In the last four months, more than 200 new schemes have been proposed across the UK, with restrictions on through traffic planned or implemented in at least 54 local authorities including Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. The vast bulk of the schemes are in the capital, with London accounting for 141 of the neighbourhoods where rat runs have been, or could soon be, partially blocked by barriers. Yet these apparently modest traffic management changes have sparked sometimes bitter rows, with increasing vocal opposition groups arguing the schemes only really benefit the entitled middle classes in leafy enclaves at the expense of those living in surrounding neighbourhoods or who are dependent on their cars.
Guardian 20th Sept 2020 read more »
Residents fighting road closures introduced as part of the Government’s ‘green’ transport revolution are to field independent candidates at local elections to try to force councils to review their schemes. Across the country, groups claiming new road layouts and cycle lanes have been introduced with little or no consultation are asking supporters to consider standing as councillors in the next elections. The move follows a series of protests held in the capital in which thousands of people claimed so-called ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ (LTNs) were causing congestion on major routes, increasing air pollution and stifling trade at a time when the economy needs to be kickstarted. Local community groups have also been created after some communities have witnessed ambulances, fire appliances and police on emergency calls finding their paths blocked by newly closed off roads.
Telegraph 19th Sept 2020 read more »
The birth of one of Britain’s first “20-minute neighbourhoods” — where people stop using their cars all the time and instead shop and socialise locally — had been greeted by a noisy wake. Five years ago, protesters carried a coffin marked “RIP Walthamstow Village” at the opening ceremony for the £30m scheme in northeast London. A local newspaper reported “intermittent scuffles, some involving umbrellas” as residents railed against restrictions on motorists. What happened next matters, because the outer London suburb of Waltham Forest may represent the future for many towns and suburbs grappling with the problems exposed in the past six months of living with Covid-19. The protests died away and now, as people continue to avoid city centres in favour of spending their money locally, the area is reaping the benefits of being a pioneer. The list of visitors includes the Olympian Chris Boardman, who is now the cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, the Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey, Sheffield’s active travel commissioner, and Anna Richardson, Glasgow’s city convenor for sustainability and carbon reduction.
Times 20th Sept 2020 read more »