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Council removes commissioned Islington road painting before pro-People Friendly Streets event

PUBLISHED: 11:11 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:24 30 September 2020

Inspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Rachael Swynnerton

Inspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Rachael Swynnerton

Archant

Groups in support of new traffic measures were not deterred from hosting an event in Islington, even when its street paintings were removed by the council.

Inspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Vania FlaccomioInspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Vania Flaccomio

Controversial People Friendly Streets schemes being rolled out across the borough involve the introduction of bollards, signs and traffic cameras, in a bid to improve the streets for pedestrians and cyclists.

Inspiring Sustainable Islington, a project bringing together those who work to improve the environment in the borough, paid for street art by Tactical Urbanistas to highlight changes to road access in Prebend Street ahead of an engagement event.

The road was blocked to through-traffic in July as part of Islington’s first People Friendly Streets neighbourhood in St Peter’s. Since then, Canonbury East, Clerkenwell Green, Canonbury West and Amwell Street have been earmarked for the scheme.

Protesters have contested a lack of consultation before implementation, highlighted access issues for less-mobile people and stressed the knock-on effect on traffic.

Inspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Vania FlaccomioInspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Vania Flaccomio

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Inspiring Sustainable Islington said its event on September 19 aimed to “set the record straight”.

A spokesperson said: “Residents felt misinformation had been divisive and unhelpful and appreciated the opportunity to get the facts.”

A nearby resident, who did not wish to be named, reported the stencilling and Islington Council cleaned it off a day before the event.

Inspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Vania FlaccomioInspiring Sustainable Islington paid for some street art by Tactical Urbanistas ahead of a pro-People Friendly Streets event. Picture: Vania Flaccomio

He told the Gazette: “I am very pleased because I complained to the council that it was treating the road like a playground, which sends the wrong message to children, and is distracting for cars, and they removed it. It’s not art; it is in the wrong place.”

The resident said he is not against People Friendly Streets, but believes “graffiti” fosters disrespect for public spaces. The Gazette understands it was cleaned because it was unauthorised and obscured road markings.

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington’s environment and transport chief, has said: “We’re implementing People Friendly Streets all over Islington to help create the safer, cleaner, greener borough that local people have long been calling for.

“In doing so, we can make streets that are better suited for walking, cycling and playing, and easier to use for those with wheelchairs and buggies.”


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