The Walworth Road is a busy retail high street that forms part of the A215 arterial corridor to London. Despite 750 metres of railings penning pedestrians on to narrow pavements, there were 250 traffic accidents in three years.
With 180 buses an hour, bus lanes on both sides of the street took up a substantial proportion of the road space. In addition to the 20,000 vehicles that use the road daily, Walworth Road is a strategic route for the ambulance and blood transfusion services.
People also said that the road divided the shopping centre and communities on each side of the street and they didn’t feel safe after dark.
After extensive traffic modelling, Project Centre persuaded Transport for London that the bus lanes could be replaced by bus gates that prioritised buses through the town centre.
Removing the bus lanes meant that pavement widths could be doubled for the 20,000 pedestrians that use the high street daily and gave a civic focus to the town centre. New energy efficient lighting focuses on the pavements as well as the carriageway and planting 40 street trees has halved the carbon footprint of the carriageway lighting.
The new streetscape has proved a major success. Accidents have dropped dramatically and there have been no delays to buses or ambulances. The new loading bays are popular with local businesses as parking tickets issued has been cut by two thirds.
Project Centre’s design won three major awards in 2009, winning the road safety award at the National Transport Awards, the walking and public realm award at the London Transport Awards and the Living Streets award at the British Parking Awards.