Streatham LTN trial suspended – major work on A23 for buses, cyclists and pedestrians to follow

protesters with placard
Anti-LTN protest outside Lambeth town hall in Brixton

Lambeth council has suspended the controversial Streatham Wells low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) trial that was introduced in October last year.

It simultaneously announced work on a major project to update the A23/Streatham High Road for walking and cycling as well as a “comprehensive package of bus priority measures” that is due to start in late Spring, causing “some reduced road capacity” while it lasts.

The council said the scheme had “met our objectives to reduce traffic and road danger’”.

The move follows remarks by London mayor Sadiq Khan and local MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy drawing attention to frequent gridlock on Streatham High Road.

 The council said the LTN trial was introduced to reduce road danger and make the neighbourhood safer and healthier by restricting motor vehicle access to streets within the scheme.

The council said it would publish its Streatham Wells Stage 1 – Initial Adjustments monitoring report “in the coming days”.

It said there had been an average 60% decrease in traffic within the LTN and an 8% increase in traffic on boundary roads, with overall, a 2% net reduction in traffic across the area.

The number of vehicles in the area breaking the speed limit had fallen by 68% compared with pre-LTN levels.

“During the trial the traffic on boundary roads, including the A23 (Streatham High Road) and Streatham Common North has combined with frequent roadworks by Thames Water and other bodies to place a significant strain on bus services in Streatham,” the council said.

Transport for London will begin a £9m project to “substantially upgrade” the experience for walking and cycling on the A23, starting at the end of spring and continuing into 2025.

“These improvement works will necessarily require some reduced road capacity while this major investment takes place,” the council said.

Alongside this investment, it is working with TfL to implement “a comprehensive package of bus priority measures along the length of the A23 to separate buses from general traffic and help prevent bus delays in future”.

Consultation on the proposals will take place with residents and businesses, “with construction starting as soon as possible thereafter”.

Council deputy leader  Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for sustainable Lambeth and clean air, said: “We’ve listened to the concerns raised by local people and recognise the major disruption coming as part of transport improvements on the main road running through Streatham.

“The combination of factors together would cause too much disruption for Lambeth residents.

“We always said that this was a trial, and we would be led by the data – and the monitoring report makes it clear that the scheme met our objectives to reduce traffic and road danger.

“Many local people have told us they welcomed the fall in traffic in areas like Valley Road and around Sunnyhill Primary School – but equally, there have been delays in bus journeys on the A23 which has had an impact on many residents.

“Suspension will stop more significant delays occurring when the investment in the A23, including new segregated cycle lanes, starts later this spring and allows time for bus priority measures to be implemented all along the A23.

“The investments that TfL and the council are making on the A23, and the Streatham-to-Peckham healthy route will set the conditions for future changes to make Streatham a clean, vibrant and climate resilient place where people can lead healthier, happier lives.”