Letters: More on Islington's Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme

People Friendly Streets in Islington are designed to improve the roads for pedestrians and cyclists

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are a major topic of debate in Islington - Credit: Archant

Benefits of LTNs widely proven and supported

Full name and address provided, Islington, writes:

The short and long-term objectives of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are well known.

Now, even the most fervent and vociferous opponents of the Highbury LTN scheme must acknowledge the huge reduction in average traffic-flow volumes on the Holloway Road and the other arterial boundary roads. 

This change in traffic-flow volumes doesn’t just happen by chance. 

The traffic evaporation ‘theory’, widely derided by anti-LTNers but supported by robust real-world evidence elsewhere, suggests an expected decline in traffic volumes of around 15 per cent. 

Drivers appear now to be asking themselves whether their car journeys are really necessary and, if they consider them to be essential, they appear to be sensibly scheduling their trips at times which minimise the time that they expect to spend queuing at well-known traffic black spots. Parents resolutely driving little Joanna or Johnny back and forth to school increasingly appear to be the exceptions.

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I suspect that many residents, having seen the huge benefits that the LTN brings but having previously nailed their colours firmly to the anti-LTN mast, are now suffering from the LTN-equivalent of buyer’s remorse with these residents regretting their initial negative knee-jerk reaction. 

With the onset of summer and, hopefully, long pleasant evenings, the more obvious the immediate benefits of the LTN will become; cue even higher levels of buyer’s remorse.     

Meanwhile, a declining number of residents who continue to oppose the LTN, and whose habitat is the echo chamber of social-media outlets, regale each other with stories of fantasy journey times, ludicrous unsubstantiated assertions, ‘what about’ arguments, and fumble around for issues to criticise the LTN. 

Sadly for them, it appears from the repetitive and trivial themes of social-media posts that they might just be running out of substantive LTN issues to nit-pick. 

But this is all great news for the overwhelming majority of residents in Highbury who support the LTN. 

Liverpool Road should be LTN

According to London Assembly's Dr Alison Moore, there are no concrete plans for charging motorists t

People are divided about Lower Traffic Neighbourhoods - Credit: PA Images

Nick, Liverpool Road, Islington, writes:

Liverpool Road is the longest residential road in Islington. Thousands of people live on the road in a mix of social housing and private residential dwellings.

Now it has been clearly shown that there’s a democratic mandate for LTNs, there are few roads which are more in need of traffic control than Liverpool Road.

There is a constant use of the road by drivers to avoid Upper Street and Highbury Corner. The use of Liverpool Road also feeds the challenges on Offord Road and Theberton Street (where drivers skip through Barnsbury‘s residential roads to avoid the main roads). The council has done a lot of good work on LTNs. It’s now time for the council to show some more bravery and start addressing some of the worst affected areas.

Labour, in particular, should carefully watch the rise of the Green Party across London. If Barnsbury residents do not see action before the next election then they may well move their focus to politicians who are willing to take the decisions that reflect the democratic consensus.

Expert research supports LTNs

Pamela Jouven, Highbury, full address supplied, writes:

I have been reading the letters sent by Gazette readers on the LTN trials in Highbury, and as a climate change professional, cannot help but feel that some key points haven’t been sufficiently stressed yet.

Residents are right to highlight the undeniable and all-important health and wellbeing benefits of the schemes. Research also shows that LTNs can boost local businesses – walking and cycling improvements can increase retail spend by up to 30 per cent. But there is so much more at stake here.

According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) global temperature rise needs to be kept under +1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change – environmental, social, and economic impacts. Right now, we are on a pathway to +3 or 4°C, and our window for action is closing fast. Cities, including London, account for more than 70pc of carbon emissions globally.

Newham Council plans to bring in emissions-based parking charges. Picture: PA

People living and working on busy streets are more vulnerable to respiratory disease and premature death from traffic pollution - Credit: PA

Transportation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases and road travel accounts for three-quarters of transport emissions. The number of motor vehicles on our streets simply needs to decrease dramatically if we want to have a chance of tackling this crisis – and LTNs are one of the tools that are being used by city governments, in the UK and beyond, to encourage timely behaviour change and work towards a climate safe future.

The Highbury LTNs might make driving less convenient for the minority of people who own cars in the area, but that’s exactly the point. Making a small effort now - which for many will come as long overdue relief - will ensure we do not have to make much tougher sacrifices in the future, on a much bigger scale.

Low-traffic roads

Sam Hadfield, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

I drive a van for a living as I work for Argos home delivery on Holloway Road.

Before the LTN zones started getting my work done was super easy as you could always take side roads if you got stuck in traffic. But now with all the road works and all side roads turned into LTN the main roads are the only way you can go. St Paul’s, Liverpool Road, Angel and Essex Road have all become a nightmare to drive through and I have to every day as there is no other way to bypass them now. 

A simple five minute drive from Holloway Road to St Paul’s Road now takes 45 minutes to an hour. I support the LTN, I’d love to walk or cycle to work without traffic whizzing past me but there are better ways to do this. Its effecting businesses especially delivery companies. The only thing I’ve seen since the new cycle lanes and road closures have been introduced is more speeding and cyclists almost getting run over and you can’t see the cycle lanes when you are turning because there are car parking bays next to them. I drive a large van and I don’t want to be putting peoples lives in danger but the new cycle lanes are dangerous and most of the cyclists don’t even use them, they’re still cycling in the middle of the road.

Changes to road make area unsafe

Sara Flanders, Islington, full address supplied, writes:

In response to letters asking for support for LTNs, I want to say that the plan as now established is deplorable, made without consultation, without sufficient care.

The closure of Benwell Road, for example, effectively cuts me off from Highbury Barn, and friends on Romilly Road. I am too old to ride a bike and would not want to be alone walking at night.