Do we need another page to debunk some of the more popular (or outrageous) LTN myths?
Well maybe, maybe not. All I know is that I find I’m often repeating the same things over and over again.
Imagine if we could move on from the more pointless stuff (ie why we need to make local streets safe, and why treating side roads needs a different approach to dealing with main roads) – and then maybe more time could be spent dealing with the details, which still needs to be done for each and every project?
Maybe, just maybe.
So here goes:
Links about LTNs in general
- Sustrans (design guidance)
- Cycling UK
- David Hembrow
- Living Streets
- Ealing Council – the view from one local authority in West London
- Road.cc – cycling portal with rolling tabs for articles about LTNs
- Better Streets for Enfield – support for LTNs with some really good charts.
- Transport Design Guidance (DfT) LTN 1/20
LTN myths debunked
- Ranty Highwayman
- 8 LTN Myths – Guardian.
- History of the London Underground (useful because it reminds us that London was congested then as it is now, as it was before LTNs).
- London Fire Brigade – “LTNs had no impact on response times”
- Greenpeace on social benefits of LTNs
- Cycling UK – use of anti-LTN sentiments to generate headlines.
Arguments against LTNs
I’m not saying I agree with any of these. But these are locations where you might be able to find a reasonable level of discussion about some of the problems which have been experienced with LTNs.
- Hackney Gazette article on women not feeling safe when walking in LTNs.
Can there be balance?
It might initially seem hard to find balanced opinions about LTNs. This isn’t because LTN advocates are so “extreme” in their support that they don’t accept that schemes can be flawed. It’s more because the sensible voices on either (or indeed any) side are often drowned out in the noise.
This doesn’t mean LTN critics shouldn’t be heard. Of course they should. But perhaps if we calm down and step back a bit from some of the more nonsensical rhetoric, we can then get back and look at some of the key questions which will indeed vary from one place to the next.
I’ve yet to encounter an LTN advocate who honestly thinks that if you install an LTN, traffic on the main road is just going to vanish. Nor have I had a sensible discussion with any serious LTN opponent who argues that 100% of all previous car trips will continue to be by car.
So if we can accept that traffic displacement (or indeed evaporation) is going to be somewhere between 0% and 100%, then can we find some view points which have been through this in a balanced fashion.
For now, I’m starting here, but I do hope to expand this:
- Flip Chart Fairy Tales – lengthy blog post about Northfields LTN (this is also in Ealing)
On LTNs and Disability
If there’s one thing that has become more emotive than anything else, then it’s the argument about disability.
First things first – yes, I can talk about my disability but no, I can’t talk about yours.
Does this mean I have the “right” to lobby for my beliefs over anyone else’s? No, but we all benefit from safer, smoother and quieter roads. These are givens. The right to live and move safely is a fundamental right. So if people claim that blocking off rat runs impinges on this because traffic is “displaced”, then shouldn’t we consider that too?
I would still caution against this logic. Firstly, the links above already cover the displacement argument in many ways. Secondly, we need to consider whether objections to recent changes are because of the change itself, or because there is actually a serious long term problem that needs addressing.
The report below gives some detailed lived experiences which provide some very useful information on the impacts of LTNs on people with disabilities. I think the stories are very detailed and I think there is much in this report that is well worth noting.
However, I also think it needs to be taken with a very large caveat. If we accept claims about traffic congestion “due to LTNs” causing undue distress, then surely we must accept these for all congestion, and not just that which has allegedly been caused by LTNs?
If we do this, then the main focus of all cities needs to be to keep congestion to a minimum. In order to do this, we need to learn from the cities which have achieved this. Data tells us that these cities are most likely to be in the Denmark or the Netherlands, where LTNs are common place.
So if LTNs are the problem, why are they also part of the solution?
Pave the Way report (Transport for All)
A chance to comment
I’ve posted some links for further reference. Many of these links are posted by campaigning organisations. That means they probably don’t (or can’t) take comments. That’s not because they don’t want to engage, it’s just not something they can reasonably devote resources to.
I’m an individual blogger. I campaign on reducing the noise and danger of traffic, and I focus on mental health. I’m more than happy to take comments, and if they raise points I can respond to, then I will.
If you just want to rant against your local LTN, please try your local or national newspaper.