Greenwich Council says it will not tolerate vandalism of traffic barriers installed to stop rat-running in streets west of Greenwich Park.
Council leader Danny Thorpe has said police may be called in if staff are abused over the blocks, put in place to stop streams of traffic using narrow Crooms Hill, which runs alongside the park, and on roads feeding into nearby Royal Hill.
The attacks on the first major “low traffic neighbourhood” scheme in Greenwich borough follows damage to bollards and planters in similar schemes in neighbouring Lewisham borough.
While the Hills and Vales scheme was planned before the pandemic, the filters – which allow pedestrians and cyclists through but not motor vehicles – have been installed with money put in for emergency measures to encourage more walking and cycling.
Other filters have been installed to create a cycle route in Abbey Wood and Plumstead, while more are planned around Anglesea Road in Woolwich and Colomb Street in east Greenwich.
In the case of Hills and Vales, fears have been expressed that rat-running traffic will either switch to streets on the east side of Greenwich Park or use Deptford Church Street, which has been narrowed because of Thames Tideway sewer works.
Plans for filters in the streets east of Greenwich Park were shelved along with other proposals for Charlton and Eltham after the council failed to get funding from Transport for London.
Thorpe said: “I was appalled to learn that the temporary barriers installed to help reduce traffic in West Greenwich have been vandalised. Even more appalling is the verbal abuse that Royal Borough of Greenwich staff members have received while installing and restoring the barriers. At the council we are committed to treating everyone fairly and respectfully, and I ask that you share this same commitment. Any abusive behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated and the police will be called if necessary.
“The measures have been put in place on a trial basis to reduce traffic and increase safety. Installed on 20 August, we will closely monitor the measures for the first two weeks and amend them if significant operational issues arise.
“After that, a six-month public consultation period on the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order will begin. This means that anyone with genuine concerns about the measures can give constructive feedback to us based on their experiences of the barriers being in place. You will be able to give feedback from 3 September on our website.
“We know that it can take time to get used to new road layouts and barriers like the ones we’ve installed in west Greenwich, but that is no reason to vandalise them or abuse our staff who are simply trying to make the area safer for everyone.”
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