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COVID-19: More than £230k to be spent on social distancing measures in Oxford

Temporary outdoor seating for restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes could be introduced, where there's enough space.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that all non-essential shops can reopen on 15th June - providing they meet social distancing and hygiene standards.

The UK is trying to find a way out of the lockdown which was introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxford City Council is to spend £234,000 to kick start work on a range of measures in the city. And, it's working with the County Council to implement as many projects as possible in under 3-weeks.

The plans include getting rid of some car parking spaces, providing more bicycle parking at Oxford's park and rides and pedestrianising Broad Street.

Pavements could also be widened, and bus stops could move to increase space  - to help us social distance. 

Reopening the Covered Market and managing its entrances also features in the plans, while busking and street sellers will be discouraged.

The City Centre would be thoroughly cleaned during the night and throughout the day.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Green Transport, said: "In line with our ambition to be a cycling city, our councils are acting on the Government's advice and fast-tracking cycle lanes and on-street, cycle parking, and we are giving focus to e-Bikes. We'll continue to look to Government to financially support our safer cycling efforts.
"Before the pandemic, plans were afoot to close Broad Street to traffic for a second annual Car Free Day. Now our two councils are moving to make every day of the year a car free day for Broad Street. It's the right thing to do. The Broad is a jewel in Oxford's crown, with Balliol College at one end and the architectural gems of Wren, Hawksmoor, and Gilbert Scott at the other. Under our plans, Broad Street would trailblaze the move to more liveable streets, with critical parts of the city centre becoming safer and inclusive for all residents and visitors."

There has been an historic 59% drop in air pollution as a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown.  

The measures aim to support aims to transform the city centre and maintain Oxford's improved air quality.

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for environment said: "Adapting transport will be particularly important as we look to protect the public from infection, and encourage residents to make journeys on foot or by bike."

"In Oxfordshire, our councillors and transport planners are looking carefully at what we can do to reduce emissions from private vehicles, and enable safer, easier ways to walk and cycle. The recovery offers us a way to build a more sustainable future for residents across Oxfordshire."

More detailed proposals are expected soon.


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