LTN road closures hitting women hardest

LTN road closures hitting women hardest

Government-backed council road closures are hitting young working mothers, carers and their families hardest says campaign group Horrendous Hackney Road Closures.

A survey of London drivers has found that roadblocks and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) introduced across the capitol, to protect children and communities from rat-running motorists, are having a disproportionate impact on women.

The online survey was carried out by Horrendous Hackney Road Closures (HHRC), a community campaign organisation formed last September by a group of Hackney women and is now the largest anti-road closure group in London with over 7000 members.

Hackney Council says drivers are minority in the borough and should be put at the bottom of the ‘pecking order’ and council bosses have branded protesters as thugs and degenerates, representing only a self-interested, bigoted minority.

“The council and pro-LTN groups have been consistently misrepresenting who we are and villainising  drivers.” Says Josie Hughes from the group.

So the campaign group put together the survey to find out a little more about why people still choose to drive. “We kept the questions as objective as possible, we avoided asking about people’s views or feelings about road closures”. Says Josie.

More than 700 residents took part in the online survey, which was live throughout November last year. Sixty-six per cent of respondents were women. “We already knew from our Facebook group stats that women were the majority in every age category, from 17 to 70.” Explains group member Ruth Parkinson. “Clearly the issue of road closures is particularly hard-felt among women.”

The survey asked about how important owning a car was to the life and wellbeing of their family? Could they forfeit their car without it harming family life? The answer was a resounding no. Ninety-three per cent believed that, “giving up our car would be detrimental to family life.”

Many women today rely on their cars to help them with a myriad of responsibilities, and some of the many comments in the survey illustrate this very well.

“I’m a single mum, self-employed as a cleaner and I have to drive to my clients, due to all the necessary equipment I use. I also care for my disabled grandad who lives in another borough. I take him for medical appointments and take care of him. Without a car I simply would not be able to work, be a mom and a carer all at the same time.”

“We are a large family of adults who share a car. I need access to the car as I do the household shopping, but also to take my elderly parents for appointments. Some of my extended live locally but others live in different parts of London, are not easy to get to on public transport. Our family is our support system, especially now with elderly relatives.”

“So many women are performing a precious daily balancing act which they can only do with the time-saving convenience of a car.” Says Ruth. “Cars have opened up so many possibilities for women and their families.”

The survey asked about other reasons Hackney residents have for driving. Seventy-nine per cent said they use their car regularly to help others outside of their immediate family – elderly neighbours, friends etc – to do things they would otherwise find difficult.

“We underestimate the usefulness of our cars as a community resource.” Says Ruth. “Many of our neighbourhood are held together by informal networks of helpers, carers, companions and shoppers. So often the car is an essential part of that equation.

Over the years I’ve used my car for work, to get myself, and colleagues, to and from work, for school and child care drop-off, shopping, ferrying my mum around, taking neighbours to hospital, rescuing stranded teenagers, going to weddings, funerals, christenings, picking family or friends up from airports, train stations, to help friends move house. The list is endless.”

The council say that roadblocks and LTNs are helping to discourage short ‘unnecessary’ car journeys of one or two kilometres, leaving the roads clear for those who most need them. The reality is quite the reverse, say campaigners who are calling on Hackney Council to scrap all road closures and LTNs introduced last year.

Ends

Please contact us if you would like a copy of survey results.

 

Information for editors about the HHRC

We formed in September 2020 in response to Hackney Councils LTN road closure program. We are made up of over 7,000 local residents, we are a cross-generation, cross-community movement, we are pedestrians, motorists, wheelchair users and we are cyclists. .

HHRC key campaign demands:

Every single road that has been blocked to be reopened immediately.

Cancel all fines related to road closures.

Removal of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods across the borough.

Full resignations of the architects of this chaos – Mayor Glanville,

Transport boss Cllr Jon Burke and Planning boss Cllr Vincent Stops.

A referendum on abolishing the post of Mayor of Hackney.

Full reinstatement of all (removed) cash parking meters throughout the borough.

 

Web: www.freeourstreets.uk

Email: freeourstreets21@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/319405649287761

Twitter: @horrendoushack1

Horrendous Hackney Road Closures claim the scalp of Cllr Jon Burke, who has resigned

Horrendous Hackney Road Closures claim the scalp of Cllr Jon Burke, who has resigned

The surprise departure of Cllr Burke is welcomed by residents’ campaign group Horrendous Hackney Road Closures (HHRC), who demand Hackney Council overturn all the road closures it introduced in 2020 without full prior consultation. 

