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‘Give back our streets’ says woman protesting Hackney and Islington Road closures

PUBLISHED: 11:23 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:11 08 October 2020

Many protesters said they felt unheard and ignored. Picture: Holly Chant

Many protesters said they felt unheard and ignored. Picture: Holly Chant

Holly Chant

People gathered outside Hackney Town Hall to protest road closures introduced in Hackney and Islington.

The council’s plans to rebuild a greener Hackney has meant road closures and traffic restrictions have left some people feeling unheard, like car user Abbey Oledipo who lives on the boundary between Islington and Hackney.

READ MORE: Residents protest ‘chaos’ caused by Hackney road closures outside Hackney Town Hall

Abbey, like many others at the protest on October 1, demanded the council: “Give back our streets.”

However, other residents have praised the measures and Hackney council says residents have a say in the scheme as all new measures are being rolled out under experimental traffic orders (ETOs).

READ MORE: Hackney Down residents praise introduction of low traffic neighbourhood

Hackney environment chief, Cllr Jon Burke, said: “70% of Hackney households do not own a car, and 40% of traffic in the borough passes through without stopping.

“As public transport capacity remains restricted to promote social distancing, we need to do all we can to help everyone walk, shop and cycle locally - otherwise we risk exacerbating the air quality and road safety crises we were already facing before lockdown.

“We understand the strength of feeling and are listening to local residents, who can feed back online or in writing, by making changes to schemes where necessary. We are monitoring the effects on traffic levels and air quality so we can take this into account alongside residents’ views when a decision is made on whether or not to make measures permanent.”

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Cllr Rowena Champion, Executive Member for Environment and Transport for Islington added: “ “We have been listening to local people’s concerns on Islington’s streets. It is vital that we act now to create people-friendly streets, in order to make it easier and safer for people to walk, cycle, and use wheelchairs and buggies as alternatives to using public transport.

“This will help people to socially distance and to avoid a sharp rise in motor vehicle use as people move away from public transport.

“Our people-friendly streets neighbourhoods will help local people to socially distance as they make essential trips, whilst contributing towards a greener, safer, healthier Islington.”

Both Hackney and Islington have implemented the measures as trials under Experimental Traffic Orders and encourage residents to have their say on whether the schemes should remain in place permanently.

A Facebook group called Horrendous Hackney Road Closures organised the protest on October 1. The group now has 5,400 members

To follow the group click here.

For more information on how to give feedback on the measures click here.

Locals can share their thoughts online at www,news.hackney.gov.uk/rebuilding-a-greener-hackney/ or in writing.

Visit the Commonplace web page to comment on the measures in Islington in real time www.islingtonpeoplefriendlystreets.commonplace.is/


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