I couldn’t agree more with Ross McNally (The ‘evil plot’ to give people cleaner air and safer streets). But Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, has recently allocated £200m for active travel schemes in England, not one of which is for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN). He said on Twitter: “Our latest round of Active Travel Fund winners focus on projects that give people more choice over how they travel, not banning cars from places.”
LTNs, of course, don’t ban cars. Cars still have access to LTNs, they just can’t use them as through-routes. It’s the way new housing estates have been designed since the 1970s – you can, and often have to, drive to them but you can’t drive through them and out the other side.
The very small sum of £200m for the whole of England will be spent on cycle lanes and school streets; good things but piecemeal improvement not systemic change. Which we need because, famously, we’re in multiple crises of climate and biodiversity, poor health and wellbeing, inequality of opportunity and very little money to do anything about them.
Towns and cities need separate functioning networks for walking, cycling, buses and cars – then we really could choose how we travel. LTNs’ concept of using the existing road system but putting filters in some of them, is the cheapest and quickest way of achieving those networks. Add good crossings for the walkers, cyclists and bus riders where they meet the motor traffic roads, and add re-designed bus routes to serve all areas of town… and there you have it – systemic change.
Expensive and thoroughly desirable widened pavements, cycle superhighways, cycle parking and storage and new street trees can come later. First give us equal access to better-by-far-than-the-car urban mobility with cheap road filters and better buses. FMNs – Filtered Mobility Network: would they be more acceptable than LTNs?
Anna Sabin, Hastings