Hackney groups respond to permanent Homerton LTN
- Credit: Hackney Council
The decision to make Homerton's low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) permanent has met with a mixed response.
Hackney Council made the announcement in December, despite more than half of respondents to its consultation opposing the scheme.
The LTN is one of 19 in Hackney introduced to get residents walking, shopping and cycling.
A borough-wide group called Hackney Together formed to oppose LTN measures weighed in on the decision.
Member Jonathan Malins-Smith told the Gazette that "the council appeared to be ignoring the realities of their own consultations".
He said: "There was a clear majority not in favour of making things permanent. What is it about simple mathematics that the council doesn't understand.
"I understand some of their reasons but my principle objection is to the fact that it is all encompassing, its 24/7 with cameras and things like that.
"You could have something a lot more subtle and sensitive than this sledgehammer tactic that the council have adopted."
Council monitoring data reports traffic down by an average of 35 per cent inside the LTN, and by 5pc on boundary roads - compared to before the pandemic.
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But another campaigner, Clair Battaglino, believes the council had "cherry-picked" streets to monitor, calling the council's LTNs a "failed experiment".
Eighteen locations were monitored inside the LTN and five boundary roads. The council said the locations were chosen to understand the impact of the scheme across the whole area.
Clair states that the traffic counters used are only accurate for free-flowing traffic. She has concerns about the effect of lockdown on the data and that the results are averaged over a 24-hour period.
"To claim that Homerton High Street hasn’t had an increase is disingenuous - they are saying the counters say this and they average over a 24-hour period.
"So if you're saying that there's hardly any traffic at 4am on Homerton High Street - I'm not celebrating that.
"When the kids are there, when people are walking along those streets, Cardinal Pole School is a hell hole at the moment."
Clair claims that the results may understate the number of people opposing the scheme, after she helped parents fill out responses to the online consultation, which was only available in English.
However, another group called Low Traffic Hackney expressed "delight" at the LTN being made permanent.
A spokesperson from Low Traffic Hackney said: "The need for reduction in car use and an increase in levels of walking and cycling is now crystal clear.
"Hackney recognises the important role transport has in both our carbon emissions and issues relating to public health."
The group notes that, although the council's Common Place consultation saw 62pc of people opposed making the scheme permanent, the majority of responses came from drivers (62pc).
They say drivers were disproportionately represented, "as fewer than 33pc of Hackney households have access to a car".
Among people who do not use a car or van to get around, 63pc wanted all or some of the LTN to be made permanent.
The spokesperson added: "We call on Hackney to carry on with traffic reduction on minor roads as well as public transport priority and improvements for walking and cycling on main roads."
Portfolio holder for transport Cllr Mete Coban said: “In making the Homerton low traffic permanent, we considered the traffic reductions in the area alongside air quality improvements and comments from local residents.
“Most of those who opposed the LTN had concerns about traffic and air quality, which is why we completed and published this monitoring before making a decision.”
The council added that 24 hour averages include traffic changes across the entire day to get a complete picture. It pledges to continue to monitor and listen to feedback about the scheme.
Find out more about Low Traffic Hackney at www.lowtraffichackney.org
Find out more about Hackney Together at hackneytogether.org