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Should a Hampstead zebra crossing be removed?

Society chairman argues takeaway delivery drivers on bikes are causing hold-ups

24 January, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

THE chairman of the Heath and Hampstead Society has criticised proposals to remove a popular zebra crossing to ease traffic congestion, arguing takeaway delivery drivers on bikes are causing the hold-ups.

Transport for London (TfL), who want to take out the crossing in Hampstead High Street, by Oriel Place, insist it is causing traffic congestion and holding up number 46 and 268 buses.

But the Society’s chairman, Marc Hutchinson, said: “Recent traffic problems have been aggravated by Deliveroo drivers in between jobs on the northern end of the high street.”

“It’s a relatively recent problem. If it were just bicycles it wouldn’t be so bad, but they have bikes with a trolley attached and gather on the double yellow line whilst waiting for their next job. They shouldn’t be gathering there.”

Mr Hutchinson has filed a complaint to the council about the delivery bikes.

Meanwhile, volunteers from the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum have spent more than 120 hours monitoring the under-threat zebra crossing and say it is not to blame for heavy traffic building up.

Forum chairwoman Janine Griffis said: “We found that even after rush-hour the zebra crossing was used by hundreds of people an hour and, actually, there was no time lost to traffic because of the zebra crossing.

“Only 90 seconds per hour was lost where motorists wait for pedestrians. The proposals say the crossing is holding up the traffic – but is it really?”

The TfL shake-up of Hampstead includes restricting parking and loading on the southern side of the High Street between 7am and 10am and 4pm to 7pm from Monday to Saturday.

There are also plans to restructure the High Street approach to Heath Street, a new pedestrian crossing between Holly Hill and Hampstead tube station, a widening of footpaths and a new cycle lane.

Cllr Oliver Cooper, leader of the opposition, said: “I am opposed to changes at the zebra crossing.

“I live just adjacent to it, just 10 metres away, and I see how important it is to maintaining the village feel in Hampstead.

“It is already a thoroughfare as it is and my fear would be if the zebra crossing is removed from pedestrians then the village will be cut in half.”

The consultation closed on Wednesday.

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