‘Completely congested’: Residents call for morning ban on heavy goods vehicles using Victoria Park Road

Victoria Park Road residents protest against HGV traffic

Victoria Park Road residents protest against HGV traffic. Photograph: Julia Gregory

Residents are calling for a ban on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) travelling along a Hackney street in the mornings to help improve road safety and cut congestion.

They have asked Hackney Council to implement the ban on Victoria Park Road from 7am to 1.30pm.

They also want work done to unblock pedestrian crossings on Mare Street, which are “overwhelmed” with traffic every morning, and air quality monitored where queues build up.

Resident Christine Jackson brought a delegation to the council and said the road is gridlocked during morning rush hour.

She said it can be “a racetrack at all other times”.

At a meeting of the full council, she told Hackney’s elected representatives: “Over recent years we have experienced a steady growth in traffic levels, especially HGVs along our residential road.

“This results in the road being completely congested at two pinch points: the roundabout at Lauriston Road and at the junction of Victoria Park Road with Mare Street.

“Both areas witness long tailbacks of idling traffic for hours on end every day, with associated pollution, anger and frustration.

“As local residents, we are unable to open our windows due to pollution and noise from idling lorries in the mornings.”

She said the junction is the main crossing used by visitors, staff and patients of St Joseph’s Hospice.

“In the mornings, I regularly see parents holding their hands up to stop traffic encroaching on the crossing whilst taking their children to school despite them having the green man,” she added.

Jackson said a morning ban on HGVs “would ease congestion at pinch points, reduce pollution levels, and the road would become safer for cyclists”.

Christine Jackson and Victoria Park Road residents

Christine Jackson speaks at full council. Photograph: Julia Gregory

Cllr Penny Wrout (Victoria, Labour), who supports the residents, said: “I’d particularly like all councillors representing wards in south Hackney to take careful note of their ideas, because I think they’re key to reducing the most polluting traffic along heavily congested routes like Hackney Road and, to a lesser extent, Graham Road.

“So, this is about improving air quality and safety for large stretches of our borough.”

She added: “Victoria Park Road has become the route of choice for concrete mixer lorries and dumper trucks heading for the City, Islington and Camden.”

Cllr Mete Coban, cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said the roads team would do a walkabout with residents.

He said there is a slight downward trend in the average number of vehicles using Victoria Park Road over a week – from 10,200 in 2012 to 8,700 in 2023. HGVs make up nine per cent of the total.

Cllr Coban told residents: “It would normally not be appropriate to apply a weight limit to an A-road of this nature.”

However, he added: “We really want to work with you on this.”

He said the roads team is looking at what improvements it could make and are talking to Transport for London about a review of signal timings at Mare Street and Hackney Road.

He added: “We have considered a larger box junction but are constrained by regulations regarding the size and layout of these markings.”

He said there needs to be further investigation.

Tower Hamlets resident Maria Sembello, who lives on a busy road, contacted the Citizen about the issue.

She said: “I feel this is a NIMBY effort to push unwanted traffic away from an affluent area in Hackney down to Tower Hamlets.

“Ours is a poorer borough, meaning residents will have less spare time on their hands to notice this or do anything about it.”