Rebuilding a greener Hackney
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we all get around.
People are walking and cycling more, spending more time in their local area and drastically reducing the amount they travel by public transport.
This brought a number of benefits to the capital like cleaner air, less traffic, higher levels of active travel and quieter, more pleasant neighbourhoods.
However, there are also wider trends at play. Since 2013, there has been a significant rise in the number of car journeys in London, which has been replicated in Hackney, most of which has occurred on neighbourhood roads. We also know that around 40% of the borough’s traffic passes through without stopping.
We want to rebuild a greener Hackney that protects all of our communities from these rises in traffic, supports people to make healthier local journeys, prioritises public transport for those who need it, and creates cleaner, greener streets for everyone to enjoy.
- introduced new trial low traffic neighbourhoods in London Fields, Hackney Downs and Hoxton West, alongside new traffic filters at other locations
- introduced 32 new trial School Streets, with more to follow, helping over 14,000 children walk and cycle to school
- introduced new protected cycle lanes on Queensbridge Road and Green Lanes
In September, the Council’s Cabinet approved an emergency transport plan that outlines further plans it has over the coming months:
Have your say
Many of these schemes have now been in place for a number of months, and we want you to let us know what you think of them. We’re encouraging everyone to respond, whether you walk, cycle, take public transport or use a car to get around, and whether you live near a low traffic neighbourhood or School Street or not.
We want to make sure that views from all of Hackney’s diverse residents are heard and the impacts – both positive and negative – are considered before decisions are made on whether or not to make schemes permanent.
All measures are being introduced using experimental traffic orders for a maximum period of 18 months, which means you can have your say as they’re implemented, which we’ll take into account, alongside traffic monitoring, before deciding whether to make them permanent.
The feedback period for some smaller schemes will start to close from 31 May, so it’s important that you have your say.
Engagement on larger schemes will continue to run so residents have the opportunity to see how they operate as we emerge from lockdown.
We’ve written to all residents in the local area prior to implementation, outlining how they can have their say.
Why have you introduced new trial low traffic neighbourhoods and School Streets?
We implemented these changes to support people to walk, cycle and shop locally in the wake of the pandemic, helping to prioritise public transport for those who need it as bus capacity remains low.
Low traffic neighbourhoods in Hackney are not new. The first one was introduced in De Beauvoir in 1974. However, in the last ten years, there has been a significant rise in the number of car journeys on roads across London, which has been replicated in Hackney. We know that around 40% of the borough’s traffic passes through without stopping or providing any significant benefit to the borough.
Department for Transport data also shows that most of the rise in traffic in London has occurred on minor roads, due to the rise in use of sat nav apps.
Low traffic neighbourhoods and School Streets are important because they discourage through-traffic from using neighbourhood streets – where there are fewer pedestrian crossings and roads are less able to handle high volumes of traffic – and encourage people to switch local car journeys for walking and cycling. We know that not everyone can make this switch, which is why all addresses in low traffic neighbourhoods can still be accessed by car.
What happens next?
We are continuing to look at people’s comments and monitoring traffic on roads in and around new low traffic neighbourhoods. We want to make sure that all residents’ views are heard so you will still be able to have your say, and we will also commission independent polling of residents in the borough to make sure we are reaching a representative sample of residents.
We are also monitoring traffic levels in the borough – through analysis of Transport for London continuous traffic monitors, our own-monitoring at over 200 sites during one week periods in November and early summer, and by introducing our own network of fixed, real-time monitoring sites.
The Council will also be undertaking further air quality monitoring which will be used to help model the impacts of the schemes and aid with decision making on the schemes.
The Council will use all this information to make decisions on whether or not to make schemes permanent.
Commonplace engagement on some smaller schemes will start to close from 31 May, while engagement with residents on larger schemes with a bigger impact will continue for longer, to ensure that residents have the opportunity to continue to have their say as we emerge from lockdown.