Ipswich waterfront road to close for three weeks in bid to promote outdoor exercise
PUBLISHED: 16:36 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:47 28 April 2020
The main road at Ipswich waterfront is to close for at least three weeks as Suffolk County Council looks to promote the area for exercise.
The road will be closed between Custom House and Coprolite Street, covering Common Quay, Wherry Quay and Neptune Quay, from Wednesday, April 29.
St Peter’s Dock and access to Ipswich Haven Marina will remain open.
Suffolk County Council, the county’s highways authority, said it has made the decision to support the 2,000 people living nearby, a high number of whom living in flats and without access to a garden.
The idea had previously been discussed last week.
Signs will be put up advertising the road’s closure, while advising people to keep a safe distance when carrying out their exercise along with government guidelines. It will also remain open to cyclists.
Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said: “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.
“We would also consider reviewing other urban locations in Suffolk to see if we can extend our offer.
“This work, however, is not an opportunity to solve an area’s historic traffic problems. This is our response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The council is also considering implementing similar measures in other built up areas in towns across the county, while also considering widening existing footpaths and cycle lanes, providing temporary alternatives or to change traffic signal timings to reduce waiting times for pedestrians and cyclists.
A spokesman said the council is one of very few in the UK to be implementing such measures.
Robert Lindsay, Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group spokesman for transport at the council, welcomed the decision.
Mr Lindsay added: “This is a small step in the right direction, but we need to recognise that traffic on Ipswich Waterfront was already minimal and not dangerous.
“Suffolk County Council now needs to be more ambitious and look at ways to close roads that are being used as shortcuts by speeding drivers, to properly protect walkers and cyclists.”
The council will be considering further closures on a case by case basis, although stressed members of the public should not “travel excessively” to access open spaces.
The waterfront closure will be reviewed after 21 days and in line with the national government response to the coronavirus.
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