People-friendly streets are now the way forward

Friday, 13th May

People Friendly Streets campaign

People-friendly streets: Let’s get cracking!

• NOW the local elections are over, another hurdle for Islington Council’s PFS, people-friendly streets, programme has passed.

The results show residents overwhelmingly in favour of the council’s plan to implement these schemes across the borough.

Comparing the results with the 2018 local elections, the combined vote share of the pro LTN, low traffic neighbourhood, parties of Labour and the Greens stayed level at 77 per cent.

In Highbury, where the largest and most controversial scheme was introduced, the Greens saw two new councillors join Caroline Russell as the opposition party.

It’s clear that voters either really liked these schemes or thought there were more important issues to be concerned with.

I’m so grateful for Cllr Rowena Champion and her colleagues in their strong leadership and courage in the face of some quite appalling behaviour from some individuals, including verbal and online abuse, and vandalism.

Local campaigners have borne some of the brunt of this vitriol, such as the bizarre Putinesque comments made by a Conservative candidate when he insinuated our campaign was a move towards national socialism!

In the end the opposition to these schemes has failed and now it’s time for us to move on and work together, starting with the design and engagement process for Barnsbury and St Mary’s, that Cllr Champion promised would kick off as soon as the elections were over.

As Greta Thunburg eloquently remarked, “the climate and ecological crisis is beyond party politics. And our main enemy right now is not our political opponents. Our main enemy now is physics.”

We are currently in a race against time to eliminate our use of fossil fuels. Providing safe infrastructure for people to move about freely by foot or by bicycle is one of the proven ways this can be achieved.

Finally it’s worth noting that Islington is one of several councils leading the way in this country in active transport policy.

If they are bold in their implementation of the PFS not only will they serve the people of this fantastic borough they will also crucially set a shining example for other councils across the UK to follow.

Let’s get cracking!


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