Backlash is growing towards Tooting’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme, with concerns raised that the new road layout is obstructing emergency services.
Four neighbourhoods in the borough have been affected by the plan, which was implemented on Aug 17, to reduce traffic and pollution by encouraging walking and cycling.
However, some residents are angered by what they described as a lack of notice and consultation period given by the Council, which has conducted the scheme on a rolling, trial basis.
A petition objecting to the LTNs, on change.org, has amassed almost 6,000 signatures online.
It states that the blockades have led to severe delays in the area, increased pollution, stress, choke points, and are a danger to public safety.
One resident said that the scheme was “a disaster waiting to happen”.
He filmed a fire engine with blue lights and sirens on responding to a call in an LTN by Beechcroft Road.
The employee at Springfields hospital, Essex, said:
“What can be seen is the fire engine approach the roadblock, then two girls who got out of their vehicle to see if they could move the blocks, but these were bolted to the ground. Consequently, the fire engine had to back-up down the whole road in reverse.”
“The engine passed me again 5 minutes later en-route to the job via the main road. To elaborate, a 5-minute delay to the call. If this was an ambulance attending a cardiac arrest, you can imagine what would have happened.”
Pictures on social media show similar situations of emergency services vehicles stuck in traffic.
Dennis Shaw, said:
“Ambulance stuck on A24 Tooting Bec yesterday – blue lights and siren emergency call, going nowhere because traffic cannot get out of way because of bollards on new cycle lane – madness!
Louise Catling, took a picture of a fire engine after it got stuck when responding to a call on her road and had to be guided around some blockades.
“I live on Elmbourne Road and have done for the past 10 years and never have I seen anything like this. How is any of this safe?”
The council say that they have worked in close collaboration with the emergency services. A spokesperson said:
“In terms of the emergency services, they have been fully consulted on all the measures introduced and we have lockable bollards being retrofitted on site to address the concerns around emergency access.
They also stressed that the LTNs are under constant review.
“These trials have been introduced under experimental powers to allow for tweaks and changes based on officer site visits and wider feedback.
“Temporary barriers were used at first, which we could deploy quickly and easily move as needed, but after it became clear they were being tampered with we have swapped these for heavier planters and have been rolling these out as they arrive from our suppliers.
“We now have most of the planters in place and officers are visiting every day to see how things are working and responding to all the feedback we receive.
“We know more of our residents are walking and cycling as a result of the pandemic, so we want these trials to support residents who are using alternatives to the car and encourage others to follow suit.”
To register your views on the LTN trials visit: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/consultations.