Response to Islington Living Streets and Islington Cycling

26 April 2018

This statement is to confirm that any Green Party councillor elected in Islington will support the Living Streets and London Cycling Campaign calls for a Liveable London.

We will work with residents to gain community support for Liveable Neighbourhoods. Working with local people and businesses to get a common understanding of the issues we face is crucial before seeking a consensus for the big changes that are needed. We all need to rethink how we travel, how goods are delivered, and what our streets are for.

We have high levels of childhood obesity, low levels of physical activity, bad air pollution, high congestion, and rat-running in local streets. We need area wide solutions that include all local streets, including main roads, so that the needs and interests of residents of one street are not pitted against those in another.

Islington Green Party is proud that our former Green Councillor, Katie Dawson, brought the council motion for a borough wide 20mph speed limit in 2010. We support physical changes to our streets, such as introducing more crossings in places where pedestrians need to cross the road, filtering side streets to prevent rat running traffic and measures to make main roads more people friendly such as Copenhagen crossings, protected bike lanes and bus stop by passes so that children can safely get to school under their own steam.

We also support measures to raise awareness about the importance of using cars less frequently and reducing the impact of vehicle exhaust on our health. Those measures include anti-idling campaigns, a diesel parking surcharge and school streets.

Air pollution

Councillor Caroline Russell with Green Party candidate Rod Gonggrijp

We fully support a London-wide Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and low emission zone. Islington Green Party carried out one of London’s first community science pollution monitoring projects in London in 2011. We revealed filthy air on Blackstock Rd but also high NO2 levels on the side roads too. Islington Green Party has been campaigning ever since for measures to clean up our air and protect residents’ health. In 2011 we campaigned for the ULEZ to be extended to include Islington, and I have been campaigning as an Assembly Member for it to cover the whole of London. Islington Council already has a diesel car parking surcharge for residents' and visitors’ cars.

As the only opposition councillor for the last four years, I have pushed for bike hangars to be installed and to make them more affordable. It is ludicrous that it costs more to park a bike than to park a car and disappointing that Islington has been so slow to install bike hangars; the borough has missed out on TfL funding and is way behind its neighbours.

Ernestas at the Cycle Islington Ride

Green Party candidate Ernestas Jegorovas at the Cycle Islington Ride

I have also consistently called for a Vision Zero, or road danger reduction, approach to managing our streets. Vision Zero means designing our streets to expect unpredictable behaviour from all road users and to reduce the causes of harm. For example, if drivers turn left across cyclists riding ahead then you design to protect those people on bikes. Similarly, there should be crossings on the desire lines to tube stations and bus stops. It must be safe and convenient for people to walk and cycle for local journeys.

There are lots of examples of community led changes to our streets, school streets, play streets and “parklets” in parking bays are a few examples. It is disappointing that Islington Council has been slow to take up school streets initiatives. I have supported the Canning Rd play street in my ward with a grant for play equipment and was very glad to support Brenda Puech in Hackney who created a people’s parking bay with a bench, fake grass, an umbrella and some plants. Any elected Green Party councillors in Islington will fully support these community initiatives.

I managed to get a new zebra crossing installed at Highbury Barn that Islington Living Streets and I had campaigned for since 2003. These small things make a huge difference to people’s everyday journeys and the likelihood that trips will be made on foot.

Caroline and Living Streets campaigners Christine Mabey, Stephen Palmer and David Harrison opening the Zebra at Highbury Barn

Caroline and Living Streets campaigners Christine Mabey, Stephen Palmer and David Harrison opening the Zebra at Highbury Barn

Elected Green Party councillors in Islington will look for opportunities to seek funding from Transport for London and work with you to ensure that Islington Council makes good Liveable Neighbourhood bids that are supported by local residents.

The Quietway schemes are often compromised in their execution on the ground, so we will work with Islington Living Streets and Islington Cycling to ensure that Quietway 10 includes filtering of side streets, and that the implementation of proposed changes at Highbury Corner and Old Street work well for people on foot and on bikes.

Any elected Green Party councillors will champion healthy, inclusive streets, Liveable Neighbourhoods and community-led improvements to our streets.

The following specific pledges are taken from our short manifesto:

Clean up our air

  • campaign for the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to include Islington as soon as possible and by 2020 at the latest;
  • bid for Transport for London funding for resident-led low traffic liveable neighbourhoods - to enable people from 3 to 103 years old to walk and cycle in safety;
  • help communities set up school streets, play streets and anti-idling enforcement;
  • reduce car use to cut pollution and congestion and help people build physical activity into their daily journeys.

Make our streets safe for walking and cycling

  • back the Mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ approach to reducing road danger in London - aim for zero deaths or serious injuries on Islington streets;
  • build 10km of protected cycle tracks here in the next council term;
  • prioritise the needs of people to cross the road and cycle in safety over the convenience of people in vehicles;
  • install more secure on-street bike parking – and reduce the currently punitive costs to use it.

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