Residents are calling on Merton Council to improve their emergency travel response.

Last week, Merton announced their emergency covid-19 response, which was to 'repurpose streets and key locations to serve the demand for walking and cycling.'

Plans include, pavements being extended into the road in some of the busiest parts of the borough, modal filters to reduce speeding and rat-running, temporary cycle lanes, parking suspensions for footway widening and reallocating lane-space to widen footways.

In response, residents have written an open letter calling for the council to add to their strategy.

Your Local Guardian: Residents call for further action Residents call for further action

"Merton’s emergency travel response needs to go much further than it does currently.

"Walking and cycling must be made viable for all, including children and older people.

"The threat of motor traffic must be cut on all streets – a boroughwide approach is needed.

"In normal times, Merton's motor traffic makes for unpleasant streets and kills residents, either directly through road collisions, or indirectly by causing ill-health.

"Recent studies show links between air pollution and COVID-19 death rates.

"Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at even quite small levels is associated with an increased risk of coronavirus deaths.

"Cars produce particulate matter from brakes and tyres which weakens our respiratory systems.

"Lungs recovering from covid-19 must not be forced to breathe harmful gases and particulate matter.

"We cannot go back; air pollution, the climate emergency and the links to covid-19 mean permanent change is needed.

"Merton faces the prospect of major increases in driving from residents and the commuter belt as people avoid public transport unless it takes drastic action.

"Boroughs, including neighbouring ones, are acting to cut motor traffic.

"If Merton does not go far enough, we will be left behind and grind to a halt with an increase in car traffic from pre-lockdown levels, which will hurt our recovery."

Merton Council has released a list of locations in Merton detailing where the first phase of works will be implemented.

A spokesman said: “The emergency changes will be followed by longer term work to improve walking and cycling routes throughout the borough.

“The plans will also look to keep Merton moving safely as travel patterns change and restrictions ease.

“The Council will keep this programme under review and continue to work with TFL to provide more resources for further walking and cycling improvements.”

To view the full list, visit at