Bank junction could be pedestrianised under radical traffic ban plans being considered by the City of London Corporation and which have the backing of its transport chief.
The concept has been given added weight by Chris Hayward, chairman of the corporation’s planning and transportation committee, just weeks before a report from the corporation on revamping the area around the Bank of England is due.
“Personally, I would like to see something world class as a piece of public realm,” he said. “Within that, there needs to be some incredible, permanent feature. That could be a big water feature, an art feature, a statue… something that is mind blowing.”
The report, expected in December, will propose options for Hayward’s committee to decide on. These could include closing only the north-south route along King William Street and Princes Street to traffic, and closing only the east-west route along Poultry and Cornhill.
Hayward said “all options are on the table” and added that although his personal view is that full pedestrianisation is the best option for the junction, no policy has yet been decided by the corporation. A spokeswoman for the corporation said it was not possible to say whether full pedestrianisation would be an option at this stage.
The junction has been closed to traffic other than buses and bicycles during the working day since May 2017, a safety measure made permanent in September. The area had been a hotspot for road accidents.
Hayward added the report would also consider whether limited access to the junction could now be allowed for taxis.
The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents the 25,000-strong industry, said including taxis in the last year’s ban was “ill-conceived”, adding that they are “the lifeblood of the City of London and a vital means of transportation for the business community, people with limited mobility and many others”.
“We promised we’d look at how cabs can circulate, because that has been a controversial issue for us,” Hayward said. “We don’t want the black-cab trade to fail, we want to support and help. But for me, now that we’ve got the accidents under control, we’ve got a new canvas.”