The independent London newspaper

Exercise and relax in streets

18 September, 2020

‘It is important to free up some street space for people to exercise and relax’

• PEOPLE-FRIENDLY streets are essential in the next phase of this pandemic to increase resilience against SARS-CoV2 infection.

It was clear to myself and colleagues treating critically-ill Covid-19 patients in the first wave that preventable conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and limited physical fitness made survival less likely.

As predicted London is seeing a very significant increase in people driving, post lockdown, as public transport capacity is reduced.

A switch to making journeys by foot or bike can free-up this capacity while reducing the spread of respiratory viruses and increasing levels of physical fitness in the population.

In highly-populated areas, and those that are short of large parks and open spaces, it is important to free up some street space for people to exercise and relax, as well as making their journeys safely, without fear of traffic or overcrowding.

It was expected traffic and congestion would become problematic after lockdown. Residents should hold their nerve and wait for the new traffic restriction measures to bed in before judging them and giving feedback.

Let’s look to Wandsworth over the coming months to see if abandoning Low Traffic Neighbourhoods leads to improved conditions on the roads.

Consultant anaesthetist, N4


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