Horrendous Hackney Road Closures celebrates the resignation of Hackney transport chief Cllr Burke, following months of concerted campaigning by a rapidly growing membership of local residents. 

Cllr Jon Burke was the key architect of Hackney Council’s LTN road closure initiative, causing untold misery for thousands of residents since their introduction. Traffic has become log jammed on many major roads; journey times lengthened; while essential workers and emergency services have dramatically less access to many local streets. 

The group say they are also glad to see the back of Burke because he epitomised the Council’s top-down, we-know-best approach, that involved no consultation with residents about our needs, and instead relied on Twitter to ‘engage’ the public. Often this involved castigating residents rather than engaging them in a genuine conversation about how to understand their needs.

“Cllr Burke’s infamous arrogance and rudeness was nothing more than a reflection of the contempt the council has shown towards residents over these road closures and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.” says Niall Crowley of HHRC. 

“He may be gone but I’m afraid the problem is bigger than him, and it has to change. 

Is not acceptable to treat residents with contempt in this way. If nothing else, it makes for very bad policy.”

“The feeling amongst our 7000 members is that the council is interested virtue-signalling about its Green credentials and appealing to healthy young, affluent cycling advocates, and those of us who have lived here all our lives or who don’t fit the picture can go to hell. Says Niall “We need a change of approach, not just a change of face.”

“Many of our members are beginning to ask if the Mayoral system is right for our borough. Hackney has been chaotic for months. The Sunday Telegraph is reporting Hackney police officers saying that road closures and LTNs are preventing emergency services doing their job – something we’ve been saying all along. People of Hackney are rapidly losing faith in this administration and are looking for more democracy, more of a say. 

Information for editors about the HHRC

We formed in September 2020 in response to Hackney Councils LTN road closure program. We are made up of over 7,000 local residents, we are a cross-generation, cross-community movement, we are pedestrians, motorists, wheelchair users and we are cyclists. . 

HHRC key campaign demands:

Every single road that has been blocked to be reopened immediately.
Cancel all fines related to road closures.
Removal of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods across the borough.
Full resignations of the architects of this chaos – Mayor Glanville,
Transport boss Cllr Jon Burke and Planning boss Cllr Vincent Stops.
A referendum on abolishing the post of Mayor of Hackney.
Full reinstatement of all (removed) cash parking meters throughout the borough.
 

Web: www.freeourstreets.uk

Email: freeourstreets21@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/319405649287761

Twitter: @horrendoushack1

Hackney residents plan festive convoy against road closures and LTNs

Hackney residents plan festive convoy against road closures and LTNs

A festive ‘motorcade’ will be winding its way through the congested streets of Hackney in East London on Saturday 12th December, with a very special delivery for Town Hall bosses. Hundreds of East London residents, opposed to Hackney council’s drastic road closures and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), are taking to the road to deliver a consignment of cabbages in response to inflammatory remarks made by Hackney Council transport boss Jon Burke.

Cllr Burke recently lashed out at Londoners, he called ‘birthers’ (a derogatory political term imported from the US) and “degenerates” with a taste for neo-Nazi National Front graffiti, claiming “if it wasn’t for us immigrants (he is from Liverpool), “born n bred’ Londoners would still be eating cabbage with every meal and the shops would be closed on Sundays.”

“Now they are calling us cabbage-eating degenerates!” said ‘born n bred’ East Londoner Josie (pictured, left), “As if inflicting  roadblocks and gridlock, dividing our neighbourhoods wasn’t enough for them! Now they insult us. They seem to think if they can brand us as ignorant, thuggish racists, that’ll cancel out our voices and turn people against us.”

Petra Fryer (second left) who lives on the Kingsmead estate said “I am originally from Germany, so I’m definitely an immigrant and I don’t recognise the old Hackney he’s describing. I’ve lived here over thirty years, made Hackney my home, raised three children here and I really resent Cllr Burke’s remarks. Locals have always been warm and welcoming. There’s been immigrants coming here for centuries. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And these road closures are making life impossible for so many of us, which is why I joined the Horrendous Hackney Road Closures group and shall be on the motorcade on Saturday.”

“We decided to return the ‘compliment’ to deliver some Christmas cabbages to Cllr Burke and his boss Mayor Glanville, who has backed him all the way through this.” Said Robert Popkin from the Horrendous Hackney Road Closures group. “We have invited residents to bring along a cabbage along with a Christmas message for councilors. “We have nearly 8000 members of our group. That could be a whole lot of cabbages.

