Plans for several temporary road closures in Harrow will not go ahead after the council agreed to drop them following public pressure and recommendations from its traffic panel.
Cllr Keith Ferry, deputy leader of Harrow Council, deputising for council leader Cllr Graham Henson, chose to reverse proposals for low-traffic neighbourhoods in Dennis Lane and Green Lane, Stanmore, and in Byron Road and Princes Drive, Wealdstone.
A similar project in the Pinner View area will be further discussed by ward councillors and council officers following a consultation with residents.
It came after recommendations from the council’s traffic and road safety advisory panel (TARSAP), which listened to concerns from residents and councillors on the impact these schemes could have.
The proposals were part of the council’s ‘Streetspace’ project, which, using funding from Transport for London, seeks to promote cycling and walking and reduce car use following the Covid-19 outbreak.
However, more than 2,000 people signed an online petition against the plans in Stanmore, suggesting that closing key roads would “funnel traffic through the Broadway”.
They added that both Dennis Lane and Green Lane are steep hills that would be unattractive to cyclists and walkers, particularly considering there are “lots of green spaces nearby”.
The schemes were supported by some, including Anoop Shah, of Harrow Cycling Campaign, who said evidence suggests people become “more supportive of low-traffic neighbourhoods over time”.
“There’s almost always opposition initially as people can’t envisage the benefits and how to change their behaviour,” he said.
“But they discourage driving for short distances, they make roads safer, and are easy to implement and are low-cost.”
Cllr Paul Osborn, leader of Harrow Conservatives, told the decision-making committee earlier today (August 19) that his group would “go along” with Cllr Ferry’s ruling since it followed TARSAP’s recommendations, which it viewed as satisfactory.
However, he was disappointed to see the deputy leader announce the continuation of safety barriers put in along various shopping precincts to encourage social distancing measures.
These will be subject to footfall reviews next month, but Cllr Osborn suggested they should be taken down immediately since they are “already having a devastating impact on businesses”.