Newsletter 5 September 2021

4 min read
Newsletter 5 September 2021
Photo by Dustin Humes / Unsplash

Dear Neighbours

My philosophy as a non-gardener is to leave stuff to grow until I can see what the final plant looks like, then categorise as a weed or not-a-weed according to my taste. PictureThis tells me that the beautiful "weed" in this newsletter's feature image is the common columbine. Its lovely big leaves make a splash of cheerful green which, being a weed, quickly spreads. Brilliant.

So let's see, where do I start this time?

We celebrated our 🎂one year anniversary🎂 last week! We actually started up in June of last year, so the celebration was somewhat late. I was reminded that we originally copied (with permission) St Peter's website, which is where the first Islington LTN went in. And now, just over a year later, we're finally expecting Islington Council to run a full consultation on the road layout changes there. We assume that the opinions of St Peter's residents will be the most important ones, with feedback from anyone who uses those streets to walk, cycle, meander, to come a close second. That's us. And given that we want clean, safe and quiet streets in Barnsbury & St Mary's NOW, we need to be ready to loudly support our neighbours. So put a 💚green heart💚 in your windows and watch this space!

All of this is timely given the impending UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, starting at the end of October. The event is triggering enhanced focus on the climate crisis, and what it means for each of us in our personal and professional lives. One of my faves, Which?, has a neat article from a consumer perspective, which basically says:

Buy less, buy better.

Our very own Chris has been instrumental in driving the Households Declare initiative, a campaign by The Architects Climate Action Network. ACAN's three aims are: Decarbonise Now, Ecological Regeneration and Cultural Transformation. Sign up to Join the growing network of households across the UK ready to take individual and joint action.

LTNs are just one (important!) part of the puzzle. I'm passionate about this campaign because it feels like my voice is actually heard, and I can actually see the change happening. I can reimagine my neighbourhood and play a part in making it become reality. I can get involved with ICAP's Islington Forest for Change, and I can vote with my feet and encourage active travel. I'm part of a community that actually cares about its future generations.

It will come as no surprise, then, that I now count the 🚲trusty bicycle🚲 as a normal mode of transport. So I thought I'd sign up to Cycle Islington's evening neighbourhood cycle ride on 24 September to do a social-cycling combo. I am reliably told that the route is Santander-bike-appropriate, as there is only one short steepish hill, from the canal path up to Clapton. Look forward to seeing you there?...

This great letter in the Islington Tribune nicely sums up my thoughts on cycling:

Riding a bike to go from A to B should not be done only by the young, fit or the "brave" because it is either unpleasant due to the abuse or straightforward dangerous.

The letter mentions Camden cycling buddies - Islington cycling has a similar scheme. So if you're not comfortable cycling on your own, click here for Cycle Islington's buddy poster and sign up!

And if you are in the "I'm not fit" camp (yep, that's me ✋🏼), take a look at this inspiring story on how an e-bike can transform your journey (may be behind a paywall).

Swain's Lane in Highgate, a steep ascent to one of London’s highest points, turned from a strenuous, heart-pounding climb to a comfortable cruise. A somewhat sniffy perspective — that electric bikes are for the lazy, unfit or the rising ranks of gig-working Deliveroos — gave way to respect for a new technology and a new experience.

We've seen so many more interesting articles over the last two or three weeks, so I invite you to take a Captivating Canter through them:

💚 More evidence that retailers overestimate car use, a topic that featured in our "Good for Business" FAQ.

💚 Ci4C, a specialist insurance broker, found a solid link between cyclists and safer car driving, leading them to reward cyclists with a better car insurance deal. Their words, not mine, and we haven't been paid or otherwise enticed to say that!

💚 Several studies reported by the Alzheimer's Association show that improving air quality may improve cognitive function and reduce dementia risk.

💚 As a counter-point to the worrying trend to remove traffic reduction schemes to appease a vocal minority, the Guardian reports that the Transport Minister has warned local authorities not to remove cycle lanes or other reduction measures without evidence of their failure.

💚 The Court of Appeal reversed the original High Court negative ruling on TfL's Bishopsgate scheme to create extra space for pedestrians and cyclists. It's pretty widely reported, here the Evening Standard's article.

💚 Wesminter Healthy Streets reported huge support for Westminster's street changes. Echoed by us, obvs.

💚 A study finds that cargo bikes make faster and cleaner deliveries than vans. My feeling: well that was a no-brainer, so it's great to see the facts! Here's the link to the study itself.

💚 And in another no-brainer poll, it turns out that the public favours spending on better cycling routes and bus services over major road building investment.

There is more. But I'm flagging and so, I suspect, are you.

All our very best for a clean and healthy Sunday!

Low Traffic Barnsbury & St Mary's