WITH lockdown being loosened next month, Bradford is preparing for the ‘new normal’ of social distancing.

Measures including one way systems on public footpaths and new signage have now been installed in Shipley town centre.

And work to allow better social distancing on city centre streets, which will include lanes of major roads being closed to traffic, is due to begin next week.

As of Monday the Government is lifting some lockdown restrictions, allowing outdoor markets to re-open and for groups of up to six people to meet outdoors. But whatever changes are made, people are still advised to maintain social distancing, keeping at least two metres away from people, for the foreseeable future.

Lanes closed to cars and more 20mph zones - major changes to Bradford's streets planned to allow more social distancing

Shipley Market Square is the “first test” for the new measures.

The town’s outdoor market will open for the first time in months on Monday. This weekend visitors to the centre will see new measures, including a one way walking system implemented on the pedestrian areas.

Signs, both on lampposts and painted on the floor, will remind people to keep two metres apart.

And roadside parking bays will be removed to create temporary wider pavements.

Bradford Council says Shipley is being used to test the measures as it will allow officers to monitor how they are working in a “contained area” before the measures are rolled out across the District.

Other works around the district will include making it easier for people to walk or cycle to work - reducing pressure on bus networks.

Although bus services are becoming more regular, social distancing measures being implemented on Monday will mean vastly reduced capacity, with double deckers being able to take a maximum of 25 people.

The Council has previously announced measures for the city centre, including reducing the number of lanes open to traffic to one each way on Hall Ings, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to better keep their distance from people waiting at bus stops. The subway at Jacob’s Well will also be segregated for “one way” pedestrian traffic.

Changes will also see 100 pedestrian traffic lights across the district become automatic - meaning people don’t have to press any buttons to activate the crossing.

Other schemes around the district will be announced in “due course” - according to the Council.

The Council has also launched a new website where people can make suggestions on how to make social distancing easier in public, and how cycling and walking can be boosted.

The Council is currently hoping to access the district’s share of up to £250 million of government funding being made available nationwide for local authorities to implement emergency measures to encourage walking and cycling to reduce the pressure on public transport.

It has yet to be revealed how much of this funding Bradford will receive.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “When the restrictions are relaxed further, we need to be ready. We need to think differently and take appropriate measures to allow people to get about safely and allow our thriving district centres to come alive again. That’s why these measures are so important.

“At Bradford Council, we have shown our determination to tackle this challenge head on. We were ahead of central government in announcing plans to assess potential new measures, and we committed to allocate an element of local funding. The national funding subsequently announced means that we may now be able to do more on any one measure, or look at further measures, and so we’re keen to hear people’s suggestions.

“The timescales are moving fast. The final programme will probably feature some new proposals alongside others we’re already working on that align with facilitating walking and cycling. Despite the new funding, there will be a limit in terms of the scale of what can be achieved, so we need practical local interventions that can make a significant impact.

“We’re getting on with implementing the first schemes. We also want to hear suggestions from people living in our communities, with the new web pages going live next week."

To make a suggestion, visit here