We strongly support the Liveable Streets programme and Tower Hamlets’ commitment to making the borough a healthier, happier place to live or work in and travel through.
The programme is a chance to truly transform the status quo and deliver the ambitious improvements that the borough is after, notwithstanding the challenges this entails.
For this reason, it is important that we see these ambitions fully reflected in the Liveable Streets proposals, including how the different phases will connect together and feed into each other.
Sustrans London office is located within the Old Ford West project boundary.
All of our staff travel to the office by a combination of walking, cycling and public transport.
As a local employer, we are strongly supportive of all measures proposed across the four scheme areas and our teams are excited to see the project come to fruition.
We support and welcome the use of modal filters to create a network of access-only, low road-danger streets as well as the public realm improvements and the introduction of new School Street measures.
We would like to see the Old Ford West project go further in some areas.
Firstly it's important to stress that schemes one, two and three will be most effective when introduced together.
Implementing one but not the others may significantly undermine objectives, leaving routes open to through motor traffic and potentially displacing vehicle movements within the project boundary.
We have focused the rest of the response on areas that we believe would benefit from additional measures.
Firstly, whilst we welcome the modal filter (point closure) on Vyner Street, we note that the Scheme 1 design depends heavily on the filters within Scheme 2. In particular, the point closure by Bonner gate (Sewardstone Road).
The pavement widening on Wadeson Street will certainly improve walkability, and similar measures should be introduced on Vyner Street.
The proposed one-way system could serve to increase vehicle speeds on both roads, particularly Vyner Street.
Additional measures such as Continuous Footways (Blended Crossings) and other calming interventions would help to reduce the risk of collision for cycles at the junctions with Cambridge Heath Road.
Scheme 2 is much more ambitious, and we very much welcome the proposed modal filters and the Bonner Road School Street.
We believe these will serve to transform the area and crucially enable the Scheme 1 area measures.
It is unclear why St. James Avenue has been transformed into a one-way street, and we request that contra-flow cycling is permitted and signed to improve access to Victoria Park.
With area-wide filtering and associated lower vehicle flows, contraflow cycling should be tenable even on streets with narrower lanes.
We welcome the filtering of Bonner Street and the School Street timed closures for Bonner Primary as part of Scheme 3.
Most importantly, we believe the School Street measures should be expanded to reduce road danger and compliment the Bonner Street filter.
The cul-de-sac created by the filter on Bonner Street combined with the School Street may result in drivers performing dangerous turning movements at pick up and drop off.
For this reason, we strongly recommend expanding the area covered by the timed closures to include the rest of Bonner Street and Royston Street.
This will shift any undesirable vehicle movements further away from the school site.
With regard to the Bonner Street filter itself, there is potential to create a new public space and extend the existing green into the street (subject to land ownership).
The overall impact of the Old Ford West project may see road danger reduced on Old Ford Road (B118), with fewer turning movements at side roads.
However, we’re disappointed that Scheme 3 does not take the opportunity to repair the severance caused by through motor traffic on Old Ford Road.
Sustrans wrote to Tower Hamlets Liveable Streets team in March 2020 to call for the introduction of a bus-only camera (ANPR) gate on Old Ford Road at the Regents Canal Bridge.
This intervention would serve to further suppress demand for short, driven trips in the area.
In addition, Scheme 3 arguably misses the opportunity to filter both Victoria Park Square and Grove Road (north of Roman Road).
An alternative might be banning the left turn one or both as both streets are currently one-way.
As noted on the official scheme map the area includes a high concentration of primary schools.
It would be good to see more School Streets measures and public realm improvements around school sites, including those that already have designs in the pipeline (for example, Globe Primary).
Finally, we note that the delivery of the full version of the Bow Liveable Streets project to the east is key to the success of Old Ford West project.
In particular the closure of Skew Bridge, a driving route which feeds a great deal of non-local motor traffic into the Old Ford West area.