Cars set to be banned from half of roads in London’s Square Mile
Vehicles would be banned from about half of the Square Mile’s roads under radical plans announced today to improve safety and cut congestion.
The proposals from the City of London Corporation — intended to usher in a “world-class” street scene in the financial district — could see speed limits slashed to 15mph.
“Pedestrian priority” zones would ban cars, vans, taxis and buses from using some routes, apart from for access. At least half of the roads in the Square Mile are earmarked for pedestrian priority status, including parts of Threadneedle Street near the Bank of England, and roads around Mansion House, Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations. Bicycles would be expected to give way to pedestrians in these zones.
The plans, laid out in the Corporation’s first long-term transport strategy, cover 25 years but some elements could come in next year.
Chris Hayward, chairman of the planning and transportation committee, said the “radical” proposals are aimed at “future-proofing the Square Mile”. He added: “This is an ambitious piece of work, but the City of London is a unique district. With over 480,000 workers commuting into the Square Mile on a day-to-day basis, these are some of the busiest streets in London and we need to be open for business.”
The Corporation — the local authority for the area — also called on Transport for London to rethink the Congestion Charge, introduced in 2003, which it says is outdated.
The report outlining the plans said a “road user charge” could be varied according to demand and vehicle type — opening the door to higher charges for more polluting vehicles.
The draft proposals, which were being presented to elected members today, also call for a “core cycling network” including two-metre wide protected cycle lanes on busy routes.
Simon Munk, of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “We’re very excited by the plans, which stand in stark contrast to some of their city neighbours.
“It is a complex issue but it’s about designing the right spaces for the right mix of people, so we don’t end up with lots of pedestrian priority where there needs to be space for cyclists. The streets must be designed to encourage people to move and interact calmly.”
Last year, the Corporation banned all traffic except buses and bicycles from Bank junction between 7am and 7pm on weekdays, after the death of City worker Ying Tao, who was hit by a lorry as she cycled to work in June 2015.
The Planning and Transportation Committee will make a decision on the proposals on October 30.
Separate plans to pedestrianise streets in the eastern City were published in the summer.