Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

Topic: Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
14 Feb 2021 10:42 #5864

Karl Brown Karl Brown's Avatar Topic Author

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

An anti-LTN flyer was recently door-dropped with a large photo showing Aldermans Hill completely traffic free in one direction and very busy the other; so that’s absolutely no congestion and also congestion, take your pick. It got me wondering. There’s certainly been many a comment about dreadful congestion on the boundary roads of the Fox Lane LTN; often with a corollary about loads-of-pollution.
Pre this latest lockdown I did see a longer than normal queue on High Street approaching Southgate 5-ways at school-out time; conversely the morning rush equivalent on The Bourne was seemingly no different to its long-term position of backing up to the Fox Lane junction. But otherwise there seemed nothing particularly unusual with traffic free flowing on most random walking experiences - typically outside of evening peak. Most often traffic was apparently free flowing as normal on regular trips to Green Lanes and Aldermans Hill. So what is happening to have such wildly differing real world experiences – congested or not?
Tim Harding from BBC R4’s statistic-busting “More of Less” probably answers the point in his latest book when looking at the tube. The average occupancy on a tube train (pre Covid) was below 130 – that’s all of it, not just one carriage. Surely a fantasy to anyone who had ridden a tube and felt invariably rammed against someone / something. Yes, ride the tube in certain directions, at certain times, on certain lines and you might well experience 130 people all being in your personal space never mind across the whole train, but across the network it was no more than a comfortabe130 per tube train, more than enough seats for everyone.
So if you’re a man making your average 0.83 car trips per day, or a woman making their average 0.65 car trips per day (not the latest TfL figures but ones easily to hand), and those trips coincide with a peak (morning/ evening rush, afternoon school out) then you are quite likely to be spending them sitting in a traffic queue and feeling rather upset. Your view of the traffic world is likely to be congestion-centric, and you might well be feeling victimised and looking to allocate blame.
Conversely, drive outside of such periods and it seems likely you will experience traffic flowing as it always did.
So congested and yet not congested: it will need hard data against a no-lockdown background to prove any LTN influenced changes to actual boundary road congestion versus it being behavioural inspired perception. Remember, the LTN puts no more cars onto the boundary roads; rather it influences the distance some traffic stays on them.
Dynamic pay-per-use for roads as is being mooted, with fees increasing on popular routes and at popular times, might be one means to help smooth out this lumpy feature of traffic dynamics. How popular that might prove to be is a separate matter.
And of course in the final analysis it is traffic rather than LTN’s which causes congestion. There are more than enough examples of congestion all over LTN-free parts of London to nail that one.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
14 Feb 2021 14:40 #5865

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

Great points. Not only do LTNs not put more traffic on the roads - over time they will ensure less traffic on the roads. There has been a dramatic increase in children cycling, walking and scooting to St Michael's (and concomitant fall in driving) since the School Street and LTN - so fewer cars on perimeter roads.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
26 Mar 2021 03:30 #5946

