Liveable Streets FAQs

    What are the benefits of the programme?

      • A network of people-friendly, low traffic zones connected by formal crossing points, to make walking and cycling safer, easier and more accessible.
      • A more pleasant walking environment with improved pavements, planting trees and shrubs, improved lighting and public art, to improve the attractiveness of walking routes and reduce fear of crime.
      • Increase in cycle facilities, such as secure parking at public transport hubs and shopping areas, hangars in residential streets
      • Improved public realm in retail areas to attract visitors, such as more greenery, better street furniture and lighting
      • Provide new public seating, green spaces and tree planting to create a healthier environment
      • Encouraging visitors and customers to spend more time in our neighbourhoods, feeling safe and comfortable
      • Wider pedestrian routes, allowing easier movement for people of all ages and abilities
      • Improved local streetscape with reduced noise and road danger
      • Residents will be able to access better connected routes to the borough’s town centres and to neighbouring boroughs
      • More opportunities to allow school streets, play streets and areas for community events
      • Schemes will remove potential risks by calming traffic and providing quiet and/or segregated routes for active travel 
      • An increase in cycling and walking among residents will reduce demand on the local road network and public transport services, particularly at peak times
      • Less traffic will reduce toxic emissions, improve air quality and road safety, and reduce noise pollution – creating a more pleasant environment for all
      • More biodiversity and better drainage to reduce risk of flooded roads and pavements
      • Increase opportunities for physical activity
      • More pleasant public spaces will make the borough more attractive to residents and visitors

    How will you increase the number of people choosing active travel modes? How will this be achieved?

    Providing safer, better-connected routes throughout the borough will enable people of all abilities and ages to walk, scoot, wheel and cycle. Research shows that road safety is a major barrier to people choosing non-motorised forms of transport.

    Safer routes will be created through a variety of on-street infrastructure projects across the borough, such as changes to road layouts to give priority to walking, wheeling, scooting, cycling and public transport. These projects will be supported by complementary measures to promote active travel.

    What is an active travel complementary measure?

    Complementary measures aim to reduce barriers to walking and cycling within the community. Barriers include lack of secure cycle storage in residential areas and public transport interchanges; safety fears about cycling; access to a bicycle; and maintenance of bicycles.

    Complementary measures such as walking tours, free adult, family and all-ability cycle training, free access to Dr Bike basic repairs and maintenance, cycle hangars and hubs will help mitigate against these barriers. This will increase the number of users choosing sustainable modes of transport.

    What areas does the programme cover?

    Seventeen areas were chosen, covering approximately 60 per cent of the borough. These areas have been split into four phases of work across the next four years. The map below shows the project areas and phases. 


    How were the areas selected?

    The rationale for selecting these areas is:

    • Phase one: Substantial work on traffic management reviews has already been carried out in these areas. Following public consultation several schemes have since been built. The public consultation generated many more suggestions for further public realm improvements and provides a strong basis for exploring further changes in these areas.
    • Phase two: These areas tie in with the council’s strategic plans developed by the town centres team, as well as other traffic management reviews that are due to be implemented around the same time.
    • Phase three: Three of these areas are planned to tie in with known Transport for London (TfL) proposals for complementary measures, including cycle routes. New areas have been added to extend the geographical scope of the works into areas where there are known complaints and wider issues that need to be addressed.
    • Phase four: The areas in this phase seek to tie in with development masterplanning due for construction around this time.

    When does each phase of the programme start and finish?

    Details of the overall programme, including the dates for each phase and area, can be found on the Council’s website with links to each project area.

    What kind of improvements might be implemented?

    Improvement projects will vary in each area but are likely to include some of the following:

    • Widened pavements
    • Planting trees and shrubs to improve air quality, biodiversity and drainage
    • Modal filters (features such as bollards or signs, used to limit motor vehicle access to streets)
    • One-way roads to reduce traffic conflict
    • Parklets or pocket parks (parks created on small plots of land accessible to the general public)
    • School Streets (timed restrictions for motor traffic with exemptions for disabled people and some residents)
    • Facilitate requests for play streets from residents and community groups
    • Lighting and CCTV to enhance community safety
    • Improve access to blue badge parking for residents and loading bays for businesses

    How can residents and businesses be involved in the design of their local area?

    Throughout the programme, there are several stages when residents and businesses can provide feedback on improvements they would like in their area. These stages are:

    • Early engagement – residents and businesses make comments and suggestions on an interactive map of the area (example)
    • Co-design workshops – Residents and businesses can provide feedback to influence the design of their area and potential measures
    • Consultation – We request feedback on proposed designs that has been developed in conjunction with residents and businesses
    • Implementation – If the projects are approved by the council, the design will be constructed over an agreed timescale with the option of further engagement on the final detailed design
    • Review - The impact of all projects will be monitored with the option of further changes to ensure schemes achieve the aims of the programme

    Where can I submit my ideas?

    For each project area, you can submit your ideas and views through an online survey. We will also be holding events throughout the programme where you can come and talk to us. More information on these events will be provided online as they develop.

