Newsletter 29 January 2022

3 min read
Newsletter 29 January 2022

Dear Neighbours

I hope you're all well and getting into the swing of 2022 despite Blue Monday and other psychological phenomena. Speaking of which, did you know that:

"The term [phenomenon] came into its modern philosophical usage through Immanuel Kant, who contrasted it with the noumenon, which cannot be directly observed."

You learn something new every day. Not all of it is of any practical use. Hey ho.

So, let's see what's happening. First things first, and very important! Please please fill out the Amwell LTN official Council consultation if you haven't already. The deadline is THIS MONDAY 31 January, so please use your weekend wisely and make sure that every person among your family, your neighbours and other networks fills it in too! The Council's blurb is here.

💚💚💚 Next, here's some amazing news: St Mary's Church LTN is going live this week, on Wednesday 2 February. Finally, what a long wait! As you can see from the feature image for this newsletter, the signs and planters are going in, and the Council has listened to the community so that Blue Badge holders who live in the 'SMC' neighbourhood will be eligible for an exemption to travel through it. We are incredibly excited - we kicked off our campaign back in June 2020, and we're now seeing actual stuff happening in our neighbourhood! 💚💚💚

After St Mary's Church, there will be no more LTNs implemented under the ETO process 😭. Instead, there will be a "clean sheet" engagement exercise in each area which we're told will take 18 months from discussions starting to any interventions. Given that the full Barnsbury & St Mary's engagement hasn't started yet, that puts us pretty close to the 2024 target before even one more LTN goes in.  [NB 2024 is the target date asked of the political parties in next year's elections by community groups to have all the borough covered by LTNs.]  We were told it's still the ambition to cover the entire borough, which is good, obvs, and now we just need to hunker down for a looong period of supporting the Council and making sure they are fully aware that we want our LTN to actually materialise!

If you fancy a spot of message-writing, please do feel free to email your Councillors and the People Friendly Streets team and assertively encourage them to start the engagement!

In other welcome news, this weekend the Highway Code changes to enshrine in law the natural hierarchy of road users, putting pedestrians at the top of the list, followed by bicycles, horses (not too many in Islington), cars, buses and HGVs.

There are also important changes to give vulnerable road users priority over turning vehicles, for example when crossing side roads.  These long-overdue changes are very welcome and reinforce the message that active travel is not only best but also highest priority.

Click here for the official Gov.UK news story. There are some really interesting and useful snippets in there, for example:

The code recommends a new technique when leaving vehicles. It's sometimes called the 'Dutch Reach'. Where people driving or passengers in a vehicle are able to do so, they should open the door using their hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. For example, using their left hand to open a door on their right-hand side.

This recommendation is particularly close to my heart. Years ago, when the world was young, a friend of mine was cycling along and a car door was opened right in front of her. She had no time to avoid it, and the resulting spectacular crash led to weeks in hospital and a long surgery to reconstruct her jaw. The new Highway Code has more to say about protecting your cycling space:

There is updated guidance for people cycling about positioning themselves which includes:

  • riding in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings
  • keeping at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them

That's it from me, I have errands to run and Chapel Market is calling.

Have a lovely weekend!

Low Traffic Barnsbury & St Mary's