Liveable Streets Bow: Here’s our research

Liveable Streets Bow is now in its final phase of consultation before plans will be decided and implemented. Local people are invited to submit their views on the proposals either online or via post by 11:59pm on 29th July 2020.

Liveable Streets Bow is the £5million project being delivered by Tower Hamlets Council and TfL to reduce traffic and improve air pollution in London’s neighbourhoods. The project is being managed for Tower Hamlets Council by Project Centre.

Liveable Streets Bow first began in March 2019 when local people were invited to highlight problem areas on an interactive map of Bow. This was followed by workshops in November 2019 for local residents to meet and put forward concerns to Project Centre.

In July 2019 Project Centre ran a trial of one set of road changes. Consultation and communication with local residents in advance of this trial was not consistent, and many local residents were unaware the trial was taking place until it started. The effects of the trial were also not well received by local residents, and the trial was cancelled after one day.

The Liveable Streets Team have taken into account past feedback to produce 7 main schemes for Bow. This time Project Centre are hoping to reach more residents with their consultation, and giving us as a community much longer to feed in our thoughts and ideas. This means it is really important for us to consider them carefully and give our feedback.

Roman Road Trust recently met with Chris Harrison, Project Director of Liveable Streets Bow who told us: “We want to hear from everyone who lives, works in, and loves the Bow area and urge them to participate in the consultation. We can’t make these improvements without you and want to hear all of your ideas on the proposals. Getting this far has been a rigorous effort and we’ve spoken to so many people in the area. I’m now encouraging everyone to have their say before the consultation closes on the 29th of July.”

The 7 main schemes for Bow are:

  • Scheme 1: Roman Road Junction
    Includes; bus gate to only allow buses and cyclists, halving the capacity of the car park to become a public space, raised continuous pavements, more dropped kerbs, halving the amount of loading bays and converting the rest into residential parking and parklets.
  • Scheme 2: Roman Road East
    Includes; making Roman Road Market pedestrianised from 10am to 4.30pm, seven days a week , loading bays for businesses remains the same outside pedestrian hours, minimal impact on residential parking (permit holders can park on street outside pedestrian hours), widening pavements, planting trees, creating more public space.
  • Scheme 3: Old Ford Road
    Includes; closing Skew Bridge permanently and providing additional residential bays, converting the roundabout at junction of St Stephens Road/Old Ford Road to a T-Junction, new cycle parking outside shops east of the junction, new cycle route between Parnell Road and bridge over A12.
  • Scheme 4: Antill and Coborn Roads
    Includes; closure at junction between Selwyn and Antill Road, timed closure under rail bridge on Coborn Road, re-introduce right turn from Coborn Road onto Bow Road (possibility to re-introduce right turn from Bow Road onto Coborn Road), create passing spaces on Coborn Road.
  • Scheme 5: Bow Walking Routes
    Includes; implementing dropped kerbs, safe crossing points and wider pavements, creating a walking route to connect public transport between south and north of Roman Road, decluttering pavements, public art at Tom Thumb’s Arch.
  • Scheme 6: Fairfield Road
    Includes; changing roundabout at Fairfield and Tredegar Road into a T-Junction, zebra crossing on Tredegar Road and pedestrian island on Fairfield Road, cycle hangars (storage).
  • Scheme 7: School Streets
    Closing roads outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times (residents on such roads will be exempt.)

Roman Road Trust has conducted a vast amount of research on the shopping and transport habits of people in Roman Road. Whilst we encourage all residents to independently view the Liveable Streets proposals for Bow, we want to encourage everyone to carefully consider our extensive research to allow you to make the most informed choice.

In 2018 we conducted a Shopping & Transport Survey with both businesses and shoppers in Roman Road. The results were then examined and presented in a report by QMUL students. The biggest findings are outlined below:

“The survey results showed that 69.3% of businesses thought it would be beneficial if easier and cheaper car parking was implemented in Roman Road to attract more people.

However, out of the 288 shoppers surveyed, 228 people walked, 19 took the car, 18 took the bus, 17 cycled, and 6 people took the Tube/DLR to Roman Road.

