Dan Korski, one of the candidates for the London mayor elections from the Conservative Party, has vowed to end Sadiq Khan’s “attack on drivers” by unveiling a milieu of radical traffic changes, such as switching off red lights and ending segregated bike lanes, 20mph speed limits, ULEZ and low traffic neighbourhoods.
With motorists and other people criticising Khan’s divisive policies to prioritise dealing with the capital’s deteriorating air quality and climate change, the Tory hopeful has announced a radical shake-up of London’s roads should he be elected in next year’s mayoral elections in May.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Korski said that he would explore switching off red lights between 10pm and 7am. Instead, amber flashing lights managed by sensors would “ease the flow of traffic”, and make sure that drivers are not forced to wait at deserted junctions.
The former No.10 aide also said that he would allow motorists and cyclists to share lanes on routes where bike segregation has caused annoying congestion, as well as scrapping 20mph limits where there's no obvious reason for the restriction.
The mayoral hopeful also wants to dramatically reduce traffic control measures including no right turns and closed streets, where they don't command local support.
Korski told The Sun: “Sadiq Khan's transport policies, to London voters, appear irrational. Above all, it's hard to see how they help the environment.
“They're driving motorists around the bend and, most counterintuitively, turning some people against environmentalism. All my changes will be made with community input.”
Korski, along with some other frontrunners from the Conservative party, has already sworn to put an end to Khan’s ULEZ expansion due in August. Another candidate, Paul Scully, said that that he will “turn off all those new cameras” on his first day, if he were to get elected.
Although Korski’s plan sounds outlandish and stems out of aiding drivers cutting down their journey times as much as possible, the cycling-friendly Netherlands tried switching off red lights — not just to help drivers, but cyclists.
Until 2016, one of the Dutch capital’s busiest intersections at Sarphatistraat-Alexanderplein was controlled by traffic lights, with cyclists, the predominant users in Amsterdam as in a lot of Dutch cities, had longer wait times.
However in that case, the test was part of a larger mobility strategy across the city to make more room for cyclists and pedestrians, meaning limiting access and space for private vehicles. The new setup forced people to engage with their surroundings: Instead of relying on traffic lights, they now relied on their own abilities and the cues of others.
Over the period of a year, it was seen that cyclists had become more aware of their surroundings and of other road users. In less than two weeks, the evolution was already observed on Alexanderplein.
Delay times were reduced and safety remained unaffected, showing that regulation can lead to responsible and alert road users. It was so successful that the pilot was extended and a few months later the lights were completely removed, and even led to the junction’s redesign.
However, in February this year, Amsterdam cyclists were greeted with traffic signs asking them to not jump red lights by showing a counter of how many cyclists waited at the red light and nudging them to do the same.
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after completing his masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes writes about science, tech and the environment. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him riding his bike on the scenic routes, fighting his urge to stop pedalling and click photographs (apparently not because he's bonking).