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Conservative mayoral candidate for Hackney vows to ditch Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Oliver Hall says he would put a stop to new LTNs in the borough and consult residents about removing ones already in place, despite his pledge to make cycling “the norm” in Hackney

Hackney’s voters go to the polls on 5 May to elect the borough’s next mayor, and the Conservative party’s candidate hopes to prevent a Labour “coronation” by promising to scrap Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the area.

19-year-old Law student Oliver Hall says that he will, if elected, immediately put a stop to the introduction of new LTNs and will consult with residents about the removal of current ones. 

Hall, however, has also pledged to help make cycling and other environmentally sustainable forms of transport “the norm” in Hackney, a borough which currently has the highest levels of cycling in London.

While LTNs in London are nothing new, Hackney (in common with other boroughs across the capital) has used emergency active travel funding to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians during the pandemic.

With just 30 percent of Hackney households owning a car, LTNs have also become a major focus of the council’s attempt to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.

> Hackney Council collects £2.7 million from drivers who breached LTN rules 

As elsewhere, however, the initiatives the council has brought in have been opposed by a small but vocal minority.

This time last year, an anti-LTN group called Horrendous Hackney Road Closures had its application for a judicial review of the recently introduced schemes, brought in through experimental traffic orders (ETOs), refused by a High Court judge as the challenge was submitted too late. The group claimed that the measures, designed to stop rat-running drivers from using residential streets, were “unlawful.” 

Much of the local opposition to the introduction of LTNs or cycleways in London has been led by Conservative politicians, despite the Tory government’s policy of encouraging more active travel and less reliance on cars.

> “Get off your bikes!” Anti-cycleway campaigner yells at kids using new route 

However, Tory candidate Hall has claimed that LTNs are a “flagship policy of not only Hackney’s Labour administration [led by Mayor Philip Glanville], but also of Sadiq Khan in City Hall.”

“LTNs have displaced traffic onto already heavily congested roads and into less prosperous areas – and where the most vulnerable and lower-income families are more likely to live,” Hall said. “They have a disproportionate effect on those who simply cannot afford to live in the areas that LTNs are designed to benefit.

“Stamford Hill road is at an almost-constant gridlock, preventing residents from accessing vital services and making travel nigh-on impossible in a time where Covid has already increased the strain on working families.

“Without a change in leadership of the Borough, LTNs will continue to negatively impact residents and small businesses without any accountability to the people they affect most.”

> Hackney anti-LTN group fails to secure judicial review of emergency active travel measures 

Hall claimed that Tory councillors are “already working hard to resist the Labour Council’s plans for even more LTN expansion, and if I am elected Mayor of Hackney, I will immediately put a stop to the introduction of all new LTNs while we launch resident-led consultations on whether to remove the ones that already exist.

“I’m committed to ensuring that Hackney leads the way on fixing the climate crisis, but LTNs are not the answer to this.”

According to Hall, who says he speaks to people who oppose the schemes “every day”, if he is elected LTNs “would be gone. Some will work but then others, I think it is time to look again.”

The politician, who advises the government on student affairs, also said that the council was using the income generated by fines given to drivers who breached LTN rules – which totalled £2.7 million in the year after they were introduced in June 2020 – “to plug the holes in their public finances”. 

> Hackney low traffic neighbourhoods have not caused a rise in traffic on nearby main roads

Despite his resistance to LTNs, Hall said that he wants to see further investment in infrastructure to help make cycling “become the norm for those living in Hackney”.

“Our cycle lanes remain unsafe and in a state of disrepair,” he claimed. “I cycle most places when getting around the borough, and it is shocking how badly maintained our roads have become. Potholes plague our streets, making it dangerous to cycle and forcing people into taking other forms of transport that only result in higher levels of pollution across our borough.”

According to analysis published by Transport for London in November 2020, Hackney’s LTNs did not result in higher traffic levels on five nearby A- and B-roads in the months after they were introduced.

Cycling UK expressed concern that the “loudest voices” have undue influence on decisions relating to new LTNs and cycle lanes, with claims that a scheme is somehow exacerbating congestion the go-to argument for those against new infrastructure. 

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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57 comments

Avatar
Muddy Ford | 2 years ago
4 likes

Displaced traffic. How does that occur with LTNs? Rat runner (e.g. Taxi Driver/got up too late school dropper) is travelling through the borough on a main road intended for drivers who want to go through the borough, but knows they can get ahead of 30 cars by taking some side roads. Sure, it's a longer route but with a bit more pace (i.e. speeding) they can rejoin the main road further along and cut in again. This would of course require not giving way to any pedestrians at any of the junctions on their rat run because that would require going even faster and risking Taxi Drivers safety. Any cyclists or pedestrians that have the termerity to cause them to slow down would get abuse and a punishment manouvre. Extra traffic doesnt just appear because of LTNs. 

