Whichever way you feel about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), the opening day for the newest attempt to reduce car usage in Streatham was a disaster.
Traffic built up for at least a mile in Streatham High Street, a major artery in and out of the city, causing chaos, delay, and pollution.
The LTN was not helped by repair works needed to a pipe in Leigham Court Road, a road which would have been an exit option for those driving around the LTNs.
Whichever way you slice it, pollution has to be reduced, thousands of people die in London each year because of it.
Lambeth council has the unenviable task of reducing car usage in its neighbourhoods, something that must be done to cut pollution levels that regularly exceed World Health Organisation legal limits.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in theory are a good solution. But this week was not the best advert for it.
What rankles residents is the lack of adequate evidence around how the decision to implement the LTN was made by the council.
Community organisation Streatham Action Group said they have been asking for data from the council for months on a nearby LTN established in 2020 to help them understand the newest LTN, but the council have ignored them.
The latest data available from that LTN showed there had initially been a 26 per cent increase in traffic in the surrounding area. A traffic reducing scheme should not create more traffic elsewhere.
If Lambeth council want people to stop pitting themselves against each other, as they say they do, they should let the people who live in the communities decide what happens there.
There are a range of alternatives which council officers have scoured over before deciding on a LTN, which everyone should be allowed to see and have their say.
Action needs to be taken on pollution levels, and Lambeth is right to take that action. But they need to take everyone with them on the journey to a decision.
South London Press
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