Lansdowne Drive bus gate catches out 12,600 people in 10 weeks – sparking complaints that it isn’t advertised properly
PUBLISHED: 09:19 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 14 May 2019
A rush-hour traffic ban has generated more than £750,000 for Hackney Council within the space of 10 weeks – leading some motorists to claim it is not adequately signposted.
The bus gate at the junction of Lansdowne Drive and Trederwen Road was installed in London Fields in July as part of a traffic scheme to tackle filthy air outside primary schools.
The council came under fire in August when it emerged 6,500 drivers had been fined for coming off Mare Street into Richmond Road in just in a month, which is part of the same school streets scheme.
Lansdowne Drive is now closed to southbound traffic from Monday to Saturday between 7am and 10am and then from 3pm to 7pm, although buses can use the road at all times.
For the first six months, the council didn't issue any £65 penalty charge notices (PCNs) but sent out 39,000 warnings instead for the Lansdowne Drive contravention - meaning it could have been even more lucrative than the controversial banned left turn in Mare Street.
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Signs advertising the bus gate were put up two weeks before any fines were issued, to warn drivers of the start date for enforcement of January 21. Yet since that time 12,655 PCNs have been issued in the space of 10 weeks - which, if everyone paid up, would have generated at least £759,300.
In March an independent adjudicator ruled the Mare Street left ban turn was "inadequately" signposted. Eric Luk Man Hon, who was caught out by the bus gates, believes those signs aren't clear enough either.
He said: "The signs are on the exit of the roundabout, so by the time you can read them there's simply no time to digest the information on the sign.
"There is a small red temporary sign before you reach Lansdowne Drive so the warning is insufficient.
"That's why 39,000 warnings were sent in the first six months. With all the money they've made out of it they could make bigger signs, perhaps even electric ones, which flash a warning. That wouldn't cost much."
Deputy mayor Cllr Feryal Demirci said the council had given drivers "every opportunity to choose another route".
"The scheme supports the council's pioneering school street at London Fields School," she said, "which closes Westgate Street at opening and closing times to improve air quality, and make it easier to walk and cycle to school."
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