Coronavirus: Birmingham high streets to be widened for social distancing

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People queuing outside Asda
Image caption,
The high street in Kings Heath will be widened to allow for social distancing

Busy high streets are set to be widened to allow for safe social distancing to help contain coronavirus.

Birmingham City Council has said it will remove on-street parking as well as widen pavements on the high streets in Erdington and Kings Heath.

Those areas were identified as among the city's busiest streets with the highest levels of pedestrian activity.

The council said the two streets were "just the start" and further measures would be announced later.

Image caption,
The measures to widen the pavements will be introduced over the coming days

Officers from the council found a "large number of essential shops and services" remained open in Erdington which, combined with narrow pavements and on-street parking, has led to problems with people safely social distancing.

Similar problems were found on Kings Heath high street, the authority said, and officers are assessing other local centres in the city.

Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, said he hoped the move would lead to longer-term changes to make Birmingham safer and greener.

"The pandemic has highlighted the need to provide more safe spaces in our local centres for walking, cycling and social distancing," he said.

The changes will also look at "how to encourage and enable people to walk and cycle, so car-free travel is seen as a viable option for many trips, especially in local areas", he added.

The council said residents would notice changes to the pavements and parking over the coming days and the measures would continue to be monitored.

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