Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London said the UK capital needs to prepare for a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL), have unveiled plans to repurpose and transform London’s streets to accommodate a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased.
With London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of Covid-19 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. The London Streetspace initiative aims to prevent this happening.
Khan said the capacity of the capital’s public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges faced around social distancing.
“Everyone who can work from home must continue to do so for some time to come. 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.”
He continued: “Many Londoners have rediscovered the joys of walking and cycling during lockdown and, by quickly and cheaply widening pavements, creating temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to through traffic we will enable millions more people to change the way they get around our city.”
Working with London’s boroughs TfL will make changes, focusing on three key areas:
Euston Road is one of the first main thoroughfares to benefit from temporary cycle lanes. Park Lane could follow suit under plans being studied.
“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.”
The temporary schemes will be reviewed by TfL – and could become permanent.
TfL has already begun making improvements to boost social distancing using temporary infrastructure. 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 in the coming weeks.
The new measures will build on TfL’s work, which has seen roads across London transformed under the Healthy Streets programme. The amount of protected space for cycling in London has tripled over the past four years, while major projects across the capital such as the transformation of Highbury Corner have increased in the amount of space available for people on foot. There are currently 160km of signed Cycleways across London.
“As people are choosing to walk and cycle, both for their essential journeys and for exercise during the lockdown it is vital that they have the space to do so safely and are able to continue socially distancing,” said Gareth Powell, managing director of surface transport at TfL.
“The London Streetspace programme – providing more space for walking and cycling – will support that. It will also play a crucial role as London approaches the challenge of maintaining social distancing as restrictions on movement are relaxed.”
Specific measures of London Streetspace will be announced in the coming weeks.
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