    Will I be notified when the engagement starts in my area?

    Each area-based scheme will begin with an early engagement survey. A leaflet will be delivered to each household and business within the area, giving details on how to feed into this survey.

    Schemes will also be promoted through the council’s social media, website and regular newsletters. You can subscribe for newsletter updates on each area via the council’s website.

    Will there be more cycle facilities as part of the Liveable Streets programme?

    Yes, the programme aims to improve the cycle network around Tower Hamlets, increase connectivity in residential areas and provide facilities suitable for users of all ages and abilities.

    Cycle Future Route 5

    In 2019, Transport for London (TfL) held a public consultation on proposals to introduce a new cycle route between Hackney and Westferry via Grove Road and Burdett Road.

    It would connect with the existing Cycleway 2 (Stratford to Aldgate via Mile End) and Cycleway 3 (Barking to Tower Gateway via Shadwell).

    Parts of this route are proposed through or near some Liveable Streets areas (Bow, Old Ford Road West, Mile End West, Southern Grove, Burdett Road South).

    Some interim measures were introduced on Burdett Road in 2020 to improve cycle access from Mile End Road junction to Bow Common Lane junction.

    What is a School Street?

    A School Street is a scheme where traffic is moved away from the school gate to reduce the impact of vehicle emissions on children’s health and improve road safety. They may involve closing a road to traffic either permanently or at school opening and closing times, or introducing traffic management to discourage idling at the school entrance and reduce congestion.

    By moving traffic away from the school gate we will deliver a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone using the street. At the same time we will maintain access for residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists and encourage trips to and from school to be made by sustainable modes. For details of proposed schemes, visit the Tower Hamlets School Streets page.

    How can my school apply for a School Street?

    Twenty schools have already been prioritised for action, according to air quality statistics, Parking Action areas, the status of their school travel plans etc. In addition, other schools in the Liveable Streets project areas will be reviewed to potentially benefit from a School Street scheme. Speak to school staff regarding the School Travel Plan and participation in Transport for London’s STARS accreditation scheme.

    Will buses be impacted by these projects?

    Any works which may affect the bus routes will have to be agreed with Transport for London (TfL). Changes to any routes, bus stops or times can be found on the TfL website. We may implement measures to improve bus reliability and we will aim to not affect access to bus services or their reliability.

    Will parking and loading be affected?

    In some areas we may propose to reduce or reorganise car parking to allow the installation of additional cycle parking, new public spaces and infrastructure. Where parking reductions do occur, specific facilities (loading and disabled bays) will be installed to enable loading activity and improve accessibility for disabled users, to ensure businesses can be serviced and easily reached by all customers.

    What if I need my car to go shopping?

    For those that need to drive, local businesses will be accessible by motor vehicle with parking bays for disabled motorists and loading deliveries at busy locations.

    Alternatively, many businesses offer a delivery service to your door either when shopping online or in-store.

    Lots of small businesses in the borough now offer a home delivery service with support from the council's high streets and town centres team.

    What I need to drive for work?

    All streets will remain accessible by motor vehicle although some routes will be adapted to ease traffic congestion on residential roads.

    To help reduce their emissions, businesses can benefit from free cargo bike and electric vehicle trials, staff training, grants for facilities and discounts on bike delivery thanks to the Zero Emissions Network.

    How will these projects impact emergency services?

    When the council makes any changes to road layouts, the emergency services are included as statutory consultees. This means that the council must consult with them and if they raise objections about the proposals, the council must reconsider the plans.

    Regular meetings will be held with the emergency services to allow them to inform us of any issues that are occurring in the new road layout. This will allow the council to mitigate against these issues promptly.

    Where can I find the air quality levels for my area?

    London Borough of Tower Hamlets operate four real-time air quality monitoring stations in the borough. These are located at Mile End, Victoria Park, Millwall Park and Blackwall TunnelApproach. The Blackwall Tunnel approach monitoring station is managed by TfL for the council. 

    They measure pollutants in real time which means that the pollution levels are constantly being measured and the results recorded. Results of real time monitoring can be found on the Air Quality England website. In addition to the real-time stations, the council monitors nitrogen dioxide emissions at 90 other locations. For more details, visit the council’s website.

    When will the Ultra Low Emission Zone be introduced?

    From 25 October 2021, the existing central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to cover the entirety of Tower Hamlets.

    This will create a single larger zone up to, but not including, the North and South Circular Roads.

    For more information, see this resident's guide to the new zone, eligibility and incentives to switch to an electric vehicle.

    Unless your vehicle is electric, toxic emissions are still produced from the exhaust, and CO2 is emitted, contributing to the Climate Emergency.

    Vehicles also emit harmful particles through tyre wear and contribute to congestion and noise pollution.

    The central London ULEZ contributed to 44 per cent reduction in harmful roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in the zone and a 27 per cent reduction in Particulate Matter (PM2.5).

    Further questions

    If you have any further questions about the programme, please feel free to contact us at: liveablestreets@towerhamlets.gov.uk