Report of the Director of the Built Environment.
Members considered a Gateway 5 Issue report of the Director of the Built Environment regarding City Streets: Transportation Response to support COVID-19 recovery and the following points were made.
· The Chairman noted that Members were issued a schedule of wider City Transportation COVID-19 response works outside of the meeting.
· The Director of the Built Environment noted that Transport for London (TfL) had advised that tube journey were 60% on year, and public transport journeys in the City were up 20% during week commencing 7 September 2020. Cycle hire was also up 8%. Officers were aware, anecdotally, that footfall in the City was increasing steadily and week on week increases were expected once schools had returned. More detailed figures would be provided to the next meeting.
· The Director of the Built Environment continued, noting that there had been increased engagement with the City’s public portal. In terms of delivery of COVID-19 recovery works, phases 1 and 2 had been delivered on street, and work was being undertaken on phase 1 infrastructure to make it more robust (phase 1 plus) in advance of Autumn weather. Phase 2 plus works would be undertaken shortly, once designs were reviewed and amended where necessary.
· The Director of the Built Environment continued, noting that phase 3 works were planned to support businesses that relied on serving food and drink – these works would include seating and planting. It was uncertain for how long this recovery infrastructure would need to be in place for, but Members would be kept updated.
· The Director of the Built Environment concluded by noting complimentary measures undertaken by TfL in Bishopsgate, with the installation of three bus gates. TfL would also be closing London Bridge to certain vehicles between 7.00am – 7.00pm between Monday-Friday. Islington’s proposals for Clerkenwell Road were currently on hold. The Director’s report to the October 2020 meeting would provide more detail on public feedback, and detail on finance options.
· In response to a question, the Director of the Built Environment noted that TfL had provided just over £1m, with the balance being met by the City. Some outer London COVID recovery measures had not been implemented, and so the City was in discussion with TfL to establish whether those savings could be applied to inner London including the City.
· In response to a question, the Director of the Built Environment committed to providing the most recent data on City journeys once it had been provided by TfL.
· A Member noted that he believed that it would take some time for footfall in the City to increase. He questioned whether officers had considered using the City’s central COVID fund to assist with the Transportation response. Lastly, the Member noted his sadness at the fact much of the infrastructure being installed risked going unused if footfall did not increase.
· The Director of the Built Environment replied that the central COVID fund was under consideration, but that third-party funding was being prioritised in the first instance. In terms of the extent to which infrastructure was being used, officers were reviewing which was being used and identifying areas where it could be rationalised, removed or redeployed.
· The Deputy Chamberlain endorsed the third party funding strategy, given that the City’s COVID fund was not of the scale required for projects such as the City Transportation support for COVID-19 recovery. Moreover, she asked Members to noted that Resource Allocation Sub-Committee has requested officers to review the City’s capital programme to ensure it was appropriately funded.
RESOLVED, that Members,
· Note the forecast overspend pertaining to staff costs and that alternative arrangements are being explored to accommodate this in order to focus Transport for London and Department for Transport funds on delivery;
· Delegate authority to the Director of the Built Environment to approve any necessary agreements with private landowners for enabling the installation of temporary cycle parking on publicly accessible private land and the carrying out of any associated works by the City of London Corporation.