Wandsworth Council has suspended its Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) trials over ‘concerns with emergency access and traffic flows’.
The South London Conservative council only introduced the LTN trials last month ‘to make residential streets more bike and pedestrian friendly and to deter rat run traffic’ and as part of a series of measures introduced as a response to the pandemic.
The council said the move also supported its ambition of combating climate change by encouraging people to use more sustainable forms of transport.
However, it said an initial review of the trials has identified concerns with emergency access and traffic flows, ‘compounded by additional changes that Transport for London (TfL) is making to red route roads in the borough’.
'The removal of LTN planters will begin tomorrow and should be completed by Tuesday, with signs bagged over,' the council tweeted.
It said the scale of these changes coinciding with the council’s efforts to establish LTNs on residential streets had caused confusion and long traffic queues while concerns around rising COVID rates and reduced capacity on public transport has meant that alternative travel options are limited for many people at this time.
Cllr John Locker, cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation, 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.'
The introduction of LTNs has been highly controversial, with some drivers strongly opposed while others have suggested that councils should allow time for behavior change to bed in.