Islington St Peter’s ward LTN consultation

Islington St Peter’s ward LTN consultation

Islington resident Patricia Niclas, shares her response to Islington Council’s ‘St Peter’s people-friendly streets’ Public Consultation report.

(First published in the Islington Gazette.)

I received the Council’s email notification last Thursday regarding the consultation results on the first LTN in Islington, St Peter’s.

Along with most other London Labour Councils, Islington Council feedback and statistics appear to be concerning and biased, only highlighting positive data which does not fully capture the outcomes and feedback received, They present only hand-picked data which significantly skews and misrepresents the results.

What is also concerning is that in the Mayor’s recent Mayor’s Transport Strategy it is quoted that the overarching aim of the strategy is to reduce Londoners’ dependency on cars and to increase the active, efficient and sustainable (walking, cycling and public transport) mode share of trips in London to an ambitious 80 per cent by 2041. Quoted in Islington’s own Draft Transport Strategy; page 25:

“Active and sustainable modes account for 81% of average daily trips of Islington’s residents, already exceeding the London wide target of 80%.  Only 16.6% of all trips made in Islington are by car, amongst the lowest of the inner-London boroughs”.

As I’ve pointed out before, we already exceed the Mayor’s target in Islington, but when I put this to Cllr Caroline Russell her response was that “we need to achieve a lot more than 80% to make up for outer London”.  And so the people of Islington must suffer the additional traffic, idling, pollution and inconvenience being observed on our boundary roads to help outer London? This is not fair, democratic or equitable.  Islington residents deserve better from their elected officials, who appear to be steamrollering ahead no matter what the outcomes of the consultation, or indeed the circa 16k signatory petitions against People Friendly Streets.

Having read the St Peter’s people-friendly streets Trial Public Consultation and Engagement Analysis, it is clear from the results presented that only 24% of resident feedback suggested road closures except for cycles and buses. A massive 76% did not, and yet the Council choose to ignore or publicise this.

If in the consultation results you add the responses stating there was  “No change” or “Less” the feedback can be presented totally differently. The Council have chosen to totally ignore publicity of those respondents who advise these measures have made “No change” or “Less”, I set out just one example:

I feel LESS safe OR NO CHANGE using the street at night = 59%

I feel LESS safe OR NO CHANGE using the street in the day = 52%

The streets look LESS nice OR NO CHANGE = 47%

The air is LESS clean OR NO CHANGE = 48%

I can practise social distancing LESS OR NO CHANGE = 52%

I socialise with neighbours LESS OR NO CHANGE = 62%

I spend time in the area LESS OR NO CHANGE = 57%

I do physical activity outdoors (play, running, exercise) LESS OR NO CHANGE = 53%

If you also add on the percentages given for “doesn’t apply” these figures are higher.  “Doesn’t apply” could be translated as a disability/vulnerability where eg respondents are perhaps housebound, aren’t able to use the streets, practice social distancing or do physical activities and yet they too are disregarded even though it is clear that total percentages that are negative are higher than those that are positive.

The report also states: Two fifths (40%) of respondents stated they walk or cycle more to local shops (compared to 13% who have done this less). The survey results ACTUALLY show that 54% say there is no change or that they do so less.

The report also states that 30% of respondents state they walk or cycle more for shorter journeys instead of driving, when in actual fact 38% state their habits haven’t changed, 12% walk or cycle less and a massive 20% stated that it doesn’t apply. This equates to a HUGE 70% who DO NOT walk and cycle more!

Turning to business responses in the area to the question “What would benefit your business.”  50% of these responses suggested opening roads/ allowing traffic to businesses, 14% suggested access for taxis and 9% suggested access for business/delivery vehicles.

These responses surely show the negative affect LTNs are having on those businesses within St Peter’s and still the Council is failing them also.

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said:

“Islington’s streets belong to local people, and we’ve introduced people-friendly streets neighbourhoods to help create the cleaner, greener, and healthier borough they’ve long been calling for.”

