Low Traffic Neighbourhood trials suspended

Published: Friday, September 11, 2020

Wandsworth Council is to suspend its Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trials following a high level review.

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The LTN trials were introduced last month to make residential streets more bike and pedestrian friendly and to deter rat run traffic.

They were part of a series of measures introduced as part of the COVID response by freeing up additional space on the highway in support of social distancing and to promote alternative forms of travel as people gradually return to work.

The trials also supported the council’s ambition of combating climate change by encouraging people to use more sustainable forms of transport and tackling air quality.

However an initial review of the trials has identified concerns with emergency access and traffic flows. And this has been compounded by additional changes that Transport for London (TfL) is making to red route roads in the borough.

These include significant interventions on the A24 (Balham High Road to Tooting High Street and beyond) including moving bus stops, installing cycle lane segregation, banning turns at a number of junctions and removing parking.

The scale of these A24 changes coinciding with the council’s efforts to establish LTNs on residential streets has caused confusion and long traffic queues.

Additionally, concerns around rising COVID rates and reduced capacity on public transport has meant that alternative travel options are limited for many people at this time.

In light of these initial trial findings the council has decided to suspend the LTN trials.

Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation, Cllr John Locker said: “We have monitored the traffic flows and listened to feedback from residents and businesses. We have also spoken to our partners including local hospitals and key services to hear the impact on them.

“It is clear that the LTNs are not delivering the benefits we want to see. In fact it looks like the combination of changes in areas like Tooting, where TfL are making changes to the main high road, are unfortunately having the opposite effect. That is why we have taken the difficult decision to pause and re-think about how we can achieve our objective of delivering healthier, safer streets.”

He added: “We all want to do what is right environmentally, whilst maintaining people’s ability to travel and making sure town centres and high streets function properly. It’s important that we listen to what people are saying so that we get this right.”

The Council will continue to review the impact of TfL’s road changes to the A24 in Balham and Tooting to see if the issues improve over the coming weeks.