Widen the pavements of Kilburn High Road temporarily to save lives!

Letter to Brent and Camden Councils leaders, TFL, Mayor of London.

Urgent temporary widening of Kilburn High Road pavements to protect pedestrians

Kilburn High Road, at best of times, has very congested pavements as it is one of London’s 35 major Town Centres and has extremely narrow pavements for the normal amount of footfall.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created the need for urgent action by the authorities to immediately temporarily widen the pavements in Kilburn High Road as the pavements are even more crowded with long queues for essential shops, banks and post office, occupying large amounts of space, and thus making it impossible for social distancing to be respected. Kilburn High Road also accommodates numerous bus stops that amplify the overcrowding of pavements. Kilburn High Road attracts even more local people than usual as this is the only place they can get their grocery and other essentials, now that they cannot travel by public transport to other areas and now that supermarkets have limited their delivery slots. For your information more than 70% of Kilburn households do not have access to a car (2011 Census).

In the meantime, the High Road, in places with 4.5 lanes reserved to traffic, is occupied by illegally parked vehicles and empty traffic lanes.

On 15th April, the government (Department for Transport) gave powers to Highway Authorities to temporarily change vehicular traffic lanes into spaces for pedestrians and cyclists during the Covid-19 crisis without the normally required consultations. We understand that Kilburn is part of the Strategic Road Network, and any change requires the agreement of Brent and Camden Councils and Transport for London and that thus it is ‘complicated’. We trust though that the complications can be dealt with urgently in light of the public health emergency.

We ask you to increase the width of the pavements in Kilburn High Road immediately. Unfortunately we cannot wait for 8 years (as with the previously promised improvements still not consulted on) and need immediate action.

Of particular concern is the Camden stretch of the High Road between numbers 48 and 178 Kilburn High Road, where in some places there are queues on the same stretch of pavements for 3 essential shops. The essential shops on this stretch of the High Road are: Nationwide, HSBC, Boots, M+S Food Hall, Superdrug, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Lloyds Bank, Wenzels, Poundland (2 locations) and Aldi.

Of particular concern on the Brent side is the stretch of pavement between Brondesbury Villas and Kilburn Square, where there is a permanent post office queue the whole length of the pavement, Barclays and a busy bus stop, with a very narrow pavement. Also the stretch of pavement between Natwest and Santander banks is very crowded with Ranya Food Centres, the Halifax, street fruit and veg sellers and bus stops.

We trust you will treat our request for immediate action as a priority as this will help save lives.