Transport grandee slams low traffic neighbourhood idea

The former Transport Minister and leading industry consultant Steve Norris has criticised plans to create three low traffic neighbourhoods in the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The council has published plans to “make areas of Tooting much more bike and pedestrian friendly and deter rat run traffic,” saying the changes are part of its response to Covid-19 and “the need to free up additional space on the highway in support of social distancing and to encourage alternative forms of travel”.

But Norris, who was a London Mayoral candidate in the 2000s and is now President of ITS (UK) tweeted, “Daft. Pointless, and a complete waste of money. As with so much of the ill-thought through reaction to Covid this from @wandbc is really poor”.

Norris has repeatedly questioned the response to the virus, retweeting comments which suggest the reaction has been out of all proportion to the risk including one from former Institute of Directors head Ruth Lea saying “The hesitant & tardy lifting of lockdown restrictions continues to act as a drag on the economy. The economy can only recover when the restrictions are fully lifted. Time for balance. Decision-making is about balancing risks”, and another by City AM editor Christian May pointing out that restaurants in the City of London have been refused permission to put tables outside because the space is needed for transport, saying “What transport? There’s nobody here!”

Steve Norris says there is “no evidence base but guaranteed massive inconvenience,” in introducing Tooting’s schemes. The council says the introduction is on a trial basis so effectiveness can be closely monitored and evaluated.

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