More than 600 residents lined streets across Crystal Palace on Sunday as part of a protest against low traffic measures implemented in the area.

Described by organisers as “Covid-safe, peaceful and passionate”, the protest ran on Sunday afternoon with at least 650 attendees thought to be among those that took to their streets to voice their displeasure at road closures around the Crystal Palace triangle.

The protest was organised by grassroots campaigners Open Our Roads, a citizens’ group whose stated mission is to ensure “residents, traders and visitors of Crystal Palace, Upper Norwood and South Norwood have fair and equal access to all public highways in the area”.

Video at the scene shows members of the public holding signs and waving at traffic during the protest.

“We live on the main roads and we literally can’t breath,” one person who was interviewed stated, in reference to perceived worsening air quality caused by congestion around the Crystal Palace triangle.

“My daughter’s choking, it’s not right.”

Another resident said the measures had instead caused vehicles to be on the roads for longer.

“LTN scheme stands for lower traffic neighbourhoods. It’s actually counter-productive, they’re causing increased pollution, they’re grid-locking traffic, it’s crazy,” he said.

“They’re putting on additional time on people’s journeys, it’s an absolute joke. And they did this all without consultation with the residents within the borough.”

The protest was the most high-profile show of public anger towards the low traffic measures, which consist of three blocked roads at Sylvan Hill, Stambourne Way and Fox Hill.

The initiative, implemented by Croydon Council done in a bid to facilitate a “green” recovery from the pandemic with less vehicle use and more cycling and walking, has found support in some quarters.

However, it’s also drawn much rage – particularly across the border at Bromley, where residents and councillors say traffic backed up from the scheme has brought roads in the west side of the borough to a standstill.

It’s led to a convoluted discussions on how best to tackle the issues of the road blockages – with Bromley’s Tory leadership weighing up the prospect of legal action against their neighbours, while Labour have pushed for a joint-solution with Croydon. 

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