Update: earlier in 2020, before the Covid-19 crisis 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 – and is – 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 https://londonlivingstreets.com/low-traffic-liveable-neighbourhoods/ which we’d recommend you have a look at.