Yes Rowena, the streets DO belong to local people, and local people and businesses have shown their disapproval.  So exactly what is going on here? They are NOT achieving the desired outcomes, traffic evaporation has not happened, businesses are suffering, residents have overwhelming shown their disapproval through petitions, demonstrations and via the Councils consultation. The Council are planning a total of 21 LTNs (aptly called cells) in Islington using the Council’s budget. Islington Labour has lost my vote, along with many, many more I suspect.

The Council’s analysis report can be found here:

Kind regards

Patricia Niclas
Islington resident

From cycle lanes to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Who owns our streets?

From cycle lanes to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Who owns our streets?

From cycle lanes to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Who owns our streets?

Last month I participated in an online debate on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, organised by the Academy of ideas. Speakers were Conservative peer and former deputy chairman, Transport for London; Rebekah Kelly from grassroots campaign group We Are Islington; rormer Hackney councillor and Cabinet Member Rita Krishna; Emma Richman, Executive Director of operations, Peaks and Plains Housing Trust in Manchester. Journalist and broadcaster Ella Whelan chaired a lively and very useful debate and audience discussion. You can watch the video of the whole event here, and read my brief introduction below.  

The full introductory blurb for the debate and speaker profiles can be found on the Academy of Ideas website


There is so much you can say on this subject, but as I have just four minutes for my introduction I thought I’d start with a question posed in the blurb for tonight’s discussion.

“Should we take advantage of the benefits of lower activity in cities and learn a lesson about what life could be like without cars?”

Well, that’s a good question. Even better if we, the public had ever been asked, or engaged in a serious dialogue about what kind of city we want. But we were never asked. LTNs, road blocks and cameras were dropped on us from a great height. Some drivers still don’t know what these things are and drive on through, earning themselves an instant £130 fine, which is great for council’s like Hackney, which has made around £1 million out of LTN cameras since the summer.

One ‘benefit’ we saw under lockdown, is that many ordinary people pulled together, organised independently, creating informal support networks to help elderly or medically vulnerable neighbours.

1. What the imposition of LTNs and road closures does is the opposite of this – because they force many elderly and disabled, potentially into permanent isolation.

2. And far from tapping into the resourcefulness, and community spirit that residents showed during lockdown, the whole policy is built on mistrust of the citizen, and is designed to disempower them.

We are irresponsible, rat-runners who cut through neighbourhoods simply because we’re apparently too lazy to walk or get on a bike. We are not to be trusted with the decision as to whether our journeys are ‘necessary’ or ‘unnecessary’. Our betters will decide that for us.

3. The policy, implementation and the reality of LTNs is division and is acting against the potential for genuine community cohesion we saw signs of under lockdown.

Older and more long term residents are looking on as the neighbourhoods they grew up in are being completely reshaped, not for them but for a younger, more affluent and healthy generation. I’m certain that many newer and younger residents don’t want that, any more than the older ones do, but this stuff is just driving people apart.

And just look at the destructive wedge being driven between cyclists and motorists. Forget cycle lanes – what has really made cycling in London so much better and safer over the last 20 years I’ve been cycling here, is London Drivers. Most drivers are so aware, and conscious of cyclists today. That’s been the key improvement. Yet in treating drivers so badly, and doing it in the name of cyclists, we risk losing those gains and benefits, and creating a war.

You can’t impose community with policies or parklets. Strong communities are about people having a sense of purpose and control. The best and most vibrant communities can be noisy and chaotic and in every way fly in the face of the planner’s idyl that often looks so good on the drawing board. Cars having nothing to do with it.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I went (by bike) to Stamford Hill.

I was struck by a very tangible sense of community and life. It’s buzzing with commercial and social life on the street, but it’s full of cars, and mini-buses etc. But that makes no difference because it is people that a make community.

A city is nothing without commercial life and without citizens who have the freedom to choose how they do things, get around, organise their lives and so on. And for that to work we have to be free to negotiate and work out how to do that, and still get along with one another. There’s an inherent intolerance at the heart of LTNs. They’re about forcing one group’s values and choices on everyone and effectively saying – tough, get used to it.

And why on earth are we waring over this?

But far from being a drag on society, ordinary people are the solution to many of the problems we face today. We need more democratic participation – and even the most seemingly disinterested or disengaged are alive to the possibilities of real freedom and democracy, given the right circumstances. I’m very optimistic that we can rebuild our democracy from the bottom up.