Published: 01:28 PM, 12 July 2021 Last Update: 02:35 PM, 12 July 2021
Pupils from a Bethnal Green infants school met with the Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday (Wednesday 7 July) to see for themselves the Liveable Streets improvements in Bethnal Green, now that the first phase of works are complete.
Despite delays caused by Covid-19, the schoolchildren from Elizabeth Selby Infants’ School and the Mayor saw for themselves the improvements to Old Bethnal Green Road and surrounding streets, including upgraded street lighting, CCTV, new trees, and more greenery.
Before works began, figures show that more than 8,000 vehicles a day used to travel down Old Bethnal Green Road, impacting road safety and air quality outside local schools and nurseries.
Now, Elizabeth Selby Infants' School benefits from quiet streets around its pupil entrance in Pollard Street, and the wider and more level pavements are a welcome boost for those with pushchairs, using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. The new segregated cycle paths and continuous crossings have also made it safer and more enjoyable to walk, scoot or cycle.
Local schools have also been learning about the design of the roads and pupils have personal journey planners to help them map out safer, quieter routes to school. Children from the infants' school designed banners to highlight the benefits of the quieter roads.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:
"Old Bethnal Green Road has been transformed by these works. Children at Elizabeth Selby Infants' School and other schools in the local area can now walk to school with their families much more safely, with better pavements, crossings, quieter streets and green open spaces for everyone to enjoy.
“There’s still work to be done in surrounding streets, but I’m delighted to see the progress we’ve made in challenging circumstances.”
All the changes will be monitored and reviewed to assess the impact on air quality, traffic congestion and road safety in the area.
Work is also set to begin this summer on the next phase of Liveable Streets in Bow, Brick Lane and Old Ford Road West. It is already underway in Barkantine, Wapping, and the rest of Bethnal Green.
Liveable Streets forms part of the council’s efforts to promote health and wellbeing and respond to the climate emergency declared in 2019.
Cllr Dan Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Realm, said:
“The changes are the result of more than two years of community outreach and engagement.
“We’ll be monitoring the impact of the new road layouts to make sure we achieve the aims of making neighbourhoods more liveable.
“One in three car trips in our borough are less than 1.2 miles so we need to enable more people to choose to walk and cycle by making it a safe and enjoyable way to travel.”
For more details, visit talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/liveablestreets