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The independent London newspaper

Roll out LTNs borough-wide

22 October, 2021

‘If LTNs can reduce pollution they may literally save lives’

• LONDON only keeps moving because most people choose alternatives to the private car. If everyone decided to drive or be a car passenger it would be “Carmageddon”.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, traffic levels were increasing and leading to congestion. Traffic levels could get even worse if people avoid public transport after Covid.

Disabled people may have limited transport options for certain journeys so car use becomes essential, arguably making them even more sensitive to congestion.

That’s why I’m surprised Edward Cripwell aligns so strongly against low traffic neighbourhoods in his letter, (Appalling news on LTNs for those with disabilities, October 15).

Reducing congestion requires fewer cars which means persuading more people not to drive. LTNs are part of the solution to reducing traffic by enabling people to make alternative transport choices instead of the car.

Mr Cripwell uses emotive language but claiming LTNs cause social isolation is not supported by evidence.

In fact streets with higher traffic have fewer social interactions. Older people with cognitive, sensory, or mobility problems effectively get chased off the streets by cars because crossing the road feels too hazardous. The consequence is a lack of routine outdoor physical activity, which leads to frailty and can cause them to become housebound.

LTNs are proven to reduce traffic and enable walking and cycling, which is why they are being copied across the UK and elsewhere.

Some people have health problems which make them particularly susceptible to the air pollution from engine exhausts or the tyre and brake particulates that even electric cars produce. If LTNs can reduce pollution they may literally save lives.

As a community nurse I find cycling a reliable and resilient way of getting to patient visits.

Many colleagues say it feels too dangerous to cycle in London and we’ve sadly lost NHS colleagues killed while cycling to their patients, including Dr Marta Krawiec from Tufnell Park and physiotherapist Stephanie Turner who died in Finsbury Park.

Disabled people face additional barriers to cycling not least in the general assumption that disabled people can’t or don’t cycle.

I appreciate the extra safety that LTNs have brought to parts of Islington. LTNs make streets feel safer which enables more people to choose to cycle instead of adding another car to the traffic queue.

I believe that LTNs are good news for Islington and should be rolled out across the borough. I hope disabled people contribute to their development so the whole community can access the benefits.

DAVID LINCOLN
Tufnell Park Road, N7

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