Croydon council is to replace their hastily introduced Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in Crystal Palace with a “healthy streets scheme” - essentially an LTN but without physical barriers, instead it will be controlled by ANPR systems to fine drivers.
The original scheme used planters to block access to Auckland Road, Sylvan Hill, Stambourne Way, Fox Hill, and Lancaster Road. The new scheme means that some motorists will be able to access the area easily and without charge, e.g. residents, taxis, delivery drivers, emergency vehicles, local teachers and carers.
This will certainly address several of the concerns expressed to us by local residents and it’s clear that Croydon Council have listened to the views of local residents and adjusted the scheme accordingly. We welcome the new scheme - it resolves many of the problems caused by the first scheme - but its success is by no means guaranteed - nor should it be seen as a solution to all of the travel problems in Crystal Palace.
We all want less pollution, traffic and speeding on our residential roads and in some areas LTNs help to achieve that with significant and dramatic benefits to the local community. Our Mayoral Candidate, Luisa Porrit has been clear about her support for LTNs but emphasised that they won’t work without consultation with residents and local businesses.
The first LTN in Crystal Palace was installed too quickly, and the Council failed to consult residents and local businesses, even failing to engage with TfL, emergency services, utility companies and neighbouring councils. We all saw the impact of this badly planned scheme - traffic overwhelmed the small streets adjacent to the scheme, there were long queues of traffic on Hamlet road, parked cars suffered damage, and people who were walking, cycling and catching public transport - the very activities these schemes are meant to support - found their streets busier and more full of fumes than ever. But equally people within the zone saw real benefits, with less rat running and speeding cars making the streets feel safer for pedestrians and cyclists and particularly for local children. It can't be a solution that makes life better for those within the scheme and worse for those outside but experience in many other LTNs is that the traffic reduction tends to benefit the whole area.
So we welcome the new scheme proposed by Croydon Council, we're happy that the council listened to the views of local residents and businesses, and are optimistic about its chances of success. However we urge the council to liaise with neighbouring Boroughs urgently (particularly including Bromley), that consultation and close monitoring of traffic and pollution levels should continue so that adjustments can be made as soon as problems are identified, and that the scheme should be part of a larger plan to address the problems with the wider travel infrastructure in the area.