Martin Redfern has put together a very solid piece on how plans for Exeter itself have faced a ‘pushback’ from anxious traders:
Council abandons temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety plans in Exeter city centre
Devon County Council cites “pushback” from traders as schemes on North Street, South Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street are scrapped. Meanwhile temporary changes in Topsham are dropped after “snap poll”.
Devon County Council has abandoned its plans for temporary COVID-19 cycling and walking safety measures in Exeter city centre despite widespread support for the changes from survey respondents and consultees.The proposed changes were to be funded under the first phase of a £250 million coronavirus emergency active travel fund announced by the Secretary of State for Transport on 9 May.The county council has repeatedly said it would provide “improved foot and cycle access to the city centre via South Street, Fore Street and North Street, including widening of footways with temporary barriers on key pedestrian and public transport route to the city centre, including additional space around busy Cowick Street bus stops.”Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council cabinet liaison for Exeter, initially confirmed the changes would take place by 1 June but work only started elsewhere in Exeter the following week.Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highways management, then said the county would be “moving on to additional changes to the city centre” and subsequently confirmed that “further changes” would be introduced “over the next few weeks as the roll-out of this programme continues”.And Exeter’s Highways and Traffic Orders Committee was told as recently as 22 July that the schemes on Fore Street and South Street were “in progress” while the scheme on Cowick Street was under “discussion”. However the county council has since said that the first tranche of funding has been spent on measures which have already been installed, while information about the North Street, Fore Street and Cowick Street proposals has been removed from its website and no further details have been provided for the South Street scheme.…
However a presentation by the county council’s Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment to Exeter’s Highways and Traffic Orders Committee on 22 July said that, alongside public support and a majority in favour, there was “pushback” from traders who were “typically less receptive to changes”.
The day after the decision to drop the Topsham scheme was announced, the county council cabinet approved a £27 million increase on highways spending this year, making the “largest ever annual investment in Devon’s road network”.
It has since announced that the junction of North Street and South Street in Exeter city centre will be closed next week, not for the installation of temporary emergency active travel infrastructure, but to resurface the carriageway.