Our parent organisation, the London Cycling Campaign, has produced a comprehensive response to the MTS and provides context and recommendations. We fully support LCC’s response, but also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few pieces which we think are most relevant to Islington.
Chapter 3 (page 7 of LCC response)
LCC: While the Mayor’s new Transport Strategy sets out his vision for the long term future of mobility it does not describe his pathway for achieving it nor provide interim targets.
Cycle Islington: It’s important for local authorities to have interim goals so that they can hold TfL to account when applying for funding or negotiating the terms of relevant projects.
The Mayor should also ensure that local authorities set ambitious yet achievable targets. Our neighbours in Hackney and Camden are currently working towards ambitious cycling targets. Having targets can be a motivation for and give a sense of pride to both officers and councillors in borough governments.
Providing Protected Space for cycling (page 10)
Traffic speed and volume reductions must be applied to residential areas to create “cells” of low motor traffic neighbourhoods. An ambitious target must be set for the proportion of London’s neighbourhoods to benefit in this way as part of Liveable Neighbourhoods and other initiatives.
We strongly support the Liveable Neighbourhoods approach to reducing traffic in neighbourhoods which has worked so well in Waltham Forest. We also note that some boroughs have received funding for “Quietway” routes without any significant traffic reduction. If the money spent on Quietways is to lead to a strategic network of cycling routes welcoming to all ages and abilities, then it’s imperative that TfL enforce an upper bound for traffic on Quietway sections without segregation. The limit endorsed by LCC is 2000 PCU, based on Dutch best practice. Using strategic traffic filters to create low-traffic cycle routes will also benefit residential neighbourhoods, which should not be blighted by rat-running traffic.
Safe Junctions (page 11)
Junction redesigns should achieve a minimum TfL Cycling Level of Service Junction Assessment Tool score of 70% with no “critical issues” and/or the equivalent in TfL’s Healthy Streets Check when fully implemented.
Islington has been able to take advantage of TfL support when redesigning three problematic cycle KSI black spots: Archway, Old Street and Highbury Corner. As future junctions come up for redesign, it’s important that Islington and TfL have a shared understanding of what a minimally-acceptable junction would look like from a cycle safety perspective.
Motorcycle Safety (page 15)
We disagree with Proposal 11c and suggest retaining bus lanes for buses and cycles only unless the road has protected cycle lanes or tracks.
It’s vital that boroughs retain the option to exclude motorcycles from bus lanes to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for cyclists.
Making more efficient use of the street network (page 17)
The MTS must direct all Boroughs to set an example in reducing freight deliveries by restricting personal deliveries to the workplace and encourage the multiplication of local pick-up points.
The Freight Consolidation Centre, pioneered by Islington and Camden, is a congestion-reduction success story. Centres like this bring a benefit to the ultimate delivery borough as well as every borough the initial deliveries would have gone through. The MTS should identify how the Mayor will encourage all boroughs to take advantage of this model.
Congestion and road pricing (page 18)
The Mayor must create a clear pathway to using dynamic road charging across Greater London to reduce congestion, using the proceeds to invest in walking, cycling and public transport.
As Cllr Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Transport at Islington Council, has observed, Islington’s location can often leave residents feeling like they live on a motorway. Much of Islington’s traffic does not come from within the borough itself, but rather drives through it to access Central London. It’s clear that road pricing done well could have tremendous benefits for Islington residents.
One particular issue is that Islington is reluctant to reduce through traffic for safe cycle routes by introducing traffic filters because officers and councillors don’t want to displace traffic onto larger roads. They fear the initial surge of displacement, prior to traffic settling back to old levels, would make noise and air pollution worse for the poorest residents in the borough. Of course, this leaves many residents without direct and comfortable cycle routes, guaranteeing limited modal shift.
Boroughs cannot individually implement road pricing on their own; they need strong leadership and a coordinated approach from the Mayor and TfL. Islington should strongly endorse road pricing in their MTS response and make it clear that they welcome help from TfL in implementing such a system.
We would prefer any road pricing scheme to include pollution as a chargeable metric as well as vehicle size/distance traveled/time of day. While investing in such a system, it would be ideal to use it to reduce both pollution AND congestion. We note, however, that any database of routes vehicles have travelled would be highly personal and would need to be treated with the utmost care. The near-constant news articles about data breaches advise extreme caution. As is best practice, records should be kept only as long as absolutely necessary.
Localised traffic reduction strategies (page 18)
The Mayor should work with businesses to exploit to maximum effect opportunities for logistics consolidation and the use of cargo ebikes for last mile deliveries; and encourage business to research and implement further innovations.
We would also like to highlight the success in Nottingham of the workplace parking levy in reducing the use of private cars by employees. If Islington were able to levy this charge and keep the revenue from it, this would help offset the declining contributions from central government. The Mayor should do whatever is necessary to allow boroughs to levy this fee on large employers who maintain private car parking for their staff.
Silvertown tunnel (page 23)
The MTS should not support new road building, such as the Silvertown tunnel, that will lead to greater levels of motor traffic in the capital.
We oppose the building of new roads in London, especially very expensive ones like the Silvertown tunnel. Greater motor traffic induced by the expanded cross-river capacity won’t fail to spill over into Islington, making a bad situation worse. In a document proposing the relatively radical step of implementing road pricing, it’s astonishing that the inexpensive and straightforward solution of implementing a toll on the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels has been ignored.