'It's quicker to walk': Holloway Road reacts to LTNs

The major commuter road is closed until early next year. Picture: Polly Hancock

The major commuter road is closed until early next year. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Cabbies and businesses are blaming Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and roadworks for creating the "worst thing to happen in Islington". 

Taxi drivers have said what used to be a five-minute drive along Holloway Road is now taking 45 minutes due to thick congestion. 

It all comes after Islington Council introduced LTNs to Highbury West and Highbury Fields in January to stop rat runs. But, on Holloway Road, individuals felt the efforts had created a traffic crunch on main roads. 

Simon Tes, fleet manager of taxi firm Islington Cars, said: “It is the worst thing to ever happen to Islington, it’s horrendous for us.

“We’ve never seen anything like it. The main road is not fit for this traffic, it was already busy.
“They say it was to give residents clean air, but there was no traffic there to start with, it’s created havoc.”

He added that congestion has been exacerbated by roadworks on Seven Sisters Road. 

Peter Sullivan, who lives nearby, said he had to abandon the school run to pick up his first-born grandchild after being stuck in gridlock in Drayton Park. He described leaving his wife in the car to cycle to school to not be late and his wife arrived 40 minutes after him.

“When we moved to the area two years ago we hardly used our car but the pandemic has stopped us using public transport until it is really safe,” he said. 

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A petition has now started to stop the LTN scheme. 

Michaela Lento, 23, who is a waitress at Italian restaurant Lamezia, said her ten-minute commute from Essex Road to Holloway Road took 40 minutes to an hour.

“It was unbearable, you’d move 2cm every two minutes,” she said. 

Islington Council has said the schemes are on 18-month trials and that they are willing to make changes to them based on feedback from people living and working in the area.

Cllr Rowena Champion said: “By reducing the dominance of motor vehicles, we can make Islington a fairer borough where everyone – including the approximately 70 per cent of households that do not own a car – can walk, cycle, and use buggies and wheelchairs safely and easily.”