What do you think of plans to ban traffic from Roman Road? Tower Hamlets council is asking

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Plans to ban traffic altogether from the famous Roman Road Market and completely pedestrianize the street have gone to public consultations.

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

They aim to reduce some of the 33,000 daily vehicle journeys through the Bow neighbourghood that Tower Hamlets Council says includes through traffic.

The market is already closed to traffic during trading hours, but the council proposes closing it from 10am to 4.30pm, seven days a week.

Mayor John Biggs said: “We want to consult on these Liveable Streets proposals for Bow after several months of engagement with residents, businesses and schools.

“The plans will invest in our streets to make them safer, improve our air quality and make it easier to get around on foot or by bike. We recognise that within these proposals not everyone will agree with all the options. The plans to calm traffic include pedestrianising the Roman Road market area to give safe space to travel on foot or by bike with improved walking routes linking residents to local shops and facilities.”

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke


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Public transport capacity has been limited because of the pandemic, the council points out.

More people are now walking and cycling, but some roads are “choked with traffic” for safe social distancing.

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The proposals for Roman Road include wider pavements, better street lighting and “school streets” where roads in the area are closed to vehicles at drop-off and pick-up times.

Cllr Dan Tomlinson, cabinet member for the environment, promised: “We’ll take on board feedback to the consultation before deciding on final plans.”

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

But it affects a wider area than just the market thoroughfare. It appears to include a ban in Old Ford Road nearby with the council scheme listing closure of the Skew Bridge over the Hertford Cut by Victoria Park. This would effectively stop through traffic on the B118 between Bow and Bethnal Green, aimed at social distancing on the 200-year-old “skew-shape” bridge with its narrow pavements.

The closure would be permanent with similar changes in St Stephen’s Road close by, aimed at getting rid of through traffic.

But the last time this was attempted in Bow in a weekend trial run last summer ended in chaos with gridlock surrounding Fairfield Road and Tredegar Road that had to be scrapped after just a day.

Roman Road already enjoys traffic-free events in the summer and during market times.

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke

Roman Road Market already closes to traffic during trading times. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Work is already under way, meanwhile, on plans to close some junctions in Bethnal Green’s Columbia Road neighbourhood, while the council is also determined to press ahead with similar schemes in the Isle of Dogs and Wapping.

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