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Electric cars missing from monitoring of people friendly streets

The Angel Association has submitted its response to Islington Council on the findings of the report on the implementation in St Peter’s Ward of the People Friendly Streets (PFS) trial.

Introduction

  1. This is a response to the recent monitoring report on the introduction of PFS in St Peter’s Ward published on the Council website. The report can be found at https://www.islington.gov.uk/roads/people-friendly-streets.
  2. This response also has regard to the Transport Strategy for the borough, adopted in 2020 and available at https://democracy.islington.gov.uk/documents
  3. This response from the Association raises a number of  strategic issues on which we would welcome the Council’s comments.
  4. It also poses a number of questions about the findings of the Monitoring Report, on which we would like to have clarification.
People- friendly streets has meant roads closed to traffic

Strategic issues

  • The PFS Trial adds to significant previous measures in the Ward to calm and limit traffic. These previous measures include stopping up streets, narrowing streets and building width restrictions, street humps and a 20mph speed limit. Taken together these have had very significant traffic restricting and traffic calming results.
  • Also, in inner London in particular, there has been a significant fall over many years in car use and discretionary private car journeys. This has resulted from public transport improvement, bus lanes and other road use restrictions, car parking costs and the growth of car free developments.
  • The stated objectives of the PFS initiative, consistent with the Islington Traffic Strategy, are to make roads in the borough healthier, safer and cleaner.
  • There are two important points in the overall traffic strategy mentioned at para 2 above which have a bearing on PFS: one is the Council’s commitment to incentivise the adoption of electric vehicles in place of petrol/diesel; and the second is to promote the concept of “the 15 minute City”, ie a 15 minute walking/cycling distance to access key amenities such as town centres in the borough.
  • We are therefore surprised and disappointed that the PFS monitoring report, as far as we can see, makes no mention of electric vehicles.  None of the extensive analysis of vehicle flows referred to in the monitoring report distinguishes between electric and non-electric vehicles. We suggest that this is a serious gap in the analysis.
  • We would like to understand how the traffic restrictions put in place to enforce PFS also have regard to the needs of local businesses, whose continued ability to operate underpins the success of the “15-minute city” concept. We know from analysis provided by the local Business Improvement District that the PFS related traffic restrictions restrict business activity by making journeys longer, with congestion delays on the boundary roads. Further, the “vehicle by type” analysis in the Council’s report makes no distinction between, for example,  taxis serving the disabled, business deliveries, building  maintenance vehicles and general vehicle journeys.   
  •  We would also point out that a modal shift to cycling does not necessarily lead to safer streets – contrary to the underlying premise of the initiative. Unsafe driving by cyclists, including the illegal use of pavements, lack of lights, and a failure to respect pedestrian crossings, contributes to anecdotal evidence that many pedestrians, especially older or frail people, are feeling increasingly threatened by aggressive cycling behaviour.  The increasing use of electric scooters and other two-wheel electric “bikes” on our roads, and pavements, is also cited by local respondents as a source of increasing anxiety for pedestrians.
  • A further strategic issue is the choice of physical barriers – bollards etc – as a way of enforcing the traffic restrictions.  We recognise that the traffic restrictions put in place across St Peter’s are in principle temporary, and their continuation is subject to further public consultation. However, in the light of the commitment in the Council’s Traffic Strategy to the use of technology, we would expect to see serious consideration being given, if the PFS initiative is continued after further consultation, to the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to make local roads accessible to local residents and essential business traffic while blocking them to rat runners.  

Commentary on the report

The statistical basis

  1. An important statistical issue is to disentangle the effects of the PFS trial from the wider effects of the economic slowdown taking place when the PFS trial was in place. The report states that this has been done by, in effect, adjusting the traffic flows in order to isolate the PFS effects (“normalising”). This is a standard statistical procedure. However, by implication, it imputes the whole of any residual effect on traffic movements to PFS – rather than being able to separate PFS effects from other behavioural effects, eg working from home. We would suggest that these separate behavioural effects could better be identified by a properly structured sample survey that captures changes in behaviour.

