By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter
Lewisham council has set out changes to its first low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) to help relieve traffic congestion in neighbouring areas.
The changes include allowing vehicles, except HGVs, through the camera-enforced barrier in Manor Lane and adjusting the existing cameras in Ennersdale Road and Dermody Road to allow vehicles to travel one-way west to east.
It’s also likely that Blue Badge holders will be able to register with the council and drive past cameras without being fined.
The Lewisham and Lee Green LTN, a set of road barriers which aim to reduce through-traffic, was brought in under Covid-19 emergency transport measures and has received mixed feedback.
The scheme aims to promote active travel such as cycling, walking and public transport, while reducing air pollution, which many residents support.
However, traffic has been displaced into roads outside of the LTN, leaving people concerned about road safety and increased air pollution.
It emerged recently that traffic congestion outside central London in September was “regularly at 150 per cent or more than in 2019”.
The council says the congestion in the South Circular is not caused by but added to by the LTN, but that either way the situation needed to be “urgently” addressed.
In a statement on Friday the council said: “Coronavirus has not only led to a reduction in capacity on public transport, but many people are still wary of using buses and trains, which has meant there are more vehicles than expected on the main roads around the LTN.
“Having observed the increasing traffic levels and increased bus journey times, short-term changes are needed to ease traffic congestion on key junctions such as Hither Green Lane and the South Circular.”
The changes, set to come into effect from November 9, include:
- In Manor Lane, the existing camera will be adjusted to allow vehicles to pass through in both directions, except heavy goods vehicles
- In Manor Park, the existing camera will be adjusted to allow vehicles to travel northbound (towards Lee High Road). The camera will continue to enforce vehicles who try to travel southbound
- The existing cameras in Ennersdale Road and Dermody Road will be adjusted to allow vehicles to travel one-way west to east (from Hither Green towards Lee Green). The camera will continue to enforce vehicles who try to travel east to west (from Lee Green towards Hither Green)
- In Leahurst Road, a physical barrier will be moved to allow vehicles to travel west to east (from Hither Green towards Lee Green). A new camera will enforce this. A physical barrier will remain in place that will prevent vehicles travelling east to west (from Lee Green towards Hither Green).
The council will work with local schools to implement School Streets in the LTN as soon as possible, which will mean timed closures of some individual streets to coincide with drop off and pick up times.
The council is also considering longer-term changes for the Hither Green and Catford area in January 2021, which include a camera in Hither Green Lane to “permit two-way traffic to vehicles excluding HGVs and further cameras and width restrictions on other key routes, again excluding HGVs”.
The council intends to share ideas with residents on these measures in an online information session on October 22.
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