The committee received a
presentation from David Harrison of Islington Living Streets, a
copy of which was interleaved with the
The following points were highlighted:
70% of households in Islington do not own a
car, however Islington’s roads are
vehicle friendly with the result that children no more play in the
Although walking in the borough accounts for 42% of
all trips, it is noticeable the increase in short trip journeys by
cars, leading to high carbon emissions and air pollution. Resident
inactivity results in high levels of obesity, social isolation and,
worryingly, one of the worst child pedestrian casualty rates in
In order to address the above consequences, the
meeting was advised of the need to
reduce car use and alternatively provide more investment for
sustainable modes of travel across the borough. The meeting
was informed that Islington Living
Streets welcomes Islington’s Transport Strategy.
Members were advised of the 3 elements to any behaviour change programmes
– (1) price mechanism, (2) bans and (3) making major
Although public health messages are useful, their
effectiveness in terms of behaviour changes is limited as such
messages are dwarfed by the amount spent
on advertising, especially by the motoring industry.
Evidence shows that employing price mechanism to
address behaviour changes is welcome and effective. With the
congestion zone and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone there have been
13,500 fewer cars per day. Introducing car parking charges and the
workplace levy will have an impact on car use.
The Meeting was advised
that any proposal to ban vehicles in certain areas or roads is
beneficial to the environment in terms of air quality/vehicle
emissions and will result in an increase in walking and cycling
and, importantly, reinvigorate town centres and shopping
Significant infrastructure changes have brought huge
benefits to residents and the environment. The introduction of
cycle superhighways and the pedestrianisation of town centres/shopping areas
continually attract more walking by residents and visitors,
especially as evidence shows that 22 % of all car trips made by
London residents are under 2km.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) will result in
residents being active and increase life expectancy. David Harrison
welcomed the council’s effort as
over 51,000 households in the borough are no longer living in areas
with dangerously high levels of air pollution.
Members were advised that
despite resistance, improving a street for walking and cycling has
resulted in an increase in footfall and has had no impact on
businesses with the number of empty shops falling to 17%.
Also evidence shows that cyclists and
residents who walk to shops tend to spend 40% more than those who
drive into these high streets.
The meeting was informed
that although traffic levels have fallen by 56% or 10,000 fewer
vehicles a day, there has been a slight increase in traffic on the
two main roads bordering the LTN areas.
In response to a question about lack of funds, David
Harrison acknowledged the challenge, however noting that investing
in low cost measures would transform neighbourhoods to low traffic
areas. Measures such as introducing traffic-free streets with
bollards or planters; ensuring
connectivity across routess for
pedestrians and cyclists and changing roads to become more like
boulevards will go a long way. In addition, making pavements wider,
introducing more crossings, closing side streets to motor vehicles,
increasing the cost of parking while restricting the availability
of parking, developing sustainable delivery/consolidation hubs to
reduce number of delivery vans will go a long way changing the
outlook of neighbourhoods and town centres.
Members were reminded that most of the discussions
around behaviour change and improving neighbourhoods and streets
was not about its effectiveness but political fear which evidence
shows has not being realised.
LTNs are noticeable around major cities, notably the
super block in Barcelona and the Knip
in Amsterdam. Lambeth, Camden, Southwark, The City of London and
Tower Hamlets have proposals in place to introduce such
neighbourhoods especially with the increase in awareness of
benefits to resident in terms of air pollution reduction and road
In addition to economic benefits from LTNs, evidence
shows improvement in the health of children living in the area in
comparison to those who live out of the area. A member suggested
that Islington’s Public Realm working in partnership with NHS
would bring additional benefits.
With regard to huge investment received by Waltham
Forest, with funds from the Mayor of London and the transformation
of that part of Waltham Forest, David acknowledged the lack of
funds in Islington but advised that low cost measures such as
placing bollards and planters, and removing roundabouts would
With regard to public resistance to LTNs, the
meeting was informed that it is important to communicate with
residents so that they understand the benefits and how LTNs
impact their quality of life and public
The Chair thanked David Harrison of Living Streets for his presentation and in particular for the clarity of his contribution.