Our sister group Keep Highbury Moving (KHM) was the inspiration for KIM and has been fighting the Council's LTN activities from the outset. Currently the focus of KHM's efforts are on getting most of the Council's Highbury LTN measures reversed before it is deemed permanent.
Keep Highbury Moving
Keep Highbury Moving Booklet
KHM have just published the PDF booklet below on the effects of the LTN programme in Highbury. The results are shocking!
Highbury LTN was Bad for Business
LTNs are bad for the local economy for several reasons, the most important of which are the increased journey times and increased congestion on main roads, which lead to crippling additional costs for tradespeople and small businesses such as shops and restaurants. One of the most important achievements of the KHM group was exposing the devastating effect which LTNs have on small businesses.
Local Highbury businesses made no less than 385 formal objections to the Council and delivered them to Town Hall in the form of a petition. The number in favour of the LTN was zero!
These objections were analysed by the Council and the results published in a report which is still available on the Council website, here: https://www.islington.gov.uk/~/media/sharepoint-lists/public-records/transportandinfrastructure/information/adviceandinformation/20222023/highbury-business-engagement-summary-appendix-41.pdf The responses were overwhelmingly negative. To its credit, the Council describes the feedback in some detail. The following classes of objection were cited in 100% of responses:
KHM organised a video of businesses explaining in detail exactly why the Highbury LTN was bad for their business, driving several to stop trading in the area. This is available on YouTube and is well worth watching - see below.
Several businesses subsequently had articles published in the Islington Tribune, including:
Click on the links to find out what they have to say.
Islington's LTN Programme is an Urban Planning Failure
It's probably true to say that Keep Highbury Moving have a gentler, more nuanced and collaborative approach to the LTN debate than most of us in the anti-LTN community. This is reflected in the following thoughtful letter from KHM stalwart Gill Shepherd to an LBI Councillor. Gill makes a number of excellent points which all highlight the fundamental urban planning failure of Islington and other North London boroughs in adopting the LTN approach. Firstly it is far too parochial, focused on local street-by-street, LTN-by-LTN, Borough-by-Borough traffic issues. Secondly it is far too narrow, focused on reducing the volume of cars by making life difficult for lazy, selfish, drivers! Tragically, as Gill points out, those who suffer most from LTNs are, on the contrary, primarily those who are already disadvantaged in some way, those who care for the disadvantaged, and those tradespeople and small businesses trying to make an honest living, together with most of us, their customers.
Following this there is another thoughtful email from Gill responding to our analysis of the St Mary's LTN which raises the key issue of the gradual strangling of east-west traffic in North London and the disastrous effect it is having on the local economy.
Sent: 19 August 2023 08:02
To: "Councillor X"
Subject: Re: Invitation to Arsenal ward resident meeting on transport & traffic in the ward
Just read "Y's" excellent letter to you, full of good points.
As far as Keep Highbury Moving is concerned, I think the Council misreads the group. It gets caricatured as a group of ruthless drivers. It is mainly a group of worried women with busy lives (like "Y" and me) who care deeply about all the community, including the businesses, the elderly, disabled people, and those living on the boundary roads. Many of us have worked for years on community issues, long before LTNs came along, even if we did not choose to stand as councillors. We note:
that many aspects of LTNs have proved to be ableist, ageist, and sexist;
those specific problems (e.g., the knock-on from the redesign of Highbury Corner) affected specific areas (Highbury) and that a more nuanced approach to problem solving at specific junctions and on specific roads was required rather than the blanket goal of getting 70% of Islington into LTNs.
that the Council consistently fails to understand that impacts on boundary roads are cumulative as more and more LTNs are created; we are very worried now about our own boundary roads (Holloway Road, Seven Sisters Road, Blackstock Road and Highbury Grove/Highbury Corner which are more and more frequently gridlocked even before roadworks/water works /concerts in Finsbury Park come along.
that the negative impact this now causes for bus times has had a big impact on Islington's less wealthy citizens, for whom walking and taking a bus are the main forms of transport: so, there is a classist aspect to LTNs as well.
that Islington, as an inner London borough, daily hosts a lot of traffic which is passing through from elsewhere and on its way elsewhere, the council behaves as if all the traffic on its roads is made up of locals who ought to be walking or cycling and utterly fails to recognise its duty to think about impacts on the through routes which Keep London Moving and which will probably always be needed. We note too that its close advisers on this are limited to (mainly male) cyclists, not transport planners (or time-poor women juggling roles as parents, daughters, household managers and professionals......)
that the council also fails to factor in the multi-borough effect of LTNs across all North London. House prices have forced a lot of Islington's armies of plumbers, electricians, builders etc to move to more affordable outer London suburbs such as Enfield and Edmonton and out into Essex and Hertfordshire., But - thank goodness - they still do come in to work for us here and we would be really stuck without them. However, the cumulative effect of LTNs and their associated congested boundary roads all the way along their drive-in routes makes for very frustrating journeys. (One of builders I know - who moved out from Highbury to Hoddesdon - says that if he does not set off at 5.00am the journey takes for ever). Again, a lack of broader transport planning, where councils communicate with one another and are helped to plan by professionals, is sadly lacking as far as we can see.
So, we feel that we have thought longer and harder about these issues than many councillors have, and probably have more detailed and complex local knowledge than they do. It is infuriating to be so often dismissed as The Enemy instead of worked with as a resource!
This is really powerful. The East-West route issue is getting more and more important all the time - here Cross Street, implications if Offord Road were closed, results of Aubert Park being closed in Highbury. In each case north-south routes are open (if sometimes congested), but East-West routes are in an even worse plight. Thus St Paul's Road, Canonbury Lane, etc, are carrying grossly unfair volumes of traffic because too few alternative routes remain open.
To me this all reeks of the fact that LBI's street-by-street/LTN-by-LTN approach utterly fails to understand that an Inner London borough carries a lot of through traffic, not just local traffic. This will continue to be the case and the east-west routes are a really key part of that broader network, along with main north-south routes. All this analysis of what happens inside LTNs and on boundary roads assumes local traffic but forgets that we have to Keep London Moving too. Where do they think all the congestion is coming from, when only 30% of Islington households have cars (and are not all out milling about at the same time anyway)? There has never been any consultation with broader users, which would anyway be very hard to do.
I am attaching a letter I wrote to our local councillor which she thought was a good summary of all this.