Changes to Portobello Road to make famous market safe for visitors post-lockdown

Published: Monday 18 May 2020

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West London’s Portobello Road, home to the world-famous Portobello Market, will be closing to cars during trading hours as part of Council efforts to keep streets safe for everyone post-lockdown.

The road has previously been closed to traffic on Saturdays only. As traders return and lockdown eases a daily closure will be in place so that people can enjoy the market while staying two metres apart, to help limit the spread of coronavirus. The move will be the first of a number of ways the Council will be helping people to return to life safely, encouraging walking and cycling to ease pressure on public transport.

Traders had been given three months’ rent relief by the Council but with lockdown expected to ease for non-essential retailers from June, stallholders are expecting to return to their pitches. Businesses in Kensington and Chelsea have received £37,145,000 in government support and £177,500 from a dedicated council fund to make sure no viable business falls between the cracks.

Cllr Johnny Thalassites, lead member for planning and transport, said:

“Closing our world-famous Portobello Road to traffic will keep shoppers and traders safe as the lockdown eases and the market returns. This is the first of many measures to make sure Kensington and Chelsea remains a destination. Now is the time to innovate to help the borough bounce back so we’ll be fast-tracking planned work and putting in new schemes to make sure walking and cycling are safe and attractive options, protecting our people and our economy.”

In the coming weeks the Council will go further to support the local economy to get moving and to help people walk and cycle safely, with public transport capacity much lower than before the pandemic struck. The Council will be applying for Transport for London funding to introduce speed restrictions, new and improved walking and cycling routes and safe shopping and school streets. Measures will include:

  • Identifying pinch points and widening pavements to help social distancing
  • Making the whole borough a 20mph zone
  • Speeding up the construction of planned cycleways
  • Encouraging more schools to sign up as traffic-free school streets during drop off and pick up times
  • Upgrading mandatory cycle lanes to light segregation, for example on Chelsea Bridge Road
  • More cycle parking throughout the borough for residents and commuters
  • Closing Pavilion Road to traffic, south of Cadogan Gardens
  • Boosting the Try Before You Bike scheme so more people can trial a new bike
  • Introducing a low traffic neighbourhood

Portobello Road closure will be in place 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday from Monday 8 June and the Council has written to residents and traders.