Suffolk County Council, the county’s highways authority, is one of only a handful of councils in the country to take measures to temporarily close off a road to motorised vehicles to assist local people in taking their permitted daily exercise safely, whilst maintaining social distancing.
From 29 April, Ipswich Waterfront is temporarily closed between Custom House and Coprolite Street. The closure will be in place daily for a minimum of 21 days. After this time, the closure will be reviewed in line with the country’s COVID-19 response. Signs will be put up advertising the road closure and advising people to keep to a safe distance.
Suffolk County Council is keen to stress this intervention is designed to support safe social distancing and, as per the government’s guidelines, members of the public should not be traveling excessively to access public open spaces.
The highway authority will also consider other locations and measures it can implement in built-up areas in our county towns that will allow more people to carry out their daily exercise and support wellbeing, whilst continuing to follow the latest guidelines from government. This may include widening existing footpaths and cycle lanes, providing temporary footpaths and cycle lanes, and changing traffic signal timings to reduce waiting times for pedestrians and cyclists.
Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said:
“Ipswich Waterfront is already a heavily pedestrian area. This temporary road closure will create a safe open space for over 2,000 local residents who live close by, many of whom live in flats and do not have access to a garden.
“In this very challenging time we are all facing, practising social distancing is making us aware of the importance of safe public outside spaces.
“I am really pleased Suffolk County Council is able to offer this change so quickly, and I thank officers for all their hard work in making this happen.”