As London transforms into a city where more road space is given to walking and cycling at internationally renowned locations such as Park Lane, residents across London can now share their views on temporary cycle lanes, widened pavements and other measures that have been implemented in their local area to allow for physical distancing, through a live online map.
The map-based tool has been created by the walking and cycling charity Sustrans, in order to help local authorities gather residents’ feedback and assess the impact that measures to create additional space for safe walking and cycling have had during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Residents can access the map online, where they are able to search for schemes in their local area, and complete a short form expressing their views on the street changes. Once data is gathered, an automated ‘dashboard’ report can be sent to the relevant local authority.
In recent weeks, councils across London including Lambeth, Croydon, Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden and Hackney, have rolled out measures to increase space for walking and cycling. So far, changes made are:
- Widening of pedestrian footway (by extending it into the road)
- Installation of road filters (plant containers, bollards) to prevent through motor traffic
- Creation of temporary protected cycleway
Transport for London has announced fast-track new cycle routes and wider pavements across the capital.
Sustrans, alongside other organisations, has asked the UK Government to support local authorities in England to roll-out active travel infrastructure to support social distancing and to enable a greener, more sustainable recovery from Covid-19. Evidence suggests such measures can help prevent a spike in car use and pollution after lockdown is lifted.
Giulio Ferrini, Sustrans London Head of Built Environment said: “It’s great to see boroughs across London start to make their streets more walking and cycling-friendly. Local authorities are critical in reshaping the city’s streets and strengthening London’s resilience as we begin to emerge from lockdown. Those in local government who have the power to make positive change happen, must ensure streets feel safe to walk and cycle along. Now is the time for boroughs to take positive action and transform their streets so when schools, offices and shops start to open, active travel will be the solution to Londoners’ transport needs.”
Alex Williams, TfL’s Director of City Planning, said: “There are significant challenges in enabling those who cannot work from home to return to the network while maintaining social distancing. It’s clear that supporting an increase in active travel will be vital in London’s safe and sustainable recovery.
“That’s why we have undertaken a bold programme to introduce new walking and cycling infrastructure for Londoners. Through our Streetspace programme, we’ve created new and improved cycle lanes on some of our busiest streets – including Park Lane – and added around 5,000 sq m of extra space on footpaths during the past week alone. These changes are transforming parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city.
“We welcome Sustrans’ new online tool, which will enable the public to help shape the changes that are making our neighbourhoods safer and more sustainable. London’s gradual emergence from lockdown will be an enormous travel demand challenge that we will all need to overcome together.”