I live with in the Arlington Road Lower Traffic Neighbourhood and just took my first trip to the Royal Free Hospital since the project started. Roads total gridlock. A journey that used to take 10 minutes took 34 only by using side roads. The whole project isn’t cutting traffic it’s making it sit solid, unmoving in roads turned into car parks. From now on getting to hospital is going to need at least an hour, when you factor in trying to park.
Can’t cycle as it’s up hill and my handcycle won’t cope. Can’t get a bus because ramps don’t deploy on hills. If a proper assessment had been carried out this problem would have been obvious and solutions found. As it is anyone who has to drive or be driven is being forgotten and their lives made much harder. Exactly the opposite of what the law requires of our council.
To get to the Royal Free usually I would leave home in my car, go down Jamestown Road, turn onto Camden High Street and then travel straight up Chalk Farm Road, then Haverstock Hill, before turning right into the road to the hospital. A journey of 10 minutes usually. The trip I took this week took over 30, and only because we took side roads that are still open. The main roads suggested by our sat nav were solid with traffic. We left 40 minutes for the journey but arrived late.
I have no other choice than to drive as despite using a handcycle I cannot cycle up or down steep hills. Taking a bus is difficult, as bus ramps do not deploy on inclines so many bus stops on the way are impossible to stop at. It means I either have to try to wheel down the steep hill to the RFH or up it. Again, making this option very difficult. With the weather also being very wet, driving is the only safe, accessible way of doing an essential journey safely, accessibly and remaining dry.
This experience is one disabled and older people are going to face more and more as lockdown eases. These people may have no choice than to drive. Sadly if the council implements LTNs without flexibility for access local disabled and older people are going to be seriously disadvantaged. If someone has to use a taxi as well as the extra time, the extra cost will be prohibitive. Camden needs to reassess its current policies around LTNs to ensure they are inclusive and do not negatively impact disabled and older people. Then our borough can push to be greener and inclusive. Both are possible but the issues with the current implementation have to be admitted.