In recent days a greater number of businesses have announced that they’ll reopen and traffic levels have begun to increase across London.
As that’s happened a range of opportunities to temporarily change street layouts for the “new normal” are going begging across most of London. Over the past week I’ve written a number of posts showing pedestrians squeezed onto narrow pavements beside wide roads with no reallocation of space.
With public transport not looking viable for many people in months to come, sustainable transport is the only alternative to gridlock. Cities the world over are quickly putting in motion changes to ensure people on foot or bike can easily get around as public transport is cut and discouraged due to social distancing. Paris is planning 650 km and Berlin is doing similar. It took three days to turn thought into reality.
A DW article states: “The new bike lanes are still provisional, made up of red-and-white warning beacons, temporary signs and yellow foil barriers. They can be removed as soon as the coronavirus pandemic has passed. But most people believe that they are here to stay.”
London hasn’t. It’ll be too late when people turn back to cars. One noticeable thing in London over recent weeks is many more people (and families) getting on bikes as road dangers reduced.
Yet with few measures in London to ensure cycling and walking is welcoming, that could be quickly snuffed out as more cars take to the road. London and other UK cities are likely to see resulting traffic and pollution.
With each passing days a once in a generation chance to seize the moment is being squandered.