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.