CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

These street plans have history

30 July, 2020

The barriers that were in place in Parkway

• THE Comment editorial (Radical roads rethink is vital but shouldn’t be rushed, July 23) betrays a lack of awareness of much relevant thinking and planning that has been done by our elected councillors and their staff in recent years.

The measures that Camden Council are now putting in place under the Mayor of London’s StreetSpace plan were largely prefigured in the Camden Transport Strategy and the associated Walking Action Plan and Cycling Action Plan, all of which were consulted upon in late 2018.

Following those consultations the plans were revised, debated, and approved, by a large majority at a full council meeting in April 2019.

The Walking Action Plan recognises the importance of quiet, safe, and healthy, streets for people to walk journeys of up to two or three miles.

It addresses that need with an intention to create “low-traffic neighbourhoods” where through motor traffic is excluded while maintaining access to every address for motor vehicles.

Studies of the many existing low-traffic neighbourhoods in London and other cities have demonstrated that the calm environment and clean air that they bring major health benefits for all residents and particularly for children.

The Cycling Action Plan notes that most journeys of between two and seven miles made in the borough could comfortably be achieved by cycling provided that a high-quality cycling network is available, offering continuous and direct routes.

The plan includes a map of a proposed borough-wide network, carefully planned to coexist with all the essential motor routes throughout the borough.

On May 28 the Department for Transport wrote to councils in the following terms announcing emergency government funding for active travel:

“We have a window of opportunity to act now to embed walking and cycling as part of new long-term commuting habits and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits…

“This new funding is designed to help you use pop-up and temporary interventions to create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling in your boroughs…

“If work has not started within four weeks of receiving your allocation under this tranche of funding, or has not been completed within eight weeks of starting, the department will reserve the right to claw the funding back…”

As a final point, you suggest that experimental traffic orders are new, but they were introduced by a 1984 Act of Parliament and Camden has used them in the past to try out measures that subsequently received high approval ratings from residents and businesses and were therefore retained; for example the traffic filters in Warren Street and Earlham Street in introduced in 2012.

GEORGE COULOURIS,
NW5

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