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Meet the transport campaigners trying to make Hackney’s streets safer using mobile speed cameras – and flowerbeds

PUBLISHED: 18:30 30 May 2017

Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell opens the 'people's parking bay' and chats to Adam, five. Picture: Tom Horton

Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell opens the 'people's parking bay' and chats to Adam, five. Picture: Tom Horton

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Campaigners looking to reduce the impact of cars on Hackney’s roads are taking matters into their own hands by filling parking bays with benches and flowerpots and using mobile cameras to catch speeding motorists.

Brenda Puech from Hackney Living Streets with PCSO Jeffers and a volunteer testing out one of the mobile speed cameras. Picture: Tom HortonBrenda Puech from Hackney Living Streets with PCSO Jeffers and a volunteer testing out one of the mobile speed cameras. Picture: Tom Horton

Dissatisfied with law enforcement on the roads, Hackney Living Streets runs sessions where they stand on residential streets and use a mobile speed camera provided by the police to deter motorists from going too fast.

And its latest initiative sees the group take over a council parking bay with a bench and “plantlocks” – large flowerpots with attached metal bars for locking bikes to.

Group chair Brenda Puech said: “I’m trying to promote active forms of transport and make the streets a more community-friendly environment.”

The speed camera project is run with a police officer present.

“It’s all about having a visible presence on the roads that makes drivers think more carefully about the way they’re driving,” said PCSO Jeffers.

Brenda added: “We want to create an environment where motorists are hesitant and fearful of breaking the law.”

A 2012 study put car ownership in the borough at 65 per cent,

Hackney Living Streets says we need a drastic rethink of street design that would make active forms of transport safer, allow children to play in the street and help the elderly get out more.

Officially opening the parking space, Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell told the crowd: “Our streets can be so much more than just places for cars.

“Car usage and ownership is going down and we should adapt our outdoor spaces to match that.”

Community speed enforcement sessions have been carried out in Queensbridge, Cassland Road and Landsdowne Road. Motorists have their registration details noted down and are sent warnings for their first two offences. A third offence results in a fine.

Volunteer Gillian Symons said: “I love cycling in Hackney but if anything can be done to make things safer on the roads, especially for young children, then I think it’s a good thing.”

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