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'Interesting' London being spoilt by traffic

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LONDON'S EXCESSIVE traffic loads spoil one of the world's most interesting, varied and historic cities, according to a report published last week by Danish architect Jan Gehl.

Car dominance is preventing full use of the capital, damaging commerce and preventing environmental improvement, says the report.

As a result pedestrians do not linger and enjoy amenities, architecture and parks, while cyclists are ignored or harassed, says the report.

The report was commissioned last year by London mayor Ken Livingstone's Transport for London (TfL) department and the public-private lobby group Central London Partnership.

It is based on detailed observation and measurement of major streets and squares in central London.

Gehl recommends a long term policy to alter the balance between vehicular traffic, bicycles and walkers. The city should make more of its squares, parks and the Thames corridor it says.

TfL is developing an action plan to develop these principles said TfL road networks director Keith Ollier this week.

Next month it will publish Streetscape Guidance, comprehensive engineering advice for designing and maintaining all road pavement and street furniture.

It will be finalised in November.

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