New measures to make it easier for disabled people to travel in Highbury people-friendly streets neighbourhoods
Islington Council can today announce that it is introducing new measures to make it easier for disabled people to travel in the Highbury West and Highbury Fields people-friendly streets neighbourhoods.
The two people-friendly streets neighbourhoods in Highbury were introduced in January 2021 as 18-month trials, as part of the council’s ongoing efforts to make Islington a cleaner, greener, and healthier place to live.
Monitoring data on the two neighbourhoods reflects their positive impact, with traffic falling by 43%, cycling rising by 66%, and the number of vehicles speeding falling by 45% within the neighbourhoods between November 2020 and May 2021.
Throughout the process of introducing people-friendly streets, the council has been clear that it is listening to feedback from local people – including the valuable feedback it has received from disabled residents and groups representing disabled people.
The council is introducing a new programme of people-friendly pavements, which will make the borough’s streets more accessible for all through improvements such as footway repaving, foliage maintenance, additional dropped kerbs, tactile paving, and street clutter removal.
Having listened to local people’s feedback, in October the council also outlined its intention to offer an exemption for a single motor vehicle to travel through local camera-enforced traffic filters for Islington’s Blue Badge holders who live in a people-friendly streets neighbourhood.
It can today be announced that the Highbury people-friendly streets neighbourhoods will be the first in Islington to include these exemptions. The necessary construction work is expected to begin on Monday, 6 December, with the exemption scheme set to go live in mid-December.
All residents in Highbury will receive a letter about the change, and Blue Badge holders living in the area will also receive a further letter with more details. More information can be found on the council’s website.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Our people-friendly streets are crucial in our efforts to tackle the climate emergency and create a more equal borough for all. By reducing traffic within the neighbourhoods, the trials help make it easier to walk, cycle, and use buggies and wheelchairs.
“Local people are at the heart of everything we do, and we’re listening extremely carefully to the feedback that they are giving us on our people-friendly streets. That is why we’re introducing measures to make it easier for Blue Badge holders to travel in Islington. Following engagement with disabled people and groups representing disabled people, we’re working to make Islington’s streets more accessible for all, including through our new people-friendly pavements programme.
“The Blue Badge holder exemption in the Highbury people-friendly streets neighbourhoods will help make it easier for disabled people to travel, whilst ensuring the trials continue to deliver cleaner, greener, healthier streets for all.”
To make it easier for disabled people to travel in Islington, the council also intends to introduce Blue Badge exemptions to the borough’s five other people-friendly streets neighbourhood trials as soon as possible.
Public consultations have already been held, are currently being held, or are due to be held very soon in each of these five neighbourhoods. Following each consultation, a decision will be taken on whether each neighbourhood should be kept in place, changed, or removed.
After this point, Blue Badge holder exemptions will be introduced into each neighbourhood through the creation of new traffic orders. It is not possible to introduce the exemption scheme to these neighbourhoods before this point, as doing so may invalidate the consultations.
As consultations on the Highbury West and Highbury Fields neighbourhoods are not due to be held until January 2022, the council is able to introduce the exemption scheme in these neighbourhoods before consultation starts.