Bold plan set to overhaul London’s streets
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and TfL have unveiled the ‘London Streetspace’ programme; a plan to transform London’s streets to accommodate increases in cycling and walking, post-lockdown.
TfL aims to offset the polluting effects of rising car use as restrictions lift, by repurposing London’s streets to better suit alternative forms of sustainable travel in this major new strategic shift.
Early modelling by TfL has revealed there could be a ten-fold increase in kilometres cycled, and up to five times the amount of walking, compared to pre-COVID levels.
Working with London’s boroughs, the programme will focus on three key areas: the rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, transformation of local town centres to enable journeys to be safely walked and cycled as well as widening pavements on high streets and the creation of low-traffic neighbourhoods across London.
Khan said: “The capacity of our public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges we face around social distancing. The emergency measures included in our major strategic London Streetspace programme will help those who have to travel to work by fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city.”
“As people are choosing to walk and cycle, both for essential journeys and for exercise during the lockdown it is vital they have the space to do so safely and are able to continue socially distancing,” explained Gareth Powell, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL. “The London Streetspace programme will play a crucial role as London approaches the challenge of maintaining social distancing as restrictions on movement are relaxed.”
One of the first main thoroughfares to benefit from temporary cycle lanes will be Euston Road, with Park Lane likely to follow suit. Pavements have already been doubled in size at Camden High Street and Stoke Newington High Street and widened at six further locations, with more to follow.
The new measures will build on TfL’s work, which has seen roads across London transformed under the Healthy Streets programme. Through this, the amount of protected space for cycling in London has tripled over the past four years, with 160km of signed Cycleways across the capital.
Large numbers of Londoners have already taken to cycling for essential travel and exercise during lockdown; the demand is there, and the Mayor’s new Streetspace plan can and should be the start of a permanent transition to a greener, healthier and more resilient cityDr Ashok Sinha, CEO of the London Cycling Campaign