Social distancing passing places installed on Swanage seafront

Dorset Council highways team has removed some car parking spaces along Shore Road in a bid to widen the narrow pavement along the busy Swanage promenade to allow for social distancing.

At the best of times, the narrow pavement makes it difficult for people to pass each other, especially for those with prams and wheelchairs, but with the added complication of trying to keep a good distance from other people, it was becoming impossible.

At the beginning of June, Dorset Council asked for ideas on how to improve cycling and walking routes, in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people in Swanage pointed out that the pavement along Shore Road was too narrow and something should be done to provide more space for pedestrians, especially during the tourist season.

Barriers to allow for social distancing on Shore Road

Those pushing prams are given more space to pass other people coming in the opposite direction

Making life easier for those with wheelchairs or prams

While some suggested the total pedestrianisation of the seafront or making Shore Road one way and widening the footpath, the quickest solution in the time available has been to provide temporary passing places, making life easier for those with wheelchairs or prams. 

A Dorset Council spokesperson said: 

“We’re pleased we’ve been able to work successfully with Swanage Town Council and can provide additional space to help social distancing on Shore Road.

“We appreciate that a very small number of parking spaces have been lost to accommodate these passing places, but hopefully residents will understand the need for additional pedestrian space in this area.”

Barriers to allow for social distancing on Shore Road

Cars are prevented from making crossing points too narrow

“Promote social distancing along this very busy stretch of pavement”

Welcoming the move, Swanage Town Council visitor services manager, Culvin Milmer added:

“The hope is that they will encourage and promote social distancing along this very busy stretch of pavement, as we see increasing numbers of visitors coming to Swanage Beach.”

This trial scheme will be assessed to see how well it works to ease congestion, which will then help to inform any future improvements along Shore Road.

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