Air pollution

  1. The monitoring report states that there has been no significant difference in changes in air quality in St Peter’s compared to the whole borough. This is a puzzling statement. We would have expected a PFS trial to have had a positive effect. We would welcome clarification on this point.

Congestion

15. The report states:

“There is a mixed picture in terms of the change in motorised traffic volumes on boundary roads. Overall across boundary roads, the total changes in volumes of traffic show a negligible change, which is a positive outcome in line with the objectives of the scheme”.

This is a disappointingly weak conclusion.  These measurements of flows do not capture the evident congestion and significant traffic delays which are adding to the pollution, and concern, experienced by people living on and using these roads. 

Conclusion

16. We would welcome comments on the strategic issues raised at paras 8 – 12   above.

17. We would welcome clarification on the detailed comments at paras 13-15 above.

October 1921

Angel Association

info@angelassociation.org

Duncan Terrace gardens is medal winner across London

Duncan Terrace Gardens has again received a Gold medal in the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual London in Bloom competition. Amazingly, the garden was also awarded overall winner in the Small Parks category. Given the quality and calibre of other sites, this was a great achievement.  Congratulations from the Angel Association.

The Angel Association is one of the sponsors of Islington in Bloom.

Money for music – AGM at Frederick’s

This year’s fund-raiser held at Frederick’s raised money for music provision at Hanover School.

Vivien Cutler, talked about this summer’s school for primary pupils in Islington.

The way ahead: chairman’s report for the AGM

 At last we are beginning to escape from Covid’s impacts though we are all being careful. Last year we had a virtual AGM, this year we are able to meet at Frederick’s.

Despite the constraints on us all we have been active and engaged and your Association has taken a close interest in St Peter’s developments, engaging with the Council and our local partners.

The two main local issues, though very different, are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the forthcoming boundary changes to our Ward. Everyone agrees that traffic needs to be managed and over the years our area has seen a range of initiatives and changes including street closures, lower speed limits and car share schemes. Widespread use of electric cars is clearly coming. Many wish to see a number plate recognition scheme to give mobility preference to local residents who otherwise have to make long convoluted journeys along crowded main streets. The Council have announced a local on-line consultation about the scheme so do give your views by the closing date 11 October 2021.

We strongly objected to the proposed Ward boundary changes, we lose our natural boundaries of Essex Road, New North Road, the Canal and City Road. For the 2022 Council elections onwards the Ward shifts south to cross City Road and loses much of Arlington and the Popham areas. We will consider with members whether for Angel Association purposes it is better to operate within the old boundary which is coherent and where there is a strong sense of community.

We continue to support a range of good local causes including sponsoring the planting of street trees, the Angel Boat which does such good work for disadvantaged children, we previously supported the St Peter’s Project which enlivens disadvantaged children’s holidays, we plant and maintain the very popular Canal towpath area by City Road Basin. We have developed a good relationship with the Canal and River Trust and individual members have become part of the anti graffiti initiative to help keep the towpath area pleasant and welcoming.

We are in the early stages of an Asset of Community Value initiative to try to keep the Elia Street Charles Lamb pub in business. This was a very popular local, now recently closed, and we are planning to be part of the group to try and encourage its reopening. We will keep members up to date as this initiative progresses.

We keep abreast of planning applications and comment where we consider that applications don’t respect the character neighbourhood, recognising that everyone is entitled to propose sensible changes to their property. Mansards are a continuing issue with, in some cases, developments not keeping to the agreed rules and in other cases homeowners are concerned that it’s challenging to get permission to build mansards on listed properties.

We keep in close touch with Islington’s Business Improvement District, Angel.london, who do such good work keeping our town centre safe and clean. The Collins Theatre saga at the corner of Islington Green and Essex Road continues, the ground floor properties remain boarded up with no resolution with the Council in sight.

