Document Supply WQ3/9904

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A Secondary Roads Policy: Revised after consultation

Date range1970
LocationBritish Library (see all files stored here)


All of our research into London's road plans of the 1960s is, really, research into the top tier of the planned road network - what we call the Ringways were officially known as the Primary Road Network. The other two tiers were the Secondary Road Network and the Local Road Network. The local roads were not to be developed at all, really, and were the streets that were supposed to be relieved by the other two tiers so that people could live and work on them in peace.

But what about the Secondary Roads? Where's our big research project into those?

The answer is that there's no need for a big research project. The reason we haven't lavished attention on them is that the GLC didn't lavish attention on them either. This file is the GLC's secondary roads policy, and it's a slim A4 booklet with lots of dense writing and one diagram. There's no discussion of alternatives, no scientific basis on which the plans are made (as there was for the PRN), no debate, no joy, no rhetoric - just a description of what the Secondary Road Network will be like in terms that are inevitable and resigned. The centre spread is a map of the SRN across the whole of London, which amounts to an outline of London covered in wiggly, unintelligible lines.

The short answer to what this book tells us is that the SRN was to be made up of London's existing main roads, and once the PRN was built, they would then be the second tier roads. The GLC wanted them to be gradually upgraded to provide two lanes of traffic in each direction and have either roundabouts or traffic lights at major junctions, with occasional grade separation where they were really busy. And that is, disappointingly, almost all there is to know.

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