A bus gateway will be introduced in Wapping this month to “protect residents from the blight of drivers using their streets as a rush hour rat-run”.
From Wednesday 13 November, traffic will be restricted on weekdays from 5.30am to 10.30am and from 4pm to 7pm on Wapping High Street between the junctions of Sampson Street and Knighten Street.
Only buses and bicycles will be permitted to pass through during those hours with signs warning motorists and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras enforcing the restrictions.
The gateway is aimed at “improving safety and reducing noise and air pollution” for residents.
Knighten Street will become a cul-de-sac to prevent vehicles using the narrow road to avoid the gateway.
The proposals do not include exemptions for residents or taxis as it was determined that to do so would undermine the overall aims of the bus gate.
This is despite the majority of respondents voting to keep access open for residents and taxis in a Tower Hamlet’s Council led consultation.
A petition has now been set up demanding access for residents' vehicles and licensed taxis is granted through the Wapping Bus Gate.
Some local residents are angry, suggesting that the new gate severely restricts the movement and access of Wapping residents at peak times to and from work and schools.
The council says vehicles will still be able to access roads on either side of the 100-metre stretch of the gateway.
Cab drivers are arguing that the restricted access will increase journey times and push up prices for disabled and wheelchair users. London’s licensed taxis provide the only 100% wheelchair accessible service in the capital.
Letters and leaflets have been sent to addresses in the area and signs have been erected warning drivers of the restrictions on Wapping High Street and The Highway.
The gateway will be implemented on an 18-month basis to see its impact.