Satellite navigation blamed for lorries causing havoc in narrow Hampstead street
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
Satellite navigation systems have been blamed for blighting one of Hampstead’s narrowest streets – by guiding unwitting lorry drivers into the road.
Residents claim traffic jams, scratched cars, smashed wing mirrors and toppled motorbikes are a frequent sight in Flask Walk because of trucks attempting to squeeze through the street on a daily basis.
Police officers have even been called to settle disputes when lorries have become wedged between bollards and parked cars.
Cllr Chris Knight, who represents Hampstead Town ward, said: “It’s a constant battle there. Flask Walk is a very narrow street, but it gets used as a rat-run.
“The real problem is with people using sat-navs that don’t tell you the street is unsuitable for your vehicle.”
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Cllr Knight has called on sat- nav firms such as TomTom and Garmin to update their software and show that the road is too narrow for heavy goods vehicles.
“It would be a great service to the residents and the owners of these vehicles to warn them,” he said.
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Barrister David Altaras, who lives in Flask Walk, called for a blanket ban on large lorries using the street.
“They are a bloody nuisance,” he said. “They come to a certain point and realise they can’t get around the corner and then they back down, and in the meantime nothing can get up the road. It happens almost daily. I would like to see a ban on lorries here.”
Fellow resident Kathryn Hauge, 30, who owns a travel business, said: “People always get stuck here. Police were called recently because a lady refused to move her car – there was about an inch of space between her and a truck.
“The only way to resolve it was to get the police involved. Sometimes the sat-navs even indicate you can drive through the pedestrianised section of the road.”
Cllr Phil Jones, Camden Council’s cabinet member for sustainability, said: “It is the responsibility of drivers to ensure they follow the clear signage we have in place at the entrance to Flask Walk, which advises that the route is unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles.
“Following these recent reports from local residents we will be looking at additional ways to address this issue, such as additional signage.”
A spokesman from Garmin, one of the largest producers of sat-navs, said: “Sat-nav is there to guide you, it’s not there to drive. All drivers have to take responsibility and you have to use common sense.”
He added that special models aimed at lorry drivers have come onto the market in the past two years, which take into account vehicle weight and road width.