Protests against Ealing’s traffic restrictions make national news

The protests in Ealing over the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were reported in the Express newspaper on Saturday, as hundreds of people marched to the town hall to object to the council’s plans.

Over the past few weeks there have been bollards and planters overturned and defaced; oil was poured along the road in an apparent attempt to handicap cyclists and council workers have been abused and threatened. According to a statement from Ealing Council, a number of people have been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Organisers of the protests, which have for the main part been peaceful, distanced themselves from the vandals – with one campaigner, Laura Begg, saying:

“It is not what the anti-LTN (low traffic neighbourhoods) group stands for – it doesn’t achieve anything removing the bollards as it doesn’t show the council the true build up of traffic”.

“It’s not a specific group of people doing it and it’s not an organised thing, it is just random acts by very angry people”.

Image above: protesters spray painted over one of the planters, a bollard was removed and oil was poured along the road (Source: Facebook)

On Saturday 12 September hundreds of protesters gathered, many with banners and placards objecting that the council was introducing traffic restrictions without any consultation.

‘Not fit for purpose’

The council says it has introduced a package of measures to reduce rat-running through residential streets, improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists and improve air quality.

Critics say the measures introduced have lead to increased to congestion on nearby main roads and could prevent emergency services vehicles from getting to their destinations. They insist they support the council’s aims of improving air quality, road safety and cutting traffic in the area, but claim the road scheme is not fit for purpose.

Resident Scott Jones said: “The LTNs have been deployed without consultation of residents.

“Ealing Council has stated that their actions have been in regard to ‘future’ rat-runs.

“Why then have they not published the data in regards to ‘future’ scenarios?

“Anecdotal and documented evidence via entities ranging from the London Ambulance Service to district nurses shows that key workers were unaware of these changes; changes that have been detrimental to their work in their duty of care.

“The lack of reasoning in conjunction with supporting data in the sudden changes is concerning to all”.

Images above: protestors with placards criticising council leader Julian Bell, more protestors 

Wandsworth Council to suspend their ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhood’

Wandsworth council has decided to suspend their Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures which were introduced over the summer.

The changes, they said, were part of a series of measures introduced to free up additional space on the highway to support social distancing and to promote alternative forms of travel as commuters return to work, but an initial review of the trials identified concerns with emergency access and traffic flows. The scale of the A24 changes, coinciding with the council’s efforts to establish Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on residential streets, had caused confusion and long traffic queues.

Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation, Councillor John Locker said:

“We have monitored the traffic flows and listened to feedback from residents and businesses. We have also spoken to our partners including local hospitals and key services to hear the impact on them.

“It is clear that the LTNs are not delivering the benefits we want to see. In fact it looks like the combination of changes in areas like Tooting, where TfL are making changes to the main high road, are unfortunately having the opposite effect. That is why we have taken the difficult decision to pause and re-think about how we can achieve our objective of delivering healthier, safer streets.

“We all want to do what is right environmentally, whilst maintaining people’s ability to travel and making sure town centres and high streets function properly. It’s important that we listen to what people are saying so that we get this right”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Councillors write to Transport Secretary protesting Chiswick’s traffic changes

See also: Fisher’s Lane traffic measures ‘will not be enforced’ by Ealing Council