Plans have been announced across Lambeth and other London Boroughs to implement temporary road safety measures to help people keep safe on the streets whilst social distancing during the coronavirus crisis. The Mayor of London and the Government have been asking people to avoid using public transport where they can in order to allow us to control the spread of coronavirus and support the sacrifices many have made over the last few months. These road safety measures include the possible creation of a low traffic neighbourhood for the area around Tulse Hill Ward should the Government release the funding needed for it after they froze the money given to Transport for London.
Alongside pavement widening on Brixton Water Lane, another emergency local intervention that has been put in place is a temporary road closure on St Matthew’s Road. Connecting Brixton Water Lane with the one way system around St Matthew’s Church – St Matthew’s Road is regularly used as a rat-run by some drivers hoping they can avoid Brixton Hill or Effra Road. With the majority of local residents not owning a car, during rush hour 75-100% of the traffic along the road is non-local traffic, despite it linking the same two places as the main roads on either side of the St Matthew’s Estate. This rat-running traffic often consists of speeding cars and vans that put the local cyclists and pedestrians who also use the road in danger. Closing the road half way down removes the rat-running/reduces speeding and is an important way to make sure that people are able to keep safe whilst social distancing.
Because this intervention, like the pavement widening on Brixton Water Lane, is an emergency and temporary scheme the Government has not required there to be a statutory consultation. We would like to reassure those who have concerns that any permanent change will still require the full range of statutory consultations under road traffic legislation. Furthermore, to ensure the emergency services can continue to reach people, the temporary road closure includes space for them to get through. However, this open section is being enforced by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and fines will be issued to non-emergency service vehicles which use it.
In the long term, low traffic neighbourhoods have a key role in helping us make our streets more enjoyable for everyone, can help reduce serious injury and death on the roads and will make a huge change in the air quality of our area as we all work together to tackle the climate crisis. You can have your say on ideas for a low traffic neighbourhood for the Tulse Hill Ward area by clicking here and adding your comments about what you want to see implemented.