The principle at heart of the recent reconfiguration of residential streets - minimising motor traffic where people live – is clearly an attractive one, Battersea Lib Dems believe, and the opportunities to enhance local communities are exciting.
However, given the significance for local people, Battersea Lib Dems are stressing that it is essential to ensure transparent communication and comprehensive consultation before implementing final changes. The introduction of recent trial schemes with poor communication and uncertainty about consultation provokes fear that they will be allowed to become permanent through resigned acceptance from all those who may be disadvantaged by it.
Battersea Liberal Democrats are therefore calling on Wandsworth Council to adhere to two key principles for future trials:
1. Traffic changes must be tailored to the unique circumstances of each location.
Whilst during the summer certain LTN (Low Traffic Neighbourhood) schemes in the Borough experienced temporary pedestrianisation that appeared to work well such as Northcote Road, where the upsides of a livelier street seem to strongly outweigh disruption to traffic flow. In other areas it caused difficulties.
2. Transparent and effective communication and comprehensive consultation should surround traffic changes
LTN schemes are likely to have long-lasting impacts on people and businesses, both in the immediate locality and further afield. So there should be maximum transparency, effective communication that keeps all stakeholders in the loop at all stages and comprehensive consultation. That will enable a clear assessment of the pros and cons throughout.
Wandsworth Council should ensure there is no repeat of the mistakes made this year which have frustrated all groups, from residents to road users and businesses.
Living and working across Battersea has been made more difficult this autumn by various issues in neighbouring areas such as the Vauxhall Bridge closure and trial schemes in the south of the Borough. Battersea Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign to ensure people have a real say in how in future our roads and streets can better serve us all.