Consultation opens for Liveable Street’s ‘bold plans’ for Bow

Following extensive consultation over the last year, the Council’s Liveable Streets programme is proposing to pedestrianise Roman Road Market and to close Old Ford at Skew Bridge, with the aim of reducing 33,000 daily motor vehicle journeys through the area.

Almost half of these 33,000 vehicles travel through the area without stopping according to Council data, creating extra noise, air pollution and road safety issues in residential streets. This means over 16,000 journeys are from non-residents of the local area.

Proposals include: to increase the number of pedestrianised days on Roman Road Market; to make Skew Bridge, which was closed to motor traffic earlier this year, permanently closed; to make changes at the St Stephens Road/Roman Road junction including continuous crossing, bus gates and more cycle stands, and to close Coborn Road under the railway bridge for peak hours or permanently. The junction of Fairfield Road/Tredegar Road at A12 approach will be kept open but transformed from a roundabout into a T-junction.

The council is currently accepting public consultations on these proposals.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: ‘We want to consult on these Liveable Streets proposals for Bow after several months of engagement with residents, businesses and schools. 

‘The plans will invest in our streets to make them safer, improve our air quality and make it easier to get around on foot or by bike. We recognise that within these proposals not everyone will agree with all the options.’

With public transport capacity limited due to the pandemic, more residents and workers are walking and cycling but some roads are too choked with traffic to allow safe social distancing.

The proposals include complementary measures including wider decluttered pavements, more street lighting, cycle parking, increased greenery and school streets where roads will be closed to motor vehicles at drop-off and pick-up times.

‘We want to hear what Bow residents think about our plans for the area as part of the multi-million-pound Liveable Streets programme. The proposals we are putting forward are designed to improve Bow for all residents, bringing quieter streets, safer and improved walking and cycling routes, and investment to improve the experience for visitors to Roman Road too,’ said Dan Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Realm.

‘This is a bold set of proposals for Bow, and we want to hear residents and local businesses’ views on every aspect. We’ll take onboard feedback to the consultation before deciding on final plans.’ 

Latest figures estimate that cycling has increased significantly during lockdown and public transport capacity has heavily reduced to allow for social distancing.

The Liveable Street schemes for Bow were first announced to the public in March 2019. In July 2019 road closures on Coborn Road and at the Fairfield Road junction were suspended , just hours into a scheduled eight-day trial period. Further consultations, including a series of workshops, were held in November 2019.

Visit the Liveable Street proposals for Bow to find more details on each of the seven schemes and to share your support and concerns. Ideas for School Streets are also being canvassed. Public consultation into the proposals opens Wednesday 1 July and runs until Wednesday 29 July.

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42 thoughts on “Consultation opens for Liveable Street’s ‘bold plans’ for Bow

  • Love the idea of pedestrianise roman rd, but not shutting too many other roads, as this could cause problems

  • These are good proposals.

    We know our borough suffers terrible air pollution, and we know that this is causing ill health in our kids.

    We know we need a rejuvenated Roman Road market area, where businesses have the space to spread their seating (and let customers safely queue) outside, as Covid is not going away anytime soon.

    We know we need safer arrangements outside Bow’s schools, so our youngest kids don’t risk being reversed-into as they leave classes.

    These plans stop rat-running traffic using our community as a short cut, while, importantly, preserving car access to every home.

    We only get these improvements if we respond positively to the consultation. Don’t put it off:

      • Will this not just cause more traffic around surrounding roads and areas, I.e Hackney

      • In the same way as before.

        For the 20% of disabled people who drive, they can continue to do so. Car access to each property is not being taken away. Parking will remain at the Roman Rd car park, and on side streets leading to the Market during the hours of pedestrianisation.

        The 80% of disabled people who don’t drive will be able to walk, scoot, wheel themselves or even cycle if they choose (some do!) on quieter streets, with more pedestrian crossings, wider pavements, more room for wheelchairs, less scurrying across the road trying to dodge traffic that has no business being in Bow. It will be much more pleasant for them.

