People Friendly Streets aka Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are here !

September 2020 update:  Canonbury East and West, Amwell and Clerkenwell are fast becoming quiet havens for cyclists, pedestrians, families ….. AND that’s not all, have you heard of cycle route 38 ?  It used to be called QW 10 and went from Finsbury Park to Pentonville Road but has been renamed and partly rerouted  – more here:

July 2020 update:  St Peters is now an LTN !  Hugely exciting news as the first LTN in Islington is rolled out.  It will be followed by Canonbury and then (exact order tbc) Highbury, Clerkenwell, Nags Head and St Marys. We are working with other community groups on creating ward teams of volunteers to create microsites, surveys, campaigns, LTN mapping with ICAP, leafleting, meetings with councillors, Zoom calls …. all to create awareness of the massive benefits of an LTN.  We also need to recognise that not everyone is as enthusiastic as we are and we will have to deal with people’s concerns and complaints.  Have a look at a leaflet we have co-produced with the community groups – it’s stored on another website as it was too large to store on ours !  Do share widely with family, friends and neighbours.

June 2020 update: COVID-19 has changed our world in many ways and appears to have been the catalyst for national and local governments the world over to finally challenge the car dominance on city streets. Cycling, pedestrian and green groups have been advocating for dramatic changes for years. It’s only now we’re finally seeing rapid changes to rebalance our streets in favour of active travel. We can only say: “it’s about time!”

Transport for London have launched their Streetspace project and the Department for Transport have been announcing initiatives and funding; some London councils have been quicker off the mark than others. Lambeth for example implemented a low traffic neighbourhood in about six weeks from start to finish and as at end June, has two LTNs. Councils like Waltham Forest which already had built LTNs are way ahead of the pack and there’s a scrabble for others to catch up; not least because DfT funding bids for the first tranche of funds were due in on 5 June. Islington didn’t get awarded any money  but the leader is quietly optimistic that we will be luckier in round two. Bids which aren’t ambitious enough, or are late or aren’t fit for purpose will probably mean that those councils will dip out on getting future funds. So there’s a lot at stake.

Richard Watts, leader of the council, has confirmed that by the end of 2020, 30% of the borough would have a LTN- the council’s branding is ‘people-friendly streets’ but it’s in fact the same thing –  and that by mid 2021, he expected to see half of the borough with a LTN.  St Peter’s will be the first in early July, followed by Canonbury, Highbury, Clerkenwell, Nags Head and St Mary’s. More on the Councill’s plans here. Have a look at the Commonplace map where you can add your comments about your local area’s streets and where improvements are needed.  Cycle Islington is working closely with Islington Clean Air Parents and Islington Living Streets to ensure the benefits of LTNs are clearly understood by everyone;  if you want to get involved, there’s lots to do and more hands and contacts are very welcome.

February 2020 update: before the Covid-19 crisis fully hit us, the council had some welcome news in that they announced that they were planning to rollout Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in all wards by 2025.  This was very positive news and we sincerely hope that this will be achieved in spite of the current immense crisis management efforts by the council.  More space to allow physical distancing is a key ask globally;  we want road space to be reallocated to people on foot or on bikes rather than allow the roads to be dominated by speeding cars.  If you have any photos of examples of narrow pavements, where people and their children just can’t physically distance and where they are forced to walk on the road, please tweet using the #SpaceForDistancing.  And please contact your local councillors asking them to support reallocation of space to help physical distancing which will be with us for quite a while to come.

More about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods:  Living Streets and the London Cycling Campaign have been working together on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods for a couple of years now;   educating people on the many benefits and how best to implement a LTN.  Some of the best examples are in Waltham Forest which has led the way and is now benefiting from their LTN in terms of improved environment and healthier people, increasing the amount people walk in the borough and even how long they live for.

Cycle Islington held a ‘crayons and maps’ event in early 2019 to start mapping out, ward by ward, how Islington could become a series of connected LTNs, providing everyone with a better, cleaner and safer environment to live in, to work in, to walk in, to cycle in and to play in and Chris Kenyon has started to talk to local Islington communities showing them how to plan a LTN.  LTNs don’t have to cost a fortune and can in fact be implemented at a fairly low cost providing that there is community and council backing.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods are made up of:

  • traffic cells where through-traffic is restricted by barriers like bollards or planters;
  • urban boulevards/avenues or people-friendly main roads with safe space to cycle, generous pavements, planting, seating; and
  • connected quiet streets that link the traffic cells with safe crossings across the boulevards/main roads. This creates a city-wide network of direct routes for walking and cycling that any age or ability can use.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods are not about rewarding one group of people while punishing another: they are part and parcel of shrewd city planning, making long-term decisions about how people travel. And the potential for change is massive: currently around 1.6 million, or 22%, of all car trips made by London residents every day are under 2km and could therefore be walked (2.7 million more could be cycled).

In Islington, a crowded central London borough, less than 26% of residents own a car yet we are subject to endless rat-running by car drivers passing through, using Google or Waze to get them to their destinations as quickly as possible.  We don’t want that for our residential streets.

Living Streets have pulled together some excellent leafllets which we’d recommend you have a look at.


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