Your Committee greatly welcomes members’ support and do contact us about local issues. We are always looking for Committee members and contact us if you want to join the Committee :

Eric Sorensen

Chairman, Angel Association

September 2021.

Contact us at: gerhackett@aol.com

Obituary: Vicky Wisher

“We are sad to announce the death of Vicky Wisher, the Hon Sec of the Association in the 80s and 90s. Here is an obituary of Vicky from John MacGowan, previous chair of the Association. If any member has memories and photos of Vicky to share, we would be happy to post them on the site.”

                                          Vicky Wisher    1940-2021

Vicky Wisher, who died on 12 April, was the very enthusiastic and energetic secretary of the Angel Association for many years in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Vicky was very keen to see both the preservation of the local environment and to look for improvements where they could be made . She was an eagle eyed viewer of planning applications  and always prepared to object when a scheme would be harmful to the neighbourhood. She was also very involved with the Angel Association’s support of the campaign to stop Islington Council building a lorry park in Graham Street and to create a children’s playground instead which is what we have today.

Vicky also immersed herself in the social aspects of the Association. She was a very good cook and an excellent hostess at membership parties .

Vicky retired early from her job at BP having bought a house in Sorèze, near Toulouse ,with the intention of splitting her time between Islington and France . For a while she remained as the secretary of the Angel Association but retired from the role when she started to spend more time in France.

Sadly Vicky was not fully able to enjoy the fruits of the life that she had created for herself as she developed Alzheimer’s Disease and spent her last seven years in care.

Taking care of the towpath

Angel Association members have been, for several years, planting the bank running down from the Danbury St bridge to the towpath. Results below

Before (circa 2010)

After


Angel Association members have also very recently had the Canal and Rivers’ Trust volunteers’ hut, by the City Road Basin Lock, painted, to counter the graffiti on the hut. 

Before  

 

                                                   After

And we are making a small herb garden in the adjacent space, between the hut and the Canal Café. Watch this space!

Ways to make an impact during the pandemic

At last we can begin to see our way through the pandemic with the impressive rollout of the vaccination programme. We are all longing for the end of lockdown. 

We are sorry that we couldn’t all get together for our now-customary New Year’s fundraising social event at Frederick’s. We are determined to try and arrange a gathering of some kind as soon as we can.

We wanted to let you know, however, that the committee of the Association has been giving some thought to how we can continue to make an impact in St Peter’s Ward and surroundings.

Our financial position remains secure, and we are as always most grateful to members who pay by direct debit or standing order – and enable us to reclaim Gift Aid.

Association funds stand at around £13,000. Our subscription income in the last year was £2,000 and we gave £1,800 in charitable donations. The main beneficiaries were Angel Boat and the St Peter’s ward summer school.

We have in recent years invited members to support, through our January fundraisers, projects that support local young people, including:

  • A reading support scheme for local primary schools;
  • The Angel Boat charity, which provides adventurous trips for disadvantaged local people both young and old;
  • And the St Peter’s Action Group, which has provided programmes of summer holiday activities for young people from local primary schools.

Each of these projects has very much valued the support of the Association.

We would now like to ask you to let us know of any suggestions you have for charitable donations to organisations in our ward in the year ahead. Please email Geraldine, our Secretary, at gerhackett@aol.com

The committee is also keen to support small scale public gardening projects around the ward. At the moment, we are working hard to enhance the planting on the bank of the canal, near the Danbury St Bridge. This links with the good work of other local groups in creating gardening projects and working with the Council to maintain and improve our greenspace.    

 We have plans to continue working with the Council on our street trees planting, and to help refurbish the planting in the gardens behind the flats in Elia St.

If any member has other projects they would like to propose for Association support – be it in cash or just hard work – please let us know.

As we all know, the most controversial recent issue for us has been the Council’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood intervention with its draconian traffic controls, adding to the significant controls already in place. Views on this are mixed, of course, but our view is that the lack of consultation, the impact on residents’ daily lives and on local business add up to a poor project.

