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Friday, July 10, 2020

Launch of “car-free zones” in London to radically change travel

A pop-up cycle lane in Park Lane, London, where bollards have been installed to create a separation between cyclists and other road users.

Stefan Rousseau | PA Pictures | Getty Images

The Mayor of London and the local transport authority announced on Friday extensive new measures that could radically alter the way people move around the UK capital.

The plans, which are part of the recently announced Streetspace program, are designed to allow for adequate and safe social removal on the city’s public transport network by encouraging more people to walk and cycle, rather than using services such as buses or the metro from London.

Under the new program, some roads in London will be aimed only at pedestrians and cyclists, while other roads will limit all traffic except buses, although the authorities will maintain access for the disabled and emergency services.

It is also possible that some of the city’s most famous bridges – Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge – will only be used by buses, pedestrians and cyclists, with widened sidewalks to encourage more walking.

Work is already underway to change the layout of London’s streets, with approximately 5,000 square feet of additional sidewalk space added by Transport for London (TfL) last week. A temporary cycle lane has been introduced on Park Lane, which runs alongside Hyde Park, with speed limits that should be reduced to 20 miles per hour. Temporary cycle paths are also introduced in other parts of the city.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit London’s public transport network in your pocket, with the number of passengers plummeting because of the people who stay at home. According to Mike Brown, TfL commissioner, rates and other revenues have fallen by 90%.

To this end, the UK government has announced a £ 1.6 billion ($ 1.95 billion) financing package to protect services on a network that is vital for millions of people. Rescue – a combination of grants and loans – depends on several conditions, including raising service levels “as soon as possible”. Tariffs on public transport should also be increased.

Starting next week, the London Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone will be rolled back to discourage motorists and prevent roads from being blocked by traffic.

As part of the financing measures agreed with the government, it is proposed to increase the congestion tax from £ 11.50 to £ 15 per day from June, with its hours extended between 7:00 and 22:00.

In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Covid-19 represented “the biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in TfL history”.

“It will take a monumental effort by all Londoners to keep social distances safe on public transport as blockade restrictions are gradually eased,” added Khan. “This means that we must keep the number of people using public transport as low as possible.”

“And we cannot see the journeys previously made on public transport replaced with the use of the car because our roads would be immediately blocked in an unusual way and toxic air pollution would rise.”

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