On 6th May, Transport for London (TfL) has launched the ‘London Streetspace’ programme. This programme will rapidly transform London’s streets to accommodate significant increases in cycling and walking when lockdown restrictions are eased. With London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of pre-crisis levels, millions of journeys a day will need to be made by other means. If people switch only a fraction of these journeys to cars, London risks grinding to a halt, air quality will worsen, and road danger will increase.
Clean, green and sustainable travel will be at the heart of London’s recovery as cycling could increase 10-fold and walking five-fold post-lockdown.
To cope, TfL will rapidly repurpose London’s streets to serve this unprecedented demand for walking and cycling. TfL are working with all London boroughs to focus on three key areas:
- The rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on Underground and train lines, and on busy bus corridors
- A complete transformation of local town centres to enable local journeys to be safely walked and cycled where possible. Wider footways on high streets will facilitate a local economic recovery, with people having space to queue for shops as well as enough space for others to safely walk past while socially distancing
- Reducing traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods right across London to enable more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily routine, as has happened during lockdown
Further improvements as part of the London Streetspace plan will include in West London:
- The Cycleway 9 scheme between Kensington Olympia and Brentford, and the Cycleway 4 scheme between Tower Hill and Greenwich will be accelerated with temporary measures so the Londoners can benefit from them more quickly. Meanwhile on-street parking and lanes for cars and general traffic will be repurposed to give people on foot and on bikes more space.
- Working to make walking and cycling in local neighbourhoods safer and more attractive by reducing the speed and volume of motor traffic. A low-traffic neighbourhood will be created in Hounslow along the future Cycleway 9 route by closing local roads to through traffic and further locations across London will follow, with TfL actively supporting boroughs to reduce motor traffic on residential streets to make walking and cycling safer and easier.
- Widening more pavements in town centres to allow people to access local essential shops and services more easily. Pavements will be widened in more than 20 locations, including in Brixton and Earl’s Court in the coming days.
The measures announced today are just the beginning, and more information on the London Streetspace plans will be available shortly.