A couple concerned about safety after traffic barriers were placed in their street have submitted a petition to reverse the move.  

Lewisham Council put trial barriers – modal filters – into residential streets in Lee Green on June 29 as part of a host of emergency Covid-19 transport measures.  

Before the pandemic, plans were already in place to run a six-month trial of roads being blocked off to through-traffic as part of the Lewisham and Lee Green Healthy Neighbourhood plan.     

The scheme, sped up because of Covid-19, aims to reduce rat-running, improve air quality, and encourage greener modes of transport.      

The latest version involves 13 barriers, or modal filters, which will close off the roads so that only cyclists and pedestrians can get through. 

One of the modal filters has been placed at the end of Manor Lane Terrace where it meets Kellerton Road. 

Peter, 81, and Pat Richardson, 74, who live in the street, said traffic has “significantly increased” in their “once quiet road”, while a lack of clear signage means a lot of confused drivers are going up and down, and doing 3-point turns.  

“We are experiencing much more traffic in the Terrace than normal. 

“This is a narrow road, with a bend in the middle, driving north or driving south one cannot see what is coming up or down.  If residents turn out of Wolfram Close this is an increased hazard. 

“Was the intention to create a dangerous situation for all residents, pedestrians and cyclists? We have many pedestrians, with children and/or dogs en route and back to Manor House Gardens,” Mrs Richardson said. 

She said her husband is disabled and struggles to walk. 

“He was born with two clubbed feet, had a series of operations until he was 15 and, of course, this means the muscles in the lower legs do not develop properly which means more problems as one grows older.  

“He is also blind in one eye, another birth defect, so needs more care in all that he does.  He struggles with walking in the mornings and cannot walk fast. 

“We have a neighbour aged 91, virtually house bound unless taken out by car,” she said.  

The couple also criticised the lack of notice, but bosses say it was impossible to give a full month’s notice because the emergency measures had be rolled out quickly.  

Another resident, Keith Payne, said traffic has increased from drivers who “can’t read or drive”, while there are no signs for lorries who could get stuck.  

“Never has there been such an ill-considered, ill-conceived, badly-timed project, which is unwarranted and unwanted.  

“There is no consideration for the quality of life of residents at all, yet they want to increase parking charges and block off our roads,” he said.  

Mr Payne said the changes must be reversed “before someone is seriously hurt”.  

The scheme has also received a lot of support in the borough. 

On Manor Lane Terrace, people have said the barriers “will cut traffic trying to avoid the modal filter in Manor Lane”.  

“Combined, they will make it much easier and safer to access the park.  

“Many rat-runners travel very fast down this section of Manor Lane despite it having a ‘give way’ junction,” one commenter on Commonplace said.  

Another said: “Like the majority of locals who live in the area, I fully support the road closures in Lee Green, in particular Manor Lane and Manor Lane Terrace, which have become dangerous rat runs between Lee High Road, Burnt Ash Road and the South Circular.” 

One said: “This will make our streets safer for all people and redress the balance so that pedestrians can walk safely. I am really pleased this is happening.” 

However, people who back the scheme have urged the council to install bollards to stop people driving onto pavements, which has been a problem in the bororugh since the modal filters were installed.  

A video from Upwood Road showed drivers dangerously mounting the footpath, but the council has since put bollards in the street. 

Cabinet member for environment and transport, Cllr Sophie McGeevor, said better signage will be added to Manor Lane Terrace soon.  

She also urged people to report people driving on pavements to the police. 

“The measures that have been put in place are to aid the urgent need to support residents to walk, cycle and social distance safely and so it’s really disappointing to see some drivers ignoring them.  

“We will be adding additional bollards and signage to prevent pavement driving and we are also working closely with the Metropolitan Police road safety team to monitor traffic and ensure public safety on our streets.

“We encourage residents who witness any dangerous driving to report this to the police.  

“We know that fear of road danger is a major barrier to cycling for older people, and so by creating quiet residential streets we want to give all our residents confidence to cycle.  

“Many of our older residents cannot afford a car, or cannot drive, so are reliant on public transport to get them from A to B.  

“However, some of them will be feeling anxious about using public transport at this time and we want to support those who would like to try cycling as an alternative.  

“As more adapted cycles and e bikes come on to the market, cycling will increasingly become a viable option for older people and those with reduced mobility and will help to support physical and mental health and reduce social isolation,” Cllr McGeevor said.