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Cars to be banned from half the streets in City of London

Draft Transport Strategy puts pedestrians and cyclists centre stage as City plans for next quarter century

The City of London has set out plans to remove cars from half of its streets, implement a 15 mph speed limit and encourage more people to ride bikes there by making it “safer and more pleasant” to do so.

The proposals are contained in the Draft City of London Transport Strategy, published yesterday, which sets out bold plans for a transformation of journeys in the Square Mile over the next 25 years.

The Corporation of London, which governs the City, says that 93% of commuter travel there is by public transport (84%), walking (5%) or cycling (4%), with fewer than 5% of workers driving in.

Within the City itself, walking is by far the most common way people get around, with more than three quarters of a million trips by foot every day.

Meanwhile, cyclists make up a quarter of all vehicles on the City’s streets and in some locations can account for more than 50 per cent during rush hour.

Proposals to get more people cycling include limiting motor vehicles, or even removing them altogether, on key routes at busy times as well as building protected cycle lanes, developing a cycle network throughout the City, greater provision of bike parking facilities, and the implementation of the British Cycling-led Turning The Corner campaign.

The Draft Transport Strategy is due to be approved by the City’s Planning and Transportation Committee on 30 October with the final document, following consultation,to be submitted for adoption in March next year.

It says: “We want the range of people choosing to cycle to match the diversity of people who live, work and study in or visit the City.”

“Most people, whether they choose to cycle or not, will consider cycling to be a safe, easy and pleasant way to travel around the Square Mile.

“Reduced traffic, slower speeds and a dense network of cycle friendly streets will mean that anyone who wishes to cycle is not prevented from doing so because of concerns about safety.

“The cycle network will cater for all types of cycles, including cycles as mobility aids and cargo cycles. Different types of cycles will also be available for hire across the City, supporting more flexible cycling.

“A safer and more relaxed cycling experience will in turn encourage safer and more relaxed cycling behaviour that reflects the priority given to people walking on the City’s streets.”

The Draft Transport Strategy also envisions pedestrian priority zones where cars, vans, buses and taxis would be banned except for access, including in the areas around Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations.

The Corporation of London has already banned all traffic other than bicycles and buses from the roads around Bank Junction between 7am and 7pm on weekdays,

Chris Hayward, the chairman of the City of London’s planning and transportation committee, said: “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.”

Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner at London Cycling Campaign, told the Evening Standard: “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,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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