Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
Hackney Green Party supports the implementation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) as an important step in a rapid transition towards a fairer society for people and the environment.
Why is this important?
To improve our health and to protect ourselves from the frightening effects of climate breakdown, we need to completely rethink how we get around in London. Car use has doubled in recent decades and 40 million more miles are being driven in Hackney than 7 years ago. The use of residential streets for through traffic has doubled in the last 10 years coinciding with the start of satnav with 3G in 2008. As much as 45% of cars in Hackney just pass through the borough.
We need to get people back on public transport, back on bicycles and most importantly we need to make it easy, pleasant and safe for people to walk and wheel around their neighbourhoods.
70% of households in Hackney do not own a car, but still have to suffer the effects of air pollution, road danger and noise. Poorer households are even less likely to own cars. Hackney has the highest pedestrian and cyclist casualty rate in London. In 2018, there were 985 serious road traffic collisions in Hackney, with over 30 children killed or seriously injured. Access to a car is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity. Petrol and diesel cars cause increased rates of air pollution-related diseases such as pneumonia, heart disease and asthma - Hackney frequently records illegal levels of NO2 and PM2.5 air pollution. Hackney had the 6th highest air pollution death rate of 418 local authorities.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods prevent drivers from using residential streets as cut-throughs by using filters to block cars, whilst allowing pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles through. LTNs are a tried and tested way of reducing road danger and encouraging more people to walk and cycle for local journeys. Vehicular access for local residents is maintained, but some drivers will now have to use a different route to get to homes. Many residents of Hackney are already feeling the benefits: safer, quieter streets, more exercise and bumping into neighbours more often.
What is Hackney Green Party doing to support LTNs?
Hackney Green Party volunteers are engaging with residents who live on main roads, many of whom have noticed an increase in traffic as LTNs have stopped drivers from cutting through residential streets and as people are using their cars more to avoid public transport during the pandemic. Main road residents that we have spoken to so far are supportive of more measures to disincentivise unnecessary car journeys and encourage people to walk, cycle or scoot for local trips and use public transport for longer journeys (TfL are taking measures to make public transport more covid-safe).
We will continue to scrutinise Hackney Council to ensure that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are even better and will deliver benefits to as many people as possible, with a particular focus on children and people with disabilities.
Very few Londoners need to use a motor vehicle and there are many alternatives. Cargo bikes can enable parents to transport young children to school and to the park, and can enable small business owners to carry tools and equipment to different jobs. For people who occasionally need to travel longer distances or carry heavier loads, street based hire vehicles are available. As people get rid of their vehicles, large amounts of public space will become available, space for more street trees, green spaces and much-needed new homes.
The Green Party is actively putting pressure on Hackney Council to make sure that everyone is supported to transition to healthier and more environmentally sustainable ways of getting around London. We are campaigning for the implementation of low traffic neighbourhoods in every community, as well as extra infrastructure to improve the experience of pedestrians and cyclists on main roads, such as widened pavements, more street trees, more seating, less parking, protected cycle lanes and 24/7 bus lanes where space allows.
What we are asking Hackney residents to do
Hackney Council has opened a consultation which will run for six months after the implementation of the new LTNs. We encourage you to add your comments.
Please also discuss these with your neighbours and community to understand each other’s points of view and explore ways to improve the schemes. Our streets belong to all of us.