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 to use are just some of the schemes Cardiff Council is considering as it prepares to exit lockdown.
A detailed plan of action has been published by the council which outlines a raft of innovative measures with the aim of making Cardiff one of the ‘safest’ cities in the UK as life begins its return to ‘normal’.
The plan has been developed with Arup, recognised technical experts on redesigning cities. It will be used to consult residents, businesses and councillors on how the council will:
- safely re-open the Welsh capital making it accessible to all;
- support businesses as they start to trade again;
- re-establish footfall in the city centre while complying with social distancing requirements;
- help people to access the city centre despite reduced public transport capacity; and
- promote Cardiff so that it develops a reputation as a safe, welcoming, exciting and forward-thinking place to visit post-lockdown.
Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “These plans start to outline how life can resume and how Cardiff can prosper despite COVID-19. 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.
“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’.
“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.
“We are 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 finest setting the city has to offer. I’m also keen that we work with the music board to bring live music back to the city as soon as we can. We will look at ways of using public space to create safe event spaces where people can enjoy music and street entertainment in a safe and welcoming environment.”
The plan outlines a series of measures designed to open the city safely and in a way that will encourage people to return to work, to shop, do business and enjoy the wide range of restaurants, cafes and bars the city is home to.
The measures include:
Welcome Points: installed at the main pedestrian access points to the city;
One-way pedestrian movement: Pedestrians (shopper/workers/visitors) within the city centre will need to follow signed/marked routes to ensure social distancing is observed.
Queues – Designated queuing areas will be identified and marked on-street.
Public Realm and Spill-Out Areas: Cardiff Council is proposing to open up spill-out areas and give space in the public realm over to businesses to use for free.
Car Parking: many of the existing city centre car parks will need to operate at a reduced capacity in order to enable people to leave and return to their cars in a safe manner.
Accessing the City Centre: An integrated city transport plan will help people access the city centre via car, public transport and active travel (walking or cycling).
Security and Aggressive Begging: all on-street security issues are being discussed/agreed with the police who have offered support to manage pedestrians and any social-distancing issues.