View from the street: In praise of Islington Council
David Harrison, Islington Living Streets
- Credit: David Harrison
A summer of fires and floods and a UN Report on the climate signalling 'code red' for humanity. Add air pollution, obesity and increasing road danger from satnavs and ever larger SUVs, and we have a veritable apocalypse.
Many councils have declared a climate emergency and expressed support for active travel, but refused to take the measures necessary to make a difference. Others made changes, then reversed them at the first sign of opposition. Some have implemented transforming policies, and Islington has been in the vanguard.
If we are to walk or cycle to local shops and other destinations, we need the most convenient and enjoyable conditions for doing so. Islington is creating them with its People Friendly and School Streets policies. People now walk safely in the middle of the streets of St Peter’s on their way to the Angel. A little over a year ago some of these roads were polluted rat runs. The council is putting the needs of children walking to school over middle-aged (and often young) men in their cars seeking a short cut.
Of course, much remains to be done. Many wards have yet to benefit from LTNs. Exmouth Market is a delight, but other areas could be a joy to visit too. There are great plans for Wells Terrace. Having rid residential streets of rat-runners, the next step is making them even more pleasant, as places to linger with trees, planters and parklets. Do let the council know the improvements you want when it consults on its People Friendly Streets.
In the meantime, let’s praise our councillors (Labour and Green) and officers for these huge improvements. This year Islington even came top of the Healthy Streets Scorecard for London boroughs and won the Sustainable City Award. Congratulations and thank you!