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Cabinet approves £1m scheme to improve air quality and active travel in Shadwell

LS Shadwell, Watney web

Tower Hamlets Council’s Cabinet has approved the Liveable Streets scheme for Shadwell.

The proposals aim to improve the area for walking, cycling and public transport, improve air quality and help to discourage through-traffic and anti-social driving.

Plans include:

  • Making the temporary School Street on Bigland Street permanent to improve road safety for pupils.
  • Creating more space for pedestrians to improve access on Watney Street.
  • Enhancing the neighbourhood with improved accessibility, lighting, planting, public art, and traffic calming measures.
  • Reducing cut through traffic in the area during morning peak periods.
  • Improving the pavements on Cannon Street Road for pedestrians

More than 6,000 residents, businesses, key community groups, all emergency services and internal council services were consulted on the proposals between July and September this year.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“These changes are going to make a positive difference to the health and safety of people in Shadwell. It’s vital that we try to clean up the air we breathe in Tower Hamlets for our children. With the average lung capacity of a child in Tower Hamlets up to 10 per cent less than the national average, it’s vital that we continue to take action to clean up our air. The best way we can do that is by cutting the volume of traffic driving through our borough and making it easier for people to walk or cycle for local journeys.”

Cllr Kahar Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Highways and Public Realm, said:

“We consulted widely before drawing up these proposals and have taken all views into consideration when designing the scheme. We think this is the best option to make the area safer and healthier. Liveable Streets are helping us to address the climate emergency and issues of congestion and air pollution that are linked to chronic illnesses including heart disease, strokes and respiratory diseases.”

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets declared a climate emergency in March 2019 and the council has committed to become a net zero carbon council by 2025 and a net zero carbon borough by 2045 or sooner.

The Shadwell Liveable Streets scheme was approved at a meeting on Wednesday 15 December. Under the proposals, a section of Bigland Street will be closed to motor vehicles between 8.15am to 9.15am and 3pm to 4pm on school days. This will allow children, parents, families, and staff to arrive and leave the school in a safe and healthy environment whilst encouraging more active travel.

In Watney Street, proposals include the widening of pavements to provide more space for pedestrians, people who use wheelchairs or pushchairs, and to create a nicer environment for people to spend time in.

Over 7000 people use the zebra crossing on Watney Street every day, which will be widened to make it safer and easier for people to cross.

Proposals also include improvements to street lighting around the DLR station and near Watney Market, new cycle stands and more greening and planting.

Speed humps and raised tables are proposed on key roads in Shadwell to reduce vehicle speeds and a banned right turn is proposed from Rampart Street onto Commercial Road to prevent non-local traffic rat-running.

In Cannon Street Road, proposals include removing street clutter, resurfacing the pavements and removing unessential driveways to make a level surface.

The scheme aims to reduce the volume of traffic by restricting right hand turns from The Highway onto Glamis Road and King David Lane and restricting left hand turns from Brodlove Lane onto Cable Street, benefitting the 100 and D3 bus routes.

Pavements and the existing cycle crossing in Cable Street will be widened to provide more space and a new zebra crossing is proposed by St Mary and St Michael Catholic Primary School.

The proposals also aim to remove pinch points in traffic to help improve the 339 bus route. Martha Street will become no entry from Watney Street and the northern most section of Watney Street into Tarling Street will become one way northbound, for motor vehicles.

More information is available at talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lsshadwell

Posted on Wednesday 22nd December 2021