Gazette letters: St John Street road safety, Tom Mannion, council meeting and councillors protesting

Maria Bitner-Glindzicz. Picture: NORRIE DISEASE FOUNDATION

Maria Bitner-Glindzicz. Picture: NORRIE DISEASE FOUNDATION - Credit: Archant

The precise details of the death of cyclist Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz in St John Street two weeks ago are not yet known, writes Meg Howarth, Ellington Street, Islington.

But two things are clear: according to the police, a parked car was involved; and the condition of the road at the site of the fatality is appalling.

Following this tragedy, transport boss Cllr Claudia Webbe claimed the “safety of pedestrians and cyclists on our borough roads is of primary concern” and committed to a “substantial reduction on through traffic along this route” (October 4). We’ll see. The council was warned of the possibility of further KSI – killed or seriously injured – events in the area following the horrific accident that led to cyclist Victoria Lebrec losing a leg. That was three years ago.

Just 26 per cent of Islington households own or has access to a private vehicle. Yet our local roads are littered with parked cars. Parking is a menace for active travel: the metal contraptions in narrow roads impede visibility and encourage close passing of bike riders.

A clear example is to be found along the north end of Thornhill Road between Barnsbury and Offord, part of the proposed Quietway 10. Calls have already been made for the removal of parking spaces and modal filtering along this dangerous stretch of highway, but Cllr Webbe has yet to agree to an ETO – experimental traffic order – being drawn up. This would see parking removed and traffic filtered along the length of Q10 for 18 months before a final decision is taken on the scheme. Backing an ETO now would be a practical demonstration of Cllr Webbe’s commitment.

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Meantime, the disintegrating road surface at the site of Dr Bitner-Glindzicz’s fatal injuries demands immediate attention. Broken and ridged tarmac could easily cause a cyclist to come off their bike, particularly in the late morning on a bright day.

“Innocent until proved guilty” is an assumption that did not happen in the case of Tom Mannion, ex-headteacher of St Aloysius’ College, writes Michael Cosh, Corinne Road, Tufnell Park.

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The Metropolitan Police have taken more than six months to conclude there is no substance to the allegations of fraud levelled against him and, during that time, both he and his family must have been through very difficult times.

The role played by the RC Diocese of Westminster was certainly a lesson on how to be un-Christian.

Mr Mannion was justifiably awarded his OBE for services to inner London education especially here in Islington. However, his past record amounted to nothing in the final analysis.

I, and I suspect thousands more, wish Mr Mannion all the very best for the future and an enjoyable retirement.

Full council meetings at Islington Town Hall are a chance for local people, and councillors, to raise important issues affecting the borough, writes Cllr Richard Watts, leader, Islington Council.

At our last meeting we discussed our commitment to our Armed Forces Community, as well as how we can help reduce air pollution through the delivery of more electric vehicle charging points.

I am pleased that, in the last few years, we have made it easier for people to ask questions, submit petitions and secure debates on issues that are important to us all at full council.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion about these meetings, but I do take exception to Mr McElligott’s letter in last week’s Gazette. Setting to one side that he gets the level of allowances councillors receive wrong, he makes a completely unfounded attack on Cllr Caluori and misrepresents answers provided by Cllr Webbe and Cllr Hull.

Cllr Caluori spoke passionately in a debate about the government’s cuts to local schools during the meeting, and he did so with his 11-month-old daughter Orli alongside him.

Remarkably, Orli slept throughout the meeting, but Cllr Caluori played an active part in the meeting and he deserves an apology for the misinformation printed in the paper last week.

I am extremely proud of all my Islington Labour colleagues who use full council to raise and answer questions about important issues facing our borough. Not everyone will always like our answers, but I think we can all agree that it’s only fair that meetings are reported accurately.

I was surprised to see in last week’s edition that local Labour councillors were once again posing outside a station with placards to demonstrate their opposition to cutting staff, writes Ian Fearnley, Islington, full address supplied.

This is the same party that runs Islington Council and has Labour MPs north and south, a London Assembly Member and a London mayor. With all this power, Labour should be able to find workable solutions rather than simply using it as a grandstanding opportunity to promote itself. Actions, not placards.

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