The independent London newspaper

Climate change will not wait…

23 July, 2021

• I AGREE with Ruth Rosenthal (Think of the pedestrians, July 16), pavements are indeed for pedestrians.

Our crowded public realm should have much more focus on how people could use it equitably rather than forcing them into conflicts due to lack of space or safety concerns or dominance by one mode of transport.

Some figures can illustrate this dominance. Traffic has risen in Islington by 72 per cent in the past 12 years.

We have 240 kilometres of roads, shared between Transport for London and the borough but only 3.8 per cent of that is properly segregated cycle lanes.

Some 26 per cent of Islington residents have a car, and yet cars are allowed to continue to dominate our streets, polluting our air and making the streets outside our houses unsafe for people of all ages.

An electric car can be parked for free. A space in a bike hangar, plus key, costs £133 for the first year. Roamer parking is allowed in the borough.

And, to cap it all, we are in a climate emergency with ever-decreasing time to do something tangible about it.

It won’t be kicked down the road to 2030 or 2040. It won’t wait for us to wake up and fix our topsy-turvey priorities.

The measures taken to allow people the space to walk, and cycle, throughout the pandemic have shown us all how much more pleasant our local environment can be.

The irony is that if more people chose to walk or cycle for shorter journeys, there would be more space for public transport and necessary car use, making it a win-win all round.

A reminder: 38 per cent of London’s car journeys are under two miles and 66 per cent are under five miles, distances which could be walked and or cycled.

Islington Council and TfL have made a good start (seven people-friendly street area, 35 school streets, the first “Dutch-style” roundabout on Drayton Park) but there’s so much more to be done.

We have the space, we just need to use it better to benefit us all and not just the minority.



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