    • These plans will just push the traffic to the main roads, causing even worse gridlock (just loook at the effect of the closure of Old Ford) ensuring a huge increase in pollution, delays in the bus routes which the elderly, disabled people with small children use (not everyone can trot around nor can everyone ride a bike.. Delays in the emergency services.
      Please look and read carefully the proposed plans very carefully and think of the wider impact it will have on the functioning of the area, the shops, the businesses, deliveries of goods which we all use etc etc I am not pro-car at all but we have to think of all the ramifications entailed

      • We know from previous schemes that displacement doesn’t happen as you describe.

        Taking the Walthamstow scheme, the perimeter roads did see small increases, soon after the changes happened.

        But across the whole area, perimeter roads AND filtered roads taken together, motor traffic FELL 16%.

        That was 10,000 car trips taken off the streets every day. That meant LESS pollution, not more.

        And it means those people who did want to walk or cycle but felt unable to before because of traffic levels were empowered to do so.

        You are right that people should think very carefully, because some of the things people are worried might happen have not been borne out in real-life examples.

  • I’d love to see Roman Road Market pedestrianised. The level of traffic currently is simply ridiculous.

    • Why do you need to waste money it’s closed for pedestrians on market day.
      The money could go to the police to cut down on crime.

      • It couldn’t – it’s from TfL specifically for this purpose. It can’t be spent on policing.

    • By closing the roads, you will cause more pollution by creating worse traffic in other areas. Another dumb idea. The local shops, need the traffic because they get increased custom. If you close roads, you’ll get a ghost town. No passing trade. Leave the roads alone.

      • A survey of people shopping on Roman Road by Roman Road Trust in 2018 found that:

        “218 visitors said they walked to Roman Road. 19 people used the car to travel to Roman Road and 17 visitors said they cycled.”

        That minority of people who want to drive will absolutely be able to continue to do so – the car park on the corner of Roman Road and St Stephen’s Rd is not closing, and analysis shows it can take up the slack during the hours of pedestrianisation.

        Side roads adjoining Roman Road Market are also not closing to traffic so will still be available for, for example, blue badge parking.

        Towns around the world with thriving, lively pedestrianised high streets would disagree with your view that through motor traffic brings increased custom.

  • These plans are no better or ‘bolder’ than the bus gate proposal in 2019.
    After waiting for more than a year we now have a set of papers that focus heavily on the Old Ford Road closure. This is the only road and area that will benefit from zero pollution, traffic and noise 24/7 – not even emergency vehicles will be allowed on this stretch of road!
    The rest of Bow, away from Victoria Park, gets some improvements including a redesign of the market section of Roman Road, but I can’t see any bold plans to encourage cycling or wider footpaths.
    Vehicles driving (east) into Roman Road will be faced with a bus gate at the junction with St Stephen’s Rd and will have to make u-turns and drive back up all the way out to Grove Road, especially delivery vans when servicing the shops. This section of Roman Road has also the potential to become the new rat run if the bus gate is timed, as there is plenty of traffic on evenings, day and especially weekends.
    Bizzarrelly, Coborn road and Tredegar Road could be open to all traffic on every weekend and or most of the day – but there are no similar proposals for Old Ford Road.
    The way I see it, the Council will keep Old Ford Road closed with the excuse of the pandemic as long as possible, so more and more cars will be pumping pollution along Grove Rd, Roman Rd, St Stephen’s Rd and Tredegar Rd, it knows that if the closure is reversed, it will be harder to bring it back at the same time of the new bus gate on the Roman. Nothing has been done to stop the rat run on this route and these proposals could see it continue even with a bus gate.

  • Is there any provision for transport for wheelchair users?

    • There never is unfortunately. I brought this up when i spoke to TH council regarding the Wapping bus gate. They weren’t interested in issues pertaining to the disabled or elderly community

  • They should be spending the money on those in need within the borough like homeless people or kids in poverty. Do we really want to be spending millions of pounds on this when people sleep in tents along the road?

    You do realise as soon as roman road is pedestrianised it will become a gentrified market like broadway market and force out locals….

    • The money is coming from a TfL grant specifically for measures like this to reduce motor traffic dominance and pollution, so isn’t available for other causes.

