Atlantic Road in Brixton is to be “transformed” to benefit people walking, cycling and using buses with funds from the Liveable Neighbourhoods programme run by Transport for London and the mayor of London.
Brixton will get a share of more than £50 million funding for projects under the scheme.
TfL said that local freight access in Atlantic Road will be maintained with technology used to better manage loading and servicing.
The new investment will overhaul public spaces, widen footways and add new pedestrian crossings, “creating a much more welcoming environment for the area’s many visitors, residents and businesses”.
The project will build “high-quality infrastructure” on three “strategic” cycle routes: Brixton to Clapham Common, Brixton to Camberwell and Brixton to Herne Hill.
“Low traffic” neighbourhoods will be created in the Ferndale Road and Railton Road neighbourhoods and there will be a new, fully segregated cycle route linking Brixton to Loughborough Junction.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “For too long streets around London have been designed solely around cars and motor traffic. Our £50 million investment will transform neighbourhoods and local town centres in inner and outer London, making them cleaner, greener and more pleasant places to spend time.
“Working with these boroughs to make our streets more welcoming for walking and cycling is vital for our health and wellbeing, but also essential for the future vibrancy and success of London’s local high streets.”
London boroughs will contribute an additional £40 million to the whole project.
Local London Assembly Member Florence Eshalomi, a Brixton resident, said she was delighted that Lambeth council’s bid for funding had been successful. It would help to transform and rejuvenate Brixton, “vastly improving the public space and providing much safer and easier routes for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate”.
She said that reducing car use in the community, wherever possible, “plays a significant role in tackling air pollution and encouraging local people to adopt healthier lifestyles.
“As a lifelong Brixton resident, navigating the roads around Atlantic Road can be like an assault course, with pedestrians sometimes being forced to walk in the road and constant traffic jams due to cars not giving way for delivery vans and the buses.
“For too long, our high streets, town centres and neighbourhoods have suffered from government underinvestment, so it is very positive that City Hall is working to turn the tide on the years of neglect.”
Claire Holland, Lambeth council cabinet member for environment and clean air, said: “We are committed to making our roads safer for everyone – particularly our young people – to get around by walking and cycling, to improve both people’s health and our toxic air, so this funding from the Mayor of London and TfL is fantastic news.
“We have looked long and hard at how to improve Brixton’s transport system in a way that makes the roads safer and cleaner but also keeps things moving.
“Improving local neighbourhoods so that they are no longer dominated by car traffic and enabling people to travel more safely and actively, is at the heart of this project.
“Prioritising those that are walking, cycling or using public transport addresses all of these things and will be beneficial for local residents and businesses and make the centre of Brixton a much healthier, more attractive destination.”
Colin Penning of Lambeth Cyclists said the borough had long claimed to want to be the most cycle-friendly borough and that the liveable neighborhood plan would be a big step towards making that a reality.
“More importantly,” he said, “this isn’t just for people on bikes. Low-traffic neighbourhoods mean cleaner air and better conditions for walking too.
“A higher quality environment in central Brixton is great news for independent traders, with better walking and cycling links to other centres bringing in more customers.”
Penning said that previous schemes to limit cars on Lambeth roads had proved controversial. Schemes in the Loughborough Junction area and New Park Road had not been area-wide schemes, had not “repurposed” the road space and did not link shopping and social centres.
“Making walking and cycling easier, and driving short trips harder, is not gentrification. More than 60% of Lambeth households do not have access to a car and this figure is highest higher among the poorest in society.
“Safer, quieter streets provide places where children can play again – again that’s far more important for poorer households who don’t have private outdoor space.”
Penning said that transport is the largest contributor to UK carbon emissions.
“Trips under five miles make up 19% of car emissions and those of five to 10 miles another 18%. Reducing car use, particularly for short trips of the sort driven in London, is crucial if we are to have any chance of hitting carbon targets.
“Cleaner air is a public health issue and Brixton has some of the worst air in London – and it affects children most.”