A new parliamentary petition is calling for the removal of temporary traffic measures introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councils across the country have been implementing schemes to promote active travel at a time when capacity on public transport is limited, as well as to help people maintain social distancing and reduce vehicle use.
Many of these schemes – which include new cycle lanes, School Streets and low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) – have been funded by the Government, as part of a £2bn package announced in May.
The petition has been posted by a private individual, David Tarsh, and is supported by the Alliance of British Drivers.
The promoters of the petition – which has nearly 15k signatures – acknowledge that the ‘experiment’ was well-intentioned; but say it is now clear that the temporary traffic measures ‘are doing much more harm than good’.
They are calling for the measures to be ‘removed immediately’ to ‘improve the travelling experience for the vast majority of road users’.
The survey reads: “Road closures, School Streets and new cycle lanes are creating severe congestion, long traffic delays and severe frustration across the country. Although well intentioned, the experiment has failed.
“Government guidance supporting such measures, and funds for them, should be withdrawn immediately.
“Many councils have introduced schemes touted as encouraging walking and cycling, but their real impact is gridlock.
“They’ve been built without proper consultation, illegitimately justified by the Covid crisis and backed by central government direction and finance.
“Congestion and pollution have increased, people are inconvenienced, local businesses have lost trade and lives jeopardised with emergency vehicles stuck in traffic. Cycle tracks are often empty, while the roads alongside are jammed.”
The survey needs 100,000 signatures to be considered for a debate in parliament.
David Tarsh, who posted the petition, said: “Where I live, the temporary cycle lanes around Hammersmith are a source of huge frustration.
“The traffic is frequently gridlocked whilst the cycle lanes alongside are often empty. They are dangerous; several people have complained about near misses at junctions and many experienced cyclists won’t use them as they feel the road is safer.
“Ambulances on emergency calls have been badly delayed and they are causing unnecessary pollution because crawling traffic is more polluting than flowing traffic. Worst of all, despite clear evidence now that they do more harm than good, our council wants to make them permanent!”
Roger Lawson, campaign director for the Alliance of British Drivers, added: “We welcome this petition. It has been most unfortunate that central Government has supported these irrational measures and permitted some local councils who have an anti-car stance to introduce schemes without public consultation that have increased traffic congestion, increased air pollution, blocked emergency services and increased journey times for all.
“The sooner these schemes are abandoned, and we can return to normal, the better. The opposition to such schemes, particularly to road closures, as we saw in Lewisham where we are supporting a campaign by local residents against them, is enormous while local councillors just ignore the complaints.”