Two thirds of pavements in London are not wide enough for people to keep two metres apart

Around two thirds of pavements in London are not wide enough for people to keep two metres apart in adherence with government social distancing guidelines.

Researchers from University College London used Ordnance Survey data to analyse the provision for pedestrians of every street in Greater London.

They found that only 36 per cent of streets had pavements that were at least 3 metres wide — the minimum needed for people to be able to keep their distance.  

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Two thirds of pavements in London are not wide enough for people to keep two metres apart in adherence with government social distancing guidelines

Two thirds of pavements in London are not wide enough for people to keep two metres apart in adherence with government social distancing guidelines

Two thirds of pavements in London are not wide enough for people to keep two metres apart in adherence with government social distancing guidelines

‘Most streets in London have pavements which are just over two metres wide,’ said paper author Ashley Dhanani of University College London.

‘This is not enough room for people to pass each other and leave two metres’ distance between them, especially with obstacles such as bins, trees and lampposts.’

‘While some may opt to walk in the road, this is not possible for people with pushchairs or with mobility impairments.’

Of all the London boroughs, the City of London had the highest percentage of streets with non-road spaces  — like pavements or grass verges — on either side that totalled six metres across, coming in at 51 per cent.

The boroughs in which social distancing is potential the most difficult on the streets are Hammersmith and Fulham (with only 26 per cent), Wandsworth (27 per cent) and Richmond upon Thames, Newham and Haringey (all at 28 per cent).

‘This research shows there is an urgent need to reallocate street space in London so everyone can use streets safely,’ Dr Dhanani added.

‘A lack of space for walking and cycling is also a long-term problem.’

‘Using data is vital to make sure action is targeted in an effective and fair way, focusing on areas with the greatest need for space.’ 

'Most streets in London have pavements which are just over two metres wide,' said paper author Ashley Dhanani of University College London. 'This is not enough room for people to pass each other and leave two metres’ distance between them, especially with obstacles such as bins, trees and lampposts'

'Most streets in London have pavements which are just over two metres wide,' said paper author Ashley Dhanani of University College London. 'This is not enough room for people to pass each other and leave two metres’ distance between them, especially with obstacles such as bins, trees and lampposts'

‘Most streets in London have pavements which are just over two metres wide,’ said paper author Ashley Dhanani of University College London. ‘This is not enough room for people to pass each other and leave two metres’ distance between them, especially with obstacles such as bins, trees and lampposts’

Of all the London boroughs, the City of London had the highest percentage of streets with non-road spaces — like pavements or grass verges — on either side that totalled six metres across, coming in at 51 per cent. The boroughs in which social distancing is potential the most difficult on the streets are Hammersmith and Fulham (with only 26 per cent), Wandsworth (27 per cent) and Richmond upon Thames, Newham and Haringey (all at 28 per cent)

Of all the London boroughs, the City of London had the highest percentage of streets with non-road spaces — like pavements or grass verges — on either side that totalled six metres across, coming in at 51 per cent. The boroughs in which social distancing is potential the most difficult on the streets are Hammersmith and Fulham (with only 26 per cent), Wandsworth (27 per cent) and Richmond upon Thames, Newham and Haringey (all at 28 per cent)

Of all the London boroughs, the City of London had the highest percentage of streets with non-road spaces — like pavements or grass verges — on either side that totalled six metres across, coming in at 51 per cent. The boroughs in which social distancing is potential the most difficult on the streets are Hammersmith and Fulham (with only 26 per cent), Wandsworth (27 per cent) and Richmond upon Thames, Newham and Haringey (all at 28 per cent) 

‘Social distancing recommendations have highlighted a longstanding issue which is tat most of our pavements are simply not wide enough for people to easily use,’ said Healthy Streets director Lucy Saunders.

‘This is an uncomfortable daily reality particularly for people with mobility impairments, those travelling with children and in groups.’

‘This new data clearly shows the urgent need for government to invest in more space for people walking.’

A number of cities have already made use of the present lower levels of traffic to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Berlin, Bogota and Mexico City have created cycle lanes, for example, while Oakland and Vienna have closed off streets to cars.

More information on the research project can be found on the _Streets website.

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