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London’s square mile to get 15mph speed limit

London street

The City of London Corporation has voted to make the Square Mile the first area in the UK with a 15mph speed limit, subject to Government approval.

The decision follows a public consultation into 54 proposals unveiled by the City Corporation last year, which together sets a 25-year framework for its first long-term transport strategy.

The plans, it said, have been developed to support the changing working, living and commuting habits across London.

The new strategy will prioritise the needs of people walking when delivering changes to streets, and make the most efficient use of street space by working to reduce motor traffic by 25% by 2030, and by 50% by 2044.

City Corporation monitoring reveals that 90% of all journeys made on the city’s streets are partially or entirely walked.

Data also shows that cycling has increased by 292% since 1999, while the number of vehicles using the Square Mile’s streets has halved in the last 20 years.

The strategy will see the City Corporation enhancing its cycling offer, launching a new cycling network and improving the quality and accessibility of cycle hire facilities.

Two operators, Freebike (electric bikes) and Beryl, will begin a six-month trial for dockless cycle hire in the Square Mile.

The new transport strategy, it said, will also improve air quality by proposing the UK’s first large scale Zero Emission Zone to cover central London, after local zero emission zones are introduced covering the City Cluster and Barbican and Golden Lane.

Alastair Moss, chairman of the planning and transportation committee at the City of London Corporation, said: “These radical plans will ensure the continued success of not just the City, but wider London and the UK as a leading global business and cultural destination.”

A long-term programme to make these changes will start later this year, with the 15mph speed limit implemented by 2021/22, subject to approval by the Department for Transport.

Short-term measures have already begun, including a trial of the Lunchtime Streets programme, which uses timed and temporary street closures to make the streets more attractive places to walk, cycle and spend time.

In March 2019, while scheduled roadworks were in place, the traffic-free St Mary Axe street was transformed over a lunchtime period with food stalls and pop-up seating for people to enjoy their lunch in a safer, more pleasant environment, it said. More Lunchtime Streets will be held during the summer.

The Transport Strategy Delivery Plan will be considered by the City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee in the summer.


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  • rosco7 - 28/05/2019 09:58

    I am not convinced these plans for central London are radical enough. In the last 20 years, walking in the city, has become tedious, dangerous and dirty. During that period a lot of the investment has been put into cycling, ignoring that for most people, a combination of public transport and walking is the most beneficial method of transport. My plan would be to pedestrianise the square mile, with large segregated cycle lanes and wide pedestrian areas. Only permitting electric delivery vehicles during off peak windows, and obviously have emergency service vehicle access routes. A 15mph speed limit will have minimal effect, and will only be effective if policed. There is no evidence that 20mph limits have been enforced, and motorists tend to ignore speed limits that seem inappropriate. 15mph is below some cars cruise control minimum speeds (many are 20mph minimum). And ultimately, many people would walk in the city, if the pavements were wider, and the streets free from vehicles.

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