Legal challenges to road closure schemes are being mounted across London. The High Court has already ruled in favour of black cab drivers who wanted access to Bishopsgate and Liverpool St station. 

 We continue to discuss the St Peter’s Ward scheme with our local councillors, but final decisions on whether to retain, amend or remove the traffic controls are unlikely to be taken by the council before January 2022. We shall shortly post a fuller note on what’s happening about the closures.

The local Police Panel, a forum for the community police team and residents’ associations, has been holding its meetings virtually. As you may know, the panel’s long-standing Chair, Richard Sykes, very sadly died in September 2019. Since then Chris Leaf has kindly taken on the role as interim Chair and the Panel will be looking for a successor. The Panel is a useful forum for exchange of information between police and residents’ groups. It is part of the Safer Neighbourhood Strategy. Meetings are open to anyone living in the ward.

And finally – we wish you all the very best and hope that it won’t be too long before we can all meet again and mingle as an Association.

Eric Sorensen,

Chair, Angel Association

February 2021

Hanover School needs funds for Chromebooks

School needs Chromebooks

The Friends of Hanover school are fundraising for more Chromebooks for pupils at Hanover school in Noel Rd.

Their donation page can be accessed through localgiving.org. Follow the link to Friends of Hanover and then click on projects.

The situation at other local schools is under review, but so far they report that they have adequate supplies”.

Strange days in Islington

Eric Sorensen, chairman of the Angel Association, gives his review of the year.

Angel Association Annual Report 2019/2020

Well, it certainly has been a strange year, we cannot even hold our usual AGM in the Church Hall because of Covid related restrictions on getting together. So we are doing a Zoom members’ meeting on 15 October instead, an idea none of us had heard of a year ago. That said, it’s been a good time for neighbourliness and supporting each other.

For our Ward and neighbourhood it’s been an odd time in other ways. Last year we were faced with changes to our St Peter’s Ward boundary which made no sense in terms of the physical shape and cohesion of our area. For years our boundary followed main roads and was well related to our neighbourhood. Now for reasons which have nothing to do with us directly our boundary loses the link with Essex Road, we cross City Road and we lose the Arlington area. The local elections in 2022 will be run on these new boundaries.

 This year, without any consultation nor with any evidence analysing what problem is being addressed, roads have been blocked off in the name of People Friendly Streets or Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. To say that these changes are hotly contested would be a massive understatement, it feels as if the most adversely affected people are those who live here. Journeys are unnecessarily longer, there is added congestion and added pollution on the main roads such as Essex, New North and City Roads. The closures are too crude – physical barriers rather than camera recognition which would allow residents to get through but not those who are trying their luck doing a rat run, cameras are used in other boroughs.

Nor is it clear what problem is meant to be being solved. Everyone knows that private car use has fallen in inner London over many years as has car ownership. Parking is expensive and limited, and has not been allowed in new developments for many years. The congestion charge discourages car use as do bus lanes. Traffic growth is in taxis, deliveries and trade uses which keep the local economy going. Increasingly vehicles will be hybrid/electric reducing pollution. None of us want lectures on cycling, I am happy to use my bike when I feel like it.

Apparently we shall all get a say about what to do next in summer 2021 but my guess is that our Council won’t change anything. It would be very helpful to introduce camera recognition.

Meanwhile and on a much more positive note your Association has continued to support local good causes. We held a very successful fund raising event at the New Year with the support of Fredericks. You all helped raise funds for the Angel Community Canal Boat Trust which does such good work with young people and other local groups. This added to our regular grant support for the Angel Boat. You also helped the St Peter’s Summer Project for pupils from our local primary schools who would particularly benefit from additional support. There is a report about the Project’s work from Sue Richards on our website. You also supported Islington in Bloom, a very worthwhile project. Details about the Association’s contributions are in our financial report for the year on our website, the report also provides details about our financial position.

