St Peter's LTN data reveals traffic fall - except on one main road

Prebend Street is included in the People Friendly Streets plan for St Peters ward. Picture: Andr� L

Prebend Street was one of several roads restricted to through-traffic under the St Peter's People Friendly Streets neighbourhood scheme launched in July. - Credit: Archant

Mid-trial traffic monitoring data for Islington's first People Friendly Streets neighbourhood has been published.  

Islington’s environment chief is “pleased” with the results of the mid-trial monitoring report for its first low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in St Peter's ward - despite traffic rising by 32 per cent on one of three main roads measured.

Since the implementation of St Peter's People Friendly Streets neighbourhood in July 2020, the area monitored has seen a reduction in traffic by an average of 57pc, with vehicle speeds falling by 8pc and rates of speeding decreasing by 65pc.

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council's executive member for environment and transport, said the council would not make a decision on whether to make the measures permanent until 18 months after the scheme was installed, when the trial on the Experimental Traffic Orders end. 

"We absolutely haven’t made a decision now but we are very pleased with the results so far," she said. 

St Peter's is one of seven People Friendly Streets neighbourhoods rolled out in different areas of Islington since last summer which are designed to reduce pollution and encourage walking and cycling by blocking some entrances to through-roads for cars.


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The council's mid-trial analysis also shows the London Fire Brigade response times, crime and rates of antisocial behaviour have not been impacted by the measures, but cycling rates have increased at six out of 14 sites measured, including a 51pc rise on Wharf Road. 

However, the report also revealed traffic on New North Road, one of three main roads surrounding the neighbourhood, rose by 32pc.

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The figure stands in stark contrast to measurements from other main roads such as Essex Road, which saw traffic rise by 1pc, and City Road, which saw it drop by 19pc.

New North Road has three LTNs feeding into it - St Peter’s, Canonbury East and Hoxton in Hackney - and, the council says, traffic levels may have been affected by works at Old Street roundabout.

Cllr Champion said the congestion hike at New North Road has therefore been “difficult to unpick”, adding: “Over time we will be able to understand more about the impacts, certainly when we do the monitoring in 12 months' time."

Cyclepath

People Friendly Streets in Islington are designed to improve the roads for pedestrians and cyclists - Credit: Archant

The council has said it will continue to monitor traffic on main roads and make changes where appropriate.

But despite the council's positive findings, there have been people and groups campaigning and protesting against LTNs since their introduction who say the measures have various negative impacts. 

They say the schemes have increased traffic and journey times, disproportionately impacted disabled people and displaced traffic from smaller streets onto main roads.

In January this year, thousands of people signed a petition for Islington residents and businesses to be exempt from the traffic restrictions in the Highbury LTNs.

But Cllr Champion said exemptions for residents would “dilute” the scheme and be a logistical “nightmare”.

She said it was important to “get people out of cars”, and said the scheme is an opportunity for people to understand how streets can be used differently, a chance for a  "massive transformation of space".

Meanwhile, aware that multiple lockdowns would likely have an effect on the number of cars and cyclists on roads, the council said it used a process called "normalisation" for some figures in the report, such as traffic volume. 

This data was adjusted to account for the impact of Covid-19, using figures from across London and then estimating how the pandemic has affected transport.

This was achieved by, "essentially", increasing traffic figures to account for the decrease in traffic during the pandemic. 

The traffic data was also independently reviewed by a transport consultancy called Systra.

Data collection took place in June and July, with cables called automatic traffic counters placed on roads for seven days to add up the volume of vehicles, cyclists and the speed of vehicles.

As City Road is under Transport for London's jurisdiction it was measured using a radar count, which does not count cyclists.

Air pollution, which the council reports has fallen "in line with borough-wide trends", was evaluated by diffusion tubes which measure nitrogen dioxide levels.

Although some of the tubes outside schools and along Regent’s Canal have been collecting data for over a year, others have not - the council says these measurements need 12 months to produce a baseline and then another year to collect a “good after-measure”.

To read the full monitoring report click here.



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