Council leader wants to adopt the same “one-city” approach that has seen the public sector, communities and businesses pull together throughout the pandemic to “build back better”.
Cardiff Council is working with engineering, architectural and design firm Arup on its reopening plans following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The firm has helped the council to develop a strategy that addresses both the immediate challenges around reopening the city centre and the longer-term opportunities, which focus on areas such as high-quality open spaces, digital networks, air quality, resilient infrastructure and active travel.
The council has published a detailed action plan, which outlines a raft of measures with the aim of making Cardiff one of the safest cities in the UK as life begins its return to normal.
Plans include creating one-way walking systems to safeguard the public, setting up welcome points to explain how moving round the city centre will work and opening up Cardiff Castle’s grounds to create a new public square for local businesses. The plans will also address areas such as queuing, parking, the creation of public realm/spill-out areas, neighbourhood centres and homelessness.
“We want to restart, recover and renew Wales’ capital and I’m determined that when lockdown restrictions are lifted, our city will reopen in a way that is safe for everyone; in a way that does everything it can to safeguard thousands of jobs; and in a way which is both welcoming and confident about the future of Cardiff,” said leader of Cardiff Council, councillor Huw Thomas.
“We are working through the finer details of these plans with businesses, residents, and local councillors and I’m confident if we adopt the same ‘one-city’ approach that has seen the public sector, communities and businesses pull together throughout the pandemic, then we can truly make a reality of the common desire to ‘build back better’.
“We want to restart, recover and renew Wales’ capital and I’m determined that when lockdown restrictions are lifted, our city will reopen in a way that is safe for everyone”
“I’m especially excited about our proposals to open up Cardiff Castle’s grounds as a new public square for local residents to use for free. The castle grounds are spectacular. It could provide restaurants and cafes with covered areas to use, giving them a chance to make up for floor space and clients they would otherwise lose because of having to observe social distancing rules in their properties.”
The council is also working with a local technology firm to develop an app which could see people order their food from the castle and then have it delivered to enjoy in the castle setting.
“There is a chance for us all now to see first-hand how a greener and a safer Cardiff could look,” said councillor Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport. “It is essential that we do what we can to enable people to continue to cycle and walk as lockdown restrictions ease.
“Capacity on public transport will be limited for some time, and we think a lot of people will continue to work from home, which should reduce car numbers into the city. What we don’t want to see is congestion and pollution levels building again. Especially with the measures we will have to introduce widening pavements to ensure social distancing rules can be followed.
“To help we are looking at delivering a ‘pop-up’ cycleway network to encourage people who can, to cycle into the city centre or their neighbourhood centres rather than drive. We will also look at providing additional cycle parking in key locations in the city centre and in our neighbourhood centres. We will review the potential for creating ‘park and pedal’ sites and we will install bus priority measures such as bus gates to maximise the capacity of buses by minimising journey times and ensuring reliability of services.”
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