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Fight to keep LTN as residents fear return to "race tracks" and rat-running

Video footage from Greenwich shows motorists speeding down the wrong side of a street to cut queues, along with reports of "eye-watering near misses" and police callouts to road rage incidents...

Residents in Greenwich in south east London are campaigning to keep their town's low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) in the face of the prospect of a return to rat-running commuters and congestion.

Evening Standard health editor Ross Lydall reports that residents fear scrapping the scheme would see the narrow streets return to "race tracks".

Greenwich council will soon decide on whether to keep, amend or overhaul the area's scheme, while last week the Labour council opted against introducing two new LTNs to the east of Greenwich Park.

Video footage from the area has shown scenes of impatience and rule-breaking as motorists become increasingly frustrated by restrictions.

In one video drivers can be seen accelerating down the wrong side of Vanbrugh Hill to queue jump congestion.

Residents have also reported "eye-watering near misses", police being called to road rage incidents, and even some families moving out of the area.

Another video shows children walking to school having to wait for more than a minute at a zebra crossing while motorists continue to drive past.

Two-thirds of residents supported the introduction of schemes, with some protected by ANPR numberplate cameras, which prevent commuters following live traffic apps directing them off the A2, through Greenwich, before rejoining the main road.

One campaigner told the London-based newspaper: "This is about safety. We have schools here. We have children crossing in and out of Greenwich Park and going across the heath to attend seven other schools in the vicinity.

"This is the place to target active travel. It was working. We in West Greenwich assumed the council would take this model and roll it out. Why wouldn’t you want safe residential streets?"

Another resident said: "About 80 per cent of the traffic that was passing through our narrow streets was coming from Kent to get to central London. To take the LTN away now would be so cruel and dangerous. It is just asking for trouble."

"I think there is massive support. Pretty much everybody I know who lives in the LTN is ‘pro’ it," said another local. 

"I think you would struggle to find anybody whop did not think there has been a real benefit in terms of traffic and the environment. It creates a nice neighbourhood."

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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