Dear Cllr Webbe,
We welcome Islington’s statement of intent renewing the council’s commitment on Old Street but we are concerned that the track record of stalling and poor quality active travel schemes will continue. By comparison to neighbouring boroughs Islington is failing to deliver for active travel. Proposed walking and cycling schemes in Islington look to be in a permanent state of delay and, when built, are often so watered down that they fail to provide the safe walking and cycling facilities desperately needed. That is why we were protesting on Tuesday the 19th and it’s why Islington residents young and old joined us. They, like us, are desperate to send you the message to get on with delivery of safe active travel infrastructure.
Filtering streets, using wands/orcas to protect cycle lanes and safe junctions using longer pedestrian and cycle only phases have been used effectively by other local authorities to deliver safer cycling and walking very rapidly. These facilities can then be upgraded later improving the public realm. The key is that they first address the danger, then they work towards a better scheme.
Even small changes such as removing parking near junctions is a huge quick win, as it is easy to do and provides better sight lines for children walking, who are often unable to see over or around parked vehicles. While we understand fully developed schemes can take years these quick wins and trial based approaches take months.
While your neighbouring councils push on and delivered, Islington has mostly stalled. Since 2014, Islington has delivered only a fraction of what other boroughs have built. This is not to say Islington have delivered nothing, but by comparison the council has delivered much less, at a much lower quality, and in a much more disjointed way.
We hope you will listen to our calls to start fast tracking walking and cycling schemes. Active travel helps address so many issues including air pollution, the ongoing obesity crisis, transport poverty and enabling children to be more independent. These are social justice issues as the poorest in our communities are disproportionately impacted. We know you care strongly about these issues and we know you want to address them but your actions to date have in our view been far too limited.
If the council were to publish an accelerated timeline of works and a renewed commitment to quality that would be a very welcome outcome. We are a London wide group so hope you will work with local groups such as Cycle Islington and Living Streets to achieve this.
Coordinator Active Travel Now