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brooksby replied to Muddy Ford | 2 years ago
3 likes

It is funny how people will go a much farther route if it means that they can travel faster or even just keep moving, rather than a much shorter route which involves them just sitting in a queue.

I blame the car adverts for promoting false expectations... 

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
7 likes

brooksby wrote:

It is funny how people will go a much farther route if it means that they can travel faster or even just keep moving, rather than a much shorter route which involves them just sitting in a queue.

I blame the car adverts for promoting false expectations... 

If only there were some form of transportation which was ideally suited to assisting with those longings for a feeling of agency, of "driving yourself", where you could make extra efforts and feel yourself go faster...almost like being the engine? No, can't think of one.

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Muddy Ford replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
3 likes

so true. Never see a car advert reflecting the true useability of the over specced engine...i.e. fuck all use in most towns. The adverts are always empty roads.

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Captain Badger replied to Muddy Ford | 2 years ago
2 likes

Muddy Ford wrote:

so true. Never see a car advert reflecting the true useability of the over specced engine...i.e. fuck all use in most towns. The adverts are always empty roads.

I've seen adverts saying along the lines of "to give you that extra bit of power... when you need it"

Whatever that means....

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eburtthebike replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

It is funny how people will go a much farther route if it means that they can travel faster or even just keep moving, rather than a much shorter route which involves them just sitting in a queue.

This is quite a well known phenomenon in transport, which affects people using public transport as well as personal transport.

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OldRidgeback replied to Muddy Ford | 2 years ago
1 like

My morning running route takes me along a road that's close to several schools. The traffic in the morning is awful during term time. As numerous surrounding streets are now LTNs, it is far worse than it used to be for traffic. Some friends live on the road and are really fed up. That said, I do wonder how many people using that route for their school run could cycle along some of the quieter LTN streets instead on cargo bikes with their kids. One of the streets has a particularly wide dedicated cycle lane that's separated from the vehicle traffic with wands and is actually rather good - I use it regularly when I'm going that way on my bike.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

Am I the only person who first read this article and thought, "That bloke in the photo does not look like I imagined a young Tory councillor to look"?

 

(No: not a boomer,;and yes: aware of and embarrassed about the inherent prejudice demonstrated).

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quiff replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
3 likes

Sadly, if you look him up, I suspect you'll find your imagination was right.

(Inherent prejudice there too, as I try to imagine what you're imagining)

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HarrogateSpa | 2 years ago
7 likes

"Potholes plague our streets, making it dangerous to cycle and forcing people into taking other forms of transport..."

Ah potholes, always the favoured distraction. Of course they are not a good thing, but even if you filled in every pothole in London, it wouldn't make the city safe for 8 to 80 year olds to cycle around.

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bobbinogs replied to HarrogateSpa | 2 years ago
4 likes

How dare you bring common sense into the argument!

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chrisonabike replied to HarrogateSpa | 2 years ago
1 like

Yeah - although sadly we get into the UK chicken-and-egg situation e.g. until we've sufficient cycle-only / low traffic spaces there will be cycling on roads shared with lots of cars / heavy vehicles. These feature potholes and road debris which is no risk to cars (generally chipped paint or dents at worst) but could be fatal to cyclists.  The fall doesn't need to kill you since a vehicle can when you go down. I've washed out a few times on the new "gravel facilities" installed by the Scottish winter...

Of course a lot of the reason why there are potholes is the additional damage by heavy vehicles so cycle-only infra should last much longer (virtuous circle).

The other elephant in the room is our "laissez faire" approach to private industry digging up our infra and then making poor repairs. Actually given that vehicle damage is mostly due to trucks / buses etc. the whole thing could be shortened to "we're letting the private sector have a free ride on public infrastructure".

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Rome73 | 2 years ago
6 likes

'LTNs have displaced traffic onto already heavily congested roads and into less prosperous areas – and where the most vulnerable and lower-income families are more likely to live,” Hall said. “They have a disproportionate effect on those who simply cannot afford to live in the areas that LTNs are designed to benefit.'

what BS. Even if it was true there are so many things the Torys could do to help poorer people - if they cared. 

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Sniffer replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
8 likes

Oh Garrage (Nigel, Garage etc) posting nonsense as always.

New name, same transparent tactics.

Not worth a reply, just don’t want your identity fraud to draw others in.

