Islington Council announces two more ‘people-friendly streets’ neighbourhoods in Highbury

Green party councillorCaroline Russell. Picture: Polly Hancock

Green party councillorCaroline Russell. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Islington Council has announced that its sixth “people-friendly streets” neighbourhood will launch in Highbury West and Highbury Fields by the end of the year.

The plans were announced at the council’s Highbury West ward meeting last night, and work on implementing both schemes will start on November 30.

Roads have already been blocked to through traffic to reduce rat running in St Peter’s, Canonbury East, Canonbury West, Clerkenwell Green and the Amwell area.

The measures are being implemented using new experimental traffic orders pushed through in May by the government using emergency powers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Changes in Highbury West will involve the implementation of eight traffic filters on Aubert Park, Avenell Road, Benwell Road, Gillespie Road, Highbury Hill near the junction with Martineau Road, Monsell Road, Plimsoll Road, and St Thomas’s Road.

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In the area around Highbury Fields one traffic filter will be installed in Highbury Place at the junction with Highbury Corner, and another one will be located in Highbury Place close to the junction with Calabria Road.

A traffic filter at Ronald’s Road will be partially lifted by allowing southbound motor traffic through, which the council says will improve access to the neighbourhood.

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Low traffic neighbourhoods have proved controversial in some quarters and since their introduction have sparked protests attended by hundreds of opponents.

But Green councillor Caroline Russell who sits in Highbury East ward, believes the measures are necessary.

“The Highbury Low Traffic Neighbourhood finally protects residents living on the last four cut-through routes from Holloway Rd to Blackstock Road and Highbury Grove,” she told the Gazette.

“The streets outside people’s homes should be for walking, cycling, playing and chatting to neighbours, not just for traffic jams.

“Residents in the east of Highbury tell me they are desperate for the council to tackle busy, congested cut-through routes like Highbury Grange and I will keep pressing for this part of the ward to be protected from hooting, health harming, pollution-belching through-traffic too.”

She added: “Just this week I was chairing an environment scrutiny committee at City Hall on the health impacts of air pollution from traffic in London.

“We heard that not only does NO2 from the tailpipes of petrol and diesel cars affect lung and heart health, it also worsens asthma and COPD outcomes and stunts children’s lung growth.”

Further we heard that PM2.5 particle pollution from tyre wear is worsening dementia, affecting mental health and worryingly impacting children’s cognitive function.

“As the science develops, the health case to reduce car use in our city only grows.”

This is why I am so glad that the council is now joining the dots about the link between car use and public health and taking action to make driving a bit less convenient and walking and cycling safer and more pleasant.”

The two neighbourhoods are being implemented as 18-month trials, and a public consultation will be held on each neighbourhood after a year to allow people to comment on whether they would like the measures to be made permanent, changed, or removed.”

The plans can be discussed at a Highbury East ward partnership meeting on Zoom at 2pm on on December 6.

Plans to introduce a low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in Bunhill have been postponed “for the foreseeable future,” according to councillors Phil Graham and Troy Gallagher, because of disruption caused by TfL’s major project to transform Old Street roundabout.

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