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Parkway jam rage: Did traffic rebels force an end to TfL plans to widen pavements on famous street?

Transport for London abandons use of barriers to reduce number of lanes in Parkway after finding them pushed aside

23 July, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

William Miller, a vocal opponent to the Parkway scheme

REBELS fighting a new road scheme in Camden Town are believed to have shoved new barriers to one side, allowing cars to drive on through.

And now Transport for London has announced it will not put the pavement-widening measures back at the foot of Parkway, making it the first of its schemes aimed at making walking and cycling easier during the post-lockdown era to fall.

Amid sharply divided opinions, around 1,000 changes to the map in Camden are being considered by either TfL or Camden Council.

But the installation of bollards in Parkway, taking away a lane of traffic for use by pedestrians, sparked objections from drivers who said they were left idling in jams and residents who said their roads were being swamped by vehicles looking to escape the queues.

Congestion on back roads around Parkway was pictured by frustrated residents

After the barriers were mysteriously swept to the side of the road on Friday, TfL confirmed it had not removed them.

With a guessing game developing over who was responsible, the New Journal understands several drivers had got out of their cars during Friday’s evening rush hour and pushed them to the side of the road.

Two days later on Sunday, TfL took the fences away and now say they have permanently removed the Parkway measures following a review of the scheme.

The transport authority remained adamant that measures in nearby Camden Road, where the number of lanes has been reduced, will stay in place.

Carl Eddleston, TfL’s Head of Asset Operations, said: “We have not cancelled the scheme to add extra pavement space around Camden Road. After a review of this work, a small number of barriers, including those on Parkway, have been removed to ensure the scheme works as intended.

Friday rush hour saw traffic rebels push back the barriers

“The vast majority of this important new infrastructure remains in place on Camden Road, providing people walking with more space to travel safely.”

Other schemes, with wands separating cars from cyclists, would be harder to tamper with due to them being fixed.

Parkway is the road leading uphill from Britannia Junction outside Camden Town Underground Station towards Regent’s Park – also known as the A4201 road. It is famous beyond Camden Town for its restaurants and pubs.

John Collinson, team leader at Longdan Oriental Supermarket in Parkway said: “There was honking all day every day with people getting irate stuck in traffic and it was a real problem for residents who live upstairs. It would be good if they are gone for good.”

Jodie Steward, a consultant at the Portico estate agents, said: “All of Camden Road is terrible because it’s been taken down from four lanes to two.

“They haven’t done the layout around here very well.”

Transport for London has removed the section of the scheme for good

Ms Stewart and her colleague, office manager Adam Green, described witnessing scenes of “aggression” and “non-stop road rage” made worse since the measures were introduced.

“To be honest with you, no one was really using the extra room because the pavement is wide enough here anyway,” added Mr Green.

TfL said it continued to monitor its Streetspace schemes but is not considering the removal of other schemes in Camden.

William Miller, who lives in Gloucester Crescent and had campaigned for the measures to be removed, said: “It’s fantastic news. It was a foolish and shortsighted move which they did without really understanding the consequences.

“Although I wouldn’t condone the public taking the law into their own hands, I don’t think they would’ve removed it if people hadn’t done so.

“This isn’t an isolated problem and we’re seeing issues with schemes right across London where through traffic is going to be pushed into residential streets creating a nightmare of people’s lives.”

He added: “I just hope TfL take on board the debacle on Parkway as we move forward.”

Meanwhile, Conservative councillors asked council chiefs on Tuesday whether they had any consultative role over the narrowing of Finchley Road, which has been another flashpoint.

Tory councillor Gio Spinella said the TfL barriers there had been “unexpected”.

Labour environment chief Councillor Adam Harrison did not say whether any concerns with that project had been raised but said the council “asked for changes where they are needed”.

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