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Coronavirus: Up to third of Islington could be covered by low-traffic neighbourhoods by end of year

PUBLISHED: 16:10 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:59 24 May 2020

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, speaking at a Fair Futures Commission meeting at Arts and Media School Islington. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, speaking at a Fair Futures Commission meeting at Arts and Media School Islington. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

Em Fitzgerald

Up to a third of the borough could be covered by low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) by the end of the year, Islington Council leader Richard Watts revealed today.

Islington XR activist used stencils to paint a new cycle lane outside Islington Town Hall in Upper Street. Picture: Islington XRIslington XR activist used stencils to paint a new cycle lane outside Islington Town Hall in Upper Street. Picture: Islington XR

During his second virtual leader’s question time, on Friday, Cllr Watts said the town hall is also in talks with TfL about creating “pop-up cycle lanes” on main roads for key workers. He also promised a “radical rollout” of the council’s School Streets programme.

The town hall already announced plans to fund LTNs in Mildmay and Caledonian wards in its budget for the year.

LTNs close residential roads to through traffic.

Cllr Watts said: “The intention is to roll out a series of low-traffic neighbourhood as quickly as we possibly can covering large parts of the borough, potentially up to a third of the borough, by the end of the year... And that’s a massive shift in the way Islington will travel around, but we have to get plans of that radicalness going because otherwise we’re going to see London simply unable to get back to work as lockdown lifts.

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“We need to keep public transport free for key workers, for people who really need to use it and that means we need to create more space for walking and cycling.”

Cllr Watts said further details of where the LTNs might be will be announced shortly.

A consultation using online platform Commonplace will be launched, where neighbours can make suggestions about how their area can be improved for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cllr Watts said: “The air quality in Islington has been noticeably better since this crisis came along and I think some positive health effects have been one of the silver linings of good news in this otherwise awful time, and we have to keep that going.

“It would be catastrophic if we saw people go back to their cars at the end of this crisis and to do that we know we have to make major changes to the way streets and roads work in Islington.”

Islington’s sole Green Party councillor, Caroline Russell, said: “It’s great to at last have confirmation that the council is planning ambitious measures to ensure our streets play their part to keep us safe with the ongoing need to keep physically apart. It’s great they are using Commonplace to consult and I hope they start that conversation with the whole borough immediately.”


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