Petition launched in favour of LTNs in Queens Park 'and beyond'
- Credit: Josie Warshaw
A petition has been launched to bring in low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) in Brent.
Bring in Low Traffic, Healthy Neighbourhood Schemes in Kilburn, Queens Park and Beyond urges Brent Council to have "the determination to follow through and stand by their own Healthy Neighbourhood schemes".
Set up by campaigner Josie Warshaw, the petition currently has 164 signatures.
The government-backed scheme involves closing certain roads within neighbourhoods 24 hours a day to stop “non-local” vehicles such as cars, lorries and vans, from passing through them to reduce air pollution.
The programme aims to encourage people to consider travelling by foot, bike or scooter as opposed to driving.
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Brent Council introduced five 'healthy neighbourhoods' last year.
As a result a petition was launched to stop LTNs in Brent following a lack of consultation and fears it would cause traffic gridlocks on roads which got more than 2,000 signatures.
"I do drive but I don't have a car," said Josie, a co-ordinator for Cycletastic, a cycling project in Kilburn. "You don't need one in London.
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"There are many 'pro' voices but they are being drowned out. There are many of us who would like them (LTNs) in place."
Cabinet members Cllr Shama Tatler and Cllr Krupa Sheth released a statement which said: "The funding for these schemes came with tight time constraints so, like councils across the UK, we are consulting during the trial period."
Josie said people in Kilburn and Queen's Park can walk to local shops, providing exercise which in turn would relieve pressure on the NHS.
"It's got to get worse before it gets better because the whole thing is reduce car use.
"What's happening is everybody is hopping into their cars just for zipping down the road to take their kids to school or to get a pint of milk and it's just crazy.
"It's got out of hand because now so many people own cars and I know cars are a bit of a status symbol for some but people use their cars too much when they needn't."
Kevin Mansfield lives on Summerfield Avenue, "the most affected street" with car gridlocks, said: "When LTNs were proposed we were very happy and assumed, wrongly it seems, that local residents would welcome the opportunity of reducing through traffic.
"If there are issues on the main roads deal with them there and do everything to discourage car use - traffic drops off by around half in school holidays."
He said Summerfield Avenue has access to Harvist Road and a yellow non-entry box onto Salusbury Road.
"It seems that our neighbours in surrounding streets, mostly unaffected by rat-running don't want any inconvenience in their ability to drive anywhere, anytime, anyplace and are quick to say that disabled people need their cars," he added.
"We support no rat-running, low traffic, less dirt and pollution from cars and the ability of locals to travel in their area, if need be, but with restrictions for non-local traffic."
Marina Cantacuzino MBE also lives on the residential street, and said it gets "3,000 vehicles a day passing through".
"Brent introduced an LTN scheme last year which some were partially trialled, others were quashed by residents associations, shouty self-interest groups, and individuals who thought their street would be busier or their commute harder.
"Brent has not completely ruled them out and so the petition is urging people to get behind them."
She said the Central Office of Public Interest’s #addresspollution campaign shows all roads in Kensal, Rise, Queens Park, Kilburn "to be well above the WHO air pollution limits".
"Particles from traffic cause much more than respiratory problems – they have also been linked to Alzheimer's and blood diseases," she added.
"Clean air is something every Brent resident should be demanding.
"The LTNs are a bold way of trying to address this problem. It was always stated that if they didn’t work they’d be removed."
Josie said people will have to be "financially forced" out of their cars and the money used to fix potholes.
"People are nervous because it's change," she added. "You need to change to make a difference."
Cllrs Tatler and Sheth said the council has commissioned independent engagement specialists, Living Streets to lead on a programme of meetings, walkabouts and online forums for local residents in each Healthy Neighbourhood area that will be made available on the council’s website.
“We are committed to making it safer and easier to walk and cycle in Brent, which come with a range of benefits to people’s health and local air quality, as well as for our planet,” they added.
To sign the petition click here