Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

AN UNDERGROUND LONDON RING ROAD; MAYOR'S [Pounds sterling]30BN PLAN TO PUT NORTH AND SOUTH CIRCULAR IN TUNNELS'Flyunder' at Brent Cross Shopping centreSPACE TO BE USED FOR PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS AND PARKS'Flyunder' at Brent Cross Shopping Centre

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

AN UNDERGROUND LONDON RING ROAD; MAYOR'S [Pounds sterling]30BN PLAN TO PUT NORTH AND SOUTH CIRCULAR IN TUNNELS'Flyunder' at Brent Cross Shopping centreSPACE TO BE USED FOR PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS AND PARKS'Flyunder' at Brent Cross Shopping Centre

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew Beard Transport Editor

LARGE stretches of London's main orbital road should be put into tunnels in a [pounds sterling]30 billion scheme to improve the quality of life, according to a report commissioned by the Mayor.

Cars, lorries and motorbikes would be sent underground on the North and South Circular to replace the congested routes with miles of space at street-level for residents, cyclists and pedestrians.

The bold proposal is greater in ambition than the current [pounds sterling]15 billion Crossrail project under the capital. It is the most eye-catching plan from the influential Roads Taskforce which also proposes a 20mph London-wide speed limit.

It is the first strategic review for decades of London's roads which Boris Johnson believes have been overlooked even though they account for 80 per cent of passenger trips.

Sources stress the tunnelling is not designed to make way for more cars but to improve the space at ground level for pedestrians, cyclists and parks while improving the environment by cutting vehicle emissions.

They insist a radical solution is needed. Central London has lost 30 per cent of its capacity for motor vehicles in a decade to schemes including cycle lanes and the pedestrianisation of areas such as Exhibition Road.

The task is made urgent because London's population is forecast to grow by 1.25 million by 2031, adding 14 per cent to road congestion.

A "flyunder" is proposed at Brent Cross shopping centre beneath the six-lane North Circular. A park could be created on top. But the boldest plan is for the South Circular which the Mayor's experts want to send underground to give the area a more residential feel. A further tunnel could be built to replace the Hammersmith flyover with a "flyunder" between Hogarth roundabout and Earl's Court.

Public spending on the projects could be subsidised by "value capture" -- a levy on new properties whose values would soar due to the improved environment. …

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