Our survey of residents and this week's announcements from the council show that there is overwhelming support for reducing through-traffic both in the ward and across Islington more broadly.
Change coming in early July
Islington Council announced on Friday that St Peter's Ward will become a 'people-friendly street' neighbourhood as part of a new borough-wide programme.
Full details of the scheme are due to be shared shortly in a letter to residents with work starting in less than three weeks.
The council announcement states 'Islington’s people-friendly streets will create more space to make it easier to walk safely, cycle as part of everyday life, use buggies or wheelchairs, and cross roads. Work on the people-friendly streets neighbourhood in St Peter’s is due to start on Friday, 3 July, and is expected to be completed on Thursday, 9 July.'
Details on the specific design of the scheme are yet to be shared but the press release references measures being taken on Prebend Street, St Peter's Street, Danbury Street and Colebrook Row.
The plan will be implemented as part of an 18 month 'Experimental Traffic Order' and a consultation about making the scheme permanent will take place in June 2021.
Survey responses show an overwhelming desire for change
We have had 200+ survey responses from residents on over 30 streets showing a staggering level of concern about traffic in the ward. Only 9 people felt that the council should NOT be looking at traffic reduction measures.
Despite almost a decade of 20mph speed limits and the almost universal presence of speed bumps, speeding headed up the list of concerns from residents.
The fact that the 'volume of traffic' is cited by 80% of respondents as a worry suggests that simply moving to electric cars will not make the situation better.
Over 81% of respondents reported REGULARLY seeing speeding and distracted driving in the ward. Given this level of perceived danger, it's perhaps unsurprising that 91% of parents said that traffic made them less likely to encourage children to walk and cycle locally.
Online community meeting
Last Monday, a group of residents reviewed the results of the survey and discussed how to map the issues and communicate them with the council. It was great to have Councillors Alice Perry and Martin Klute join the discussion with Cllr Cutler sending her apologies.
As well as mapping accessibility issues from Andy Greene's video, we discussed how SatNav systems encourage cars to take cut-throughs and mapped where narrow streets (e.g. the top of St Peter's Street and the two bridges over the canal) cause specific issues.
The group discussed what measures the council might consider to make local journeys more pleasant for those choosing to walk, scoot or use mobility scooters.
We actively discussed approaches that have worked in Waltham Forest and Hackney. Slides from the discussion are available online.
In terms of next steps, we are waiting to see the plans proposed by the council and will hold another video conference call when they are announced.
Plans to change streets across half the borough
Islington's press release points to the changes in St Peter's being just the start of significant changes across the borough. The Islington Gazette reported that the council will be introducing 'Low-traffic neighbourhoods in Canonbury, Highbury, Clerkenwell, Nags Head, and St Mary’s by the autumn'.
The council has been collecting feedback from thousands of residents across the borough using an interactive map where residents can share issues and suggestions about streets.
Comments from the survey
In addition to Manny Akthar's video of the tailbacks of cars on Basire Street and Prebend street, we have received many comments about issues on the roads.
These are just some of the comments that capture the experiences of thousands of us in the ward:
- 'We hear vehicles hit the road hump outside our house at least six times an hour - an indication that they are travelling at excessive speeds'. Kate, Danbury Street
- 'Satnavs are encouraging drivers to use us as a cut-through.' Jo, Devonia Street
- 'There are constant road rage incidences where drivers are disputing who has right of way as there is simply not enough room!' Duncan Terrace
- 'Why is there no proper pedestrian crossing outside Graham street playground'. Haverstock Road
- 'I was hit by a car when crossing at the bottom of Packington Estate in November. My guess is that the driver was using a mobile phone because he didn’t see me.'
- 'The sound of motorbikes late at night is unbearable.' Martha, St Peter's Street
- 'Air pollution is the main concern.' Tom, Rheidol Terrace
- 'Longer double yellow lines either side of street corners, where pedestrians cross, would make it safer to cross. For example on the corner of Gerrard road with Danbury street it is challenging if not impossible to clearly see oncoming traffic from the right due to cars parked on the corner' Leanne, Devonia Road
- 'Through traffic is clearly using quieter residential roads to avoid traffic lights on main routes.' Maryland Walk
- Barts Hospital NHS Trust have written to the the Leader of Islington council calling on Islington Council to create safe routes for key-worker staff. This follows fatal and serious cars crashes involving NHS workers in the south of the borough in the last two years.
- The Islington Gazette have details of how a car mounted the pavement recently, crashing into The Duke of Cambridge - The driver apparently reversed down the pavement damaging shops including the dry cleaners on St Peter's Street in addition to the damage to the pub.