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SCC Helps Residents Travel Safely in Bid to Cut Car Usage and Improve Health

Published on: 17 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 18 Jun, 2020

The Guildford Park & Ride bus services are being ramped back up

As lockdown restrictions are eased, Surrey County Council is initiating ways to help residents get around safely and support local traders as more shops start reopening.
From widening pavements in town centres, to encouraging more cycling, these are hoped to be positive changes for our health and environment.

Pilot schemes in town centres are encouraging residents to support their high streets while maintaining social distancing.

In Farnham, pavements along both sides of The Borough and Downing Street have been widened. There is a single lane for cars, signage to encourage HGVs to avoid the area and an advisory 20mph speed limit, all done in partnership with Farnham Town Council. In Godalming, the High Street is now pedestrianised from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

SCC has been allocated £1.696 million by the government to implement further schemes to help people travel around the county by foot or bike. Highways officers have worked with borough and district councils, county councillors and other partners to come up with 400 suggestions for improvements.

The council has applied to the government to use the full allocation and is awaiting sign-off from the Department for Transport on schemes before they can proceed. More details are on the council website.

There will also be an extra £200,000 for the county council’s cycle-training programme over the next year. How this will be delivered will depend on social distancing restrictions, but the cost to schools and parents will be cut to involve more children. There will also be an increase in pedestrian training in schools.

The council has redistributed £447,232 from the government’s Covid Bus Service Support Fund, to 11 bus companies in Surrey. The money covers the 12 weeks from March 17 when the country went into lockdown and bus usage dropped.
The funding meant there were still bus services for key NHS and other workers and for those needing to undertake essential food-shopping. This allowed the companies to survive the lockdown and continue to run services.

The Guildford Park and Ride service, which uses only electric buses, started increasing services from Monday (June 15). The Merrow car park will be reopening, and the Artington car park returning to normal services. Services from the Onslow and Spectrum car parks remain suspended. Parking is free at the park and ride car parks, and bus fare costs are available on the council website.

Face coverings must now be worn on public transport, and drivers are advised to check on local parking restrictions as district and borough councils start reintroducing parking charges and enforcement.

Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford) the county council Cabinet member for Highways, Coronavirus, and Cycling said: “We have an opportunity to change how we get about and continue to use active ways of travelling such as walking and cycling. This is good for our health and wellbeing, reduces congestion and improves air quality.

“While some of these are temporary measures as we deal with the present situation, I really hope we can start to make positive and long-lasting changes as we reduce our reliance on the car and take more active and environmentally friendly ways of getting around.

“And it’s great to know bus services are continuing and starting to return to normal service because this is essential for many of our residents.”

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