Bit of a long report from Islington's "people friendly streets":
Good to see Islington install their second low traffic neighbourhood this week, in Canonbury East (i.e. west of De Beauvoir, east of Essex Road). This joins up with their first in St Peter's near the canal which went live in early July, and eliminates through-motor-traffic along the short section of Quietway 2 in the borough. I took my friends on an unhurried car-free ride starting with a coffee at De Beauvoir Square, down to Tottenham Court Road and enjoyed a stroll in car-free Soho - new to cycling they loved it.
In St Peter's, I've seen more families and kids out on bikes enjoying the space that has been unlocked with only a few bollards. Earl of Essex, Duke of Cambridge, Pophams all very enjoyable, as is the Narrowboat, as will be the Island Queen (when it reopens) and fingers crossed for the Bill Murray.
Prioritising these two areas in Islington for low traffic neighbourhoods is probably a small part of the legacy of the quietways programme. In principle the programme was deeply flawed for lots of reasons, however with continued activism in the years since, the council is now moving on from the indirect, incoherent route-based white-paint approach on residential streets. Evolving it into an area-wide approach now eliminates through-traffic in neighbourhoods, disincentivises short car trips, and unlocks space for walking and cycling for local people.
I hope the pace of change continues in spite of protests: 25% car ownership in the borough should mean this is an easy win and a voter winner once the majority can experience the benefits and see it for themselves.
The usual anti crowd are up in arms with weekly protests outside Islington town hall - swelled by some in the taxi lobby - which suggests the council is doing something right. It is difficult for me to gauge public opinion among all residents, but as far as I can tell, the word on the street is generally "this is OK isn't it, no big deal, I never liked the rat-running traffic going past my home" - at least I hope that is what most people are saying because that is what I hear when I talk to people.
The council could do better on communications. Providing the pros and cons is important - the average understanding of these types of schemes in the UK seems appalling; it seems difficult to communicate the benefits and the impacts without a decent one-to-one conversation, and sometimes even the english language is not on our side ("road closed"). When local residents who drive hear that their access will be maintained, they think this means that all the routes they use to access their property by car will remain the same - this is a source of conflict not well communicated.
As this programme of low traffic neighbourhoods rolls on and calms down over the next couple of years, I hope this means the borough can focus the big investments on busier roads, where they are most needed (as @Backstop says) - the sooner the better.
Thanks for the update. Do you know whether this means no more non resident cars at all allowed from Southgate Road to Essex and New North Road?
It means there's no longer any through-routes within the traffic cell bordered by southgate, baring, new n, essex, balls pond.
Heres a map trying to show these changes:
As i mentioned, i think the map and islington comms could do with being clearer.
Clear enough to me.
The cycle lane along Lee Bridge Road has really highlighted how bad the Quietways program was.
It's really disconcerting as you swap from being a first class citizen, to being sent around the houses on the Quietway through Hackney.
That said - I think Quietways are good supplements for direct routes. Spending tiny amounts of money creating permeable routes between otherwise good roads (especially between LTNs) creates loads of options for local trips.
You have no idea of how much of a barrier an A road (with no cycle crossing) is until you've tried riding it with a child on tow. For example, my wife would kill me if I took our son anywhere near Camberwell New Road on his bike - we can even only cross it at places where it has a signalised crossing, which forces big detours and often requires a bit of walking (or cycling on the pavement).
I think quietways as originally implemented were just substandard LTNs. I think LTNs are how quietways/mini hollands were originally intended.
I think a basic model is modal filtering to create neighbourhood wide cells and then segregation on the through roads. This requires a level of political ambition and engineering know-how we seem to be sorely lacking.
And the Lee valley route is lovely, though I'd like a little more priority on the signal timings.
The original dream of Quietways was there were lots of quiet back streets ready to be linked together quickly and cheaply into new routes with minimal interventions and no fuss.
It very quickly became clear that (a) no there aren't (b) any vaguely direct route was also a popular rat run requiring lots of filtering and (c) filtering was extremely politically controversial and the boroughs weren't interested. Very few were implemented.
The fundamental problem was that they weren't thinking about LTNs, only about the linear cycle routes. They've now found that it's much easier to build a political coalition in support of LTNs for their own sake than it is to demand neighbourhoods be re-engineered for the benefit of cyclists.
(though the interventions in Islington on Quietway 2 have been prioritised partly because they want to improve Q2, and partly because they've been sitting on the drawing board ready to go for years, with political leadership constantly noping them for fear of backlash)
Well, there are lots of back streets ready to be linked together. But the links can be quite difficult.
For example, in Camberwell, demolishing the wall at the end of Southwell Road to allow cycles to enter the Hospital campus would create a lot of route options.
But, who would you need to work with to do this? Probably 5-6 stakeholders, plus the local NIMBYs. Much easier just to fix Denmark Hill road which is wide enough for proper cycle lanes.
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