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Irish councils given guidance on transfer of road space to walking, cycling, queuing, and seating

Updated design guidance for COVID-19 mobility planning has been issued for councils around Ireland.

The ‘Interim Advice Notice’ for the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Street update was published this week with a focus on traffic calming and transferring road space to walking, cycling, queuing, and outdoor seating.

As noted on dmurs.ie, the design manual “replaces existing national design standards that will be used throughout all urban areas in Ireland when designing/upgrading roads and streets” and that it is “mandatory for all road authorities (Circular RW 6/2013) and (PL 17/2013) applies to all Roads and Streets in Urban Areas (except where specified)“. This includes updates, such as the interim advice notice.

The COVID-19 Interim Advice Notice states: “Across Europe and globally, the Covid 19 pandemic has had an acute impact on the number of people travelling within and into cities and towns. There are concerns that a failure to respond adequately to the immediate challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic may have medium to longer-term impacts on travel patterns that result in an increase in private vehicle use, as people feel anxious entering crowded places or modes of transport.”

“To help address immediate public health concerns over social distancing and prepare for increased movement, many urban authorities,
have been focusing on the reallocation of space from private vehicles to pedestrians and cyclists on a temporary basis,” it said.

The note said: “The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic may be felt for some time and authorities face many challenges to ensure that streets and transport networks can safely operate. Local Authorities are urged to take immediate steps toward ensuring that city, town and village centres (and other areas where pedestrians may converge), can provide an environment that is safe and welcoming in support of communities and the reopening of businesses.”

It added: “Authorities should also use the resources available centrally as already outlined to support, where appropriate, a re-examination of the design of streets and spaces with a view to implementing longer term planning and urban design polices that will enhance the  attractiveness of city, town and village centres as place to live, work and spend time.”

The Interim Advice Notice – Covid 19 can be found at dmurs.ie/supplementary-material. The notice also includes a copy of a letter written by the National Transport Authority and sent to councils.

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