Wednesday 14 October 2020

Brent Friends of the Earth's views on Healthy Neighbourhoods ahead of Friday's Full Council

Brent Friends of the Earth were unlucky in not getting a place to speak to Full Council on Friday when they debate Healthy Neighbourhoods but this is the position that they generally support on what are more widely known as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods:

Bullet points on Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes:

  • Roads have previously been made for cars, not people. We need to change this relationship and give space to people, cyclists and walkers so that we can all travel healthily and in a low carbon way where possible. 
  • Research shows that LTN doesn’t cause more traffic on other roads: 
  • Research shows that low-traffic neighbourhoods do not simply shift traffic from one place to another,  but lead to an overall reduction in the numbers of motor vehicles on roads. There was a 11% reduction in number of vehicles across the whole area where road space for traffic was reduced, including the main roads in a study of 70 areas across 11 Countries.  
  • Just one year after the implementation of schemes in Outer London, including Waltham Forest, residents were walking 32 minutes and cycling on average 9 minutes more per week. 
  • Points taken from this article, and more information there too.  
  • Main roads need changes too, such as 2-way roads becoming 1-way and 20mph zones to reduce air pollution.  
  • If there is an adverse increase of traffic on main roads, then road Boulevards can be a solution. These provide wider pavements, space for buses, reduced right turns, more trees and parking restrictions to reduce air pollution from these roads.  
  • It’s vital that Councils conduct proper consultation with a wide variety of residents about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, and issues must be looked at holistically across the area. This can help ensure that residents share their knowledge about where traffic is an issue and what knock-on effects this might have. No community should be disproportionally negatively affected in terms of air pollution.   
  • The aim is to reduce the need for cars for short journeys. This can only be achieved with changes to public transport, cycling and walking routes. There is inevitably going to be some teething problems in making these changes, but with affordable public transport and safe cycling and walking routes, this will lead to healthier and safer neighbourhoods. 
  • Evaporating traffic? Impact of low-traffic neighbourhoods on main roads - Stats show that LTN doesn’t cause more traffic on others roads, and calls for Boulevards as a solution to main roads 
  • Low Traffic Neighbourhoods measures should be introduced as trials then effects can be monitored and changed if necessary  
  • Modal shift may take some time to materialise but by reallocating space from cars to walking and cycling it will lead to some traffic evaporation.  
  • We need alternatives – eg safe cycling infrastructure on main roads, 2 way becoming 1 way – so everybody gains somehow. There should be measures on main roads too – these will depend on local circumstances but could include protected cycle lanes, one-way systems, safe crossings (20 mph zones? CAZ?) – can we say any more about what this mitigation for residents on main roads already suffering high air pollution could look like?
  • Ultimately need more reallocation of roadspace on side roads and main roads to reduce traffic and reduce air pollution. 
  • We don’t want to entrench poor air pollution in disproportionately affected communities – should be more in a balance of neighbourhoods 

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