Greater levels of traffic this morning has seen the return of morning tailbacks on the Blackwall Tunnel.
Traffic increases were already occurring last week as shops like B&Q reopened in Greenwich.
With many cities all over the world announcing and quickly implementing changes to streets allowing extra space for pedestrians which enabled social distancing – and more widely encouraging walking and cycling as public transport was discouraged – London and the UK has done very little.
Barcelona removing more on-street car parking to add 12km of emergency pavements, 21km of emergency bike lanes + improve bus lanes https://t.co/537saEJPYM
— citymobility (@citycyclists) April 26, 2020
This morning TfL announced…
— Tom Edwards (@BBCTomEdwards) April 27, 2020
There’s notable exceptions in London such as Lambeth announcing plans but little else in most places.
Even on stretches such as Woolwich to Charlton where an expensive multi-million cycle lane is planned after a decade of talking, simple short term measures are not taken such as light segregation between cycle lanes and general traffic. Dicing with traffic is the name of the game.
This now sets us up for a situation whereby many people, including those who did use buses and trains, get into cars instead of walking, cycling or taking public transport for shorter journeys. The knock-on effect will be to clog up streets and hamper vehicles which need to be on the road including business deliveries, emergency service vehicles and ambulances.
In recent weeks some studies have begun to link increased pollution, subsequent health issues and the current virus.
Opportunities have been missed and there’s little sense of urgency. In weeks and months to come what’s the betting many will say “we didn’t see it coming” and “well, with hindsight”. It’s not hindsight. It’s missing a crucial opportunity.