Vehicle restrictions were introduced in The Cut and Greet Street, in Waterloo, during the Covid-19 pandemic to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle. This has led to cycling rates almost doubling as well as the introduction of five new parklets for people to rest or socialise on the street.
The council is planning to make the changes permanent, which sits on an important Healthy Route for NHS staff between Guys and St Thomas’s hospitals.
Deputy leader Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “The Cut has been transformed from a space for vehicles to a place for people to stop and enjoy themselves.
“The traffic filter created more space for people, for green planting, for trees, and it has created more space for businesses as they recover from the pandemic.
“Radically re-imagining and decarbonising our public spaces is an important step to achieve our Net Zero Waterloo objective by 2030.”
To manage road traffic and support healthcare staff to travel safely to work during the Covid-19 pandemic, a series of traffic orders were temporarily brought in to restrict vehicles from entering the central part of The Cut and Greet Street.
The space has since been transformed creating a new east-west route for cycling and walking away from busy A-roads, connecting Cycleway 5 on Baylis Road, C10 on Cornwall Road, C6 on Blackfriars Road and C14 on Union Street.
During the trial period the council monitored traffic volumes as well as rates of cycling – it found a 90 percent reduction in vehicle traffic.
Drawing on this monitoring work, the council proposes to introduce further measures including a new permanent Traffic Order in Ufford Street to restrict vehicles, with some exemptions, and other improvements such as planting in underused parking bays.
A permanent Traffic Order would also be introduced to Webber Street (one-way) along with parking bay changes.
The council has also acted on feedback to allow a broader exemption for delivery vehicles to use loading bays on The Cut and exit through the traffic filter.
Earlier this year the council opened applications to design a community parklet for their area – with 25 planned across the borough.
The Community Parklet Programme was funded by the council’s £1.7million Big Shift Community Fund to support people to take up sustainable travel.
It is also supported through the council’s award-winning Kerbside Strategy that aims to reclaim a quarter of Lambeth’s kerbside from car parking, so it can be used as space for parklets or cycling hangars.
Cllr Chowdhury added: “Removing through traffic from The Cut is only one step is making sure that Waterloo achieves Net Zero by 2030. Our ambitious strategy calls for more work to be done, and we look forward to co-design with our partners, residents and businesses on further enhancements.”
You can read more about the proposals online.