People-friendly streets neighbourhoods set to make Highbury safer, greener and healthier for all
Islington Council’s efforts to make the borough safer, greener and healthier for all are continuing, with two people-friendly streets neighbourhoods set to arrive in Highbury.
The council is working hard to make Islington’s neighbourhoods more pleasant and safer for everyone. Changes are therefore being made to the borough’s streets, to make them better for living, working, and playing. The planned people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, which will be in Highbury West and Highbury Fields, will help to achieve this.
People-friendly streets are designed to make it easier for local people to walk and cycle safely, use buggies and wheelchairs, and cross roads. In doing so, they help to create a fairer borough, where it is easier for everyone to travel.
In recent years, advances in satellite navigation technology have contributed to more traffic looking for shortcuts along residential streets, making them more polluted and less safe. Research shows that 24.3 million more miles were driven through Islington in 2019 than 2013. Furthermore, across London there has been a 72% rise in traffic on C roads and unclassified roads – which are typically smaller, local roads - since 2009.
People-friendly streets are designed to help address this situation, which has only been made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the continued reduced public transport capacity and the need for social distancing, urgent measures are needed to prevent traffic volumes rising even further, which would make streets worse than before the pandemic.
This is why the council has been working quickly and effectively to create people-friendly streets. People-friendly streets neighbourhoods have been introduced in the St Peter’s, Canonbury East, Canonbury West, Clerkenwell Green and Amwell areas this year, where local people are already enjoying the benefits of calmer, safer, more accessible streets.
The work in Highbury West and Highbury Fields is intended to bring similar benefits, and will see a series of traffic reduction measures brought in to create a safer, greener, healthier environment for all, where local people can enjoy their streets more. Work on implementing both schemes will start on Monday, 30 November, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We know how important Islington’s streets and neighbourhoods are for local people, and we want them to be safe, healthy, green spaces that are enjoyable for all.
“As technology has changed over time, we have seen satellite navigation systems directing traffic through residential areas, causing more traffic, pollution, and road danger for local people. In light of this, the council has long been planning initiatives to improve Islington’s streets.
“People-friendly streets are designed to address this situation, and to help the borough respond effectively to the continued fall in public transport capacity during the pandemic. By reducing the dominance of motor vehicles, we can make Islington a fairer borough where everyone – including the approximately 70% of households that do not own a car - can walk, cycle, and use buggies and wheelchairs safely and easily.
“The Highbury West and Highbury Fields people-friendly streets neighbourhoods are a significant step towards creating a safer, greener, healthier borough for everyone, and we look forward to announcing further schemes soon.”
In order to make Highbury more people-friendly for all, a total of ten traffic filters will be installed – eight in the Highbury West neighbourhood, and two in Highbury Fields. Crucially, every street in the borough will remain accessible by motor vehicle for everyone, including local people, visitors and deliveries – the only thing that may change is the route. Residents in the two neighbourhoods will soon receive a leaflet with further details of the changes.
The two neighbourhoods are being implemented as 18-month trials, using Experimental Traffic Orders. This means that, after around 12 months, a public consultation will be held on each neighbourhood to give local people the chance to say whether they would like the measures to be made permanent, changed, or removed.
Details of the planned work can be found on the council's Highbury people-friendly streets page.
Notes to editors
Changes in Highbury West will involve the implementation of eight traffic filters. These will be on Aubert Park, Avenell Road, Benwell Road, Gillespie Road, Highbury Hill near the junction with Martineau Road, Monsell Road, Plimsoll Road, and St Thomas’s Road.
Meanwhile, in the area around Highbury Fields one traffic filter will be installed on Highbury Place at the junction with Highbury Corner, while another filter will be installed on Highbury Place close to the junction with Calabria Road. In order to ensure safe and easy access for residents to the neighbourhood, a traffic filter at Ronald’s Road will be partially lifted by allowing motor traffic through in one direction (southbound) to improve access to the neighbourhood.
The council will be capturing the views of residents in Highbury West and Highbury Fields in online surveys on each neighbourhood, which will be launched shortly. These will allow local people to provide their feedback on the measures after they have been introduced, and will inform any potential alterations.
Resident safety is a leading priority for the council. That is why the council consults with emergency services before each people-friendly streets scheme is installed. In addition, the council works with the emergency services to monitor the impact of the schemes after they have been implemented and to make changes where necessary.
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