The implementation of the ‘majority’ of London’s Streetspace Programme is not part of Transport for London’s (TfL) remit says the Mayor of London.
According to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, most of the projects within the Streetscape programme are being “devised, designed and delivered” by London’s 33 boroughs as independent authorities.
There was also confirmation that there is no single overarching Equality Impact Assessment for the London-wide programme. Instead each authority is tasked to assess the needs of wheelchair users for each individual scheme within the programme.
The Streetspace programme has come under growing scrutiny, with the taxi industry recently being granted permission to Judicially Review the restrictions.
This summer two taxi groups joined together to submit legal papers to the High Court, challenging not only the new Bishopsgate Bus Gate scheme that excludes wheelchair accessible licensed black cabs during peak times, but also a review of the entire London Streetspace plans.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and United Trade Action Group (UTAG) took the decision to challenge both the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) over its new Streetspace plans as more key roads are closed to motorists and licensed taxis.
It was announced recently that the Euston Road cycle lane, a key part of TfL’s Streetspace programme, will be removed after recent claims of rising congestion in the area. The news of the scrapped cycle lane came during a London Assembly Transport Committee meeting with the new TfL Commissioner Andy Byford.
As part of September’s Mayoral question time sessions, London Assembly Member David Kurten asked the capital’s Mayor: “Did you do an equality impact assessment for wheelchair users, before implementing your Streetspace programme on Park Lane, Euston Road and other places where they no longer have access to taxis at all points?”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, responded to the question saying: “The temporary changes implemented as part of the London Streetspace Programme (LSP) are designed to support London’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by facilitating social distancing in the interests of public safety.
“Encouraging and enabling people to walk and cycle more safely also frees up space on public transport and the roads for those who need it most, including those with protected characteristics such as wheelchair users.
“The majority of the projects within the LSP programme have been / are being devised, designed and delivered by the 33 London boroughs, as independent authorities. TfL set out interim guidance for boroughs which makes reference to national guidance from Department for Transport (DfT) and the borough’s Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act (2010), including specifically, the need for them to carry out Equality Impact Assessments (EqIAs).
“While there is no single overarching EqIA for the LSP Programme, EqIAs are being / have been undertaken for each individual scheme within the programme.
“For projects developed and delivered by TfL, care has been taken throughout the process to ensure that due regard is given to all road users, including those with protected characteristics. Clear design guidance for Social Distancing and Cycling schemes was also developed and consideration of impacts and mitigations for all schemes have been supported by EqIAs undertaken at the individual scheme level.
“Over the coming months, TfL has committed to extensive monitoring and engagement on projects within the LSP programme, including engaging with stakeholders who represent older and disabled Londoners. Where schemes have disproportionately impacted on accessibility TfL will seek mitigations wherever possible.”