Following an unprecedented uptake in the number of people walking and cycling across the UK during the pandemic, the changes will help encourage more people to take these options when they need to travel.
They will make choosing healthier and more environmentally friendly habits easier and will help Transport for West Midlands make sure the road, bus and rail networks are ready to respond to future increases in demand.
City of Wolverhampton Council is looking to focus on three main objectives to create safer streets for residents and visitors to the city:
- prioritising public safety and maintaining social distancing as part of COVID-19
- redesigning public spaces to accommodate and encourage more walking and cycling
- reducing emissions as part of the Climate Emergency
The city council will look at ways to maintain social distancing measures by widening footways, relocating bus stops, and introducing pop-up bike lanes and additional crossing points.
Routes which are being considered for changes include Wolverhampton Ring Road, Stafford Road, City Centre routes and Public Space, Waterloo Road, Penn Road, Chapel Ash, Willenhall Road and Wednesfield Road.
New speed limits may also be introduced to provide safer crossings and a more inviting environment to accommodate increased walking and cycling activity.
The first of these changes will see the speed limit on the Ring Road reduce from 40 mph to 30mph which will take place on the evening of 31st May.
Further plans are being drawn up for roads and public spaces and more detail will be available next week as these are finalised.
Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment said: “Due to the essential need for social distancing, a fundamental redesign of public space is required to ensure all residents are able to travel, exercise and play safely and comfortably.
“The city council is developing plans to increase the city’s walking and cycling infrastructure, focusing on cleaner technology and re-building the public transport network.
“Improvements will be led by priority, demand, feasibility and the need to ensure the potential for increased traffic is not compromised. We will be introducing these measures initially on a temporary basis, with a view to making successful interventions semi permanent or even permanent as we move towards a cleaner, greener city.
"I would urge people to consider walking or cycling where possible if they need to visit the City Centre and if you are coming by car, please consider parking outside of the centre and, where you can, walking or cycling in for that final part of your journey which is better for you and also will help create a safer environment for other citizens."
As well as supporting the response to COVID-19, the plans also support the council's climate emergency commitment by reducing emissions, improving air quality and public health across the city.