Well, welcome to the new normal. Unfortunately the first tentative moves to return to work may be about to hit the buffers: public transport, upon which London relies, cannot carry its usual millions. Crouch End emerges, but without the W7 and the 91.
The response of the government and the Mayor of London is however quite clear. Walking and cycling must be increased, as a matter of urgency, to help take the strain. The legislative framework is in place, funds are available, and the instruction to local authorities is direct and explicit. Either we achieve a ten fold increase in walking or cycling, otherwise gridlock:
The government authorised –
- Fast-tracked statutory guidance, published today and effective immediately, will tell councils to reallocate roadspace for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians. In towns and cities, some streets could become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists.
- Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund.
The Mayor’s London Streetspace plan demands –
- 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.
Which seems abundantly clear.
We set out an extensive response over the weekend about possible transport designs in Crouch End – meeting the aspiration of the Liveable Crouch End scheme, the need to revitalise the local economy, and the present crisis. We note the government’s desire to create permanent change in favour of active travel. If so, our position is the principles set out in our earlier post. But we know these objectives are still some way off and the temporary cones and signage need to go in with immediate effect. This week and next.
This is an unprecedented public emergency and the government’s direct instruction to Haringey is to act swiftly and decisively. Inaction or kowtow to vested interests is not acceptable. We await results.
- Provide adequate social distancing, particularly in town centres. This requires a minimum of 2.5m width on all footways within designated town centres, and 4m minimums outside supermarkets. Specific areas must be identified immediately and communicated to the public for comments.
- Provide for adequate social distancing near schools. Including the imposition of school streets.
- Identify and implement key commuter routes for cyclists. Segregation is required – even if cones are deployed as stopgap.
- Identify where the width of corridors is insufficient for social distancing and provision for walkers and cyclists, and close roads to private motor traffic if necessary
- Participate in the electric scooter trial