On Fri 15 May, TfL has announced the latest stage of the Mayor’s Streetspace for London scheme. It will open up new walking and cycling corridors to help the city’s transport network cope with the impact of coronavirus and social distancing, as people return to work with the easing of lockdown.
TfL are encouraging people to continue working from home wherever possible. However, given the impact of social distancing on the public transport network, TfL want to help Londoners walk and cycle as much as possible.
- TfL are creating one of the largest low-traffic areas in the world: car-free streets will transform roads across the capital
- New walking and cycling corridors planned for London Bridge to Shoreditch, Euston to Waterloo and Old Street to Holborn. These would be limited to buses, pedestrians and cyclists
- Meanwhile in the past week alone, TfL have added around 5,000 square metres of extra space on footpaths across London, giving people space to safely walk and queue for local shops while maintaining social distancing
At the same time, a car-led recovery would have a damaging effect for Londoners. Before the pandemic, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) had had a transformative effect on air quality; since the crisis, traffic levels on roads managed by TfL have fallen by as much as 60 per cent and harmful nitrogen dioxide is down by more than 50 per cent in central London. But traffic and pollution are now starting to rise again. As some Londoners return to work, it is essential that the central London road charging schemes are reinstated to deter unnecessary car use and help London to continue to be an active, green and healthy city.
- Central London’s Congestion Charge (CC) and the ULEZ are being reinstated from Monday 18 May to prevent significant increases in pollution and congestion
- The wider Low Emission Zone, which discourages the use of the dirtiest heavy diesel vehicles and large vans, will also be reintroduced from that time
- To support the Mayor’s Streetspace plans and boost safety for people walking and cycling, TfL propose to implement a number of temporary further changes to the CC. These include increasing the CC to £15 and extending its hours of operation from 22 June. These conditions are part of the Government’s bailout deal with TfL announced on 14 May.
- Meanwhile to help to continue to support the vital role of NHS and care home staff, who are at the heart of the national effort in these unprecedented times, TfL will be extending the CC reimbursement scheme temporarily. TfL still encourage NHS and care home staff to travel by walking or cycling wherever possible, including our current offer of free Santander Cycles membership for NHS staff, but for those who do choose to drive at this time, the full reimbursement will cover journeys by NHS staff and for care home employees who work in the zone.