Cameras will soon replace planters in enforcing low traffic restrictions in Upper Norwood and Crystal Place.
The areas’ Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) Streetspace scheme will also be adjusted to give permits for staff at Cypress Primary School and Harris City Academy, and to allow access for people who have a disability badge.
Certain vehicles such as taxis, special education vehicles and emergency vehicles will also be allowed access.
The decision was announced on February 24 by Councillor Muhammed Ali, cabinet member of sustainable Croydon.
He said the current LTN would be changed to fit the recommendations asked to be made by residents. The changes will also resolve issues that were brought up in the January council meeting that included access to Auckland surgery. The access will be made possible by relocating the current bus gate location and adding two extra disabled parking areas.
Ali said in a statement: “This is a balanced approach that allows us to reach our goal of encouraging more cycling making streets safer and reducing the number of unnecessary car journeys.”
The decision was made nine days after the Traffic management advisory committee met on February 15 to discuss the future of the Auckland road, Sylvan Hill, Stambourne Way, Fox Hill and Lancaster Road.
Planters will be removed from these areas and will be replaced by camera enforced closures that will allow local residents, as well as listed vehicles, access into the streets.
“They should be places that are for communities not just for the convenience of a metal box”Councillor Paul Scott
During the meeting Councillor Paul Scott said: “We are facing a climate change emergency… meaning people will have to make changes to the way they travel and the amount of carbon footprint they create.”
‘Sick of choking on fumes’
LTNs are oftentimes used to clean up the air in certain areas. Scott said: “Those are the streets kids should be able to play, they should be places that are for communities not just for the convenience of a metal box.”
The LTN was first introduced in the spring of 2020 after residents of Auckland Road and Lancaster Road found that their areas had a high volume of vehicle usage as well as seeing an increased number of children playing and cycling during the first lockdown.
Regardless of the environmental factor some councillors still have their reservations about the plans.
Conservative Councillor Luke Clancy talked about how an LTN in one neighbourhood may affect neighbouring areas, also known as ‘triangle residents’ He said: “Triangle residents are sick of chocking on fumes.”
Church road, Anerley Hill and South Norwood Hill are said to be left in gridlocked hell as traffic outside their properties have increased.
Clancy said: “Scheme has just created winners and losers in terms of health outcomes.”
The idea of closing roads to benefit both the residents and the environment has been met with conflicting responses.
A few believe closing roads will cause more harm than good. A Facebook Group called London Is Closing uses its platform to record and document the road closures all around London. The group’s mission statement reads “Recording London’s demise, Road by Road, Bridge by Bridge.”
‘Doing more harm than good’
Some other residents also used Facebook to air their concerns about the LTN in Crystal Palace.
On an article regarding the removal of planters published to Facebook, various users took to the comments to voice their grievances and thoughts on the matter.
One user, Lynn Wilson said: “I kept saying that if everyone kept protesting they would replace with cameras so they could make some money.”
Among the other commenters against the LTN was Rita Bennet who said: “[We] need them all removing, bloody stupid idea whoever came up with this plan.”
Others tried to reason with the decision. Sonia Kingstree said: “I know it’s frustrating to have roads closed but we need to do something about pollution for all our sakes.”
In a post made by Politician for Croydon and Sutton, Neil Garratt discussed how many people felt bullied when publicly agreeing with the LTN. One commenter, Peter Mead, agreed with Garratt’s statement. Mead said: “I totally agree. Far too many supporters feel that they can’t speak out in favour for fear of personal attack and being harassed and trolled.”
The online responses regarding the LTN in Crystal palace, as well as LTNs in general, were met with calls for roads to reopen and opinions that the moving of traffic concentration is doing more harm than good.
To watch the full council meeting or to find out more about the LTNs in the area, check out the Croydon Council’s website