Blue Badge exemptions set to make low traffic neighbourhoods more 'inclusive'
- Credit: Gary Manhine
Blue Badge holders will soon be able to drive through traffic filters on some bus routes in future trials of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) or on earlier schemes, if they are made permanent.
The news follows feedback from residents during the council's ongoing nine-month listening exercise with residents, which has seen more than 19,000 responses so far.
Low traffic measures have been introduced as a way to encourage people to walk, shop and cycle locally more as well as to prevent rat-running through Hackney streets and reduce the number of car journeys taking place in the borough.
But Transport chief Cllr Mete Coban said: “While many people are able to do this, we have heard from residents with disabilities who cannot make this switch because they can’t walk or cycle more.
“That is why I am delighted to announce that Blue Badge holders will be exempt from future low traffic neighbourhood schemes, as we aim to make them more inclusive."
The exemption would see residents with companion badges - which register a vehicle number plate to a Blue Badge - exempted from low traffic neighbourhood restrictions some council roads.
If applied to the trials implemented last year, companion badge holders would be exempted from the camera-enforced traffic filters in Shepherdess Walk and in three locations on Richmond Road.
Nearly 300 traffic counts have been conducted to monitor traffic, with more monitoring to take place in the summer.
The council reports that initial analysis of traffic levels in London Fields and Homerton LTNs show early signs of traffic reduction in each area.
However, anti-LTN campaigners in Hackney continue to oppose the plans. The group Horrendous Hackney Road Closures is holding a rally on June 26 and has mounted a legal challenge against the council set to begin on June 30.
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Campaigner Niall Crowley said: "We want to show our fellow residents and businesses — many of whom have been severely hindered by countless anti-democratic road closures and traffic restrictions — that we will continue to put maximum public pressure on councils to overturn all closures.”
Residents can have their say at rebuildingagreenerhackney.commonplace.is or by writing to ‘Freepost Streetscene’.