Support the council’s proposal for healthier streets around Well Street

Hackney Cycling Campaign warmly welcome proposals to prevent drivers passing through Hackney from rat-running from Mare Street to Cassland Road.  We’re urging local residents to support the council’s proposals here.

In 2014, Hackney Cycling Campaign’s ‘ward ask’ in local elections was for safer streets without rat-running traffic in the area bounded by Well Street, Mare Street and Morning Lane.  This was supported by all three councillors for Homerton and we are delighted to see their promises being put into action.

The problem

Rat-running currently causes extensive problems in this area.  Drivers racing through create an intimidating environment for pedestrians and people cycling, and cause air and noise pollution.  Rushing to beat traffic on main roads, these drivers are often careless: there have been a number of collisions on these junctions, affecting pedestrians, people cycling and driving, as the map below shows.

Dangerous junctions for all road users. Source: Crashmap.co.uk

Now the council are proposing to make St Thomas’s Square and Darnley Road access only: access for residents, deliveries and emergency services will be retained.  Drivers passing through will have to stick to the main roads, leaving residential roads safer, quieter and more pleasant.

Rat-running through the area has knock-on effects, clogging up the Well Street area with through-traffic (and encouraging drivers to use Richmond Road as a through route).

The result – the usual jams

We hope this scheme will confine more through-traffic to main roads, and encourage local residents to walk or cycle more.

What about main roads – won’t this just make things worse?

A recent scheme in Walthamstow did something similar (but more ambitious): it not only cut traffic on back streets, it cut traffic in the borough overall – see this Evening Standard piece for the details.  It also cut collisions in the scheme area from 15 in the preceding three years to zero.  With the roads empty of traffic-jams, emergency services can also get to their destinations more quickly.

Next steps

While these proposals go a long way, we’re aware they don’t yet go far enough.  Most rat-running will be prevented, but some drivers could change their journeys to take the remaining through-routes.  So, alongside giving your support, we’d urge you to encourage the council to finish the job.  There’s a box on the consultation to ask if you think there’s more filtering needed.  We suggest asking the council to prevent rat-running up Mead Place, and down Belsham Road too.

Click here to support this excellent proposal now.  The consultation closes in less than a month (21st July).