in the early mornings.

Where there is enough space, the two Councils are also developing protocols to allow more hospitality businesses to have outside tables and chairs.  This will hopefully support the hospitality sector, as one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and as a sector that would otherwise struggle to operate commercially with social distancing rules inside their venues.

However, the Council notes that outside tables and chairs will only get permissions where there is enough space to work with the priority focus on social distancing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The new physical distancing measures will be reviewed every two weeks and could be eased if pedestrians are able to maintain social distancing without the changes, or if the County Council decides to widen pavements to create more space for social distancing.

The plans outlined by the Council are included in the first phase of a wider set of proposed changes across the city to support walking and cycling as a way to help people move around the city and restart the local economy.

Photo by Hannah Petersen on Unsplash.


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