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TfL and Mayor unveil post-lockdown London infrastructure programme

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-19 levels, if demand returns.

TfL and Mayor unveil London post-lockdown infrastructure programme

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled their ‘London Streetspace’ programme which aims to rapidly transform London’s streets to accommodate a surge in walking and cycling 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, and Khan feared that 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.

TfL, working with London’s boroughs, will make changes 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.

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 temporary schemes will be reviewed by TfL – and could become permanent.

 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.”

These measures announced are just the beginning, Khan said, with more information on the London Streetspace plans set to be announced shortly.

Gareth Powell, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “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. 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.”

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