London Fields ‘rat running’ questioned by road scheme’s opponents

Middleton Road at 8.30am during rush hour

Middleton Road at 8.30am during rush hour - Credit: Archant

Opponents of a scheme which will close 13 roads to through traffic in London Fields have questioned Hackney Council’s claim the area is blighted by “rat running”, after results of a traffic survey were finally released.

The Gazette had been asking to see the survey since the council announced in November it wanted to trial shutting 16 roads to deal with rat-running and “high volumes of non-local motor traffic using the residential streets”.

The trial was planned for the new year, but last month the council agreed to hold a consultation on the proposals, “due to very strong feeling on both sides”, and the high levels of public interest.

In December the council revised the plan and said it would instead shut off 13.

Figures show that 9,000 to 10,000 vehicles use Richmond Road a day, while about 4,500 vehicles travel down Middleton Road, which is pencilled in to become one of the Mayor of London’s Quietway cycling routes.

If traffic is dispersed from Middleton Road, Richmond Road could see 50 per cent more traffic, bringing the amount of vehicles to 13,500.

In comparison, many of the roads in the heart of London Fields, which will be closed off to through traffic, are relatively quiet, with Jacaranda Grove seeing an average of 71 cars going east and 86 going west each day.

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Mike Hood, whose petition against the proposals has 1,176 signatures, said: “I don’t think the survey proves any of their points.

“The traffic data if anything shows the real concerns for Queensbridge Road, Lansdowne Drive and Richmond Road, which have a large amount of traffic currently, and the proposals to close the roads off would make it worse for them.”

A spokesman for Hackney Council said: “The traffic survey supports concerns that some roads in the London Fields area are subject to high volumes of traffic, but we acknowledge that there are also roads that are not.

“However, the aim of the original, multi-junction filtering scheme was holistic in that it sought to reduce traffic generally in the area as well as prevent the likelihood of traffic displacing into nearby streets.”

A petition calling for “cleaner, greener, fume-free streets” in London Fields has 834 supporters.