Transport for London (TfL) has launched a six-month public consultation on the future of the controversial walk and cycle scheme on the A10 Bishopsgate.
According to TfL, new data suggests the scheme has led to improved bus journey times and is supporting thousands of safer bike journeys every day.
In August 2020 TfL introduced a series of temporary changes along the route in response to the pandemic, which were designed to make it safer and easier for people to walk, cycle and use transport in common. Changes implemented included new restrictions on rush hour vehicles on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Wider sidewalks have also been constructed along the corridor to ensure social distancing and a number of no-go bends have been introduced along the road.
The changes were strongly opposed by the licensed taxi industry, as access through Bishopsgate at peak times decreased. It has been argued that wheelchair users and other disabled passengers are now being forced to take longer and more expensive routes around the Bishopsgate bus gates. The action resulted in a judicial review of the plans.
Although she initially won the case, the Court of Appeal annulled the decision ruling in favor of TfL in the summer of 2021.
Since the introduction of the Bishopsgate scheme, the number of people traveling in central London has dropped significantly due to coronavirus lockdowns and work-from-home advice.
TfL says their data over this period shows bus performance on the Bishopsgate Corridor has improved significantly since the changes were introduced. Northbound bus journey times along Bishopsgate are 38% lower now than they were before the pandemic, with southbound journey times 26% lower.
In December 2021, TfL decided to keep the program with a new “experimental traffic order”, which could run for 18 months. The consultation, which runs until July 25, will complement TfL’s monitoring of the experimental program and help TfL decide the future of the Bishopsgate program beyond its 18-month experimental period.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “These changes have made a huge difference to the way people travel along Bishopsgate. It has become safer and more comfortable for pedestrians and cyclists, and bus journey times have also been reduced thanks to new vehicle restrictions on the road.As we aim to get more Londoners to walk, cycle and use public transport, programs like these are key to ensuring people feel safe enough to do so. We want to hear what others think of this program, so please have your say.”
Sam Monck, TfL’s Healthy Streets Investment Manager, said: “Making sure people can walk, cycle and use public transport will continue to be vital as the capital recovers from the Our data suggests that the changes we have made along Bishopsgate are playing an important role in promoting healthy and sustainable modes of travel in London and feedback from Londoners will be extremely valuable as we assess the next steps of the program I encourage everyone to have their say during the six-month consultation period.