Buses and taxis will return to Rye Lane in Peckham for a trial period of 18 months, starting this Monday, October 18.
The decision from Southwark Council and TfL was initially met with mixed reactions from the Rye Lane community.
The road was originally closed to all traffic in July 2020, to help make sure people had enough space to socially distance during the peak of the pandemic.
Rye Lane reopens to buses, timed deliveries and Hackney carriages only from Monday 18 October. Please be aware that vehicles without permission will be subject to a £65 fine pic.twitter.com/8v9H8qK0Bt
— Southwark Council (@lb_southwark) October 15, 2021
The council say the decision comes as a response to various requests to improve access to Rye Lane, particularly from local businesses.
For instance, speaking to the News last year shortly after the traffic limit was first introduced, nighclub owner Ciaran Canavan slated the decision, claiming it may be “the final nail into the club’s coffin.”
Improving the public transport in the area will also be of great help to people with mobility challenges, small children or heavy bags.
This comes as the availability of public transport is a key topic in the city, with Sadiq Khan announcing the re-opening of two night tubes amid calls to protect women from violence and harrassment at night.
Speaking to the News last month, Sydenham resident Cat Owen stated that she has never felt safe walking down Rye Lane, and so the reintroduction of the buses is welcome.
“I always get catcalled,” she said. “The walk to the next bus stop is about six minutes and that makes a difference when you’re being harassed.”
However, some residents expressed a desire to keep the no-traffic area, arguing that the lack of traffic made the area feel like “more of a community, rather than a thoroughfare.”
The council is also investing in a clean up for the high street, removing graffiti from roughly 200 commercial shutters and power washing paved areas, litter bins and other street furniture.
Community groups can still apply for traffic free days for the high street during the trial via the council’s website.