London’s Tottenham Court Road will be out of bounds for use by cars, lorries and taxis in peak times from March – and motorists who breach the ban face heavy fines.
The one-way street will be converted to two-way use in March. Between 8am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, only buses and bikes will be allowed to use it.
Camden council is investing £35 million to transform the street as part of plans to improve air quality and road safety.
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Motorists who use Tottenham Court Road when restrictions are in place face a £130 fine.
Cabbies have already slammed the new scheme. Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licenced Taxi Drivers’ Association, called it an “ill thought out scheme.
“The major arteries of London are just that,” he told the Evening Standard. “They are the main method of London’s lifeblood moving around.
Camden council’s Adam Harrison countered by saying “not having taxis in the daytime will lead to 25 percent less traffic, with all the benefits for air quality and congestion that go along with it”.
The taxi industry insists that congestion and pollution will instead worsen on surrounding roads.
Other changes on Tottenham Court Road, a key road in London’s West End, include wider pavements and bigger pedestrian crossings.
The six bus routes that use Tottenham Court Road will also benefit from improved timetabling, allowing up to 114 buses an hour to use the street during peak times.