Tower Hamlets campaigners join call to increase low traffic neighbourhoods

Better Streets for Tower Hamlets has backed a national call for more low traffic neighbourhoods. Pic

Better Streets for Tower Hamlets has backed a national call for more low traffic neighbourhoods. Picture: Rob Andari - Credit: Archant

A campaign group has backed calls for town hall leaders to do more to roll out low traffic neighbourhoods.

Better Streets for Tower Hamlets is one of 132 organisations from across the country which want to see safer routes for walking and cycling as well as an end to toxic air.

A spokesperson said: “We hope this is just the start of a national transformation which favours walking and cycling.”

Low traffic neighbourhood schemes are designed to limit traffic in residential areas.

Tower Hamlets has introduced its own Liveable Streets programme with two schemes focused around streets in Bethnal Green and Barkantine.

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The national statement reads: “Now more than ever we need safe and spacious routes for walking and cycling to stop the air and noise pollution, and danger that traffic inflicts on our neighbourhoods.

“That’s why we welcome the leadership of councils who are working tirelessly to make sure changes to streetspace aren’t lost as life returns to normal. We hope this is just the beginning of an ambitious plan to transform our streets for the better.”

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Eleanor Matthews, from Bow, said: “Low traffic neighbourhoods are so important in a place like Tower Hamlets where 70 per cent of people don’t have access to cars.

“I love that the council has started to make it safer, faster and more comfortable to walk, scoot, cycle or skate.”

Rob Andari, from Bethnal Green, added: “Although still a work in progress, the road closure in Old Bethnal Green Road has already had a huge impact on improving air quality, noise levels and bringing the community together.

“We can’t wait for it to be completed.”

Low traffic neighbourhoods see bollards or planters blocking routes to stop traffic using streets as rat runs. Residents, deliveries, disabled or elderly people, emergency services and bin collections should still have access.

However, proposed schemes in the East End have seen opposition from some who say measures to curb traffic could hit trade, push through traffic to other areas and create gridlock.

But active travel received a £2billion boost from the government in July with councils invited to bid for a share to fund schemes. Tower Hamlets had plans for at least 17 projects prior to the pandemic.

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