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What are the benefits of the programme?
How will you increase the number of people choosing to walk or cycle? How will this be achieved?
Providing safer, better-connected routes throughout the borough will enable people of all abilities and ages to walk and cycle. This will also be supported by promoting free cycle training and other relevant complementary measures.
This will be done through a variety of on-street infrastructure projects across the borough, such as changes to road layouts to give priority to walking, 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, historic walks, free cycle training, free access to Dr Bike (cycle mechanic) at council events, the installation of 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:
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:
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:
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
TfL is proposing to introduce a new cycle route between Hackney and Westferry. It would connect with the cycle routes between Stratford and Aldgate and Barking to Tower. Parts of this route are proposed through or alongside some Liveable Street areas, and it is expected that TfL will release further information for consultation on the route designs in the coming months.
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 http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/schoolstreets.
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 individual 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 council and 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.
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 Tunnel Approach. 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.
How will the Liveable Streets programme support our vulnerable residents?
As part of these proposals, an Equalities Impact Assessment was carried out and showed no group would be adversely impacted based on the potential outcome of this consultation. We also continue our work with REAL, Age UK and local community groups to ensure the needs of the community are captured. Ongoing meetings with these groups will continue throughout the consultation window.
One of the programme aims is to reduce the overall number of short car journeys, make it safer and more convenient to get around by foot and bike. Measures such as the widening of pavements and pedestrianisation, ensuring an accessible public realm for all, is critical to meet the needs of our children, elderly and disabled – our most vulnerable residents. The wellbeing of residents is our priority and inclusivity is at the heart of that priority. This is one of the guiding principles in all decisions made by the Liveable Streets programme.
Why is the council consulting during the Coronavirus pandemic?
We are passionate about maintaining an ongoing and robust engagement programme at this time to move forward with the programme and to ensure the public is aware and fully informed of the Liveable Streets objectives. The programme has simultaneous benefits for the health of our residents and the sustainability of the borough in the face of both the Coronavirus pandemic and the climate emergency.
The government has contributed a £250million emergency walking and cycling fund for local authorities to make these alternatives viable. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London have also announced plans to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.
Why is the Liveable Streets programme important right now?
The Liveable Streets programme is crucial to the health and wellbeing of Tower Hamlets residents now more than ever. We want to contribute to minimising the cycle of car use, exposure to air pollution and the subsequent increased risk of coronavirus. By continuing to live in air polluted areas, our residents remain vulnerable to poor health generally and especially now during the current pandemic.
Social distancing may last for years, and public transport capacity is predicted to drop by 85-90% to curb the spread of the virus through social distancing. In response, people may opt to use private motor vehicles. As the fastest growing population in London, this would be an inefficient use of limited road space and oversubscribed car parking facilities.
What is Streetspace?
In line with the coronavirus response and the easing of some movement restrictions, we have seen an increase in people walking and cycling in some streets in Tower Hamlets. Crowded pavements and cycle lanes will make it difficult for people to maintain social distancing as they return to work or education. Public transport must only be used when necessary to ensure that people making essential journeys can get around as safely as possible.
The council are working with Transport for London to identify places where temporary changes are needed to support social distancing or that would benefit from cycling and walking improvements. The changes could include but are not limited to the widening of pavements, a change to the road layout or the introduction of dedicated cycling space. Following government guidelines, we have implemented an emergency closure on Skew Bridge in Old Ford Road and temporary pavement widening in Roman Road to ensure the safety of pedestrians. We have applied for funding for similar measures at other busy locations in the borough. For more details, visit the Streetspace for Tower Hamlets page.