A vehicle management scheme which has ‘decreased the amount of vehicles in an area of West London by 60 per cent’ by adjusting the direction of traffic on a number of streets and closing some roads at certain times will be made permanent. This comes after a public consultation found that ‘two thirds’ of residents approved of the changes.

The Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) was introduced by Westminster City and Camden borough councils in December 2021 and has since, a spokesperson for the authorities says, helped to “reduce traffic through the area and create a safer and more pleasant public space”. They add that “essential access for residents, businesses, deliveries and servicing will still be available”.

The two authorities say results from surveys conducted during this period found that cycling in the district has increased by 15-30 per cent (depending on time of day), the scheme has resulted in a 40-60 per cent reduction in traffic levels across the district (depending on time of day) when measured against traffic levels in 2019 and a 10-25 per cent reduction in traffic levels across the district (depending on time of day) when compared to November 2021.

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In addition, 76 per cent of respondents thought the scheme made walking easier and safer, 75 per cent of respondents thought air quality would be improved by the scheme and 75 per cent of respondents thought it will be more pleasant to spend time in the district.

The changes to local roads and access include:

  • Motor vehicles are prohibited from Burleigh Street (north of Exeter Street) and Tavistock Street (south of Wellington Street), except for access purposes.

  • Closure of Covent Garden Piazza to all vehicles, except for deliveries and servicing from 5am – 11am on Mondays and 7am – 11am Tuesday to Sunday.

  • Closure of Dryden Street, Floral Street (south of James Street), Henrietta Street, King Street, Maiden Lane, Rose Street and Southampton Street (north of Tavistock Street) to motor vehicles, except for deliveries and servicing from 7am – 11am.

  • Drury Lane is one-way southbound between Parker Street and Long Acre.

  • Endell Street is one-way southbound between Betterton Street and Shelton Street, and one-way northbound between Long Acre and Shelton Street.

  • Mercer Street is one-way southbound between Shaftesbury Avenue and Seven Dials, and one-way southbound between Shelton Street and Long Acre.

  • Monmouth Street is one-way northbound between Tower Street and Seven Dials.

  • Newton Street is one-way southbound between Parker Street and Great Queen Street.

  • Short’s Gardens is one-way northbound between Seven Dials and Endell Street.

  • Tavistock Street is two-way between Wellington Street and Southampton Street.

  • Cycles are exempt from the banned turns and one-way workings described above as well as in all lengths of Earlham Street, Mercer Street, Monmouth Street and Short’s Gardens.

  • No right turn from Shaftesbury Avenue into Mercer Street and no left turn from Shaftesbury Avenue into Monmouth Street

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, cabinet member for city management and air quality said: "Covent Garden has huge footfall numbers every day and we want people to enjoy everything the area has to offer. We are proud to be working with Camden on this scheme which will help reduce traffic, improve air quality, promote cycling and walking, enhance the experience of the public realm and improve safety in the area. We are very pleased the majority of residents were in favour of making the scheme permanent so we can create a more pleasant environment and a fairer Westminster that everyone can enjoy.”

Councillor Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a sustainable Camden at the London Borough of Camden said: "I am delighted that Camden and Westminster are making the trial changes permanent, highlighting the benefits of partnership working for all. In Seven Dials, and across the iconic Covent Garden, our goal is to reduce the number of motor vehicles that use the area as a ‘rat run’. This will in turn make Covent Garden safer and more welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists, whilst also improving the local environment for residents, businesses and visitors. This scheme is an important part of this approach.”

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2023-03-23T15:16:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd