Five roads to reopen after Covid shutdowns following residents’ complaints

Residents have complained of traffic being displaced (file picture) Pic: N Chadwick

Five roads closed to traffic under Lewisham Council’s traffic reduction scheme are to be partially reopened following complaints from residents.

These roads include Manor Lane, Manor Park, Ennersdale Road, Dermody Road and Leahurst Road.

School Streets, an initiative that will close streets within the zone around pick-up and drop-off times will also be added under the plans announced by Lewisham Council last week, which will come into force on 9 November.

The roads in question had been shut earlier this year as a part of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme, but as traffic began to flow again locals protested, saying it exposed poor and BAME communities to more traffic and air pollution because the council just moved the issue to another part of Lewisham.

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham said: “We remain absolutely committed to this Low Traffic Neighbourhood and the principles it set out to achieve. We have been listening to the concerns and issues raised – the positives and the negatives and it has become clear that it is time to make changes to the current scheme so we can address what the local community has told us.

“I hope that these changes will help to relieve some pressure on Hither Green Lane and key junctions with the South Circular.”

On their website, Lewisham 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 will include allowing vehicles to travel northbound of Manor Park and Ennersdale Road, Dermody Road and Leahurst Road will be adjusted to allow a one-way system going from Hither Green towards Lee Green and vehicles will be allowed to pass both ways on Manor Lane. 

Cameras will be monitoring all the changes listed above, as well as a physical barrier on Leahurst Green.

The council are also considering more permanent changes which would be put into effect in January 2021. This includes a camera on Hither Green Lane to permit two-way traffic and further cameras and width restrictions on other key routes. Both measure exclude heavy good vehicles.

In 2020 Lewisham council declared a climate emergency, and Lee Green Low Traffic Neighbourhood Scheme is one temporary step planned to address this. 

According to a report for the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), air pollution cost Londoners £1138 a year on average because of factors like premature death, medical treatment, lost working days and other health costs of pollutants. 

London borough Wandsworth Council has already scrapped the scheme because of concerns about access for emergency service vehicles and beliefs its having the opposite effects.

John Locker, the council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation, said: “It is clear that the LTNs are not delivering the benefits we want to see.

“That is why we have taken the difficult decision to pause and rethink about how we can achieve our objective of delivering healthier, safer streets.” he added.

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