Islington's people-friendly streets will make better places for everyone

Benefits of Canonbury East and Clerkenwell Green people-friendly streets neighbourhoods shown in monitoring reports

People-friendly streets neighbourhoods in Canonbury East and Clerkenwell Green have helped to create greener, safer streets for everyone, mid-trial monitoring reports have revealed.      

The two reports, which look at data from the first six months of each trial scheme, show that local people have enjoyed significantly reduced traffic and less speeding in both areas.      

In Canonbury East, for example, streets were healthier, with traffic dropping by 78% on local roads within the neighbourhood and by 10% on boundary roads surrounding it. Meanwhile, traffic on local roads in Clerkenwell Green fell by 34%.   

Islington Council is introducing people-friendly streets neighbourhoods as 18-month trials to help create a healthier borough, where it is easier to walk and cycle, a safer borough by reducing road danger, and a greener borough by improving air quality.  In doing so, they support the council’s ambition to create a net-zero carbon borough by 2030.    

To help measure the success of the trials, and to help local people decide whether they should remain permanently, the council is publishing monitoring data approximately six and 12 months into each scheme, the first being the six-month report on the St Peter’s scheme. The reports take into account the reduction in traffic that has resulted from the Covid-19 lockdowns.      

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are implementing people-friendly streets to help create a healthier, safer and greener borough, where everyone is able to travel easily.      

“These monitoring reports, alongside the report from St Peter’s, show that the trials are helping to reduce traffic, creating streets where it is easier and safer for everyone to travel, exercise and play.      

“The feedback that local people have been giving us has been invaluable, and we encourage residents to continue to fill in our surveys to inform any future changes to the schemes.”      

The report from the Canonbury East people-friendly streets neighbourhood, which was introduced in August 2020, reveals:      

  • In Englefield Road, a local road, traffic fell by 87% - representing a drop of more than 30,000 vehicles per week.
  • The number of vehicles speeding fell by an average of 88% within the neighbourhood.     
  • London Fire Brigade response times were within the service’s targets in the Canonbury ward overall, although there has been an increase in response time. There are several potential reasons for this, which are explored in the report. London Fire Brigade and the council believe that the data is inconclusive on whether the scheme impacted on response times. The council is continuing to monitor this and, if necessary, will make changes to improve response times.

The report also revealed a negligible (see notes to editors) 7% rise in traffic on New North Road, a boundary road, between June 2020 and February 2021. This implies that traffic on this road has stabilised since it was measured for the St Peter’s report, which revealed a 32% rise between June and November 2020.    

Meanwhile, the monitoring report from the Clerkenwell Green neighbourhood, which was introduced in September 2020, shows:      

  • The number of vehicles speeding fell by 73% on internal roads, and by 11% on boundary roads.      
  • Although traffic on boundary roads rose by 22%, average travel times decreased, suggesting the increase in traffic is not leading to congestion. The increase could have been caused by other factors, such as the work on the nearby Old Street roundabout, Smithfield Market and at Farringdon Station, as well as the introduction of the neighbouring Amwell people-friendly streets neighbourhood.     
  • London Fire Brigade response times were not significantly impacted.    

In both neighbourhoods, air quality data showed that nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen in line with borough-wide trends. London Ambulance Service has not reported any delays to response times as a result of the trials, while rates of crime and anti-social behaviour have also not been significantly impacted by the changes.   

The monitoring reports for both Canonbury East and Clerkenwell Green can be read on the council’s website.     

Notes to editors     

People-friendly streets create a better borough and address the sharp rises in traffic that have been seen in recent years – with 24.3 million more miles being driven in Islington in 2019 than in 2013. The Covid-19 pandemic has made these measures more pressing, with research indicating that urgent action was needed to prevent further rises in traffic.     

Islington Council has introduced seven people-friendly streets neighbourhood trials, with full public consultations taking place 12 months into each scheme so that local people can have their say on whether they should remain permanently.      

The council has also developed individual surveys for each neighbourhood, which cajn be found on the council’s people-friendly streets webpage by clicking the link to the relevant scheme.      

In Canonbury East, data from July 2020 is compared with data from February 2021, whilst in Clerkenwell Green data from August 2020 has been compared with data from February 2021.      

Through a process known as normalisation, certain figures within the reports – such as figures for traffic volume – have been adjusted to account for the impact of Covid-19, using data from across London which estimates how the pandemic has affected transport. Traffic figures have essentially been increased to account for the decrease in traffic during the pandemic. More details on this can be found within the reports.       

Please note: traffic flows fluctuate on a daily basis (generally up to 10%). As such, changes of traffic volumes within -10% to 10% are considered insignificant (i.e. no or negligible change).   

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.