TfL's Better Streets’ initiative emphasises streets as places rather than traffic routes

The London Mayor has declared his intention to make 2011 the ‘year of walking’ and allocated millions of pounds to the cause, but will his proposals see more Londoners making their journeys on foot? In a step towards this aim, Transport for London has launched a programme to improve the public realm of the capital’s major roads.

The ‘Better Streets’ initiative covers the 580km Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) and aims to emphasise streets as places rather than as routes for the passage of traffic. Signs, guardrailing and street furniture will be removed and traffic management arrangements on some sections of road will be completely rethought.

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The initiative was explained to last week’s surface transport panel by Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for London Streets, and Ben Plowden, director of the newly created better routes and places directorate.

They said TfL was lobbying the DfT for the right to remove 5,500 ‘no stopping at any time’ signs on the network. TfL believes the signs are unnecessary because they accompany double red ‘no stopping’ lines painted on the road.

Two thousand bollards will be removed from the TLRN this financial year and many older road signs are to be replaced with new signs half the size.

More pedestrian guardrailing will also be removed. TfL has already removed 60km of the 212km of guardrailing on the TLRN after applying its Guardrail Risk Assessment Framework (GRAF). But Emmerson and Plowden said the GRAF technique had recommended some sections of guardrail be retained that appeared counterintuitive from an engineering perspective. These will be analysed further. 'TfL will be looking to set a further pedestrian guardrail removal target for 2010/11,' they said.

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