  • Complete bloody lunacy. You have a major dual carriageway running behind the Roman Road. You cannot simply shut the road down and expect that traffic to filter onto the A11(which has lost a lane to the cycling community and cannot cope as is-traffic jams at 2am) or Tredegar Road and St Stephens Road. If anything you will create a potential bottleneck on the A12 off-ramp. Leave the road as it is and let the traffic disipate. As for “bold plans”, i remember the total carnage your last raft of bold plans created, you were forced to remove your “bold plans” fron Tredegar Road within 48 hours after they created gridlock and pollution. Quite frankly your schemes create more problems than they solve, primarily because you use computer generated modelling and not real world events, you are completely unsympathetic to residebt and vehicle driver needs. Any fool can make a compiter generated model fit their own agenda. Drop the ruddy thing and leave us alone, let is live in peace and go about our business instead of having tondeal with your perpetual interference.

    Incidentally i remember the communique that i had from Tower Hamlets regarding one of these schemes. I was informed that you don’t have to abide by the findings of a consultation, so is this hoing to be more of the same……lip service?

  • Think its a bad idea to close roads in the area I am a regular visitor to the market but once these closures happen I will definitely avoid coming to the market

  • we all want less pollution & safer travel, but these proposals will only move the problem from old ford road/skew bridge to other roads IE: roman rd,grove rd and bow rd. what will tower hamlets do to help residents & business on these roads to make them safer & less polluted. just closing road and moving the problem is not the solution.

  • I was born in this area and this idea is a complete disaster..people need transport,not everyone is able to walk or cycle everywhere.
    This policy is discriminatory against the old and infirm and must be shelved

  • Why all the time you have to get busy, pedestrian the market, but you will cause extra traffic on all other areas if skew bridge remains closed, and if you think the whole of London wants to walk and cycle you need the sacking, absolutely ridiculous, using covid as an excuse

  • Simply ludicrous these disgusting road planning schemes are completely discriminatory to the disabled and infirm
    Shambolic in this day & age these councils need to be held to account for their disgusting discrimination & also the massive impact of the traffic displacement created by these schemes without any consultation or traffic modelling survey simply unacceptable
    Needs stopping immediately

  • I have lived in Bow for 26 years. I am a driver and a cyclist and a pedestrian. I strongly support all the Council’s Liveable Streets proposals for Bow. Let’s look at some facts. Only 34% of households in Tower Hamlets actually own a car; two thirds don’t. So a huge majority of those living in Bow have to use public transport, walk, or cycle and they are likely to be disproportionately elderly, or young, or less well off than the minority of car owners. Children in Tower Hamlets have up to 10% less lung capacity than the national average because of the terrible air pollution from traffic in the Borough. Please give a thought to these residents. Not surprisingly given the very low car ownership in Bow, 49% of the traffic clogging up our streets comes from outside the Borough. These drivers are not stopping here to shop, or support local business. It’s local people from Bow who support Roman Road. I’m backing the Liveable Streets proposals because I believe that they will make Bow better for the people who actually live here. If you agree, you can support the proposals here: https://talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lsbow

    • As a person with mobility issues, I’d like to point out that public transport is NOT an option for many people with disabilities.

      And forcing traffic onto other roads will not help pollution.

      This is a badly thought out scheme which will negativity impact thousands of residents.

      I live on a road that will be adversely affected by the increase in traffic
      I already struggle to leave my house,. These proposals will leave me even more isolated as family and friends will be less able to visit, my own movements will be severely restricted.

      I’m not sure who you think will benefit, but it wont be the families that are born and bred in the area

      • Sorry to hear that this scheme is causing you concern, but:

        – Nowhere in the plan does it say that people will be forced to take public transport. But public transport IS an option for many people with disabilities, with all buses wheelchair accessible and step-free. Of course not every person with a disability can use it, but for many it is perfectly workable. My friend with severe cerebral palsy zips around happily by a combination of bus and powered wheelchair.

        – 80% of disabled people don’t drive. The “social model of disability” tells us that it’s not people themselves that are disabled – it’s the environment around them that actively “disables them”. Wider pavements will help them, making it easy to get a powered wheelchair or scooter down them. Continuous pavements across side roads will help them. A reduction of half in traffic in Bow will help older people cross the road. So will new pedestrian crossings such as on Tredegar and Fairfield. Those with long term respiratory problems will benefit from the cleaner air. Those who can just about walk to the shops will benefit from extra benches to take a breather.