We continue to review what’s happening in our area on planning and development. Major recent developments such as the new Packington estate and in Wharf Road have now been completed. As far as we know there are no new major plans on the horizon though we all shortly see the fourth tower coming out of the ground to complete the cluster at the end of City Road Basin.

Our members help plant out small areas in the neighbourhood adding to the wonderful work of the Arlington Association in Arlington Square. The canal bank by the Danbury Street bridge is a good example of our efforts. We still hope that the Council will carry out the planned improvement works in front of St James’ Church, there were consultations about this a few years ago but no doubt getting the funding together is proving difficult.

We keep in close touch with Angel.London our business improvement district organisation for our high street. It’s been a very challenging time for businesses and it doesn’t look as if normal life is returning any time soon. We shall discuss what’s going on with Christine Lovett who runs Angel.London at our members’ meeting.

We would welcome members’ suggestions for projects we should take an interest in and support. Anyone who would wish to join our Committee please get in touch with Geraldine, our Secretary. And the best thing we can do is to look forward to better healthier times.

Eric Sorensen

Chair, Angel Association

October 2020     

St Peter’s Summer Project 2020

Dear Angel Association members

Thank you again for donating so generously to our charity at the January 2020 fundraising event. It enabled us to go ahead with the project, from 3 – 28 August at the Arc Centre, despite the significant additional costs generated by Covid-19.

The programme

As a result of the pandemic, we had to significantly restructure the programme from its 2019 format. We decided to hire a second room in the Arc Centre so that we could split the group into two discrete pods of 15 and 14 children respectively. One pod comprised Year 6 10/11 year olds, the other had a mixture of Year 6s new to the project, Year 5 siblings and two younger siblings.  

Further, we increased the number of teaching staff and volunteer instructors so that each pod had a second person to help, whether working indoors or accompanying the group to local parks for sports and other activities.

Each pod had its own range of activities depending on the skills and interests of the teacher but there were a number of shared experiences;

  • Basic skills: reading, creative (inspired by a local writer) and persuasive writing, discussion, maths and science
  • Arts and crafts: painting, papier maché, clay work, making bird boxes, cross stitch bookmarks and freedom bracelets
  • Sports: kayaking, cricket, dodgeball, football, tennis, wheelbarrow racing
  • Other: choreography, meditation, philosophy for children, cookery, learning some basic French and about Ancient Greece (through Zoom sessions)

Who participated and how well did they attend

Our children came from the four primary schools in the ward; Hanover, New North Academy, Rotherfield and St John the Evangelist. Despite Covid-19, we found ourselves with a waiting list by the start date. Attendance was much better than in 2019, demonstrating the pressing need for such a project. The overall attendance was 81% across the four weeks. In the last two weeks, a number of children went on short breaks with their families, had time off for school uniform fitting, attending induction days at their new schools or medical appointments. If we counted all these as known in advance and authorised, attendance rose to 89%.

This was a wonderfully diverse group of children comprising Black Caribbean, Dual Heritage Black Caribbean and White British, Black African, Bangladeshi, White British, White Other and Chinese. The gender balance was 52% boys and 48% girls.

When we publish our full report, you will be able to read some of the positive comments from the children, their parents and carers and staff that have inspired us to start planning for 2021.

Prof. Sue Richards, Chair

St. Peter’s Children & Young People’s Activities Group

Zoom meeting, Thursday 15 October

This year’s AGM has had to be cancelled. There will be a virtual update meeting via zoom on Thursday 15 October.

The programme will be:

Chairman’s report: Eric Sorensen will review the year..
Finance:Fiona Cullins (accounts will be online).

Discussion: street closures; new planning legisation; other issues raised by members.

Christine Lovett, chief executive of AngelBID, will give an update on how our high street is managing.

Councillor Martin Klute will update and take questions.


The present committee is: Chair, Eric Sorensen; Geraldine Hackett, secretary; Finance, Fiona Cullen; Planning, Neil Vickers; Licensing, Clare Norton; Anna Turk; Colette Bowe. All are willing to continue for another year. If you would like to join the committee, let me know.