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

Yes of course you can have congestion in one direction and not the other, so whats the point here ? The fact that there is congestion at certain times of the day and not others doesn't mean you can average out over 24 hrs and say there isn't a problem. The congestion problem occurs because generally people have to travel at these times because their job or schools start and finish at these times. As traffic is also generally moving in towards Central London in the morning and out again in the evening such routes, like the tube will be congested one way and not the other.
I live near the junction of Fox Lane and Bourne Hill/ The Bourne. Your assertion that traffic had previously (pre LTN) backed up to here is utter garbage. The normal morning rush hour approach to Southgate roundabout would have backed up to about Wynchgate and it would have taken about a minute to clear the roundabout. Joining the pre-existing queue at Fox Lane is now taking approximately 8 minutes. The traffic I am joining has already been queueing further back and thus taking longer. The other side of the road at this point will be relatively clear and free flowing.... that is until you reach the other end of Bourne Hill at the junction of Green Lanes where it backs up to the Cranley/ Burford area, again a much longer queue than than pre LTN and we are not out of lockdown yet. People do not want to sit in traffic queues so it would be proper to assume the people in those cars are those that have to travel at that time. Those travelling at a time when their choice of journey time is flexible would already have chosen not to travel at this time. In the same way when the LTN did not exist there was only any great problem of cars travelling on these Lakes roads during rush hours and school pick ups. Still at least you have moved from the position that the LTNs will cause traffic to evaporate and there will be no increased congestion to the position that there is increased congestion but only in one direction so that's okay.
"Conversely, drive outside of such periods and it seems likely you will experience traffic flowing as it always did." This is largely true but then at these times hardly any traffic was using the LTN roads as there was little need to.
"Remember, the LTN puts no more cars onto the boundary roads; rather it influences the distance some traffic stays on them." And it is the fact the traffic has no alternative than to stay on them that causes the congestion and additional net pollution, which is pollution at more dangerous levels as the queueing traffic is not dispersing it but allowing it to spike at levels that become a problem.
It's also one of the tricks Waltham Forest used to demonstrate traffic evaporation. Count the traffic on the perimeter road at a point before it enters the LTN area then when you introduce the LTN you can remove maybe three counts on the three different roads the car drove down when it went through the LTN and not count the car as additional traffic on the perimeter road as it was already on this road and was counted previously. Wow three counts less overall. Must be evaporating traffic.
And while I'm here, the Redfield and Wilton survey you feature.... Have you noticed that of those surveyed 24% claim to live in an LTN yet according to Rachel Aldred's last paper about 3.7% of Londoners live in an LTN so their views carry 6.5 times as much weight on this survey than people who don't live in an LTN. Deliberate pre bias in the sampling or just inept methodology ? Also 27% claimed not to know if they lived in an LTN or not and yet this group were the least anti LTN (5%). Do you think perhaps they didn't even know what an LTN was but thought "Low Traffic" why would I vote against that ?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
27 Mar 2021 10:13 #5947

Karl Brown Karl Brown's Avatar Topic Author

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

Not prone to exaggeration or fantasy to make a point I’ll stick with my hard experience of the apparent “utter garbage” of regularly crossing queuing traffic to enter Fox Lane from Bourne when returning during morning peak from Southgate pool. For primary cause rationale I’d tend to look at Southgate High Street rather than the LTN, one of London’s countless pre-LTN regular traffic congestion points. And for post LTN incremental waiting; that’s the trade-off vs residents of primarily Mall / Amberley and Greenway / Meadway living on the Southgate bypass. All such benefits / disbenefit can be supplied to the still open consultation.
But to again play the broken record: decades of spatial planning revolving around the needs of private car ownership and movement have ended; at HMG level, at GLA level and so at lower borough planning levels. More and bigger cars, doing ever more miles, seeking to park wherever their journey ends, all on a finite road resource, has hit the buffers (worldwide) and we’re all now starting to experience the resulting rebalancing. It’s brought new local inconveniences, to some, adding to the congestion which has long been experienced widely across the city – and other UK towns and cities – for a long time. Such growth was never sustainable; how could it possibly be.
Can’t help with the Redfield and Wilton survey I apparently feature; I didn’t and have never heard of it. Perhaps it’s utter garbage too.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
30 Mar 2021 03:35 #5948

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

Hi Karl

I have lived in my property for 7 years and only once in that time did I ever pull out into already queueing traffic, (there had been an accident further up) prior to the instigation of the LTN. That was leaving my house between 8.30 and 8.45.
So are you still maintaining that traffic on the perimeter roads is not any worse or are you now saying "It’s brought new local inconveniences, to some, adding to the congestion which has long been experienced widely across the city – and other UK towns and cities – for a long time." ? The latter seems to be an admission that their is new congestion.
With respect to the survey apologies in that I did not mean to imply it was you personally who submitted it but it was featured in the last edition of PGCN presumably down to Basil Clarke, so maybe he should comment.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
30 Mar 2021 19:15 #5949

