Thornhill Road consultation: No better place to reduce traffic

Islington is currently running a consultation on small changes to the junction of Thornhill Road and Lofting Road in Barnsbury. The changes are not enough on this Quietway route. Islington’s plans won’t remove any of these cars from Lofting Road.

TAKE ACTION: Please reject both options on Islington’s Thornhill Road consultation!

Instead, say ‘I want less traffic on the Quietway! Please make Thornhill Road a school street.’ Should only take a minute. The consultation closes Friday 19th Jan at midnight.

Cycle Islington consultation response

17 January 2018

Dear Islington,

I am responding to the Thornhill Road/Lofting Road consultation on behalf of Cycle Islington.

Our group has campaigned for years for changes on Thornhill Road. Given the school on the corner and the future Quietway, there is a real need for reduced motor traffic here.

In a letter in December, Cllr Webbe assured us that the Council is “committed to making its next transport strategy a traffic reduction strategy.” We strongly support traffic reduction measures, and we can’t think of a better place to begin translating that commitment into action.

Unfortunately, the proposal does not live up to the rhetoric. The eastbound entrance to Lofting Road is the one least used in the busy morning peak. Rat running will continue on Lofting Road (see image above), and all the Thornhill Road traffic will remain. In fact, banning the entry into the eastern arm of Lofting Road may actually increase the number of turning movements.

The proposals will do little to improve air quality and safety at this junction. They will, however make conditions worse for cyclists by forcing them into primary and introducing a raised table. We reject half measures which ignore the root problem of too much traffic and disadvantage cyclists on the busiest north-south cycle route in the borough. People walking and cycling should be prioritised here, of all places.

We share the Council’s desire to see overall traffic reduction that residents support. The way to reduce traffic overall without simply displacing it to a parallel route is to use area-wide filtering. Hackney has successfully implemented this many times, most recently in De Beauvoir Town.

On Thornhill Road, we would support a trial of a diagonal filter like Horsell Road. Such a filter would address the root problem by removing traffic from the junction. It would also reduce car trips by making walking and cycling the easiest school run option. You would need to be ready for traffic to be diverted; more filters may need to be installed in a follow-up scheme. (The Council is currently proposing a single filter like this on Northchurch Road.)

Alternatively, please consider making Thornhill Road a school street. Camden’s school streets remove motor traffic during pick-up and drop-off times. In March of last year, Cllr Webbe told us that Islington was planning to implement a similar scheme on a phased basis. Thornhill Road would be a great place to begin this programme.

You have a brilliant opportunity to tackle rat running traffic through an entirely residential neighbourhood, by a school, along your biggest cycle route. You should grab it with both hands.

Nick Kocharhook
Cycle Islington

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