Report of the Executive Director, Environment.
The Committee received a report of the Executive Director Environment providing an update on delivering the City of London Transport Strategy for quarter 2 of 2021/22 (July-September 2021).
A Member spoke to praise the continued efforts of Officers in attempting to introduce a 15mph speed limit and descried it as one of the best ways to guarantee that the City would achieve its vision zero in terms of deaths and serious injuries on its roads.
Another Member commented that he felt that vision zero was an aspirational target but was not necessarily achievable. He added that a big part of working towards this was emphasising personal responsibility.
Officers thanked Members for their words of support on the 15mph campaign, stating that they were disappointed with the outcome of this. They highlighted that they remained committed to vision zero which was about saying that no deaths were acceptable on the City’s road and that they would therefore continue to work hard alongside City Police and consider what other work could be done around design speeds to improve the way that people move around the City.
A Member questioned work on St Paul’s Gyratory stating that he had thought that this was now dormant and was therefore surprised to see mention of delays affecting the existing programme within the appendix to the report. He also referred to the Barbican & Golden Lane Zero Emission Zone and Healthy Streets Plan where the end date was marked as 2021/22 and questioned whether this was correct given that the works had hardly begun at present. Officers reported that it was still hoped that the Barbican & Golden Lane works would be significantly progressed during this financial year but that it was accepted that this might now also lapse into 2022/23. With regard to St Paul’s Gyratory, Officers clarified that the project was previously on hold because of the uncertainty around the Centre for Music but that this had been restarted in April 2021 following a report to the Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee and progress with the London Wall West project on the former Museum of London site and the redevelopment of 81 Newgate Street. It was underlined that these two developments presented a great opportunity to rethink how this space (one of the priority areas for road danger reduction initiatives) worked, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Deputy Chairman referred to a recent report on air quality in the City which had indicated a reduction of 42% in the past 18 months and questioned if Officers could confirm this. Officers reported that they did not have the up to date figures to hand today but undertook to follow up on this. They added that this reduction was not surprising due to the changes in traffic flow throughout the pandemic. A report on traffic figures gathered this Autumn would be brought to this Committee early in the new year and details of air quality could be incorporated into this.
A Member referred to the pedestrian priority scheme at Kings Street where posts had now been removed and replaced with painted lines to denote the carriageway, pedestrian and cyclist lanes. She commented that cyclists here failed to understand that pedestrians could also use the carriageway and that she had some concerns as to pedestrian safety here as a result. She went on to refer to TfL’s bus gates at Bishopsgate and stated that she understood that these would be consulted upon. She questioned when this matter would come back to this Committee for comment. Officers reported that the approach taken when the Covid-19 measures had originally been rolled out was that, in areas where there was space for walking or a cycle lane against live traffic, posts would be installed. Where cycle lanes were next to walking space, posts/’wands’ had not been installed. Officers were now progressing towards experimental schemes as part of the pedestrian priority programme funded through the Climate Action Strategy and, as part of this, pavements would be properly built out so that painted lines would not need to be relied upon to secure additional walking space. It was envisaged that this would address many of these concerns and avoid any ongoing confusion. With regard to Bishopsgate, Members were informed that TfL were progressing with an experimental scheme that would largely replicate what was originally introduced as part of the street space scheme. A report on this was recently submitted to the Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee to outline the approach being taken. Officers clarified that, with experimental traffic orders, a six-month public consultation and monitoring period was necessary. They clarified that they would be working with TfL throughout this period to understand how the changes on Bishopsgate related to the City’s own projects and aspirations. Reports with further details on this would come forward to the Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee in due course.
A Member referred to Moor Lane stating that it was of great concern to residents that the originally proposed project in 2011, funded by Section 106 monies from London Wall Place, had been refined down to what was now being presented as a result of Deutsche Bank now requiring security which would take up road space which they did not appear to be paying any extra for. The Member sought further clarification on this.
Another Member spoke on this, adding that he understood that the original plan had been for the very substantial greening of Moor Lane and building out into the highway, expanding the pavement. What appeared to be happening now was that consultation was being undertaken on just a part of this proceeding which was extremely disappointing. The Member continued by stating that his understanding of security measures was that these should be designed into the building from the outset and not outside of it. Officers reported that this scheme had indeed been in the pipeline since 2011 now and that they had been patiently waiting for Deutsche Bank and the scheme at 21 Moorfields to reach a point where it was possible to access the space and deliver the permanent scheme. Officers confirmed that they had recently received a number of questions from residents regarding the funding available including the interest on the Section 106 balance and that this figure was currently awaiting confirmation from the Chamberlain. It was also reported that ongoing discussions were being had with the developer at 21 Moorfields and that Members were correct in stating that the current proposals which would predominantly affect the eastern footway had meant that Officers had had to adapt the original scheme. It was, however, felt that a significant amount of greening could still be delivered in Moor Lane, particularly on the western side. Options for security measures were being discussed with developers which included things such as low-level planters and other greening elements. Officers were still keen to see as much greening as possible delivered here and welcomed any support that the Chair, Deputy Chair and other members of the Committee might be able to offer in these negotiations. Members underlined their political support for Officers to push back on this. It was suggested that the Chair and Deputy Chairmen of this and the Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee further engage with this in the first instance.
RESOLVED – That Members note the report.