With more than 7 million visitors each year, Canterbury can become very busy, particularly in the summer months. Filled with cobbled lanes and back alleys that were once a tourist highlight of the city, they have now become a source of anxiety for many.
The narrow streets make it difficult for people to social distancing effectively. When things open back up again in the latter months of the year, the creviced maze of narrow streets could become a huge problem for visitors and residents alike and may make many anxious about continuing to shop in Canterbury.
Valentina Diaconu, a Canterbury resident, expressed her concerns over the narrow streets saying: “I can’t be thinking of keeping the 2m rule while walking behind good old Barry while trying to make it to my doctor’s appointment on these narrow pavements.”
York is a city with very similar territory when it comes to tight lanes and narrow streets and York retail forum has proposed the idea for ‘the shambles’ as they’ve called to have a one-way system put in place to ease shoppers woes, but could the same sort of idea work in Canterbury?
Phil Pinder who chairs the forum said: “Obviously we have lots of narrow streets and you can’t keep the necessary distance away from other people if you have people going in both directions.
“We had a meeting at the retail forum last week and we agreed that narrow streets have got to be one-way. When everyone is walking in different directions it’s difficult to get from one end to the other, so we are looking to the council to put up cones, maybe even metal barriers, and signs to show people clearly where they should walk.”
In Canterbury our smaller back streets play host to many of our independent and smaller businesses which are suffering the brunt of the lockdown economically. Many have had to move online or those who can’t financially afford that have had to close. When things do start to ease up with lockdown, these narrow streets might be a deterrent to visitors and residents. Stopping people from accessing many of Canterbury’s independent shops and services.
By implementing a one-way system, we could be supporting may businesses that can’t financially adapt during lockdown to get customers they need. It could also lessen shoppers worries about being infected or having unnecessary interactions.
Karen Isaac, a Canterbury resident, suggested maybe you could “give everyone a set time to go into town, maybe by your national insurance number”, as an idea to help the concerns of many Canterbury shoppers.
A one-way system already seems to work in supermarkets and shops such as Ikea, so is implementing a one way system down these narrow paths something Canterbury City Council should potentially consider?