Karl Brown Karl Brown's Avatar Topic Author

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

You ask what I think. To expand that a bit there is a problem with transport, a long running one, basically too much of it for the available infrastructure; it pollutes across many dimensions with (very) costly externalities picked up by others. But it is handy, as well as being backed by a core of some of the worlds largest companies / employers plus building has been undertaken to accept and encourage it, eg out of centre retail parks, big supermarkets with their car parks, so it is well ingrained in our lives. Yet a pushback of force was always going to come at some point and now with HMG and the GLA broadly in the same space, we have it. So change there will be before London, in particular, but towns and cities all over the place, fill up until they grind to a total halt.
Congestion has been near disastrous for years; there are many local examples we could all name and all LTN independent. Then as with many things, when something really impacts you personally, attention and concern goes up many notches. Climate change is a good analogy, we mostly sit as the boiling frog, and knowing things are not looking good but waiting, whereas those Pacific islanders who no longer have an island because of water levels are pretty animated. So the LTN has certainly generated a lot of local interest as lives have been personally impacted, but congestion and the issues of over-traffic are far from new.
Is LTN the best solution? I haven’t seen or heard viable alternates so I’ll say yes until something better comes along. Personally I see a strong case to syphon the immense monies spent on motors and divert it to an immense public transport system that works for everyone and the closer to free the better to ensure max usage, backed up with decent active travel means. We’re living in dense conditions in the main so space really does need to be justified and cars are very space hungry. Road charging gets mooted but might do no more than raise the bar on absolute costs or alternatively ratchet up inequality, more likely the latter I suspect.
On LTN’s , Fox Lane in particular, I think a few things are self-evident:
Put bollards / planters on many streets and emergency access cannot be as open as without, but if the emergency services are OK with it vs their job I’m calm. Armchair fire officers we can really do without.
Draw a million vehicles pa from eg Amberley / Mall and then also Greenway / Meadway and force them through Southgate 5 ways then they will both stay on the boundary roads longer and throughput at that node will be inevitably slower, and at times (rush periods) will likely extend queues. (You won’t see me saying congestion most likely won’t have worsened at equivalent times, the probability has to be in such a direction - yesterday morning for instance Bourne eastbound was backing up to Caversham, worse than I recall, 30 mins later when I returned and it was running free. Pick the wrong time, or be forced into that time, and you may well queue more).
Quieter roads will tend to draw more people out – that is visible, at least on my own street, big time.
Others are less certain:
Pollution should reduce noticeably inside the LTN whereas I would expect NOX to increase on the boundaries. PM’s are less clear if cars are going slower, certainly vs speeds otherwise used inside the LTN, then brake and tyre debris in particular should be less, possibly even NOX if engine cut out when stationary is used effectively. Where the gross before / after balance falls I don’t know.
Crime gets an airing. Certainly using our street whats app as a guide it has near collapsed, but that may be home based covid rather than LTN. I heard elsewhere it had rocketed. Perception in such space can also be significant, eg last week’s local press highlighted a lady in Oakfield Road with its pre LTN average of one car every two minutes terrified to the extent of being near house bound due to a reduction in passing vehicles; her friend scared to walk from her parked car to her front door for the same reason. We’re all different making any rebalancing terribly tricky.
But wider there is a consultation active, indeed there must be countless across London the planners can draw from. What surely doesn’t help is the sheer volume of anger thrown around on eg emergency access (we know, the police do, etc, so shouting about it adds no value). There are several such themes that have been operating, all adding little if anything to the bigger picture being acted on or to the knowledge of those building such schemes, but good to shout about – apparently.
On that theme, as a policy maker or policy implementer, would I go out of my way for the individual(s) who spend their time decrying and abusing me through whatever channel? Or at least as much as those who try to understand positions and seek to add value? Perhaps a wider message there for those who argue it’s a divisive issue, only if it’s made thus.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
04 Apr 2021 01:43 #5953

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

Hi Karl

Thanks for the substantial comments of your position. As we have conversed before on previous threads you know that my position is not that far removed from your own in terms of what we would like to achieve, just the methods of approach to achieving it. I think I also speak for a substantial number who are anti LTN but not anti cycling or anti active travel. If you can achieve an increase in active travel, particularly if it is as a result of people forgoing short car journeys, we all know the benefits both for the individual and the environment. Education about global warming, both of the general population and the decision makers, is what is most likely going to save the pacific islands you mention. My concern is the "education " received by our decision makers about traffic evaporation. The evidence is flawed at every level but active groups seemed to have persuaded our local politicians with this flawed information to the extent they still cannot believe, or at least are denying, what they are seeing on our roads and that even after all this time they still believe this traffic will evaporate.

