You might think the new layout of London’s biggest tech centre is all swings and roundabouts – but it turns out it’s more U-bends than anything. Silicon Roundabout has long held its reputation as the hub of the tech start-up scene, but it’s about to undergo a modern-day makeover all of its own.
The site, also known as Old Street Roundabout, has been pinpointed by city planners as a potential peninsula, with one of the exits to be closed off to make a more pedestrian-friendly space. If the plans put forward by TfL go ahead, the area will be open to two-way traffic, with segregated cycle lanes complete with independent traffic signals.
Reports say that this renovation would make way for new shops, pop-ups and a new entrance to the tube station, with a greater focus on aesthetic and landscaping of public spaces. It’s also hoped that the new layout will help prevent accidents at the roundabout, with the confusing nature of the current design widely acknowledged by stressed-out commuters.
TfL reports that 44 people have been injured in accidents there between 2010 and 2013 – mainly cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists make up one third of commuters during peak times, and Mayor Boris Johnson is confident that these plans will “dramatically improve safety for the thousands of cyclists and and also make it easier to access Tech City, which continues to nurture upcoming technology and creative talent from around the world.”
The plans come as part of a £4 billion effort to improve London’s roads, targeting some of the city’s most dangerous junctions. Projects under the Road Modernisation Plan are already underway in Aldgate Gyratory and Malden Rushett, and construction beings in Oval this December.
Consultations continue until 11th January 2015, and if it goes ahead, we can expect to see constructions begin in the same year. We’re sure the tech world will keep going round – it might just have to re-plan its route!
If you want to learn more about Silicon Roundabout and Tech City, check out our walking tour! You’ll see some of the hangouts that up-and-coming entrepreneurs like to frequent, learn about the growth that the area has seen in recent years and discuss the part the Government is playing in all of this.