The citizens convoy will be making its way through Hackney’s most popular areas including Clapton Pond, Stoke Newington, Dalston, Shoreditch and Mare Street, home of Hackney Town Hall. En route they will be joined by people on foot, bicycle and mobility vehicles.

“More than a third of our members cycle, some don’t drive at all” says Leona (pictured right). “and we resent the council’s attempt to set one group of road users against one another. We also have many residents with mobility issues – including disabled and elderly residents – who have been seriously affected by the road closures. Amongst our membership we have carers, bus drivers, nurses and other members of the emergency services, so to brand us as thugs and degenerates is extremely insulting.”

A spokesperson for Horrendous Hackney Road Closures, which formed in October in response to the widest programme of road closures anywhere in the country, says the group is a cross-generation and cross community organisation that does not condone violence, criminal behaviour or intimidation.

The motorcade starts at 1pm and is expected to reach Hackney Town Hall around 3pm on Saturday.

An open letter to the Mayor of Hackney

An open letter to the Mayor of Hackney

How Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) impact people with mobility problems.

I am a 63 year old Stamford Hill resident. I have mobility issues – I suffer from spinal stenosis, asthma, diabetes and fibromyalgia. I rely heavily on my car, as I can only walk short distances and I cannot use public transport at the moment because I am very vulnerable to Covid. In fact I can rarely use public transport even without Covid, unless it is more or less door-to-door.

Since Hackney LTNs have been put in place, I have personally been affected very much by the increased traffic at Upper Clapton, Lower Clapton and right around the borough. A journey across Hackney, to the A12, takes over an hour now to cover the four miles, where previously it would only have taken around 20 minutes. Having to sit in traffic for extended periods of time causes me back pain, muscle stiffness and exacerbates my asthma.

I can no longer go from one place straight to another, as I would have done previously, as I have to sit for so long in traffic that I need to go home to use the bathroom before I can set off to my next destination. An unexpected result of your policies.

I have been caught several times in traffic gridlock at the Lea Bridge roundabout and have witnessed ambulances and police cars trying to get through without success. Without a doubt this is placing those being transported to hospital in need of emergency treatment, at great risk.

Constant heavy traffic on Amhurst Road, Pembury Road and Graham Road is shocking. I really feel for those who live in social housing along those roads, who are now unable to open their windows due to high pollution and noise from frustrated motorists. I have a friend who lives on Northwold Road who has two autistic young sons. She cannot open her windows, due to traffic congestion and it is seriously affecting her children. There are schools along these major roads, whose pupils must also be affected by the fumes from stagnant traffic?

Delivery drivers, small businesses, cab drivers, buses, carers trying to reach their clients are all affected by these measures. Some areas are no longer serviced, as it takes so long for tradesmen and delivery drivers to reach them.

I read just today of a cab driver who, had to drop an elderly lady – on crutches with a broken leg – a five minute walk away from her home, as he was unable to get to her house, now in an LTN.

I think very few people, motorists or otherwise, would dispute the need for reduced pollution in the borough, but these measures have increased pollution outside of the LTNs. Children in these areas are more at risk of pollution! A scheme which was supposed to make life safer for cyclists has only increased the danger for them!

This whole scheme was ill-thought through, poorly implemented, lacks consultation and for so many residents is a complete disaster.

One may be forgiven for thinking it is only serving to increase congestion in Hackney deliberately, so that ULEZ can be extended throughout Hackney, thus making cash cows of motorists yet again!

Instead of closing off roads, why not offer motorists discounts to switch to electric cars? Many of your constituents are unable to walk more or jump on a bike! It’s time you took their needs into consideration. We are taxpayers too.

Yours, a very disgruntled former Labour voter of Stamford Hill.

Hackney council meeting report-back

Hackney council meeting report-back

Hackney council debate on ‘reversing the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods scheme’ 

On 21 October Hackney councillors debated a motion calling for  the ‘Reverse the failed Low Traffic Neighbourhoods Scheme and consult residents properly’ proposed by Cllr Odze. Jon Carp was one of many Hackney residents who watched the debate via Zoom. Every single Labour councillor voted against the motion. Here’s Jon’s reaction.

I wrote the following and emailed it to all Hackney councillors. So far I have not received any responses, not that I really expected to.

