Walking or cycling along the streets of London is set to become a greener, more peaceful experience, following the launch of Transport for London’s new future streets projects.
Four street-improvement projects addressing congestion, noise pollution and air quality in London have been awarded grants from Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Future Streets Incubator Fund, it was revealed today.
The new projects include plans to collect kinetic energy from shoppers off Oxford Street to improve air quality, and a pedestrian boulevard in Southwark to transform the ‘rat race’ into a pleasant stroll or cycle to work.
The projects will be trialled in Southwark, Oxford Street, Blackwall Tunnel and Holborn as part of the Mayor’s £4bn Road Modernisation Plan.
Intelligent Oxford Street
An ‘Intelligent Street’ will be developed in Bird Street, just off Oxford Street, to generate energy from the sun and pavement movement, as well as improve air quality.
A range of “cutting-edge technologies” will be employed to harness energy from materials in roofs and canopies and pavements.
According to TfL, this could be “integrated into an enjoyable public space that will prioritise pedestrians and cyclists”.
New West End Company will be delivering this trial project. Managing Director Steve Medway stressed the benefits it will offer pedestrians and the West End.
“This funding will enable us to provide a beautiful oasis for shoppers and residents to enjoy in the heart of our Capital city, trialling some of the newest clean air technology, as part of our continued aim to improve air quality in the West End,” he said.
Pedestrian Bankside Boardwalk
The Bankside Boardwalk project plans to transform Lavington Street into a greener, more tranquil space.
The boardwalk will serve as a one-way boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists complete with plants and greenery to foster a safer, cleaner environment.
Better Bankside received £81,400 for this project which will be installed for an initial three months to test the effectiveness of the changes to traffic.
“Lavington Street experiences high traffic speeds and is often used as a ‘rat-run’. Improving the walking experience along the street will help transform it into a more welcoming street,” Better Bankside said.
If the boardwalk project is successful, the method could be extended throughout London to create more “people-friendly spaces”.
Blackwall Tunnel noise-absorbing barrier
The third scheme will see a noise-absorbing barrier using new materials to reduce noise and air pollution in the A12 Blackwall Tunnel between Empson Street and Gillender Street.
The noise-absorption material will incorporate a ‘green’ wall with an integrate watering system.
“The project will investigate the potential for reducing the impact of noise and air pollution from major roads on local communities, as well as testing methods for reducing surface water on the A12,” said TfL.
Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA) -who received funding for this project- will monitor to what extent the noise-absorbing barrier makes Poplar a cleaner and greener place to live.
“This funding will allow us to design, implement, monitor and test a series of initiatives around noise attenuation, reduction in air pollution, and environmental enhancement along one of London’s busiest roads,” said Poplar HARCA Head of Creativity & Innovation, Paul Augured.
Inmidtown delivery consolidation service
Lastly, TfL has funded plans to create a central platform for ordering everyday items such as milk and newspapers on the Capital’s roads, which will then be delivered using electric vehicles or cargo bikes.
The consolidation service will affect Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles and will be delivered by Inmidtown BID.
Inmidtown estimates that congestion and CO2 emissions in Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles will be reduced by an estimated 60 percent.
Vehicle miles are expected to reduce by 81 percent per year as deliveries in the Inmidtown area will be reduced from over 5,000 trips per day to approximately 1,000.
The Future Streets Incubator Fund was established in 2014 to invest in innovative projects to help make London’s streets fit for the future.
The trials have the potential to lead to long-term improvements across London.