New low-traffic neighbourhood launched in Hackney

There has been a bitter war in the borough over the installation of low-traffic neighbourhoods.

A controversial new low-traffic neighbourhood was brought into force in Hackney today.

The scheme will limit the access of motor vehicles in parts of Stoke Newington during certain times.

It is the latest LTN created in Hackney since the pandemic began, joining 20 others across the borough.

The latest LTN means a bus gate outside the Red Lion on Stoke Newington Church Street will operate from 7am to 7pm.

The road will be open to buses, blue badge holders, cyclists, and waste and emergency vehicles.

Hackney Council said homes and businesses in the area will remain accessible by car, van or lorry.

Hackney councillors including Cllr Mete Coban, sixth from right, and Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville, centre, unveil new Stoke Newington LTN. Credit: Mete Coban

Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney’s cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and the public realm, said: “This new low traffic neighbourhood will transform Stoke Newington by drastically reducing polluting traffic in the area, and encouraging more of us to walk, shop and cycle locally.”

He said there might be some disruption whilst motorists get used to the new rules.

The Twitter account of Stoke Newington LTN said: “We need to be patient and give people time to adjust and the benefits will emerge over the months after it starts.”

Shopper Suzy Owen, who cycles and drives, said she was in favour: “The pollution in London is horrendous. We have got such good public transport and we should use that.”

She thought the LTN would “definitely” improve things for cyclists.

Another cyclist said he was all in favour and the LTN would make getting around more pleasant.

Florist Oya Adem is against the LTN. Credit: LDRS

Florist Oya Adem was not so sure. She runs the Green Roof Café and said: “I do not know how I am going to get my deliveries in. I’m concerned about Christmas time when I have articulated lorries bringing trees.”

She added: “I think it will kill the midweek trade. We rely on people driving past, spotting us and stopping.”

Premier Cars manager Ikky Cam also feared that businesses would lose out.

He said he thought the LTN would “push cars towards the north of the street, creating more traffic and more pollution”, and warned that journeys will also take longer.

Workers installing signs for a new low-traffic neighbourhood. Credit: LDRS

Resident Annie Johnston, 85, uses the taxi firm regularly but said the changes might mean she limits her trips out.

“I think there’s too much of an emphasis to get people walking or using bikes without thinking about people with mobility issues.”

A taxi journey in Stoke Newington which takes her five minutes is predicted to increase by 40 minutes.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods - which prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over cars - were rolled out during the coronavirus pandemic, to allow people to travel safely away from public transport.

Supporters say they are essential to tackling pollution and climate change, by encouraging Londoners to take more sustainable transport.

People can share their views with Hackney Council.