Boris Johnson’s Old Street redesign “is not the answer”

An artist's impression of the Old Street proposals.

An artist's impression of the Old Street proposals. - Credit: Archant

Hackney Council is opposing £25m plans to transform Silicon roundabout into a pedestrian square, complaining it will make the deadly junction more dangerous and lead to more pollution in Shoreditch.

Old Street as it is now

Old Street as it is now - Credit: Archant

The roundabout at London’s technology epicentre in Old Street could disappear, with one side being paved over to make a large “peninsula”.

The radical redesign would see the north-western arm of the roundabout paved over to create a new public space, and Old Street station would have a new entrance installed in a central location where the island is at present.

But while Transport for London (TfL) claims the design at the junction – where there were 44 collisions between February 2010 and January 2013 – will make the junction safer for pedestrians and cyclists, the council and cycling safety groups have complained it could do just the opposite.

Cllr Feryal Dermici, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said the proposals “are not good enough” and a “missed opportunity”.

“It’s terrible for pedestrians because it narrows the footpaths and closes the entrances into the station,” she said.

“The segregated cycle lanes are too small and could only cope with the current levels of cycling, this is not future-proof.

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“Worst of all, that area of Hackney has the worst air pollution, and all the traffic will be put on to the Hackney side.”

She continued: “I can see the benefits for Islington, but to look for benefits for the area, this is not the scheme you would put in.

“Shoreditch is one of the busiest areas in Hackney – there is huge footfall, to then be narrowing the footpaths would be unbearable.

“They have said it’s driven by the needs of cyclists and pedestrians and yet those two groups will be worse off.”

Nigel Hardy, head of road space management sponsorship at TfL, said: “We will consider all responses received to the recently closed consultation on the proposed transformation of Old Street.

“We are pleased with the feedback received from the public and will publish the results of the consultation in the coming months.”