The borough has recently launched its new Liveable Streets programme, which aims to make the public spaces of Tower Hamlets a better environment, and in particular to increase walking, cycling and public transport use. Bow and Bethnal Green are among the first areas where early stage consultation has opened (closing Tuesday 21 May).
This is a really positive move by the borough, and a great opportunity to ask for interventions which would support the Better Streets for Tower Hamlets vision and asks. You can offer your views by both filling in a general survey and by pinning specific issues to the online map of the area. You should feel free to make the same points in both formats. It doesn’t matter that the online map is looking cluttered already, or if someone else has already requested what you want: make sure you add your voice as well! A large number of people all asking for the same things will make the point much more strongly.
If you’re after any inspiration as to what to ask for, here are some ideas from us as to what could really improve both Bethnal Green and Bow in line with the Better Streets vision:
- An ambitious low-traffic neighbourhood across each area, meaning that only the main roads on the boundary of each area can be used for through motor traffic.
- More space for trees, planters and increasing people’s comfort. By reclaiming space away from motor vehicles, we could plant new trees, planters and install pocket parks. We can also increase everyone’s comfort with more public seating.
- A school street (closed to motor vehicles at drop-off and pick-up time) for every school in the area.
- A radical increase in bike parking, in particular secure residents’ bike storage (we suggest asking for at least one bike hangar on every street and secure facilities for every estate), but also plentiful visitors’ bike parking outside every shop, café, restaurant, pub, workplace, school, place of worship, doctors’ surgery, community centre, and any other amenity in each area.
In relation to the Bethnal Green scheme, you might want to ask for the following:
- Making the eastern end of Columbia Road walking and cycling only for most of the day.
- Protected cycleways on Bethnal Green Road, Hackney Road and Cambridge Heath Road.
And in relation to the Bow scheme, you might want to ask for the following:
- Making the eastern end of Roman Road walking and cycling only for most of the day, and the rest of it buses, walking and cycling only – as well as radical traffic reduction, public realm improvements and use of the car park for public space at its crossroads with St Stephen’s Road to create a ‘town square’ for Bow.
- A good solution for cycling on Grove Road, which might be either protected cycle lanes or genuinely low-volume and slow-speed motor traffic.