More Dangerous Roads and Potential for Increased Crime Drive Safety Fears Over Oval Traffic Scheme.
If advocates of the the Oval Triangle low traffic neighbourhood' (LTN) are to be believed, Roy and his son Daniel, who live within the LTN area, should be glad to see the scheme's arrival. However, they told us they are fearful of more dangerous roads and a rise in crime in the area, and worry that the scheme was not planned or consulted on properly.
Roy has concerns around the physical security "If it's gonna be quiet, people are afraid to walk alone, even I’m a man, I’m afraid. You don’t know what comes in your way from a corner or whatever. There's no cars passing by." He worries that crime could rise: "easy they can break into any door. Robberies are gonna happen more often". His anxiety stems from first-hand experience: "even here [at the family home] I had one, I was sitting exactly where you are, and, when I looked, there was a guy going to this house, checking everything...". Daniel says: "I think they just considered what some say...they probabaly didn’t think about the consequences that it could lead to. So, in general I just don’t think it was thought through correctly."
Daniel describes an unforeseen consequence of the LTN: increased road hazard: "believe it or not driving has become a lot more unsafe. Because of the scheme, people don’t know where they are going – so you’ve got people that will get to the end of the road and then stop all of a sudden because they don’t know where they are going and then you’ve got piles of cars – queues accumulating behind." And hazards have not only increased for drivers: "then, also, you’ve got people who now turn the corners knowing that there aren’t cars coming, or expecting there to be not cars coming, because it used to be quiet. So you’ve got people walking and then drivers most of them don’t even acknowledge pedestrians and stuff. So they are coming out the corners, sharp turning, not even expecting anyone to fly out and then you know. I've seen it myself, people 20mph or 30mph down the road taking a left without looking, taking a right without looking left. And then you could have kids running out and, you know, that was the whole point of it, to make it safer." But the increase in car hazard is academic for streets where traffic is now down to a trickle, a point not lost on Roy, who cites the comments (coded on a red-amber-green scale of approval) on the Council's 'Commonplace' feedback website: "when we vote, the votes in green are all Fentiman Road. All Fentiman Road. You get a few yellow ones, orange ones, [elsewhere] and the reds - it's a lot of them."
While, in correspondance seen by OneOval, Lambeth Council have claimed that "robust" consultation on the LTN took place with local stakeholders over the course of a year, neither Roy nor Daniel heard anything about it before the launch on May 30. They are frustrated that the Council didn't seek local knowledge by "asking the locals...people that live in the area", in order to gain their consent: "do you agree? What’s your thoughts? Before we confirm, before we go ahead with it. But we literally just got a letter saying that the scheme was confirmed, and we're going ahead with it, and that’s it!" Daniel points out that emissions from the traffic spilling over from the LTN is could well pollute local green spaces, which are already hemmed in by roads: "you’ve got piles of traffic every morning right outside Vauxhall park...and you’ve still got cars driving in it [the LTN] so it's not like they’ve shut it off completely."
For Daniel, "in general it's just made life a lot harder than what it used to be. Roy is adament that the LTN in its current form is unsustainable: "by the busy time when everybody is leaving work and driving home, it’s a mess. It’s a mess!".