30-year transport strategy unveiled to tackle East End's overcrowded buses and trains

PUBLISHED: 10:28 27 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:28 27 December 2019

Mike Brooke

Schoolgirl protest in 2015 as Poplar housing tenants call for traffic speed reductions on the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach. Picture: Rehan Jamil

Schoolgirl protest in 2015 as Poplar housing tenants call for traffic speed reductions on the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach. Picture: Rehan Jamil

(C) Rehan Jamil

Public transport won't be able to cope with the East End's population expansion in the next 30 years, Tower Hamlets Council is warning.

Congestion... how Canary Wharf might deal with traffic volumes at this Congestion... how Canary Wharf might deal with traffic volumes at this "traffic light junction". Picture: CWG

A new transport strategy has now been thrashed out in a bid to meet travel and commuter needs for the next three decades. Reducing overcrowding on public transport is at the core of the strategy in proposals put forward by the town hall in planning the needs up to the year 2050, revealed this week.

The 30-year strategy was formally adopted by the council's cabinet last week, aimed at reducing private car use by improving access to buses and trains to meet the demands of a population expansion that is turning Tower Hamlets into the fastest-growing municipality in the UK. Critics on the Isle of Dogs, however, say public transport expansion isn't keeping pace with the rocketing population growth in what is the most crowed area in the country for numbers of people per square mile, which the council's cabinet acknowledges.

Mayor John Biggs... planning transport for the next 30 years with more public transport and more riding bikes. Picture: Mike BrookeMayor John Biggs... planning transport for the next 30 years with more public transport and more riding bikes.

Picture: Mike Brooke

"Our existing road and public transport capacity won't keep pace with the growth of population," the environment cabinet member David Edgar warns. "So this strategy sets out alternatives to car use to keep the East End moving and to make sure our public transport system is accessible and fit for the future." The strategy being adopted follows public consultations with 2,800 residents and businesses responding, which seeks to meet the Mayor of London's target for 90 per cent of journeys by public transport, bike or even on foot.

The council is also rolling out its "Liveable Streets" programme in 17 neighbourhoods in the New Year where through-traffic is to be barred.

How mayor John Biggs sees future on two wheels... launching his 'Liveable Streets' programme at Columbia Road in Bethnal Green, summer of 2019. Picture: Kois MiahHow mayor John Biggs sees future on two wheels... launching his 'Liveable Streets' programme at Columbia Road in Bethnal Green, summer of 2019. Picture: Kois Miah

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs urged his cabinet: "We must plan for the future by enabling people to travel more efficiently and sustainably.

"Our strategy will improve air quality and enhance the quality of life of those living and working here."

The strategy includes 50 new "school streets" being phased in across the East End by restricting cars in the immediate vicinity.

A cycling plan is also being published in 2020 with proposals for more separated routes as well as incentives for businesses to scrap "polluting vehicles" and invest in sustainable transport for deliveries and services.

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