Letters: Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme

People Friendly Streets in Highbury Fields

People Friendly Streets in Highbury Fields - Credit: Chris Kenyon

Expand People Friendly Streets

R Walford, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

It’s terrific the council has implemented People Friendly Streets in St Peter’s, Canonbury and Highbury. The residents there are now benefiting from quiet, safe, streets in which they and their children can breathe clean air and walk or wheel in safety. LowTrafficIslington.org.

We in Barnsbury are still waiting our turn. Does anyone seriously doubt that there is far too much traffic on the residential side streets of Barnsbury? 

To prove our need for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood we have started counting traffic. First we investigated Liverpool Road. Results: there were more than three times as many cars, vans, etc, on residential Liverpool Road as there were on the main road, the A1, Upper Street. And last Friday we counted at three locations simultaneously: a section of Offord Road, the Offord Road roundabout and, for comparison, at nearby Caledonian Road. Results, excluding buses and motorbikes: Offord Road carries three quarters of the traffic on the Caledonian Road, and the roundabout is taking 111 per cent of the traffic on the Caledonian Road. 

This shocking evidence shows that the amount of traffic on Offord Road, a residential street, is comparable with that on a major thoroughfare like the Caledonian Road. But excess car journeys cause pollution and safety issues wherever they take place. We want the council to take steps to address the traffic crisis on Offord Road as part of a larger plan across the borough to persuade people away from short and unnecessary car journeys, and towards safer, cleaner streets that all our communities can enjoy.

It’s time for the council to schedule the Barnsbury People Friendly Streets. Let’s have it in before Christmas!

Pandemic impact on travel patterns

Passengers wear protective masks on buses in London, bus passengers in London will not have to pay t

Bad planning is causing delays in buses according to reader Mr J E Kirby - Credit: PA Images

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John Hartley, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

While I strongly support LTNs I do also have great sympathy for people who live on main roads, and always have done.

Major thoroughfares have always been noisy and polluted, and the situation has been getting steadily worse for as long as I can remember (and I’m not young), due to the inexorable increase in traffic.

The impact of LTNs on the boundary roads may initially be significant but, as has been proven time and time again, after the sat-navs and the drivers have understood the new situation, many drivers change their habits, new travel patterns are formed and some car journeys are shifted to other modes, or out of the busy periods. 

Traffic on most boundary roads normally drops to levels below those before the LTN was introduced. LowTrafficIslington.org has more information. 

That’s what normally happens, but we are living in extraordinary times: the pandemic has caused huge disturbances in travel patterns.

Initially everyone just stopped travelling at all. Now many people are reluctant to use public transport and those with cars are using them instead. This is exacerbated by a change in shopping patterns, with many more purchases being delivered by couriers. 

All this explains what research shows: that traffic levels, across the UK, are now above pre-pandemic levels. So LTNs are still having their beneficial effect, reducing traffic levels overall, but the pandemic effect is counterbalancing that. Without LTNs there would be even more traffic overall and the traffic on the main roads would be worse than it is now.

Certainly, there are too many cars on our main roads and more must be done to reduce the number of journeys done by car. 

It is particularly frustrating when buses are held up. The bus easily outstrips tube and rail as the main mode of transport for Londoners – even more so among disabled people, those with mobility problems and the poorest residents. I would suggest that prioritising buses would be a good place to start on main roads – extend the hours of bus lanes, enforce the lanes and fine any drivers who delay buses. 

The trouble is, many of these roads are not managed by local councils, but by Transport for London (TfL).  

The council needs to put pressure on TfL to prioritise buses beyond the rather half-hearted regime currently in place.