Democracy

A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, or in this case, a borough, typically through elected representatives.

Dictatorship

A form of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations.

 

Congratulations to all of you.

Last night’s council meeting was a truly great advertisement for local government and inclusive representative democracy! It was dry, boring, stilted, humourless, joyless and towed the Labour Party line completely.

No attempt was made at debate other than from the Conservatives – you Labour lot just trotted out the same tired old garbage – prepared statements and irrelevant so-called “facts” doctored to fit your agenda. You clearly had no intention of listening with the possibility of maybe being swayed. Obviously whipped by Berk & Mare (murderers of Hackney’s streets) to unquestioningly follow your party’s line.

One minute here and two minutes there – just long enough to trot out your little section of mantra to your approving colleagues.

I’m frankly disappointed and disgusted that none of you managed to show the slightest empathy for the many adversely affected by your selfish policy – you could have done that even if voting against the motion. Even a little well faked sympathy and sincerity wouldn’t have gone amiss. Many of you Labour lot actually seemed pleased to be voting against the motion – one in the eye for the opposition and stuff the voters! Smug indifference is the phrase that comes to mind.

Let’s consider a few facts.

  • A big play is made by many of you that one of the main aims of your agenda is a reduction in pollution levels, on the face of it a laudable ambition.
  • Modern black cabs are electric – no pollution – but banned from passing through the blocks.
  • More cars are now electric and even more will come into use in the future. No emissions but still banned from going through the blocks.
  • People are responsive to change when they are encouraged or incentivised. Promoting zero emission vehicles by exempting them from the blocks would reward those who “go green”. Banning ALL vehicles is collective punishment.

Oodles of stick but a total famine of carrots.

Why should people go to the considerable expense and inconvenience of getting zero emission cars if they then still get punished the same as those with fossil fuel cars? In the meantime, vehicles are funnelled into fewer main roads creating pollution and congestion hotspots – exactly what your collective policy professes fo reduce. It’s obvious how this works, not that I’d expect any of you to publicly admit it. You can’t put cameras, regular or ANPR, on all the minor roads. You can on the main roads. So, force all the traffic onto the main roads. Create local pollution and congestion hotspots. Monitor those.

Collate the results as “evidence” of an increasing problem. Put in the cameras. Introduce congestion charging. BINGO! Huge increase in revenue for LBH and TfL.

No real reduction in pollution or congestion – you’ve just used that as an excuse to open up a new and very lucrative revenue stream and used covid as the excuse to rapidly push through without consultation what you know full well you would never get past the electorate if you were to plainly propose it rather than burying it in vague statements about green policy. You constantly trot out the spurious argument that 70% of residents either don’t own a car or don’t have access to a car – depending on whose statement you read. That’s meaningless without context. Does it only mean people on the electoral register? Does it include all residents including children, the elderly and the disabled?

In terms of access to a car, how do you calculate it? A multi-adult family might only OWN one car, but all members may have access to it be it as drivers or passengers. People have access to taxis, Dial-a-Ride, buses and so on. These are all vehicles. Are they factored in? They certainly don’t have an exemption from passing the blocks. In any event, if it really is true that only 30% of residents own a car, they are hardly the cause of all of the traffic. Most of it must be through traffic. Again, you could get residents on side by allowing all vehicles with a CPZ parking permit to pass the blocks.

The problem is that the great vision of Berk & Mare is not the elimination of pollution or congestion – it’s one of getting rid of vehicles entirely – and that’s why there are no exemptions for residents and/or zero emission vehicles. It’s a win-win for LBH. You can say that you want to get rid of vehicles but you know you can’t do it so you devise schemes that will try to inconvenience some vehicles off the roads while taxing to the hilt those who must continue to use them. Some businesses have or are about to cease trading; delivery companies are increasing their charges or refusing to deliver to certain areas because of the additional delays involved in getting around the blocks. Who is this helping? Certainly not the residents or the businesses. If there was any less edifying display to discourage anyone from wanting to go into local government or engage in local democracy, last evening’s charade was it in spades!

You should all be ashamed of yourselves – claiming to represent all of Hackney’s residents when in fact you only represent those whose views coincide with your own and your party. I’ll lay odds that when congestion charging comes to Hackney, those of you who own cars will be able to get a full exemption by claiming that they are used for council business. It is indeed true that while all Hackney residents are equal, some Hackney councillors are more equal than the rest of us.

Labour – for the privileged few, not the many!