Diversions through Packington estate causing ‘chaos’ for residents

Reports of 80 per cent increase in traffic through estate as cars avoid LTN closures

Friday, 14th May 2021 — By Calum Fraser

Bob Cambers

Bob Chambers: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s non-stop.’

THE amount of traffic diverted through a council housing estate has increased by up to 80 per cent, it has been claimed, as drivers try to dodge roads shut down by the Town Hall.

The St Peter’s People Friendly Streets scheme – also known as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) – has seen streets across the ward closed to stop vehicles cutting through residential areas.

But it is understood that satnav systems are working out ways around the closures, leading to a reported rise in cars coming through the Packington estate.

Motorists are looking to avoid the change of layout in Prebend Street. Bob Chambers, 75, who has lived on the Packington estate for 44 years, told the Tribune: “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s non-stop, all the time there’s cars driving through here.

“It’s ever since the council closed off all the other roads. It’s caused chaos.”

St Peter’s ward councillor Martin Klute reported the issue on his blog saying that he supported the LTN roll-out and its aims, but that “adverse and undesir­able” consequences should be acted on.

Cllr Martin Klute 

He added: “Some satnav services are sending drivers this way [through the Packington], and recent traffic counts show it has led to an 80 per cent increase in traffic through the area and a recorded 85 per cent increase in speeding.

“We have also heard that some vehicles have been driving the wrong way around Union Square to bypass the filter in the opposite direction, which has led to several near misses to date.”

Tracy Usher, who has lived on the Packington for more than 30 years, added: “It’s absolutely diabolical around here with the road closures. Cars are constantly coming through the estate and it’s getting worse.”

Tracy Usher

Council officers are working on a plan to block the “Packington leak”, as it has been termed, by moving the filter in Prebend Street to the junction with Coleman Fields.

This would stop cars from being able to get out onto New North Road, which is often the intended destination for those who are rat-running through the Packington estate from either Essex Road or Upper Street.

Council chiefs have argued throughout that LTNs are needed to stop people turning to their cars during the Covid crisis and causing a rise in traffic pollution.

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “The council is listening carefully to local people’s views on the trials, and recognises that the traffic short-cutting through the area is causing severe disruption and has been carefully considering how to address this.

“Feedback will inform any necessary adjust­ments to the schemes, including changes to routes or filters. In the meantime, we would like to thank the local community in the area for their patience. A decision has not yet been taken on how to address these concerns, however the council expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks.”

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