Update: see the results of the Council’s recent engagement for the Low Traffic Neighbourhood
What’s the problem?
In short, there is a large amount of through-traffic that cuts through the Estate instead of using the main periphery roads as it should do. This creates danger, noise and pollution on roads that were not designed for that volume of traffic. A driver is twice as likely to kill or seriously injure a child walking on residential streets than on main roads, and three times more likely to kill or seriously injure a child on a bicycle. The Council’s recently commissioned traffic survey shows the extent of the problem:
What’s the solution?
Whilst many have attempted to find solutions, from traffic calming to elaborate numberplate recognition systems, we believe there is only one achievable and realistic solution which is to create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood. These allow vehicular access to the whole area, but not through it. Whilst they have been seen to become controversial in some areas of London, this seems to mainly stem around people’s aversion to change, as all the evidence shows that they are extremely effective at little expense, and they generally become very popular over time.
The Council’s scheme
The Council recently proposed a Low Traffic Neighbourhood for the Hyde Park Estate. On the whole it was a well-designed scheme, dealing very effectively with the problem. Sadly, despite having widespread support, there was a great deal of hysteria and misinformation around it and the Council chose not to proceed with it as, in their words, “there is not a consensus in support of the proposed scheme”. This comes as no surprise: what bold traffic scheme anywhere has ever met with 100% approval – or anything like consensus – especially at such an early stage? Most concerns seemed to revolve around unsubstantiated claims of gridlocked periphery roads and alleged new rat-runs, despite there being no objective evidence of these happening. Proceeding to a trial would have enabled residents to see whether any of these actually happened. Certainly in other areas of London there have been similar concerns, yet, as a general rule, once a scheme has been implemented and has been allowed to bed-in they become significantly more popular.
On the basis of the recent engagement, the Council has acknowledged that “there is a problem with rat running through the Hyde Park Estate area”. We have been told that they are currently looking at other options to deal with the problem. HyPER demands that any new proposals deal with the problem as effectively as the previous proposals. We look forward to engaging positively with the Council on these and discussing them with you in due course.