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Traffic calming in Bethnal Green aimed at improving air quality and road safety

Residents in Bethnal Green are being asked for their views on Tower Hamlets Council’s plans to relieve gridlock on local streets.

The proposals have been informed by a survey of more than 650 residents. They aim to prevent cars using residential roads as rat-runs and improve air quality and road safety as well as tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

Traffic diversions will be accompanied by improvements to pavements and green spaces as part of the multi-million Liveable Streets project which will be rolled out in 17 areas across the borough.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We estimate that 12,000 vehicles pass through Bethnal Green every day from other boroughs.

“Children suffer reduced lung capacity as a result of the toxic emissions and an estimated 9,500 Londoners die every year because of air pollution. We want to encourage more residents to walk and cycle and reducing congestion will be key to making our neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and greener.”

As an inner London borough, Tower Hamlets suffers the fifth worst levels of air pollution in the capital. Research has also found that harmful fumes can be much higher inside vehicles than outside.

Proposed road changes include traffic calming in Arnold Circus, Columbia Road, Warner Place, Old Bethnal Green Road and Sale Street.

Community safety is also addressed as part of the plans with new CCTV cameras and street lighting to help detect and discourage crime and anti-social behaviour.

New cycle parking and green spaces would also be introduced as part of a strategy to improve cycling, biodiversity and drainage.

Residents and businesses can see the proposals and have their say at two drop-in events to be held at the council’s Professional Development Centre in Bethnal Green Road on Saturday 9 November (10am to 12noon) and Thursday 14 November (5pm to 7pm).

The Liveable Streets team is working with residents and businesses in Barkantine, Bow, Brick Lane and Wapping to design similar improvement schemes set to be unveiled in the coming months.