30 people out of those that walked to Roman Road spent over £50 with 7 of them spending over £100. There are 8 people in the survey that spent over £100 on Roman Road, 7 of which walked with the last person using the bus. The highest weekly spend recorded in the survey by car users was £30-49.99.”

Comparing the economic spend of car users to that of walkers, we see that the visitors that walk to Roman Road spend more weekly. Whereas, the car users have a weekly expenditure that is similar to cyclists. The car users predominantly live locally with postcodes in the E1, E2 and E3 area.

All in all, a conclusion can be drawn that customers using their cars to travel to Roman Road does not result in a higher economic expenditure. As we can see from the data, that majority of people with high expenditure walk to Roman Road...This suggests that it may be a good idea to implement a transport infrastructure that is most beneficial for pedestrians and cyclists.

…When asked about visitor experience, very few businesses rate the street scene as excellent or as very good…[an improved street scene] would vastly benefit Roman Road by turning it into a destination people would be travelling to, to visit, helping the businesses along the road to thrive.”

Read the full QMUL report

View Shopping & Transport survey business results
View Shopping & Transport survey visitor results

In 2019, Roman Road Trust created the Roman Road Common Vision which was based upon the views and desires of local people. The vision included ideas for a greener more environmentally friendly neighbourhood such as reducing traffic and increasing cycling infrastructure. 76% of people surveyed said they agreed with the Roman Road Common Vision.

The Liveable Streets plans will encourage pedestrians and reduce cars in our neighbourhood. Whilst at first glance this might seem detrimental to businesses, our research suggests that the increased pedestrianisation in Bow is likely to increase both footfall and spending in businesses in Roman Road. It will also make our neighbourhood a little bit more pleasant to live in.

Click the button below to read more about each of the 7 schemes and submit your views by 11:59pm on 29th July 2020:

Go to Liveable Streets website

6 Responses

  1. Mr Music

    Haha. It’s like reading something from Pravda ( 80is USSR )
    76% of people surveyed said they agreed with Roman Road Common Vision.
    One thing is to agree with vision to improve and make community green , but to close street and kill
    local business in the area , is not my vision.
    Biggest Problem with Bow street closures is 300 business on the other side of A12, who belong to
    Bow and pay business rates to Tower Hamlets. We will not be able to operate from all the traffic which will be spilling from A12 due to all the closers.
    Business rates are paying for most of of the plans proposed.
    No to Street Closures from Business in Bow 100%!!!!

  2. Debbie

    What nonsense, Tower Hamlets killed Roman Road market in the 90s when they introduced parking restrictions. The market was thriving before that. Now this scheme will make it worse. I for one will take my business elsewhere.

  3. Marco

    Thank you for this well thought through piece. I have been consistently impressed by the efforts that Roman Road Trust goes to to engage local residents and build community bonds between us all. The Suffragette garden, the Common Room events and community gardening activites. You guys are special. I hope residents and local business see this consultation as an opportunity to keep building that strong community. Some will undoubtedly grumble about the proposals. But what cannot be questioned is the love that the Roman Road Trust, and those that dedicate so much of their time to it, have for this area. We all need to recognise that.

    • Dave

      Interesting article. This is how you understand local opinion and the impact of these changes on businesses and residents. Not by listening to whoever shouts loudest, spuriously claiming to represent local people

  4. Sharon Langston

    I have a shop in Roman Road market and a stall for about 38years.The vision of a minority is not going to keep my businesses alive.Probably 😯 o/o of my customers for my shop(specialised)travel from outside the area,most by car.you should conduct a new survey as 2018 is very outdated and detrimental to mine and many other businesses.Don’t dictate,comunicate

  5. Kathryn

    I was hoping for a little more robust evidence than some under graduates speaking to 288 people.
    It would be helpful to know what days of the week were these people spoken to? Also do you know how many people shop on the Roman Road each week? Is 288 definitely a statically representative and significant number to draw conclusions from?
    Research and evidence is so important and can really help support huge proposals like this, but at present there isn’t a lot of it on the table which makes the whole thing appear very poorly thought through and not an evidence based proposal.

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