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Rendel Harris replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
10 likes

Just for any who are unaware, Lance Strongarm is the sixth (at least) iteration of the poster formerly known as Garage at Large. He was clearly suspended a short while back, does he think changing his name without actually opening a new account will allow him to get away with more? What's that we've had so far then, Nigel Garage, Nigel Garrage, TT Danger, Youareallcyberbullies, Garage at Large and now Lance Strongarm, any others? I remember somebody theorised that he changes his name because some users are employing software that can block out specific commenters but he can skirt round that by changing his name. That would mean he is like a badly behaved toddler desperately waving the nastier portions of his anatomy at the company or soiling the carpet in order to get attention, it doesn't matter if the attention is vilification and contempt as long as he gets some sort of recognition of his paltry little existence; it seems pretty believable that this is what he's up to.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
6 likes

Can't imagine anyone's unaware of at least some of those given the time frame.  Even if this is a new and not yet notorious incarnation no doubt The Poster Formerly Known As won't be able to keep theirselves ( ) to informative reviews of products or technical tips any more than people can resist taking bait and replying.

We'll be warning people about the dangers of "close passes" next...

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Philh68 replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
9 likes

You're describing a person with narcissistic personality disorder:

Having a sense of self-importance or grandiosity
Experiencing fantasies about being influential, famous, or important
Exaggerating their abilities, talents, and accomplishments
Craving admiration and acknowledgment
Being preoccupied with beauty, love, power, or success
Having an exaggerated sense of being unique
Believing that the world owes them something
Exploiting others to get what they want (no matter how it impacts others)
Lacking empathy toward others

They can pick whatever fake name they like, but they can't hide their true pathetic self or the mental disorder that dictates their behaviour.

Avatar
alexb | 2 years ago
2 likes

I can't believe his website allows people to post comments.

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eburtthebike replied to alexb | 2 years ago
0 likes

alexb wrote:

I can't believe his website allows people to post comments.

I can't believe you came on to this website to post a comment.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 2 years ago
17 likes

That's the problem with young gammon, they really don't know what they're talking about; enthusiastic but naive, unlike the young greens, who are enthusiastic and informed, ask Greta.

I thought that LTNs were extremely popular with the people who live there, it's the people who want to drive through who are so opposed to their rat runs being closed.  Maybe he needs to work out the difference between residents and rats.

It is an unfortunately common occurence for today's tories, led by the chief liar, hypocrite, coward and cheat, to display some of those traits themselves, after all, if it works for Boris......

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Captain Badger replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
6 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

That's the problem with young gammon, they really don't know what they're talking about; enthusiastic but naive, ....

You mean like old gammon, just a bit less whiffy?

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
4 likes

Captain Badger wrote:

eburtthebike wrote:

That's the problem with young gammon, they really don't know what they're talking about; enthusiastic but naive, ....

You mean like old gammon, just a bit less whiffy?

And more tender.

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Captain Badger replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
4 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

...And more tender.

ew

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brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
3 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

Captain Badger wrote:

eburtthebike wrote:

That's the problem with young gammon, they really don't know what they're talking about; enthusiastic but naive, ....

You mean like old gammon, just a bit less whiffy?

And more tender.

"Tender"?

Avatar
thereverent | 2 years ago
11 likes

Quote:

This time last year, an anti-LTN group called Horrendous Hackney Road Closures had its application for a judicial review of the recently introduced schemes, brought in through experimental traffic orders (ETOs), refused by a High Court judge as the challenge was submitted too late. The group claimed that the measures, designed to stop rat-running drivers from using residential streets, were “unlawful.”

It's been interesting to watch how quite a few anti-LTN groups have sprung up, started fundrasing for a court challange against LTNs, then given up on the challenge with very little detail on what the money was spent on. This was a rare one that actually went to court.

Avatar
wtjs | 2 years ago
6 likes

Standard ploy in the bidding war for ever more crazed right-wing policies to attract the usual suspect zombie hyper-junk press readers. Presumably, you have to be around at just the right time for when the brain-dead Tory masses fail to respond with hysterical approving cheering and 'that will show them, Boris' to announcements like 'Johnson has today succeeded in going to the lavatory'

Avatar
brooksby | 2 years ago
11 likes

Quote:

“Stamford Hill road is at an almost-constant gridlock, preventing residents from accessing vital services and making travel nigh-on impossible in a time where Covid has already increased the strain on working families.

Someone ought to show him some of the recent pictures of what roads look like once the cycle lanes and LTNs are removed...

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
10 likes

brooksby wrote:

.....

Someone ought to show him some of the recent pictures of what roads look like once the cycle lanes and LTNs are removed...

Don't think he cares about outcomes Brooks - he's a Tory after all...

Avatar
brooksby replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
9 likes

Captain Badger wrote:

brooksby wrote:

.....

Someone ought to show him some of the recent pictures of what roads look like once the cycle lanes and LTNs are removed...

Don't think he cares about outcomes Brooks - he's a Tory after all...

You're right <slaps forehead>

What was I thinking, Cap'n...

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

.....

You're right <slaps forehead>

What was I thinking, Cap'n...

As you were.

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