A statement from:
Haringey Living Streets, Haringey Cycling Campaign, Haringey Clean Air Group, Haringey Climate Forum, Tottenham and Wood Green Friends of the Earth, Muswell Hill and Hornsey Friends of the Earth, Extinction Rebellion Haringey, Haringey Labour Climate Action
‘For many years Haringey residents have been calling on Haringey Council to take action
on climate change, air pollution and road danger. We live in a borough where the majority of residents don’t have access to a car, yet our streets have been blighted by high levels of through traffic.’ Haringey Living Streets
‘The new low traffic schemes are a big change for some and it will take time to adjust. But Aldred’s report on Waltham Forest (2020) highlights that these schemes work, and they will play an important role in creating healthier streets in our community.’
Haringey Cycling Campaign
Haringey is taking action on the things that should concern us all – road safety, air pollution, carbon emissions, community severance and regeneration, health outcomes, inactivity and retail vibrancy. Trialling measures to reduce through traffic in our communities is the right thing to do if we are to tackle the sources of road danger and poor air quality that impacts all of us but most especially our children’s current and future health. These trials were put in after public consultation, and with the support of successful candidates at the last local elections. Similar schemes have demonstrated successful outcomes in our neighbouring boroughs, with less traffic, better air quality and safer streets. But change is hard, and changing habits can take time. The strength of feeling around this issue is such that Haringey’s trials are attracting opposition from people who have already been unsuccessful in opposing such measures in our neighbouring boroughs.
It’s important that reasonable objections are heard, and adjustments made if necessary. That is the point of a trial. Long-term trials also allow for the proper collection of monitoring data that will give us real insight into traffic and other impacts. Trials in other boroughs have been vindicated by the data. We all know that traffic has blighted Haringey’s streets for many years and is not a new thing. But the other point of a trial is to see the positives. This is why scheme opponents don’t want trials to continue, so the schemes don’t settle down and we don’t all have the opportunity to experience whether we are prepared to live with some of the downsides in order to have neighbourhood streets that are cleaner, healthier and safer. Positive change takes time, but we are already seeing positive impacts of the trials. An increasing number of residents are taking to social media to explain the positives they’re experiencing – including seeing thronging local markets and kids cycling on roads where it would have been unthinkable before. Others have posted on social media their experiences of the benefits of the trials. Decisions on trial schemes should be made on the basis of community engagement and the evidence of their effectiveness. If this trial scheme works like it has done elsewhere, we will have cleaner air, safer streets and better opportunities for healthy travel without a car. And we all want more of that, don’t we?
A response to concerns raised:
Recently, Haringey’s Council meeting was disrupted by groups opposed to new and proposed Streets for People. Opposing groups are marching to a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 6 December. The main findings of similar schemes and studies need reiterating:
- Congestion on main roads decreases over time
See the recent Imperial College report and Rachel Aldred’s study of mini Holland in Waltham Forest,
- Local businesses benefit from increased pedestrianisation and low traffic neighbourhoods, all businesses can access neighbourhoods
See TFL economic reportSee the study by Small99
Note, we support the need for local regeneration funding to be coupled with the introduction of new filtered neighbourhoods.
- Haringey Council are focusing on the East of the borough first to address social inequalities
Low traffic neighbourhoods seek to address social inequality issues. Using the bus and cycling is cheaper than owning a car and 60% of people in social housing in Haringey do not own a vehicle. We need to do much more to enable safe and efficient travel by foot, bus, cycle and train.Last year, 27 450 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads.1… Children in the most deprived 20% of areas are six times more likely to be injured than those in the least deprived 20% ….3
- Bus efficiency
We need cheap travel for more people. Walkers need buses. Bus efficiency is also impacted by too many cars on the road or parking in bus lanes (some of it illegal). Bus lanes need to be 24/7 and red routes are needed to reduce parking in bus lanes. This is an urgent issue as walkers and people unable to cycle need buses to be efficient and this will enable more to make the choice of bus over private car.See FAQs on the Harringay Ladder Healthy Streets website for more detail on supporting evidence for change. https://www.hlhs.org.uk/faqs
Why is this an essential change?
Road transport is the biggest carbon emitting sector and councils are mandated to decarbonise our roads. There is now cross party support for this vital change see Gear Change and the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy. Filtering neighbourhoods is the most cost effective and efficient way of creating a network of routes to enable active travel and encourage modal shift. The combined effect of Bounds Green, Bruce Grove and St Ann’s ‘Streets for People’ means safer travel from Enfield into Haringey and beyond – this is a breakthrough for transport in North London. Residents of outer boroughs can also use the new ULEZ scrappage scheme to trade in old cars (up to £2000) for e-bikes. They also open up new routes for walkers. All can be part of a positive change that must occur. Francesca from St Ann’s said: ‘My neighbours often see us on #bikes. When chatting, they said they’d love to ride to work, but haven’t yet taken the plunge. I spoke to them today & they said once the #LTNs were implemented and they decided to give it a go! And even though it’s winter, they love it!’
Main roads also need cycle lanes, separate bus lanes and wide unobstructed pavements; this is the eventual goal to improve road safety. This week alone there have been two cyclists injured in serious collisions in the roads around Finsbury Park illustrating the need for segregated cycle lanes. Vision Zero is a different way of approaching traffic safety – it means planners must now try to eliminate road deaths and life changing injuries whilst also increasing safe and clean mobility for all. Safety concerns deter 66% of people from cycling (71% of women) and make it very difficult for children and young people to walk and to learn to ride and commute to school by cycling. In the absence of segregated lanes on main roads, filtered neighbourhoods provide safe routes as stated by a father from Haringey: ‘I’m a local dad with 7 year old twins. On Saturday, I cycled with them through the St Ann’s and Bruce Grove/West Green LTNs. I don’t own a car, but I’ve never been able to cycle easily with them before – I’m on the road, but it’s not safe for them to be. We normally just cycle in parks or on the pavement, but it’s really difficult as you either have to be on the pavement with them (which annoys people) or be on the road and have a really stressful journey with parked cars in between you. I’ve been dreading them getting to the age when they have to go on the busy roads – as an experienced cyclist I find it really scary in Haringey. So the LTNs have created a space where they feel confident and happy to cycle, and we can all travel together.’
Many residents have waited a long time for these changes and are hugely relieved. They have suffered for many years with excessive cut-through traffic. Given 90% of people live in neighbourhood roads this is a significant improvement that will help revitalise communities. The streets increasingly provide a more peaceful refuge where children can walk and cycle to school safely, communities can more comfortably gather out on the street and where local residents can jog or skate without feeling threatened. With these long awaited interventions our borough has made a big step in progressing to carbon net zero. Active travel will lead to better health for people and our living environment. Walking and cycling develop better heart, lung, overall physical and mental health to the extent that GPs are now prescribing active travel. It’s a vital and urgent change that will, in the long term, benefit all. And is already underway with new data showing a 40% increase in cycling on pre-pandemic levels and 90% at weekends. Walking up, with the proportion of journeys on foot up from 35%. A resident of Bounds Green said: ‘I am beginning to find I feel safer walking to and from jobs without having to worry about someone speeding down the roads when in one of the LTNs.’ And Ranger Duke, a local small business owner, said ‘I am starting to feel more confident in obtaining a small fleet of suitable and hard wearing cargo bikes to get the team around Haringey!’