4:50 PM July 15, 2022
Controversial low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are under review by Tower Hamlets’ new leaders.
The previous administration introduced the Liveable Streets programme to tackle congestion and air pollution and encourage residents to get around by foot, bike and public transport.
– Credit: LBTH
However, after backlash, Lutfur Rahman pledged to axe the schemes as part of his winning mayoral election campaign, and Tower Hamlets Council has now launched a consultation in order to review the restrictions in Bethnal Green, Bow, Brick Lane and Wapping.
The council will look at if congestion has been added to main roads, emergency vehicles have been impeded or vulnerable residents have found it difficult to access their streets.
A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: “One of the mayor’s key manifesto pledges ahead of the election was to reverse the Liveable Streets road closures due to a significant number of objections and concerns raised by residents, businesses and the emergency services.
“We are currently conducting consultations on schemes in Brick Lane, Bethnal Green and Wapping and have written to households in each area.”
Vincenzo Caputo, an architect from Bethnal Green, said: “Liveable Streets is the best thing that happened to the neighbourhood since I moved here.
“This single project achieved so much, such as a decrease of pollution, an increase of green areas, public spaces, pedestrian and cycle accessibility.”
A local mum and member of campaign group Save Our Streets Bethnal Green said she wants the council to come to a compromise with residents and keep the traffic limits.
“The neighbourhood is calmer, quieter and friendlier, with fewer cars using it as a cut-through,” she said, later adding: “There are many more useful ways to spend money than on the dismantling of public seating, planters and bike lanes.”
– Credit: Mike Brooke
Ashok Kumar, however, said he was “glad to see it’ll be dismantled”.
“I’m a cyclist and don’t even know how to drive,” he said. “I detest cars and think that climate change is the greatest threat we face.
“But the LTN simply pushed cars on the highly dense residential main roads…
“I support LTNs conceptually but the previous administration simply applied them with no strategy and the effects have been so bad I cannot breathe and have had to fill my house with air filters.
“As an asthmatic, the conditions here have gotten unliveable.”
View the consultation at https://talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/liveablestreets