A two-hour journey for three miles on a London bus.

Streatham Wells LTN, introduced for an 18-month trial in October 2023, has resulted in traffic congestion.

February 26th 2024.

A two-hour journey for three miles on a London bus.
The streets of South London have been buzzing with activity lately, but not in a good way. Cars have been seen queuing up for miles in order to exit the new low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in Streatham Wells. The congestion has gotten so bad that buses are now taking a whopping two hours to travel a mere three miles. This has caused quite a stir, as new data has revealed that this area of London has the longest travel time between bus stops. In fact, it's faster to walk than to take a double-decker bus.

The LTN was introduced in October 2023 as an 18-month trial, but it has been causing traffic jams since its inception. Lambeth Council initially blamed "emergency roadworks" for the congestion, stating that it would improve as people got used to the new scheme. However, four months later, the gridlock is still causing major delays. In fact, according to data from Transport for London, it took a bus 121 minutes to travel less than three miles down the A23 on the western side of the LTN last week. This is a stark contrast to the 29 minutes it should have taken by bus, and it would have been twice as quick to walk the route.

LTNs are meant to reduce traffic, street crime, and pollution, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to use quiet streets. However, they have faced criticism for causing congestion. The Streatham Wells LTN is just one of many that have been introduced across the UK since 2020. The intention is to make roads safer and more sustainable for all, but the reality is causing quite a bit of controversy.

The situation in Streatham Wells has reached a boiling point, with cars queuing up to leave the area and buses being diverted to avoid the congestion. In fact, three-quarters of one bus route was diverted around the LTN during rush hour, while another route went straight through it. This has caused quite a headache for residents and those trying to navigate through the area.

The LTN has generated a whopping £320,000 in fines for the council in its first three months of operation. Despite the traffic problems, the council is determined to see the 18-month trial through to the end and is even planning another LTN a few hundred meters away. However, the council continues to blame "ongoing roadworks" and "recent rail strikes" for the traffic woes in the area.

TfL's bus operations team has also weighed in, stating that it is actually the LTN that is causing the delays. The Operations Network Management Control Centre has even raised an "incident" due to the "serious" delays caused by the LTN. Lambeth Council had initially expected an increase in traffic on the boundary roads of the LTN, but a risk assessment conducted before its introduction noted that it would have a "significant impact" on nearby roads.

Tom Cunnington, Transport for London's head of buses, has apologized for the delays and stated that they are working to monitor the situation and make changes as needed. Meanwhile, Stephen Hall, who runs the Streatham Stuff website, has expressed frustration with the LTN, stating that buses on the High Road are still regularly getting stuck in congestion for up to an hour. It seems that the council may have underestimated the impact of the LTN, and residents are feeling the effects.

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