Transport for London (TfL) has brought in changes to prioritise active travel at one of central London’s major thoroughfares.
New traffic restrictions are now in place between Shoreditch and London Bridge as part of TfL’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The temporary restrictions on Bishopsgate and Gracechurch Street in the City of London are a key part of the Mayor of London and TfL’s Streetspace plans.
The restrictions will be in operation on weekdays between 07:00 and 19:00, making it safer and easier for people to access central London by bike.
Wider footways have been constructed along the corridor to give people on foot more space and a number of banned turns, which will be in operation 24 hours a day, will also be introduced along the road.
These temporary measures will continue to provide access for servicing and taxis for most of the busy corridor, except for two sections of road – Middlesex Street to Liverpool Street, and Leadenhall Street to Fenchurch Street – where access to vehicles is restricted between 07.00 – 19.00.
Access to buildings on these streets will be from either end of these sections, with direct access remaining at all other times.
The new measures aim to reduce the level of motor traffic on the road, reducing the risk of a car-based recovery from coronavirus, while still ensuring it is an accessible area.
TfL is committed to ensuring that Streetspace schemes are inclusive for all, which is why general traffic – including taxis – can continue to access the corridor from side streets during restricted hours.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “With increasing numbers of people returning to central London, it’s more important than ever that we do all we can to avoid a damaging car-based recovery which would damage Londoners’ health and the economy.
“By creating more space to walk and cycle, our Streetspace for London plans are helping support a sustainable recovery for our city.”
Alexandra Batey, TfL’s Director of Investment Delivery Planning, said is “absolutely vital” streets are able to cope as people return to school, work and leisure across London.
She said: “We're running near normal levels of public transport services and are working hard to deliver extra space for walking and cycling right across the capital.
“The opening of the first walking and cycling priority corridor along Bishopsgate in central London today is a significant step forward for our Streetspace programme and will make a real difference to people moving around this busy corridor between Shoreditch and London Bridge.”
Since May, Streetspace has led to more than 50km of new or upgraded cycle infrastructure being built or currently under construction, along with more than 16,500 square metres of extra pavement space on the TfL network.
TfL has also installed a total of 1,540 extra cycle parking spaces across London, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs.
Work has also completed on a major 3.7km temporary upgrade to an older cycle route, CS7, in southwest London. Work in Balham and Tooting has added new sections of protected cycle lane to the existing route, which is one of London's busiest, making it much safer and more attractive to people wanting to cycle in the area and to central London and beyond.
The route follows a busy section of the Northern line in southwest London and will help relieve pressure on public transport for people travelling between the area, central London and beyond.
To complement the latest wave of temporary walking and cycling infrastructure introduced as part of the Streetspace plan, TfL has launched a new advertising campaign promoting the physical and mental health benefits of active travel.
The ‘Now is the Time’ campaign, which includes posters and a TV advert, aims to inspire Londoners to enjoy the benefits of walking and cycling whether on their journey to work, school or the local shops.
In recent weeks, TfL has joined with the walking and cycling charity Sustrans to introduce the Space to Move Map, which highlights the changes being made across London. The map makes it possible for Londoners to see where TfL and London boroughs are making it easier to walk and cycle safely and provides an opportunity for feedback. Using the map, people can search their area for new walking and cycling infrastructure and share their views with TfL directly.