Islington Council hails Canonbury East and Clerkenwell Green LTNs a success

New North Road in Islington

New North Road where data suggests traffic has increased by seven per cent compared to last June since the introduction of the low traffic neighbourhood scheme - Credit: Google

The council claims its controversial people-friendly streets schemes in Canonbury East and Clerkenwell Green have "helped to create greener, safer streets for everyone", following the publication of mid-trial monitoring reports.

Seven low traffic neighbourhoods have been introduced since August, with traffic-curbing measures, including bollards and enforcement cameras, on rat runs.

They are all on trial for 18 months, and the council believes the initiative will help make it easier to walk and cycle, and improve air quality - although the schemes have sparked dozens of protests from opponents who complain that congestion, gridlock and pollution have become worse as a result. 

Monitoring data is being published about six and 12 months into each scheme, because there there was no consultation before implementing them.

The council says it will help measure whether they have been a success and help local people decide whether they should remain permanently when a consultation is finally held.

The two 100-page reports include motorised traffic counts and speeds, cycling counts, air pollution data, London Fire Brigade response times, crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) data, and bus journey times.

Data from the first six months of the Canonbury East trial indicates that traffic dropped by an average of 78 per cent on roads within the neighbourhood, and by 10pc on boundary roads surrounding it.

However, traffic on one of the internal streets - Oakley Road - saw an increase of 38pc, with about 110 extra vehicles a day, equating to about nine an hour in morning rush hour.

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Traffic on the New North Road boundary increased by seven pc between June and February 2021.

The council says the difference is "negligible", and said the implication is that traffic has "stabilised" since it was measured for the St Peter’s report, which revealed a 32pc rise between June and November 2020.    
Meanwhile, traffic on local roads in Clerkenwell Green fell by 34pc on average, with the greatest decrease in Bowling Green Lane of 59pc - but motorised traffic increased in Woodbridge Street by 85pc and in Sekforde Street by 12pc.

Traffic on roads bordering the Clerkenwell Green scheme have increased by 22pc on average.

St John Street has been the worst hit with a 38pc increase and 22pc in Skinner Street.

A council spokesperson said that despite the increase in traffic, average travel times decreased, "suggesting the increase in traffic is not leading to congestion". 

They added: "The increase could have been caused by other factors, such as the work on the nearby Old Street roundabout, Smithfield Market and at Farringdon Station, as well as the introduction of the neighbouring Amwell people-friendly streets neighbourhood."     

Although London Fire Brigade (LFB) response times are within the service’s targets of six minutes in Canonbury, response times have increased. 

The council again says the increase is "negligible", but the Gazette has asked LFB for precise figures.

A council spokesperson said: "LFB and the council believe that the data is inconclusive on whether the scheme impacted on response times. The council is continuing to monitor this and, if necessary, will make changes to improve response times." 

Data collected for the reports has been "normalised" to "take into account the reduction in traffic that has resulted from the Covid-19 lockdowns".      

The six-month report on the St Peter’s scheme was published in March, and revealed traffic in New North Road rose by 32pc, although reduced by 57pc overall.

Islington Council's transport and environment chief Cllr Rowena Champion. Picture: Em Fitzgerald

Islington Council's transport and environment chief Cllr Rowena Champion. Picture: Em Fitzgerald - Credit: Archant

The council's eco chief, Cllr Rowena Champion, said: “We are implementing people-friendly streets to help create a healthier, safer and greener borough, where everyone is able to travel easily.      

“These monitoring reports, alongside the report from St Peter’s, show that the trials are helping to reduce traffic, creating streets where it is easier and safer for everyone to travel, exercise and play.      

“The feedback that local people have been giving us has been invaluable, and we encourage residents to continue to fill in our surveys to inform any future changes to the schemes.”    

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