Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan has promised to announce “short-term” changes to his borough’s new Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme next week in order to alleviate extra traffic displaced on to surrounding roads, and has apologised to “all of those residents who are seeing more traffic on their streets” while work continues on “longer-term proposals” for the area.
Egan’s commitment, made in a statement yesterday, follows an initial one last month to address problems arising from the Lee Green LTN after it was installed in June at short notice in order to encourage more “active travel” and less car use as the capital sought to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Originally part of Lewisham’s 2019 wider Healthy Neighbourhoods traffic reduction programme affecting four parts of the borough, the LTN, like others that have appeared across the capital backed by national government funds, also aims to help improve air quality.
“The current measures have generated some really strong views,” Egan acknowledged. “We need to, and will, respond to the issues that have been raised by residents. I’m sorry to all of those residents who are seeing more traffic on their streets and I know it must be frustrating to be living with this disruption.”
Local councillor Octavia Holland wrote on Twitter on Thursday of “probs with our LTN which us ward Cllrs are v concerned about. We are pushing for change” and agreed with a respondent who complained that one effect of the LTN has been to increase traffic on the South Circular that “the problems are unacceptable”, though she added that “switches to talking or cycling are really important regardless.”
Holland is one of a number of Lewisham councillors, including others who support the aims of LTNs, making known their worries about some of the schemes’ impacts so far against a backdrop of local opposition.
On London has learned that some local car-driving residents in have been fined after making a newly-prohibited turn at a junction within the Lee Green LTN, which they feel is inadequately signposted.
Councillors in Ealing, which has seen demonstrations against LTNs, have raised concerns about their implementation there. These gave impetus to a recent vote of no confidence in Ealing leader Julian Bell, which he narrowly survived.
There also have been demonstrations against LTNs in Islington, Enfield, Lambeth, Wandsworth and Hackney. Wandsworth has decided to suspend all of its schemes. Hackney councillor Jon Burke, who is strongly supportive of LTNs, has received a death threat.
A petition to Parliament against “road closures, ‘school streets’ and new cycle lanes” claiming that they are creating “severe congestion, long traffic delays and severe frustration across the country” launched on 8 April has at time of publication gathered just short of 12,000 signatures.
A debate about LTNs has been jointly-organised by On London and The London Society, taking place on 15 October, 6:30-7:30. Cost £5. Details and tickets available HERE.