Why the mayor thinks a green light will stop traffic on ‘rat runs’ through Bethnal Green

Mayor John Biggs stands in the middle of Columbia Road surrounded by kids on bikes in what he hopes

Mayor John Biggs stands in the middle of Columbia Road surrounded by kids on bikes in what he hopes could one day be a traffic-free neighbourhood. Picture: Kois Miah - Credit: Kois Miah

Many roads are to be blocked if Tower Hamlets Council gets the green light to stop cars entering a whole swathe of Bethnal Green.

Mayor John Biggs stands in the middle of Columbia Road surrounded by kids on bikes in what he hopes

Mayor John Biggs stands in the middle of Columbia Road surrounded by kids on bikes in what he hopes could one day be a traffic-free neighbourhood. Picture: Kois Miah - Credit: Kois Miah

The plan aims to prevent drivers using residential roads as "rat runs" which are being put to a public consultation, as part of the authority's "Liveable Streets" project in 17 areas across the East End.

"We estimate 12,000 vehicles pass through Bethnal Green every day from other parts of London," mayor John Biggs said. "But children suffer from toxic emissions because of air pollution."

Tower Hamlets has the fifth worst levels of air pollution in London, the town hall argues.

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


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The plans include CCTV cameras and new street lighting to help discourage crime and anti-social behaviour.

Public consultations include Saturday drop-in sessions at the council's Professional Development centre in Bethnal Green Road on November 9 from 10am to 12noon and Thursday, November 14, 5pm-7pm.

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