Hackney residents take fewer car journeys than any other Londoners, and most of us don’t own a vehicle. But I know from speaking to residents that traffic levels on our roads are unacceptably high.

Vehicle traffic is a major contributor to the climate emergency. Almost a third of Hackney’s carbon emissions come from road transport, and for London to achieve net zero carbon by 2030, citywide traffic must be reduced by at least 27%. Furthermore, right now every single street in Hackney has toxic air quality, exceeding the latest guidelines from the World Health Organisation. Children, older people and people with long term conditions are particularly at risk. On top of this, our borough is a major blackspot for vehicle accidents, with far too many people killed or injured on our roads.

I recognise that some car and van journeys will always remain essential. But I want to make it easier and more convenient for Hackney residents to choose to travel in a way that’s healthier for themselves, our community and the whole planet.

Recent measures taken by the council have cut traffic on some streets while doing little or nothing to improve conditions for others. As Hackney’s first Green Mayor, I will push for every street in the borough to be safer, healthier, less congested and more inclusive.

Walking and wheeling

Getting out on foot or with the help of a mobility aid is the most common way for people to get around Hackney, with huge health and social benefits. But our streets are not always welcoming to those who don’t or can’t drive.

I will:

  • make Hackney 100% walkable, with a borough-wide push to repair, declutter, green and widen pavements and install benches and resting places.
  • make it easier and more convenient for pedestrians (including those with disabilities) to safely cross streets, by upgrading existing pedestrian crossings, creating new raised ones, and making sure pedestrians never have to wait too long to cross.
  • create a new network of safe, low-pollution, pedestrian-friendly ‘Green Routes’ throughout the borough.
  • change planning rules to help give all Hackney residents easy access to green spaces and local facilities within walking distance of home.
  • help all walkers and wheelers feel safe and secure at all times of the day with street lighting, fewer vacant units and a borough-wide education programme aimed at preventing sexual offences.

ZoOm Bike Project

zoOM bike project is a zero-waste community bike workshop operating in Gillett Square in Dalston. Zoë has been volunteering for over two years as a bike mechanic. The project focuses on getting kids on bikes, and offers a bike-swap as kids grow. The bike project tackles barriers to cycling, such as cost and stigma, whilst providing skills and confidence. Grassroot projects like these are a highlight of Hackney.

Zoë Garbett at the Bike Project

Safe and easy cycling

A big barrier to cycling is safety. So much more can be done to make more people feel confident and able to travel on two wheels. We need cycle and walking provision to cover the whole borough, including estates, so active travel is available to all.

As a Hackney councillor, I’m proud to have pressured the Council to install more cycle storage and ensure it never costs more to park a bike than a car. Now we need to go even further to improve cycling in Hackney.

I will:

  • create more protected, accessible cycle lanes throughout the borough, aiming to improve on current provision on every one of Hackney’s main roads and key connecting streets
  • create more safe cycle crossings over all of Hackney’s main roads, linking cycle routes and traffic-calmed areas
    work hard to ensure that protected cycle lanes are wide enough for adapted cycle and cargo bike users
  • aim to accelerate delivery of cycle hangars, and provide more secure short-stay cycle parking around high streets and transport hubs
  • work with TfL to extend its cycle hire scheme northwards to Dalston Junction, Hackney Central, Homerton and beyond, and roll out more ‘dockless’ cycle hire schemes borough-wide (working with councils across London on better, consistent regulation)
  • place accessibility of estates at the heart of urban design in Hackney, looking to remove barriers to cycling on estates across the borough
  • ensure all new development includes a proportionate amount of cycle storage and parking

Boosting public bus services

Hackney residents tell me that they need good, quick and affordable bus links. But rising traffic on our main roads is slowing down these vital bus connections.

I will:

  • increase the road priority of buses by working to introduce new lanes and priority signals
  • fight any further attempts to cut bus routes or frequency here in Hackney, including night bus routes

Making public transport accessible

London’s public transport system is world-class, but too many Hackney residents are excluded by inaccessible stations and vehicles. I will work with TfL to:

  • make public transport more accessible for everyone, including adding step-free access to more of Hackney’s Overground stations such as Dalston Kingsland and Hackney Downs
  • run education and publicity campaigns to improve safety on public transport, particularly for women and LGBTIQA+ people

Tackling traffic

I’ve heard from many residents who have told me there is too much traffic on our streets, causing road danger, toxic air and stress. We would all benefit from less congested main roads, including those who really need to use a car or van.

