Great Britain

Now two of Hackney’s town centres could close to through-traffic using emergency coronavirus powers - despite complaints of gridlock already

Gridlock in Amhurst Road, Hackney Central - where the council is considering putting up traffic filters to prevent through-traffic. Picture: Hackney Council

Gridlock in Amhurst Road, Hackney Central - where the council is considering putting up traffic filters to prevent through-traffic. Picture: Hackney Council

hackney council

Two of Hackney’s main shopping spots could be closed to through-traffic, under further “radical” transport plans the council could rubber stamp later this month.

Car-free day in Stoke Newington Church Street. Picture: Hackney CouncilCar-free day in Stoke Newington Church Street. Picture: Hackney Council

Traffic filters, which only allow buses, cyclists and pedestrians to pass, could be placed in Amhurst Road in Hackney Central and in Stoke Newington Church Street, if funding can be secured from Transport for London (TfL) and the government’s Future Funding scheme.

The proposals would be implemented using new powers created by the government in May in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, designed to promote walking and cycling and to encourage social distancing while public transport capacity remains low.

No prior consultation is needed with the experimental traffic orders, and the plans could be approved by the council’s cabinet on September 29.

The impact will be monitored on an ongoing basis, and a consultation would be held after 12 months to decide whether to make the changes permanent.

Gridlock in Amhurst Road, Hackney Central - where the council is considering putting up traffic filters to prevent through-traffic. Picture: Hackney CouncilGridlock in Amhurst Road, Hackney Central - where the council is considering putting up traffic filters to prevent through-traffic. Picture: Hackney Council

Residents and businesses on each road would still be able to access their properties by motor vehicle, but perhaps via a different route.

Further plans being considered include an expansion of cycle training, new protected cycle lanes in Green Lanes, Queensbridge Road and Seven Sisters Road, and expansion of cycle parking across the borough - including a 300-space hub in Shoreditch.

So far low traffic neighbourhoods have been set up in Hoxton West, Hackney Downs, and the area between London Fields and Kingsland Road, with roads blocked to through traffic with “traffic filters” like planters and bollards to prevent them being used as rat-runs.

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Another 15 roads across Hackney have traffic filters, and most primary schools now have school streets meaning traffic is restricted at school opening and closing times.

The changes, introduced at the start of this month, have proved unpopular with some, and hundreds of people took to the streets at the weekend in protest.

They have complained that instead of the “cleaner air” promised by the council, traffic has been pushed onto the back roads, creating gridlock, pollution and congestion.

A petition against the plans has nearly 10,000 signatories.

But the council’s transport chief, Cllr Jon Burke, said the plans “to rebuild a greener Hackney” would support people who would normally take the bus or train to walk and cycle instead - especially since capacity on local buses is just 40 per cent of pre-lockdown levels.

“In doing so, we can help secure the kind of city we witnessed during lockdown, with cleaner air, less traffic and higher levels of walking and cycling,” he said.

“If just a fraction of people who used to use public transport return to their cars, it will exacerbate the air quality and road safety crisis we already had before lockdown, and prevent the 70 pc of Hackney residents who don’t own a car from getting around safely.

“These plans are aimed at reducing this clear danger, and creating a better Hackney for everyone.”

To comment on the plans see rebuildingagreenerhackney.commonplace.is/.

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