The council’s announcement of a major redesign of one of Hackney’s most dangerous junctions has been welcomed by cyclists.
The Town Hall’s top politicians have agreed to overhaul the Pembury Circus junction, which saw 66 collisions that resulted in injuries between 2017 and 2022.
Just last week, there were unconfirmed reports on X that a cyclist was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital after a hit-and-run at the junction.
Reacting to the news, Hackney Cycling Campaign said: “A redesign of this junction must prioritise and ensure the safety of people on cycles and walking. This really can’t come soon enough.”
The agreement to push ahead with the redesign has cleared the way for wider plans from the Town Hall to create a green corridor along the eastern side of Amhurst Road.
Transport chief Cllr Mete Coban revealed that the council will begin working with the community early next year to transform that part of the road, which links Pembury Circus to Hackney Central station.
Traffic will be restricted between 7am and 7pm, except for certain exemptions including emergency services, buses, and Blue Badge-holders.
Residents will be involved in designing how the new green corridor will look, with opportunities for pocket parks, additional seating and greenery, and a public space connecting Amhurst with the Narrow Way.
Local campaign group Hackney Living Streets reacted positively on social media: “We’re delighted this long-awaited project is getting started so people who live, work and use public and active transport in Hackney Central can benefit. Good news.”
An account promoting the London Fields low traffic neighbourhood added: “Great to see Hackney prioritising buses through Hackney Central – especially as this has been a recent taking point for some.
“Happy to read the promise of more public space for pedestrians and a safer junction and surrounding roads with cyclists.”
However, a petition to improve safety at Pembury Circus, which was launched before the latest announcement and has so far been signed by almost 600 people, has concerns over the council’s focus on the eastern branch of Amhurst Road.
In light of the planned changes, the campaign has updated its demands.
It states: “We are concerned the allocated funding is being limited to improvements to Pembury Road and the east section of Amhurst Road; neglecting the life-threatening issues that affect the wider junction, including the west section on Amhurst Road and the west section of Dalston Lane.”
The petition calls for “safe pedestrian crossings at Andre Street and Sandringham Road junctions, and accessible pedestrian and cycle access to Dalston Lane”.
A number of people have also raised fears over the possible displacement of traffic when Amhurst is shut off to motorists, while others hoped businesses would not be negatively affected.
Cllr Coban said: “Across the borough we’ve made huge steps in removing traffic, reducing pollution and greening our neighbourhoods, but Hackney Central remains blighted by poor air quality, high traffic and a lack of green space.
“This new green corridor sets a new benchmark for what our streets can look like, and delivers a greener, healthier borough that the people of Hackney deserve.”
The project will be funded by investment from the government’s levelling-up fund and by contributions from new developments in the area.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, deputy mayor and cabinet member for delivery, inclusive economy and regeneration, said: “Hackney Central is changing, and this first project from £19million of investment will not just be a focal point in creating a more accessible, liveable town centre, but a catalyst for a wider transformation that delivers on the priorities identified by the local community.
“That includes addressing community safety issues, working with the local businesses to create a thriving and inclusive local economy, supporting Hackney Central’s renowned cultural institutions and ensuring new developments in the town centre will provide new homes and workspaces in the years ahead.”
A consultation on the green corridor is expected to launch early next year, and more information can be found here.
To get involved in the plans, sign up here.