Residents' parking spaces removed for Church Street LTN
- Credit: Germana Genovese
Several Stoke Newington residents were "shocked" to find the parking spaces they pay for have been removed as part of the Church Street LTN introduced on Monday (September 20).
Though the council maintains the parking suspension notices placed on poles on Kynaston Road, Kersley Road and Defoe Road are likely to be temporary, residents are not convinced.
Several people living on those roads contacted the Gazette, and Hackney Council to share their concerns after signs went up restricting their parking.
One resident said: “We got up on a Sunday morning and they shut our parking spaces down."
Spaces were restricted on Sunday (September 19), the day before the introduction of the Stoke Newington low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) which includes a bus gate outside the Red Lion pub on Stoke Newington Church Street.
The LTN is aimed at reducing the number of vehicles using Church Street, which the council has reported as 10,000 a day, as well as tackling pollution and supporting people to walk, cycle and shop locally.
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The Red Lion bus gate will operate from 7am to 7pm and only buses, registered companion badge holders, cyclists, waste and emergency vehicles will be able to pass through during those hours.
All homes and businesses in the area will remain accessible by car, van or lorry.
A further five traffic filters in surrounding residential streets have also been added to stop new short-cuts opening up. These allow cyclists and emergency vehicles to pass through.
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The council said it expects “some disruption In the first few weeks”, with the removal of parking spaces meant to help ease disruption.
The local authority said parking restrictions will be “kept under close review”, adding that “as the scheme beds in, some waiting and parking suspensions will be removed".
Parking spaces on Manor Road were removed to help to improve traffic flow and improve bus journey times.
A spokesperson for the council said: "We're temporarily removing some parking bays in the area to provide exit routes from the bus gate as drivers get used to the changes – this will ensure they do not have to turn in the road.
"We will reinstate these bays if they're no longer needed."
Some residents however, are worried they could lose the spaces permanently as double lines have been painted in their place.
Germana Genovese, who lives on Kynaston Road, told the Gazette that some deliveries and contractors' visits had already been cancelled due to the changes.
They said: “I drive to work due to my social anxiety and before the road closures it took me about 40 to 45 minutes each way.
“Since the road closures it takes me 65 to 75 minutes and I have added a total of four miles to my journey. Surely am polluting more than before.”
The cost of a parking permit ranges from £10 – £369 a year depending on a vehicle's CO2 emissions. Businesses can pay £1,000 pounds a year for spaces.
There is also concern that the removal could mean more traffic funnelled onto roads surrounding Church Street.
A Kersley Road resident, who preferred not to be named, is also “hugely concerned” with the “very limited exit routes for local residents".
They said: “Due to being on chemotherapy for blood cancer I take an electric black cab to the Royal Marsden hospital every month.
“My other health issues require me to visit central London clinics frequently. Why are electric black cabs, providing a safer form of transport during a pandemic, not allowed to pass through the bus gate?"
Another resident and “keen cyclist” added: “I use my bike where I can. I am totally on board with the need to reduce pollution, however I have a disabled child and bike journeys are not always possible.
“Losing my space permanently is not an option for me right now. These changes weigh heaviest on the people we need most to protect such as the elderly, the immobile and the disabled. It’s also creating huge traffic in areas where there’s more social housing.
“It’s been chaos on the roads round me the past few days. Dangerous U-turns on Church Street."
But others, like outdoor education facilitator Nina Lovelace, are embracing the changes.
The campervan owner who lives on one of the "escape routes" near Church Street said: "I am affected. But broadly I’m all for it and also most parents I’ve spoken to have welcomed it too.
"Walking down Church Street's tiny pavements with kids has become so stressful due to traffic - its not just the pollution.
"There has been a bit of confusion and perhaps in-street council communication hasn’t been ideal. But I did read about these plans a couple of years ago when they consulted - I’ve actually been looking forward to them trialling it."
Nina believes many people have "justifiable concerns" about the impact the LTNs will have on the main roads in the area such as Stoke Newington.
She added: "But I do think once you concentrate the traffic like that, it shows how unsustainable car traffic has become in Hackney generally. There are too many often overlarge cars, taking up lots of space and creating too much pollution for us all.
"Perhaps we should road charge for the largest or most polluting cars on the High Street as well as push on efforts to improve air quality, and public and green transport options.
"I also think we can use tech to collect and use data to encourage improved road use or prioritise the vulnerable.
"Either way we also have to continue to invest to make it worthwhile for people to choose public transport, cycling or walking over cars. Doing nothing really isn’t an option."
Residents and businesses can have their say at hackney.gov.uk/stoke-newington-ltn or by writing for free to Freepost Streetscene.
Residents can also share their views about parking at consultation.hackney.gov.uk/parking-services/pep2021-26