The Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, has announced the launch of Streetspace to overhaul London’s streets. The transformation of London’s roads is to be fast-tracked, giving space to new cycle lanes and wider pavements to enable better social distancing. Landmark locations to benefit from temporary bike routes and more space for walking to reduce the pressure on Tubes and buses. Clean, green and sustainable travel is to be at the heart of London’s recovery.It is possible that cycling could increase 10-fold and walking five-fold post the COVID-19 lockdown.
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.
To prevent this happening, TfL will rapidly repurpose London’s streets to serve this unprecedented demand for walking and cycling in a major new strategic shift.
Early modelling by TfL has revealed there could be more than a 10-fold increase in kilometres cycled, and up to five times the amount of walking, compared to pre-COVID levels, if demand returns.
There are currently 160km of signed Cycleways across London.
The Cycleway 9 scheme between Kensington Olympia and Brentford will be accelerated with temporary measures so that 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.
The Royal Parks may be closed at weekends such as Richmond Park and Bushy Park freeing up the space for residents to enjoy. Boroughs in West London will be expected to widen pavements.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq 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. 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. 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.
“I urge the Government and boroughs to work with us to enable Londoners to switch to cleaner, more sustainable forms of transport – and reduce the pressure on other parts of our transport network – once the lockdown is eased.”
The measures announced today are just the beginning, with more information on the London Streetspace plans set to be announced shortly.
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