The heart of London’s “Tech City” could be transformed to reflect a growing desire to make the capital more pedestrian friendly. Plans have been revealed to turn the Old Street roundabout into a pedestrian square with improved access for cyclists and those using public transport.
The “Silicon roundabout” tag has followed the development of the creative and digital hub around Old Street. Digital startups and tech ventures have put the district firmly on the map and helped it succeed. Yet the roundabout itself that gave the area its monika is it fact often cited as a dangerous destination for pedestrians and cyclists.
The designs include a new “peninsula” to make the junction safer. The north western side of the roundabout would be paved over to create a new public space. Old Street station would have a new entrance built. There would be better cycle lanes and traffic signals ensuring cyclists are safer on the road. There would be also be five new pedestrian crossings with new tree lined walkways.
The plans are part of a £4 billion road modernisation to overhaul what is often described as one of the most dangerous junctions in the capital for those on foot and on bikes. It’s a busy junction with many blind spots. Modernising and altering the Old Street Station will help encourage more visitors and make it a more “people friendly” area.
The investment in infrastructure is only going to do good for the companies nearby. Many motoring groups will complain saying it’ll make it harder for those driving cars to access the area but it’s vital that the capital’s transport infrastructure is safe and accessible for a variety of sustainable modes of transport. Tech company staff are often younger, more likely to travel by public transport and will be more likely to move their companies to the area of investment is being made to make it safer. A greater focus on pedestrianisation means it is much easier to create a hub of activity, to foster collaboration between companies and encourage people hanging out and bumping into each other, this promotes development and a creative spark which will help boost forms further.
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