No decision yet on Liveable Streets scheme, mayor says

3:45 PM September 29, 2022

No decision has been made on scrapping the Liveable Streets traffic schemes with the council still going through thousands of resident responses, mayor Lutfur Rahman has said.

The programme saw new street layouts introduced in Bethnal Green, Brick Lane and Wapping for residents to get around easier by foot, bike or public transport.

But the council launched a review with the aim of reopening roads and removing elements of the scheme which “restrict traffic movement”.

It set up an online survey for residents to give their views and Mr Rahman told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (September 28) the authority is going through thousands of responses.

He said: “Once we have considered these surveys, we intend to consider what further information or consultation is required to enable us to reach a carefully considered decision in respect of the restrictions currently in place.”

In a statement, Mr Rahman told the meeting that removing the road closures was a “central pledge” of Aspire’s manifesto at the May local elections.

“These closures have impacted thousands of working people in Tower Hamlets from delivery drivers to taxis and small businesses, carers and people with appointments across the borough,” he said.

However, 3,094 people have signed a petition calling on the mayor to halt plans to rip up the programme.

One Liveable Streets scheme in Bow has already been reversed and reopened to all traffic in July.

In his statement, the mayor argued: “[The scheme has] pushed huge amounts of traffic onto roads, often in the poorest parts of the borough and are simply moving congestion and pollution onto the most vulnerable residents.”

Simon Ramsay, headteacher of Oaklands School in Old Bethnal Green Road, who created the petition, said he was disappointed to hear the mayor repeat “unproven claims” regarding the negative impact of the traffic scheme.

He said: “Our petition, signed by over 3,000 locals, asked him to take the time to listen. He says that he will, and we hope this means he will truly take all views on board.”

Mr Ramsay is hoping his petition will be debated in full at the next council meeting on Wednesday, October 5.

Mr Rahman said the council will provide an update on Liveable Streets “in due course”.

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