Hackney Downs low traffic neighbourhood

The trial

In June 2020, we introduced a trial low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in Hackney Downs to: 

  • create cleaner, quieter streets
  • support people to walk, shop and cycle
  • rebuild greener after the pandemic 

Six traffic filters (planters in the road that allow only cyclists, waste and emergency vehicles to pass through) were introduced on Benthal Road, Maury Road, Narford Road, Powell Road, Reighton Road and the Brooke Road/Evering Road junction. A bus gate that allows buses, cyclists, waste and emergency vehicles to pass through was introduced on Downs Road. 

Traffic and air quality analysis overview

Analysis of traffic, air quality and bus speeds data following the LTN’s introduction shows that:

  • traffic was down by 40% inside the LTN
  • there was no significant change in the total number of vehicles on boundary roads, but the average percentage increase on boundary roads was 7%. This is because there were significant rises on a few roads, which we are addressing. Read more about this below. 
  • air quality is predicted to have improved at 84 of 118 modelled locations in the area. At the locations where there increases in pollution, none exceeded national air quality objectives. 
  • average bus speeds in the area have decreased slightly: from 10mph in 2019 to 9.7mph in 2021. 

We have also carried out a comprehensive equalities impact assessment, looking at the impact of the low traffic neighbourhood on groups with protected characteristics, such as race, gender or disability. 

See Hackney Downs LTN air quality modelling study (PDF 6.2mb)

See Hackney Downs LTN traffic movement analysis (PDF 8.1mb)

Keeping the low traffic neighbourhood

We have considered the comments made by residents alongside the traffic, bus speeds and air quality data. While traffic and air quality has improved overall in the area, we have heard concerns about some roads in the area, including Northwold Road.

Considering all of this information, alongside our wider commitment to increasing walking and cycling and tackling climate change, we have made the decision to make the scheme permanent, with some important next steps: 

Northwold road changes

We are developing proposals to mitigate increases in traffic on Northwold Road, and will be consulting with Northwold Road residents on these measures. These could range from a width restriction to restrict heavy goods vehicle access, a major contributor to pollution levels, to a new traffic filter on Northwold Road.

Blue badge access

Following feedback received during the engagement period about access for residents with disabilities, blue badge holders will be able to register a vehicle to be able to drive through the Downs Road bus gate. The exemption started from 21 February.

You can register for a blue badge exemption by visiting Blue Badges.

Further changes

During the engagement period, some residents asked that restrictions be added or removed on some roads, such as Benthal Road, Jenner Road, Queensdown Road and Cricketfield Road. We are investigating the issues, and will develop options with local residents, consult on those options and then implement further changes if approved. Monitoring of the traffic flows and air quality in the LTN area will continue throughout this period.

We will now seek funding to replace the planters by the filters with permanent features to enhance the look and feel of the area. 

We will continue to monitor the effects of the LTN and listen to feedback about the scheme. You can email comments to streetscene.enquiries@hackney.gov.uk

Full decision report and equalities impact assessment

You can read our full decision report and equalities impact assessment below: 

Commonplace responses

Throughout the trial, the Council encouraged people to respond to its Commonplace page, which was used to identify issues with the LTN and make changes where appropriate. 

  • 4139 responses were received on our Commonplace page
  • Local postcodes (N16 and E5) accounted for 74% of responses that provided a postcode.
  • People who use a car or van were overrepresented in the overall results. 66% said they use a motor vehicle to get around, compared to car ownership rates in Hackney Downs LTN of 29.8%. 
  • Overall, 35% of Commonplace responses wanted all or some of the filters to be made permanent, with 64% saying none should be made permanent. 
  • In the local area:
    • 41% of respondents from N16 wanted to make all or some of the measures permanent
    • 37% of respondents from E5 wanted to make all or some of the measures permanent. 
  • Among people who do not use a car or van to get around, 64% wanted all or some of the LTN to be made permanent. 

The top two concerns raised in resident responses were increased traffic and air pollution, which is why the Council has completed comprehensive monitoring of the scheme before making a decision on whether or not to make it permanent. 

Full traffic and air quality analysis 

The tables below compare traffic counts taken in July 2021 and November 2020 with the last available comparable count before the pandemic. Each traffic count is a daily average. 

Some counts are listed as not available either because there is no comparable pre-implementation count or because they were out of action or vandalised when monitoring took place. 

While there are average % increases on boundary roads, we have also calculated the total number of vehicles using boundary roads, which has not changed significantly.

Air quality

We commissioned an external consultancy, AECOM, to undertake air quality modelling to determine any potential impacts, both positive and negative, that the implementation of the Hackney Downs LTN may have had on air pollutant levels both within the scheme areas and on the boundary roads. The air quality modelling considered changes to the annual mean concentrations of the air pollutants (NO2) and particulate matter. 

The dispersion modelling uses complex computer software to estimate the levels both within the scheme in place and without, in order to allow comparisons to be made. 

The Hackney Downs low traffic neighbourhood is predicted to have decreased nitrogen dioxide concentrations at 84 of the 118 modelled locations, with 34 locations showing an increase. None of these locations had nitrogen dioxide concentrations that exceeded national air quality objectives.

Page updated on: 21 November 2023