IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

The absurd car-centric policy must go

04 September, 2020

Protesters outside the Town Hall calling for a stop to road closures across the Islington

• THE global trend of spreading misinformation and outright lies is bleeding into our local debate on people-friendly streets, with blank statements saying “loads of consultation” and blank statements saying “unconstitutional lack of consultation”.

Do any of us care about the truth any more? And what are the facts?

Let’s look at the Clerkenwell People-Friendly Streets announced last week. This was reported as being “imposed without consultation”. Really? Is our council really that daft?

Actually, there was a full and lengthy public consultation back in 2017, with 71 per cent in favour of the traffic and access measures.

And the current Islington councillors were voted in on the explicit promise that they would close streets outside schools, build new protected cycle routes and ban HGVs on residential roads.

Plus, the government has instructed councils to reallocate road space to benefit pedestrian, mobility and cycle traffic, with an explicit direction to introduce modal filters.

So, following a proper and constitutional review of what people actually want, our people, our community, our residents, our children, our elderly, our disabled, our businesses, you and me, us, the council has finally got round to putting people-friendly streets into Clerkenwell.

Let’s cheer and dance! We’re finally getting what we wanted all along!

So what are the council now doing in St Peter’s, Canonbury East, Canonbury West, and other planned areas?

Well, operating with restricted resources, and under fire and criticism, they are doing what they were always supposed to do.

They are listening to us again. They set up a feedback website on Commonplace in May 2020, inviting everyone to put open-ended comments on a map of all the streets that we live and work in.

As of August 30 they had seen over 4,700 comments from people who live and work in, and commute through, our area.

Islington Council listened to the comments and then lawfully and constitutionally implemented the measures required of them by London and UK regulation and guidance, in keeping with local feedback, in our borough.

They continue to listen to supporters and non-supporters alike, they continue to listen to feedback from police, fire and ambulance services, and they continue to make themselves available for lively Q&A via Zoom meetings.

They reached out to the protesters at the town hall to listen to those concerns. So the council is in fact continually listening, consulting, adapting, looking at facts, driving at the truth. And finding the best solution to post-Covid-19 road chaos, for residents and businesses.

And it turns out that survey after survey, story after story, show that people-friendly streets, Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods, mini-Hollands, or whatever you want to call them, ultimately reduce traffic (and not just in residential streets, in main streets too), improve emergency response times, make our communities safer, increase footfall to local businesses, improve air quality, increase lifespan.

People-friendly streets – bring ’em on.

FRAN SEPULVEDA
Barnsbury & St Mary’s
Neighbourhood Group Member

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