Residents are protesting at “unnecessary” plans to curtail car access to a poetically-named Stoke Newington road.
Transport for London (TfL) and Hackney Council jointly approved an Experimental Traffic Order (ETA) for Wordsworth Road with the aim of improving the CS1 cycle superhighway running along it.
The 18-month ETA will see vehicle access limited, affecting residents and businesses on neighbouring roads who will be forced to enter from Stoke Newington High Street.
Campaigner Nicky Bowden, who lives on one of the affected roads, said: “The changes appear to be a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
“Although the plans will benefit cyclists, the disadvantages for residents far outweigh the advantages.”
A recently launched petition calling for the traffic restrictions to be reconsidered has already attracted nearly one hundred signatures.
Supporter John Gorick said: “The proposals penalise local vehicle owners by installing traffic-calming measures in a very lightly trafficked area.
“It also exacerbates danger to pedestrians, especially children, from speeding cyclists near Butterfield Green.”
Ashley Harvey, who also signed the petition, said: “Despite being a keen cyclist I am totally against this overreaction to a fairly minor problem.
“The speed at which cyclists come along the cycle lane from Nevill Road onto Wordsworth Road is already at a dangerous level and this will only make things worse.
“Add to this the increased congestion on the major roads in the area. Surely there is a better solution?”
But TfL says the plans will make the Wordsworth Road area ‘more welcoming’ and prevent some of the neighbouring roads being used as ‘rat-runs’.
Alan Bristow, TfL’s Director of Road Space Management, said: “We’ve worked closely with Hackney Council following feedback from local people in the recent consultation, and we have now developed these trial changes, which will make the De Beauvoir and Wordsworth Road areas much nicer places to live, walk and cycle.”
Hackney Council says the ETA is likely to be implemented in October, but campaigners say the consultation process was “unbalanced” and want it re-opened.
Ms Bowden said: “We want to raise awareness in the neighbourhood because nobody seems to have any idea about the plans or the consequences.
“The consultation wasn’t one hundred per cent transparent about what it was trying to achieve, and the outcome appears to us to be unbalanced.”
According to the consultation report, 48 per cent of respondents opposed the plans, including local councillor Michelle Gregory, a school and a GP practice, which submitted its own 250-name petition.
However, a spokesman for Hackney Council said: “When we removed the responses from the GP surgery these figures changed to 72 per cent in support or partial support and 25 per cent not in support.
“The surgery told patients that if the scheme went ahead, patients would not be able to access the surgery and the surgery might close.
“This is something that the council would not propose or support and the council recognises the essential service that the surgery provides to the community.
“The planned scheme ensures that the closures will not prevent vehicles from accessing the surgery and therefore the council considered that it was appropriate to exclude these from the overall responses which then showed a positive support for the proposals.”
A decision to either extend, make permanent or abolish the plans will be taken when the trial ends.
A spokesman for Hackney Council said: “The criteria for reviewing the successfulness of the scheme will be based on traffic impact within and on the boundary roads, impacts on the cycle route, resident and other feedback during the experimental period.”
This article was amended at 20:23 on Thursday 4 August 2016. The original article stated that cars would be banned from driving on Wordsworth Road. However, vehicular access to the road is to be restricted but motor vehicles will still have some access.