Cutting the speed limit in the Square Mile to 15mph took a step closer as a radical new 25-year transport plan was considered by City of London politicians.
Cutting the speed limit in the Square Mile to 15mph took a step closer as a radical new 25-year transport plan was considered by politicians.
The proposed drop from 20mph to 15mph by 2022 is one of a series of measures designed to reduce pollution, further reduce the number of accidents, and cope with the extra numbers of people coming into the City as more new buildings, including tower blocks, go up.
Common Councillor Christopher Hayward said: “With the numbers of people pouring into the City now, if we don’t do something we will have a serious safety issue.”
Members of the local plans sub-committee discussed a draft document outlining the Corporation’s first transport strategy, which could shape policy for the next quarter of a century. It looks at how people move in and around the City.
It will go to the planning and transportation committee on 30 October before public consultation between November and next January.
The final strategy then goes back to the City’s planning and transportation and policy and resources committees in March 2019.
Councillors know the proposal to cut the speed limit will be a “hot issue”.
Councillor Hayward said: “It is a radical proposal. There’s not another borough in London that has it. I agree there’s no reason for us not to blaze a trail.”
Last month, the Corporation agreed to ban all traffic except buses and bikes from the accident blackspot Bank Junction during the weekday rush hour after a successful trial. It is looking at traffic management at Ludgate Circus, which is another busy thoroughfare.
Other proposed measures include possible road closures at peak times, or “semi pedestrianisation”, and a 50% cut in deliveries at peak times and making the roads safer to encourage cycling.
The Corporation has already staged an exhibition at the City Centre on Basinghall Street and surveyed people about their priorities.
The Corporation’s strategic transportation manager, Bruce McVean, told the committee: “There is a clear reason for doing it, sending a signal that the City is different from anywhere else in London. We need to drive and ride differently.”
The Square Mile has high numbers of pedestrians, with 400,000 recorded last November. The number of cyclists has increased by 300% between 1999 and 2017.
Iain Simmons, the Corporation’s assistant director for local transportation, said cutting the speed limit should mean that collisions are less likely to be serious. Last year, 54 people were killed or seriously injured on City streets.Common councillor Marianne Fredericks said the congestion is so bad in the City she is already only driving at 12mph.
She also told the committee that trying to walk down Fenchurch Street during rush hour “is just sheer hell”.
“There’s not enough space. The roads are dangerous and it is congested. It’s our job to build a better City for the future that’s future proof.”
She said the development of tall buildings would not work unless the transport network is right.
Mr Hayward added: “Following a summer consultation on the vision and aims for the City’s first long-term transport strategy, radical proposals have been developed with the intention of future-proofing the Square Mile to enable major office developments and respond to changes in the way people use our streets and emerging transport technologies.
“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.”