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Car traffic down by almost two thirds inside one south London low traffic neighbourhood

Railton LTN in Lambeth also sees goods vehicle traffic slashed in half

Lambeth Council says that a low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) centred on Railton Road between Herne Hill and Brixton has seen car traffic fall by almost two thirds and goods vehicle traffic slashed in half on roads within it, as well as a big increase in cycling, according to independent monitoring.

The LTN was introduced in June as part of Lambeth Council’s emergency transport response to the coronavirus pandemic.

An independent traffic assessment was conducted over a seven-day period during October, comparing traffic levels then with a baseline that was calculated using data from previous years and also taking into account background traffic data for the wide London network.

Describing the findings as “startling,” the council said that there had been an overall reduction in traffic of 27 per cent across the area as a whole.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest falls in motor traffic were found on streets within the LTN itself, with one of the chief goals of such initiatives being to prevent rat-running drivers from taking short cuts through residential areas.

Car traffic on those streets fell by 62 per cent, while goods vehicle traffic was down by 51 per cent.

There was also a reduction in car traffic on roads on the boundary of the LTN, down 18 per cent on Effra Road, 14 per cent on Milkwood Road, and 9 per cent on Dulwich Road, although an increase of 6 per cent was found on Coldharbour Lane.

Meanwhile, levels of cycling rose by 36 per cent in the area monitored, including rises of 74 per cent on Shakespeare Road and 50 per cent on Railton Road.

According to the council, “the traffic assessments have shown that some improvements to the scheme are needed to ensure that it is a fully functioning low traffic neighbourhood.”

It said that the following changes will be implemented next month:

Adding no entry restrictions into Trelawn Road from Effra Road

Adding no entry restrictions on Rattray Road and Dalberg Road at their junctions with Jelf Road, meaning motor vehicles cannot travel southbound.

Improvements to the signal phasing of the Coldharbour Lane /Atlantic Road junction to improve traffic flows along Coldharbour Lane.

Lambeth Council added that it will shortly bring in an experimental traffic order to replace the existing temporary traffic order for the LTN and that a second review, including a further and analysis of air quality, will take place later in 2021.

> 130 groups unite in open letter supporting Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

“Prior to any decision on whether the low traffic neighbourhood will be made permanent or not, the council will conduct a public consultation to gather feedback, which will be considered alongside the available data collected,” the council added.

LTNs have been opposed by a small but vocal minority in a number of boroughs in London and in towns and cities elsewhere that have introduced them, and there have been instances of planters used to block off streets being moved or even vandalised.

> Oil poured on roads and vandalism as protests against low-traffic neighbourhoods turn nasty

However, the government has repeatedly given its backing to them, including rejecting a petition calling on it to scrap emergency active travel funding for them.

> Government backs Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and cycleways in reply to petition calling for withdrawal of funding

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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