The London Borough of Hackney is closing a number of roads using Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs). These do not require any consultation before being put into effect; you can only comment later. The roads affected immediately are Ashenden Road, Gore Road, Meeson Street, Ufton Road and Barnabas Road.
Councillor Jon Burke is the Cabinet Member on the Council responsible for these moves. When I complained on Twitter about these closures and the lack of consultation, he responded “We consult local residents, not the rat-runners”. Clearly Councillor Burke has no clear idea on how democracy should work. Calling people who use vehicles “rats” is abusive and it is wrong to ignore the general public but just listen to a few people. And in reality most of the people using these roads will be local residents.
This unfortunately is the kind of thing that is happening of late in some London boroughs (Lewisham is another example), where the Covid-19 epidemic is being used as an excuse to close roads. Local democracy is being undermined by claims of expediency. Road closures do not help with social distancing. They also create more traffic congestion and longer journey times. It’s basically just an excuse to pander to the wishes of cyclists as these are closures using “modal filters” that still allow cyclists. The ABD believes that all roads should be shared by different users, not closed to vehicle traffic.
The danger is that Experimental Traffic Orders can easily be turned into Permanent ones. The ABD is generally opposed to road closures as they damage the road network. We have submitted objections to these closures which you can also do by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – quote Traffic Order Numbers TT1420 and TT1421.
Note that all Traffic Orders need to be published in The Gazette (see https://www.thegazette.co.uk/ ) where all official notices appear. To search for notices from any London Borough use the search function to search for the boroughs name, e.g. “London Borough of Hackney”).
You could also send comments to Jon Burke. His email address is Jon.Burke@Hackney.gov.uk and his Twitter account is @jonburkeUK .
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Transport for London (TfL) have launched a public consultation on extensive changes to roads in East London including Burdett Road, and other roads to introduce a “Cycleway” between Hackney and the Isle of Dogs.
Like the previous article on changes in West London, these proposals are part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy guided by the “Healthy Streets Approach” and aim to encourage more walking and cycling specifically. One of the key changes is more segregated cycle lanes and reduction in road space for other traffic.
For example, on Burdett Road (which is the A1205 and a key part of the London road network) the speed limit will be reduced to 20 mph and parking bays removed on one side of the road. See artists impression published by TfL above of how it will look near Bow Common Lane – the usual over-optimistic view of traffic conditions.
The roads concerned would be improved for pedestrians and cyclists but the traffic modelling undertaken by TfL demonstrates that the proposed changes will substantially increase journey times for vehicles on these roads, as with all such schemes. As is now normal with TfL consultations, there is no cost provided for the scheme and no cost/benefit analysis, but other sources suggest it will cost £50 million. To repeat what I said recently on the West London scheme: Is it any wonder Mayor Sadiq Khan is short of money when he spends that amount on relatively minor improvements to these roads that will benefit very few people.
The ABD has consistently opposed schemes that favour cyclists over other road users and result in the latter (even bus users) having increased journey times. We have already responded to the public consultation on this scheme but readers should please do the same which is very easy to do via an on-line consultation form available from here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/hackney-to-isle-of-dogs/ . You need to respond a.s.a.p. and before the 21st June at the latest.
The London Borough of Hackney has provided another example of how councils are extracting cash from motorists by putting in timed road closures. Other examples were in Croydon around schools and in the City of London at Bank Junction – covered in previous blog posts. In Hackney it is the banning of a left turn off Mare Street into Richmond Road but only during busy times of day. Many drivers have failed to notice the signs and the result has been that 6,500 fines were issued in one month. More information available from the Hackney Gazette here: http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/hackney-council-issues-6-500-fines-in-one-month-to-drivers-after-mare-street-left-turn-ban-1-5646504
The intention was to reduce traffic past a school and reduce congestion, but such closures are a nightmare for drivers as Satnavs typically are not aware of the timing restrictions. The signs are very easy to miss.
Comment: I suggest that the Government needs to lay down some rules on such closures so as to stop this corruption of the road network. It is clearly a very strong financial incentive for councils to generate money in this way knowing how stretched their budgets are at present. One solution would be to legislate to ensure that councils could not retain the revenue from fines imposed by automated camera enforcement of such restrictions. In the meantime, local residents and drivers who get caught by such arrangements need to kick up a stink, and vote off the councillors who support such schemes.
Note that the ABD does make formal objections to such schemes when we become aware of them in London, but sometimes we do not know about them until it is too late. Please let us know if you discover plans for such schemes as soon as possible.
Transport for London are consulting on numerous road closures in Hackney, allegedly related to the Cycle Superhighway 1 (CS1) but in reality more likely to be in response to demands from local residents to remove traffic from some roads. Of course it won’t remove the traffic but simply move it onto other more congested roads or onto other roads where residents are less vociferous, i.e. it will move the misery elsewhere. These are typical examples of how the road network in London is continually being degraded by road closures to the disadvantage of residents and visitors under pressure from minority local groups who hate motor vehicles. It will mean most circuitous routes need to be followed to reach many properties.
The roads affected are in the Broadwater Road area, Wordsworth Road area and the De Beauvoir Road area. This is an example of one of the new junctions restricting vehicle movements but not cyclists of course on Broadwater Road:
You can make your objections by going to this web page for the Broadwater Road area here (where there are links to the other two consultations):
Not only will diesel car drivers be targeted by the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London, they will also find they are paying more to park on their local streets. The boroughs of Islington and Hackney are proposing higher permit parking charges for diesel vehicles – an extra £50 in Hackney and an extra £96 in Islington where they already have an emission based scale of charges. Islington is of course notoriously anti-car in all of its policies and this will impact 9,000 users of diesel vehicles in the borough.
Those who are unhappy should perhaps bear in mind that the Labour Party is currently in control of the Council but that has not always been so, with a long period of no overall control or other parties being dominant. Indeed Islington Council have a very useful web page that tells you how you can stand for election which is usually a good way to get the attention of existing councillors – it is here: http://www.islington.gov.uk/involved/involvedvoting/electionhow/Pages/default.aspx
Those who live in other boroughs should perhaps start to examine the stance of their local councillors on such matters so you know how to vote at election time. Democracy does have an impact if you take the time to use it.