A low traffic ward (LTN) has been scrapped by a Labor-led council, after an investigation found it was making traffic worse on other roads.
Newcastle City Council has confirmed the 18-month trial at Fenham will end by Friday as a study found it did not encourage more people to walk or cycle, but the drivers simply used different routes.
Despite a decrease in traffic on the closed roads, nearby streets experienced more congestion, with one reporting a 154.25 per cent increase in the number of cars.
The LTN was also found to have had “little or no impact” on reducing school traffic.
Newcastle City Council has scrapped the low-traffic neighborhood plan in Fenham
It comes as a freedom of information request to Northumbria Police revealed that officers were concerned about the introduction of LTNs in Newcastle, due to the possible impact on the effectiveness of maintaining order.
Cllr Jane Byrne, Cabinet Member for a Connected and Clean City, said the council had not “seen enough evidence to keep it in place”.
The project includes ephemeral cycle lanes, wider sidewalks and closing streets to cars while adhering to new rules with warning signs, CCTV cameras and fines for drivers who do not obey them.
Critics argue that LTNs have little impact on pollution and simply shift traffic congestion and CO2 emissions to other areas.
Queensway has been the most affected road, with the number of vehicles falling from 706 in March 2022 to 1,795 in September 2022, after the introduction of LTN.
The council now intends to remove the bollards it had installed around Gowland Avenue, Nuns Moor Road and Kingsway.
In July, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a review of the deployment of LTNs across the country.
He said: “I just want to make sure people know I’m on their side to help them use their car to do all the things that matter to them. »
Downing Street has also warned that ambulance response times must “trump” the controversial Green Scheme.
The report on the trial found that there had been a nominal increase in the number of people walking, but the number of cyclists had fallen below pre-introduction levels.
Cllr Byrne said: “We are committed to creating cleaner, greener and safer neighborhoods and reducing the volume of traffic on local streets is an important part of achieving this.
Newcastle City Council confirmed the 18-month trial in the Fenham area would end on Friday as it found it had not encouraged more people to walk or cycle. (stock image)
Critics argue that LTNs have little impact on pollution and simply shift traffic congestion and CO2 emissions to other areas. (stock image)
“Fenham was the first ward in the city to test a low-traffic zone trial in a neighborhood and we haven’t seen enough evidence to keep it in place, especially with traffic shifting to what should be quiet residential streets, rather than reorienting to main roads.
“As we have said many times, these projects are very important trials because they allow us to test changes at the local level and see what works for people living in the area.
“We also know that some people will be disappointed, but we have learned a lot from this project and have a good basis to refine a future project by listening to residents and looking at the data in more detail.
“It’s also important to note that each neighborhood low-traffic area is unique, as we use the data we collect as well as feedback from the public consultation to decide the long-term future of individual projects. »
An internal Northumbria Police document said the introduction of LTNs to the town would ‘have a negative impact’ on the forces’ ability to provide effective policing.
He added that this was due to increased vehicle response times and fuel consumption due to longer distances.
London City Councils spent £500,000 last year to repair LTN cameras that were destroyed by angry drivers.
Met Police have wasted thousands of hours appealing fines imposed in low-traffic neighborhoods, with the process taking more than 12,000 hours of officers’ time. (stock image)
Hackney Council ended up with the highest bill with a camera installed less than two years ago in September 2021 which had to be replaced seven times.
Some Londoners fear LTNs will deter police from patrolling due to fines imposed on unmarked cars by local councils.
Since 2020, the Metropolitan Police have received over 54,000 fine notices, 56% of which were for LTN offences.
The process of appealing a ticket can take an average of 25 minutes, which has resulted in 12,668 hours – the equivalent of 1,600 days – being wasted by Met Police over the past three years, according to a request of faith.
Newcastle City Council has been contacted for comment.