        – Your family and friends will be just as able to visit by car as before. Car access remains for every house that had it before. They may have to take a different route, but they’ll be contending with less traffic when they do so, as previous schemes such as Walthamstow’s demonstrate (10,000 car trips off the road each day).

        – Children born and bred in the area will definitely benefit. We know the current level of pollution is actually reducing their lung capacity, which is awful. We have the tools to fix this.

  • Absolutely crazy idea, this has just pushed traffic into other local roads, the last trial caused havoc in Fairfield Road and Parnell road, spend the money on local services, such as investment in our schools, tackling ASB, and our elderly residents .

    • The grant from TfL is for schemes such as this, so can’t be used for schools or elderly residents.

      However the “school streets” part of the scheme will reduce car danger to kids arriving at and leaving Bow’s schools.

      And the better pavements and crossings, improved air quality, plus continued car access to every home for those who drive, will help elderly residents.

    • Absolute nonsense Matt. A bus generally will only take 1 wheelchair on board at a time. The one thing that you have correct is that not every disabled person will be able to use buses….so therefore you are advocating selectivity depending on the nature of the disability.

      You claim that 80% of disabled people don’t drive. The “social model of disability” tells us that it’s not people themselves that are disabled – it’s the environment around them that actively “disables them”. Is that figure UK-wide, London-wide, Tower Hamlets-wide or just in-general the Roman Road area. We can all manipulate figures to support our narrative…..statistics and modelling are rarely accurate.

      You state that family and friends will be just as able to visit by car as before. Car access remains for every house that had it before. They may have to take a different route, but they’ll be contending with less traffic when they do so, as previous schemes such as Walthamstow’s demonstrate (10,000 car trips off the road each day. Displacement dictates otherwise, you have 2 major A roads less than half a mile from the area and a major on/off ramp which in turn leads to a major thoroughfare through to Central London. You will be looking at gridlock and an increase in pollution along those gridlocked roads…..i refer you back to July 2019’s debacle in the area, which was abandoned within 48 hours.

      Comparing Walthamstow to Bow is utterly ridiculous Matt. The road layout and structure is entirely different and does not have the same complications that are attributed to Bow and you know it.

      Quite frankly you are being completely disingenuous and fanciful in relation to Jill Grainger’s concerns.

      Finally using kids as some form of validation to your point is reprehensible . Sadly many peple have major breathing issues, displacing traffic which WILL create more traffic and pollution is nothing more than a “not in my back yard” ethos….are those with breathing difficulties on the edge of the proposed closures somehow less important.

      If you REALLY want to tackle pollution and congestion then ban all private vehicles from London with the exception of public transport vehicles, work vehicles and those which vehicles which service the disabled and elderly community both public and private …… then you may start to get somewhere

  • How will shops in the Roman market area receive reliable deliveries? How will the council ensure that traffic will be reduced and not simply re-routed? Has the cost of this been equated against result to ensure cost-effectiveness, after all, this is not the council’s money, it is ratepayer’s money?

    The council estimate that transport using roads in the area but not serving the area will be deterred by these new measures and move out; but past experiences in all places where these tactics have been used prove the council wrong; traffic will merely re-route itself. For instance, and entirely relevant to the area and the new plan, traffic along Old Ford Road using the Skew Bridge increased when the council closed access to Old Ford Road from Chisenhale/Driffield roads many years ago. The council’s own action created the problem the council is now trying to resolve.

    Mayor John Biggs said he wants feedback from residents. Well, with mine and other RoRd comments he has got them. Alas, he did not say if he would take any notice and abide by them.

  • Will blue badge holders be allowed to drive down this pedestrianised Roman Road? Disabled people need door to door access for groceries, banking, chemists etc and by blocking off access until 4.30pm it is discrimination.
    By closing roads in other parts that also just pushes around the problem and causes build up elsewhere,it doesn’t get rid of the volume of cars.


  • This is a terrible idea and now it is time to protest.

    The worst thing we can do is to do nothing while the changes are being aggressively pushed through overnight (bus gate in 2019), under false pretences (closure of Old Ford Road for “social distancing”) and ignoring the needs of disabled residents, local businesses, public transport commuters and cyclists.

