Work which Transport for London says will transform Westminster Bridge and the surrounding area into a safer, more pleasant place for pedestrian and cyclists is underway.
The 155-year-old bridge will become the fourth in central London to have segregated cycle lanes, with the south-side junction remodelled to make it easier to cross for pedestrians.
The work was planned and announced before last week’s attack on pedestrians on the bridge and subsequently at the Palace of Westminster.
TfL says the transformation of the Westminster Bridge area – which was supported in an extensive public consultation – will provide benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, in line with the Mayor’s new Healthy Streets vision by improving pedestrian access with three upgraded pedestrian crossings and new pedestrian countdown timers, improving cycle safety with dedicated cycle routes separated from motor vehicles, improving links into the wider cycling network such as the East-West Cycle Superhighway and the Central London Cycling Grid and making the area more pleasant with new trees and benches, new footway material and a 20mph speed limit.
Following further engagement with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and in the light of concerns raised by the Trust, modifications have been made to the design of the bus stop bypasses in front of St Thomas’ Hospital. This work means that these bus stop bypasses will now include a zebra crossing to assist pedestrians crossing the cycle track. Following this – the Trust has settled its judicial review claim. The width of the pedestrian crossing point at these bus stop bypasses has been almost doubled to 6 metres, to reflect the special features of their location outside a busy hospital.
The Mayor of London recently outlined a long-term vision to help encourage more Londoners to walk and cycle by making London’s streets healthier, safer and more welcoming. This can be done by providing more space for walking and cycling, and better public spaces where people can interact through more seating, more greenery, reducing vehicle speeds and installing safer crossings. A key element of this new approach is better collaboration between TfL and its partners and stakeholders to improve London’s streets for everyone.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said, “It’s great news that work is about to start to transform walking and cycling facilities at Westminster Bridge. These improvements are going to make a real difference in the area, ensuring the iconic bridge is safer and more pleasant to use. We are determined to make physical activity a bigger part of Londoners’ everyday lives for the good of everyone in our city, and this is exactly the type of scheme that will help to encourage this. We’ve also been looking carefully at the disruption caused by the construction of previous schemes and I can ensure all road users that we will be working hard to ensure that this is kept to an absolute minimum.”
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, added, “I’m pleased our plans to improve pedestrian and cycling facilities on and around Westminster Bridge are about to come to fruition. The Waterloo area will be opened up for pedestrians – while segregated cycleways and cycle signals will create better links for cyclists into London’s expanding network of safer infrastructure.
“We have planned the work to minimise disruption, but there will be some impact. We thank road users for bearing with us while work takes place and are asking them to plan and leave more time for journeys in the area, and if possible, use alternative routes.”