A contentious pop-up program aimed at discouraging cars in central London might become abiding if it succeeds at encouraging the population to embrace walking and cycling and without resulting in a substantial spike in other commute times.
A 6-month survey was initiated by TfL to determine whether to keep its Bishopsgate Streetspace program, a major safer cycling path within the Square Mile.
Even before the work-from-home guidance was scrapped, up to 8,000 bike trips would be logged per day after automobiles, trucks, and taxis were restricted from main stretches of the A10 between London Bridge and Shoreditch High Street on weekdays between 7am and 7pm.
The program comprised expanded pavements and prohibited turns, and happens to be among the most distinguished initiatives undertaken by TfL after the first wave of COVID in July 2020. This scheme was geared toward encouraging London dwellers to walk or cycle instead of returning to their automobiles.
Unfortunately, the black cab industry objected, prompting a legal oversight of the proposals. That is because the program was implemented without consent as stipulated under emergency COVID laws.
In July last year, the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of TfL, with the latter acceding to a fresh trial traffic injunction to extend the limitations for another 18 months.
In deciding whether to make the plan permanent, TfL will look at whether it decreases crashes, increases cycling, does not “significantly disrupt” bus travel, and does not “substantially increase” freight and taxi journeys. The changes, according to TfL, have boosted the reliability of buses, with northbound and southbound transit times on Bishopsgate becoming quicker by 38 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
Will Norman, the walking and cycling commissioner in London, stated that the recent vehicle restrictions have made roads safer and more comfortable for cyclists and pedestrians, while also reducing bus transit times.
Sam Monck, head of healthy streets investment at TfL, said that their data suggests that the modifications made along Bishopsgate are helping to promote healthy and sustainable modes of transportation in London, and called for feedback from Londoners as it would be helpful in their evaluation of the scheme’s next steps.
TfL is evaluating the next steps for a variety of pandemic-related walking and cycling initiatives. Cycling increased from 2.3 to 3.4 percent of all journeys between 2019 and 2020, according to a report released last month.