Road Closures Update
We have had a reply from our enquiry. Please see below.
Useful contacts if you'd like to take things further are:
Dear Cllr Peters and Lisa First of all, please accept my apologies for the slow response which is a consequence of the amount of correspondence the Council has been receiving. I have copied your original emails below for ease. I confirm that at the present time, Blue Badge holders are not exempted from passing through the traffic filters and there are no immediate plans to change this. It may be helpful to go back a step and look at what we're trying to achieve, which are neighbourhoods that are less dominated by cars, that allow for people to social distance and that reduce the impacts of poor driver behaviour such as speeding through the areas. To do this we are introducing the schemes on an experimental basis to effectively 'cut' local areas so that drivers can enter them, but cannot travel through them. As access is not prevented to properties, people who need to drive can still continue to do so. We acknowledge that this means that some people will have to change their direction of travel and that some journeys by alternative routes may take slightly longer, but believe this is a relatively small disbenefit, compared to the wider benefits of a much quieter area with improved air quality in the local area, that will result from the scheme. For information TfL research shows that the main modes of transport used by Londoners with disabilities at least once a week are walking (78%) and buses (55%), followed by cars as a passenger (44%) and as a driver (24%). It is therefore incredibly important that we support Hackney’s residents - 70% of whom do not own a car - to walk and cycle. This helps to prioritise public transport, especially buses, which are running at low capacity to promote social distancing, for those who need it. It is also the case that, during the 'settling period' (and based on experience) it is likely that many drivers ignore the signs in the first few weeks. This does not mean the scheme is not working, it appears to be a consequence of either drivers not seeing new signs when they travel a route regularly, or of those drivers not believing the signs until they come up to the actual filters themselves. We are already seeing signs of some of the initial congestion levels reducing in some locations, although we do not know at this time if people are changing their ways of travelling, routes, or times. We will therefore be carrying out sets of traffic surveys after the school half-term period and again after approximately six months, to understand exactly what is happening. This information will help to inform any decisions, along with feedback from residents, about whether the schemes should be made permanent, modified or removed. However we do need to effectively let the experiment 'run its course' unless something comes up that is clearly a safety issue or similar. I appreciate that this is not the answer you would like at the moment, but can assure you that your request for Blue Badge Holders to be exempted from the restrictions has been logged and will be fully considered as part of the review of the schemes.
Regards Kate Kate HartProject Manager, Design and Engineering