Residents protest ‘chaos’ caused by Hackney road closures outside Hackney Town Hall
- Credit: Holly Chant
Crowds gathered outside Hackney Town Hall to protest road closures and traffic filters implemented by the council.
Drivers and some people living on or near main roads have complained of increased congestion, pollution and longer journeys following the road closures and restrictions.
“I live in Hackney and they’ve closed off all of my roads near me - it’s a low traffic neighbourhood. I didn’t know anything about it until the day the barriers appeared,” said Frances Eakins, who lives between Clapton and Stoke Newington.
“There was no consultation whatsoever and it’s forcing all of the traffic onto the main roads which means wherever I go to now I have to sit in traffic.”
People at the protest were also concerned that increasing levels of congestion might be affecting emergency services and worried about the knock-on effects to the local economy.
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Some said journey times had more than doubled, with one person saying it took them almost two hours to get to the protest by car, for a journey which used to take 20 minutes.
“This has been causing me a lot of chaos,” said Abbey Oledipo, who lives between Hackney and Islington.
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However, other residents have praised the measures for making their streets safer.
In addition, the council has said residents can share their thoughts on the measures up to six months after they have been implemented under the experimental traffic orders (ETOs).
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.”
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.