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Lambeth to widen pavements to make streets safer for pedestrians

Coronavirus: South London council uses emergency traffic orders

Mark Moran
29 April 2020
Pavement widening in Lambeth
Pavement widening in Lambeth


Pavements will be widened on a temporary basis in parts of Lambeth to make streets safer during the pandemic. Footways in the south London borough will be widened under railway bridges and through traffic will be removed from some roads.

The pavements are being widened using the new class of Experimental Orders introduced by the Department for Transport during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lambeth Council said that these emergency changes will be followed by longer term work to make safe routes to and from the borough’s town centres. Lambeth will be temporarily widening some pavements around the borough in places where pedestrians are finding it hard to observe social distancing.

The first ‘pinch points’ the council will be working on are at:

  • Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill (under railway bridge)
  • Coldharbour Lane, Loughbourough Junction (under railway bridge)

Lambeth Council is accelerating sections of its Transport Strategy to support safe travel and to anticipate changes to the national coronavirus response. They include:

  • New restrictions in the neighbourhood around Fentiman Road in Oval and Stockwell and the Railton Road area between Brixton and Herne Hill. These areas already have some of Lambeth’s worst rat-running. The measures will create safe routes to our town centres for local residents and improve road safety.
  • Further improvements to Cycleway 5 to help key workers and others make essential journeys on foot and by bike to Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital, and beyond
  • Pavement widening to support social distancing: especially in areas where footfall which may increase if some restrictions are lifted by the government

Cllr Claire Holland, Deputy Leader for Sustainable Transport, Environment & Clean Air, said: “Coronavirus has dramatically changed the way people are using streets in Lambeth and beyond. Many people are walking and cycling to make essential journeys or exercise, following the Mayor’s call to ensure public transport is used only by people who need it.

“However, at the same time, we are facing a road danger with the Met recording speeds of up to 85mph in roads where people are having to walk or exercise to socially distance to reduce COVID-19 transmission. That’s why we are taking urgent action to protect our residents.

“We will be moving quickly and flexibly, and while there are clear challenges around funding and capacity due to the virus, we will be taking action where we know there are particular issues.”

Cllr Holland added: “Many of our main roads are controlled by Transport for London, so we will be working closely with them and the GLA to promote measures that will benefit people in Lambeth and the rest of London. This includes looking to widen some pavements on TfL roads, extending bus lane hours, especially where there are lots of people cycling, and temporary cycle lanes on key routes.

The council’s transport and capital programmes teams are working to put in changes within weeks. “These kinds of measures usually take months or years," said Cllr Holland. “Due to the significant amount of research and planning already completed as part of the transport strategy the council is basing its emergency measures on the already established longer term vision for safe, clean transport in Lambeth. We’ll continue to work closely with local communities and stakeholders to make sure we learn and adapt as the situation develops.”

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