Rebuilding a greener Hackney: town centres could close to through-traffic
Two of Hackney’s main shopping areas could be closed to through-traffic to support people to walk, shop and cycle as public transport capacity remains low and social distancing measures continue - under further radical transport plans being considered by Hackney Council’s Cabinet this month.
The proposed measures could, subject to funding bids, see traffic filters - a type of road closure, where only buses, cyclists and pedestrians can pass through - introduced on Amhurst Road in Hackney Central and on Stoke Newington Church Street.
Each filter would continue to allow motor vehicle access to homes and businesses, but would restrict the through-traffic that causes pollution and congestion on each road.
The proposals are part of the Council’s radical plan to rebuild a greener Hackney in the wake of the pandemic, securing some of the benefits - like cleaner air, less traffic and higher levels of walking and cycling - that lockdown brought to the capital.
Proposals for each scheme are currently being developed. More information will be shared with local residents and businesses subject to the outcome of applications for funding to Transport for London for Stoke Newington Church Street, and a future funding application for Hackney Central.
Further plans being considered by Cabinet also include a significant expansion of cycle training, new protected cycle lanes on Green Lanes, Queensbridge Road and Seven Sisters Road, and expansion of cycle parking across the borough - including a 300-space hub in Shoreditch.
They build on the expansion of School Streets to almost all primaries in the borough, three new low traffic neighbourhoods in Hackney Downs, Hoxton West and London Fields, and a further 15 traffic filters to create greener, cleaner streets across the borough.
Our plans to rebuild a greener Hackney - through quieter, safer streets, new protected cycle lanes and cycle parking and expanded cycle training schemes - will support people who would normally take the bus or train to walk and cycle instead, especially as capacity on local buses remains at only 40% of pre-lockdown levels.
In doing so, we can help secure the kind of city we witnessed during lockdown, with cleaner air, less traffic and higher levels of walking and cycling.
If just a fraction of people who used to use public transport return to their cars, it will exacerbate the air quality and road safety crisis we already had before lockdown, and prevent the 70% of Hackney residents who don’t own a car from getting around safely. These plans are aimed at reducing this clear danger, and creating a better Hackney for everyone.
If funding is successful for the measures in Hackney Central and Stoke Newington:
- Residents and businesses on each road will still be able to access their properties by motor vehicle, which may be via a different route
- Local buses will be able to pass through the filters, improving journey times for the local residents who use them
- The Council will work with businesses to ensure any impact to deliveries and servicing is minimised.
In line with guidance from the Department for Transport, on-street measures will be implemented under experimental traffic orders, which give residents an opportunity to have their say on how measures work in practice before any decision is made on whether or not to make them permanent.
Department for Transport guidance states that: ‘The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.’
Transport for London has also issued guidance to local authorities in their Streetspace for London plan, which has three main objectives: reallocation of road space, delivery of strategic cycle routes and low traffic neighbourhoods.
Residents can read more about plans to rebuild a greener Hackney at https://rebuildingagreenerhackney.commonplace.is/.
To read the Cabinet Report, visit: http://mginternet.hackney.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=111&MId=4913 or click here to read the Emergency Transport Plan.