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Bus takes two hours to travel three miles through congestion fuelled by new low-traffic neighbourhood

A London bus took two hours to travel three miles through congestion fuelled by a new low-traffic neighbourhood, figures have revealed.

Traffic has reportedly become so bad around the Streatham Wells Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) that buses have to be diverted at peak times, or navigate through the zone itself, to avoid gridlock.

Transport for London (TfL) data has revealed one bus took 121 minutes to travel 2.9 miles as the A23, which runs along one side of the LTN, became so overwhelmed.

The Times reports the bus was expected to take 29 minutes and it would have been twice as quick for passengers to walk.

Stephen Hall, who runs the Streatham Stuff website, has warned buses on the High Road are “still regularly getting stuck for an hour in the congestion”.

He warned that Lambeth Council has underestimated the damage and disruption the LTN would cause.

There are also reportedly long queues inside the LTN itself as residents try to exit the area to turn onto the main road.

A risk assessment before the LTN was introduced warned that it was “very likely” the scheme would have a “significant impact” on traffic on nearby roads but that local buses were “unlikely” to be affected.

An 18-month trial period is currently in place at the LTN and Lambeth Council are considering implementing another LTN nearby.

The council has already generated £320,000 in fines in the first three months of the LTN’s operation, according to the Times.

When the congestion was first reported by the newspaper in December, the council blamed “emergency roadworks” for delays and said it expected conditions to improve as drivers got used to the new scheme.

Now the council has highlighted “ongoing roadworks by utilities and recent rail strikes” for the issues with the LTN.

But TfL identified the LTN was the main cause of delays and the Times reported its Operations’ Network Management Control Centre recently raised an “incident” saying the low traffic zone was causing “serious” delays in the area.

A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns regarding bus times in Streatham relating to the trial of Streatham Wells LTN, ongoing roadworks by utilities and recent rail strikes.

“We are working closely with TfL to monitor the situation and will make changes as needed.

“In previous Lambeth LTN schemes, traffic fell across the neighbourhood and boundary roads by the end of the trial.

“The Low Traffic Neighbourhoods been introduced to our busy London borough to make the areas safer, more sustainable and to improve the quality for life everyone living in our local neighbourhoods.”

Transport for London has been contacted for comment.