    The manipulative way of running the consultation and the shameful lobbying campaign by a few wealthy homeowners and councillors leave no other option than to organise a more direct protest for the residents’ voice to be heard.

    The completely inadequately placed bus gate was quickly removed last year and we should not accept now it is a done deal just because liveable streets returned with more PR machinery.

    Closure of Old Ford Road clearly led to:

    * more traffic congestion and more pollution
    * delays in bus journeys affecting 4 different routes
    * disruption to flow of cycling along Grove Road due to stationary traffic
    * permanent traffic jam by Victoria Park

    To offer a balanced view – yes, a few large houses along Old Ford Road have now less noise and pollution and can enjoy in peace their grand gardens and views over the park.

    This scheme is a brutal attack on working people who need to use public transport or cycle to work as they cannot work from home or their gardens. This scheme ignores the needs of businesses in Roman Road and they made it very clear last year after the bus gate disaster. There is nothing in it for the elderly or mobility impaired.

    If you have a massive garden and a beautiful street where you enjoy your rose while working from home no doubt you want to displace the traffic away towards council estates. Please do not use the local children’s lungs health though to justify it!

  • Not in my Name, just because those that are purchasing houses now in car free schemes have to cycle do not take away my right to drive because you cannot. Jealousy is such a bad look, especially when it comes from the Monied private house owner aimed at the social housing tenants working on minimum wage.

  • Peters comment ”a few large houses along Old Ford Road have now less noise and pollution and can enjoy in peace their grand gardens and views over the park” is true.
    One of the large houses on Chisinhale road that backs up onto the canal and near the skew bridge is owned by a councillor.
    It can be established by looking at the register of interest on the Councils website.
    The privileged looking after themselves.

  • I’ve have lived in Bow (on Roman Road all my life) This scheme is absolutely ridiculous, as stated in the above comments the only place that is benefiting from this is the large houses on old ford road. NO TO BUS GATE, NO TO ROAD CLOSURES!

  • I live in a side street on Tredegar Road (St Stephens Road end) I have been told that if I want to drive between the closure times I will have to drive east down Tredegar Road then either down Fairfield Road or the A12 then round Bow roundabout and west onto Bow Road. Coming back if before 7 o’clock I would be coming back up Fairfield Road. So that’s pushing traffic onto other streets!!

    Also being a side street close to Roman Road Market we know only too well that people drive to the market.

    Tower Hamlets do not care about their elderly or disabed residents who have lived all their life in Bow unless of course they live in the posh houses.

  • If anymore roads are blocked off in Bow/Poplar/Stepney it will be one BIG circle of traffic jams. no one will be going anywhere- even the buses will be stuck in traffic. You see it when one car brakes down on mile end rd.
    This is a VERY BAD IDEA.

  • The impact on the elderly and disabled from these proposals is obscene. Not everyone is able to walk far or cycle. People need access to the GP surgery in Roman Rd on non market days by car or cab for instance and proposals will force them to generally pay higher fares due to diversions. Also an impact on emergency services not being able to use Old Ford road. We have a beautiful green space called Vicky Park already what benefit does closing off Old Ford Road and adding bike lanes? Cyclists can be lethal at high speed (look what happened on Bow Rd just recently) and many often ignore the lanes and still use the pavements. Bus gates have been proved unworkable and yet they still propose it. The general road closures appear to be cutting local residents’ access off from their own borough and only benefiting the Georgian homes. The consultation of proposals under cover of Covid when many disabled and elderly people were shielding at home and so could not go out and post their opinions and views is in bad taste. And as mentioned the council can push through whatever they like under their comments that all the changes are largely dependent on each other. That being the case why didn’t they just bundle everything up into one Yes or No question? It’s to allow them to get round the objections from local people. Just because TfL are throwing money at it doesn’t mean we need to take it. TfL would do better to use their money to prop up local transport services.

  • Everyone seems to be missing the point that all residents (disabled or not) will still be able to access their properties by car, and be able to continue driving. Having read the proposal, it’s clear that they are simply trying to prevent rat runs. Great majority of vehicles using Old Ford Road/skew bridge never stop in Bow, nor they contribute to the local economy. Results of surveys clearly show significant drop in traffic across the borough, so it seems to be working.


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