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

Positive impact of St Peter’s people-friendly streets neighbourhood revealed in monitoring report

Residents in St Peter’s have benefitted from healthier, safer, greener streets since the arrival of Islington’s first people-friendly streets neighbourhood there, a monitoring report has revealed.     

The mid-trial monitoring report, which looks at data from the first six months of the scheme, indicates that people in St Peter’s have enjoyed reduced traffic, less air pollution and less speeding since the neighbourhood’s introduction in July 2020 as an 18-month trial.     

Meanwhile, evidence shows that fire brigade response times, crime and anti-social behaviour have not been significantly impacted by the changes. Furthermore, the ambulance service have not reported delays in the neighbourhood.  

The report also shows that the changes did not have a significant impact on traffic counts on at least two of the three main roads surrounding the neighbourhood.  

People-friendly streets are designed to make local streets work for everyone by creating 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.       

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. These reports, including the St Peter’s mid-trial report, take into account the reduction in traffic that has resulted from the Covid-19 lockdowns. 

The St Peter’s six-month report – which compares data from before and after the scheme’s implementation and has been independently peer reviewed - reveals:       

  • Local streets within the neighbourhood were healthier and safer, with traffic falling overall by 57%. Average speeds fell by 8%, while rates of speeding fell by 65%. Rates of cycling were measured at 14 different sites within the neighbourhood and rose at 6 of these, including a 51% rise on Wharf Road. 
  • The changes to streets were found to have no significant impact on fire brigade response times. 
  • Air quality data from within the St Peter’s area shows that nitrogen dioxide levels have continued to fall in line with borough-wide trends. 
  • However, traffic on New North Road – one of the main roads surrounding the neighbourhood – rose by 32%. Other factors may have had an impact on these traffic counts including the nearby work on the Old Street roundabout, and the road bordering two other low-traffic neighbourhood trials. The council will continue to monitor traffic on main roads and make changes where appropriate, and is due to publish additional data on this street soon as part of the Canonbury East monitoring report.    

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We’re creating people-friendly streets because a healthier, safer, greener Islington, where everyone can travel easily and enjoy their local area, is a fairer Islington.    

“The monitoring data for St Peter’s reflects the positive impact that the scheme is having and we hope and expect that, as people continue to adapt to our people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, they will bring even greater benefits in the future.
 
“We know how important Islington’s streets are to local people, and the feedback they have given us so far has been invaluable. We have recently launched surveys for each of the people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, and I urge local people to fill these in to help inform any future improvements to their area.”
 
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 to enable social distancing, and research also shows that the continued reduced public transport capacity resulting from the pandemic could lead to further rises in traffic unless action is taken.    

Islington Council has therefore introduced seven people-friendly streets neighbourhoods as 18-month 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 is listening carefully to feedback from on the schemes, including the more than 6,000 comments that have been left on the council’s Commonplace webpage, which was introduced in May 2020. 

Islington Council has now developed individual surveys for each neighbourhood. These provide the opportunity for people to share their feedback on the schemes themselves after their implementation. To complete the survey for a people-friendly streets neighbourhood trial, please visit Islington’s people-friendly streets webpage and click on the link to the relevant scheme.

To view the St Peter’s interim monitoring report in full, visit the council’s website.

Notes to editors  

Through a process known as normalisation, certain figures within the report – 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 report.    

On main roads surrounding the neighbourhood, traffic rose by 1% on Essex Road, by 32% on New North Road, and dropped by 19% on City Road. Overall, traffic fell by an average of 2% on these main roads.
  
Six-month interim monitoring reports for Islington’s other people-friendly streets neighbourhoods will be released in due course.  

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