I will:

  • accelerate the roll-out of car-free school streets at all maintained primary and secondary schools and, where possible, introduce them at colleges in Hackney, while encouraging independent schools to follow
  • press London City Hall to adopt smart, privacy-friendly ‘pay-per-mile’ road charging across London, with a trial in Hackney
  • consult on the creation of more low-traffic neighbourhoods in suitable areas of the borough, alongside a comprehensive plan to predict, monitor and quickly mitigate any negative effects on nearby roads
  • reduce traffic on main roads by shrinking space for cars, freeing up lanes for public transport and active travel, and allowing residents to suggest changes such as reprioritising traffic lights
  • make parking more costly for those who can afford larger and more polluting private cars, and charge a corporate parking levy. Income from parking fees will remain ring-fenced for improving walking, cycling and public transport
  • explore implementing a Clean Air Levy on big businesses using fossil-based deliveries in our borough, encouraging a rapid transition to electric vans and bikes
  • help businesses make the shift to quick and sustainable delivery methods such as electric vans and cargo bikes
  • push for powers to step up enforcement of the 20mph limit on Hackney’s roads
  • explore giving additional enforcement powers to community and parking officers to issue fines to drivers who ignore school streets
  • run a borough-wide awareness campaign on the social and environmental costs of car use, and the many benefits of more sustainable methods of transport
  • support the expansion of affordable car-sharing schemes, to help those who still need to drive at times
  • create a scheme of street petitions to let local residents repurpose their street’s parking spaces into other uses – from cycle storage to green spaces (‘parklets’) and bays for shared vehicles
  • protect disabled parking, and short-stay visitor parking and loading bays that support vehicle-dependent local businesses

Improving air quality

Air pollution is one of the biggest health risks facing Hackney’s communities, causing lung and heart problems that can be fatal. It poses even greater danger for children, the elderly and those with long-term health issues. Low-income and African, Caribbean, Asian, Latino and other minority ethnic groups are disproportionately affected. There are many causes of air pollution here in Hackney, but road traffic is among the biggest.

I will:

  • appoint a dedicated Council cabinet member with responsibility for Environment, Climate Justice and Clean Air
  • tighten Hackney’s air quality targets in line with the World Health Organisation’s Global Air Quality Targets, and do everything possible to follow the research and meet updated targets on every street in the borough
  • proactively expand data collection to be able to accurately evaluate air pollution across the borough, including main roads, and honestly address the need to take greater action in places where current measures are inadequate and air pollution levels have increased
  • create new car-free and zero-emission zones in areas with lots of pedestrians, like high streets
  • take action on vehicle idling, with more enforcement and a public awareness campaign
  • introduce a diesel surcharge for visitor parking, and work towards phasing out diesel cars entirely in the borough
  • raise awareness of the harms of wood and coal burning, with the goal of phasing out open fires and woodburners wherever they aren’t an essential source of heating

Low-traffic neighbourhoods

The Council introduced several ‘low-traffic neighbourhood’ (LTN) schemes in 2020, and since then I have spoken to so many residents about their effects. Many people of all backgrounds have said how much they have enjoyed having cleaner air and safer streets as a result of the LTNs. But some, especially residents on main roads, have told me that they’ve seen heavier traffic since LTNs were introduced nearby, causing increased stress and health problems. I want to work with residents to urgently find a solution to these issues, and cut traffic on all Hackney streets – not just some.

I will:

  • create more low-traffic neighbourhoods in suitable areas of the borough, alongside a comprehensive plan to predict, monitor and quickly mitigate any negative effects on nearby roads
  • look to connect low-traffic neighbourhoods with cycle lanes and walking routes so that walkers and cyclists can move easily and safely through our borough
  • introduce a small number of new exemptions for low-traffic neighbourhoods, allowing all Blue Badge holders and their carers, as well as health and social care staff, to pass through traffic filters. I will listen to the needs of those residents and businesses who may have no choice other than to drive, and remain open to further exemptions for essential vehicles in future
  • ensure transparency, two-way communication and fairness on all future traffic schemes, with clear objectives, regularly updated scorecards and ongoing in-person consultations with a representative range of residents

As your Mayor, I will be committed to working alongside Hackney residents on the things that matter, and listening to you every step of the way.

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My Plan for a Fairer Greener Hackney