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Our roads are littered with the menace that’s a parked car

12 October, 2018

Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz

• THE precise details of the death of cyclist Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz in St John Street two weeks ago are not yet – and may never be – known.

But two things are clear: according to the Metropolitan police, a parked car was involved and the condition of the road at the site of the fatality is appalling, (Cyclist deaths: ‘radical’ pledge to close roads, October 5).

Following the latest tragedy, transport boss Claudia Webbe claims that the “safety of pedestrians and cyclists on our borough roads is of primary concern” and that “it would be desirable to transform this part of St John Street from a vehicle-dominated area to one better suited to the free flow of people”.

So far, so good – but let’s remember that the council was warned of the possibility of further KSI – killed or seriously injured – events in the area in 2015, following the accident which led to cyclist Victoria Lebrec losing a leg.

As Cllr Webbe knows, it isn’t only St John Street that is plagued by through traffic and parking. Just 26 per cent of Islington households own or have access to a private vehicle. Yet our local roads are littered with parked cars. Why?

Parking, like moving vehicular traffic, is a menace for health-giving, active travel, both pedestrian and cyclist. The metal contraptions narrow roads, impede visibility and encourage close passing of bike riders.

A good example is to be found along the length of the proposed Quietway 10, particularly at the north end of Thornhill Road between Barnsbury and Offord, also along Gillespie Road.

Calls have already been made for the removal of parking spaces and modal filtering along these dangerous stretches of highway, but Cllr Webbe has yet to agree to an ETO – experimental traffic order.

This would be drawn up in consultation with residents and would see parking removed and traffic filtered for up to 18 months, when a final decision would be taken on the changes.

Backing an ETO now would be a practical demonstration of Cllr Webbe’s commitment. Chris Kenyon asks the right question: “Is parking on every street really more important than having a cycle route?”

Meantime, the disintegrating road surface at the site of Dr Bitner-Glindzicz’s fatal injuries demands immediate attention.

Broken and ridged tarmac could easily cause a cyclist to come off their bike, particularly in the late morning on a bright sunny day when travelling along this north-south road, as was the Great Ormond Street geneticist. We may never know if these conditions were factors in her tragic death.

Ellington Street, N7


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