Council under the Labour rule has decided to cancel LTN after it revealed it worsened traffic on  roads.

Council under the Labour rule has decided to cancel LTN after it revealed it worsened traffic on roads.

Newcastle City Council, under Labour leadership, has decided to terminate an 18-month trial of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in Fenham after a review indicated that it exacerbated traffic issues on other nearby roads. The trial, which aimed to encourage walking and cycling, was found to have led to drivers diverting to alternative routes instead of adopting active transportation methods.

Congestion on Neighbouring Streets

Despite a reduction in traffic within the LTN itself, the investigation discovered that surrounding streets experienced increased congestion, with one road even witnessing a staggering 154.25% rise in the number of vehicles. Furthermore, the LTN’s impact on alleviating school traffic was deemed minimal.

Concerns from Local Authorities and Police

Notably, a Freedom of Information request to Northumbria Police revealed concerns about the introduction of LTNs in Newcastle, citing potential implications for effective policing due to increased response times and fuel consumption for law enforcement vehicles. These concerns added to the arguments against the LTN trial.

Removal of Bollards and Reevaluation

As a response, Newcastle City Council intends to remove the bollards that had been installed around specific streets, including Gowland Avenue, Nuns Moor Road, and Kingsway. Councillor Jane Byrne, cabinet member for a connected, clean city, emphasized that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify keeping the LTN in place. She noted that the trial was essential for learning and that the data collected would inform future schemes.

National Review of LTNs

In July, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a national review of LTNs across the country, stating his commitment to supporting people in using their cars for essential activities. The government has also highlighted the importance of prioritizing ambulance response times over the green initiatives associated with LTNs.

Mixed Impact on Active Transportation

The review of the Fenham LTN trial revealed a nominal increase in pedestrian activity but a reduction in cycling compared to pre-introduction levels. Councillor Byrne reiterated the council’s commitment to creating cleaner and safer neighbourhoods but emphasized the need to strike a balance between achieving environmental goals and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic.

Unique Nature of LTNs

Councillor Byrne pointed out that each neighbourhood low traffic zone is unique, and decisions about their long-term future are influenced by collected data and public feedback. The goal is to refine future schemes based on lessons learned from the trial.

In summary, Newcastle City Council’s decision to end the LTN trial in Fenham stems from concerns about increased traffic congestion on neighbouring roads and potential adverse effects on police response times. The national review of LTNs underscores the ongoing debate about balancing environmental goals with practical transportation needs.

TDPel Media

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