LTNs: low traffic neighbourhoods

LTNs are residential roads where (lockable) bollards, plant containers and point closures (modal points) reduce through traffic but maintain vehicular access to all addresses. Making streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists and reducing air and noise pollution. Changes to our streets that were slipped in during the Covid-19 pandemic and not to everyone’s taste.

Check out: Living Streets, Sustrans, Playing Out, We Are Possible (formerly ClimateAction) and the London Cycling Campaign. 

LTNs have certainly many arguments both for and against. They: 

  • Do not benefit just the privileged 
  • Do not block or close roads completely 
  • Need consultation but not to give priority to a noisy minority of objectors
  • Do slow things down for some disabled
  • Get no pushback from blue light – delays occur with traffic anyway
  • Have mixed traffic evaporation results, pushing rat runners onto adjoining streets when poorly planned without a coherent strategy or sufficient time
  • Are a cost-effective way of improving public healthLess social isolation and better air quality: more birdsong, a stronger sense of community, and young people using bicycles on safer roads.
  • Businesses do complain of loss of trade but change is hard and actually more people spend more time in their local area where there’s an LTN
  • Only well-off white men cycle actually due to overall poor infrastructure, more would cycle with better safety
  • LTNs do make short trips less convenient

Want to get one put in down your way?

  • Talk to people in democratic spaces such as outside school gates, not just to your neighbours
  • Include ward Councillors to give them arguments
  • Hold Councillor surgeries on a rota basis
  • Face up to the negative impacts, is it going to be worth the aggro?
  • Convince resistors it’s making a difference
  • Recruit neighbourhood community champions
  • Put up Road Open signs
  • Work against painting a bleak picture
  • Share information
  • Commission an equalities impact analysis to show that no groups will be disadvantaged
  • Own the space: add benches, decorate planters for Halloween or Xmas, involve critics in greening the street
  • Prepare for the backlash: use the car owner personal-freedoms-argument to restore signage to those which car owners have removed
  • “This is a trial process, we can pull out”
  • Stay on top of how the scheme develops, nip any destruction in the bud
  • Show your support: make a big fuss about the evident benefits
  • Persist: ideas do percolate through with time
  • See it not just as a modal shift transport scheme but a neighbourhood transformation scheme

Good luck!

Published by

Colin Hicks

A lifelong global, cosmopolitan and progressive character I work locally and think globally to counter the worst excesses of my generation

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