You say this is a divisive issue only if it is made thus by people's angry reaction. I disagree. The implication of the schemes without consultation, or in the case of Fox Lane after consultation but against the wishes of the majority, together with the scheme itself conferring all its positive benefits to one section of the community and all its negative aspects to others in the community, coupled with a decision maker who says he alone will make the decision and it doesn't matter if 70%+ are against it, all conspired to divide the community. The anger and vitriol came after that. During the initial consulting period there were many against the total closures who were looking to find ways to appease those on the three roads who had a majority in favour. Its interesting that you raise the concern of pacific Islanders yet don't seem to acknowledge the concerns of neighbours mere hundreds of metres away.

If we could do away with out of city retail parks, put in a massively overhauled public transport system overnight etc. maybe things would be different, but we cant. Because you, or indeed nobody hasn't come up with a solution you say "Is LTN the best solution? I haven’t seen or heard viable alternates so I’ll say yes until something better comes along." But if the LTNs can be seen to be not working you still want to continue because you can't think of anything else ? That's like going to the doctor and saying "I got a bad skin rash". She says "I've got some cream for that" so you try the cream and it doesn't work and even makes things worse, so you go back and she says "well sorry I haven't got anything else" do you say okay I'll carry on using this cream, maybe it will work eventually?

Interesting semantics that you will admit to longer queues but not congestion "......will likely extend queues. (You won’t see me saying congestion most likely won’t have worsened at equivalent times." and then immediately talk of a queue back to Caversham "worse than I recall". Maybe I should proposed an analogy of a visit to the doctors with chest congestion rather than a skin rash.

I can't opine on women's comments about feeling more vulnerable as I cannot put myself in their position but I did read the letter and felt it was heartfelt and sincere. She has had a lot of empathetic response and I have seen other examples of similar emotions from others in other LTNs so I don't believe for one moment that it trying to take advantage of the current publicity around the Sarah Everard murder, as has been implied by some on your side of the divide and which you yourself are hinting at.

As regards Emergency Vehicles, I have seen FOI requests showing delays due to LTNs and the new cycle paths from Southwark (19 incidences from the fire services in sept 2020), a spreadsheet for June to Nov 2020 for London for delays to Fire appliances from traffic calming measures totalling 993 (Enfield 37, Waltham Forest 31) and from the London Ambulance service 159 due to traffic calming delays reported through their Datix system (though that was unclear over what period). There are many more examples out there, as well as a multitude of videos showing trapped, reversing, delayed emergency vehicles, some even from Fox Lane itself. If you doubt these here is an article from The Times www.thetimes.co.uk/article/traffic-calming-zones-london-delay-fire-crews-xmplwxp38#:~:text=The%20London%20Fire%20Brigade%20data,jumped%20by%2035%20per%20cent .
which you can read from your armchair if you wish. The question really is why are the bosses not concerned ? The article suggests the Emergency crews are not taking such a laissez faire attitude and also that the fact that the bosses budgets are controlled but Mayor Khan may have an influence.

Your comments on the redistribution of the pollutants serve only to show that to a certain extent you agree with me (although brake dust PMs will probably increase on perimeter roads even though the traffic is crawling slowly, it is braking and accelerating). This, combined with your observation about quiet roads drawing people out (presumably the busier perimeter roads will lead to less social contact?) just shows an acceptance of the benefit for those within the LTN to the detriment of those outside.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Can LTN’s both cause congestion and not cause congestion?
06 Apr 2021 09:16 #5954

Karl Brown Karl Brown's Avatar Topic Author

Share this forum post share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

There seems to be a repeated keenness to claim I agree with you; in the main I don’t. I would place myself as pro active travel, and in particular accepting that means starting to make change from where things are now, rather than not being anti- active travel. They are far from the same thing.
There are a multitude of stakeholder types and within each a range of experiences and wants; exactly why I say repeatedly all should submit same to the ongoing consultation on this particular scheme. I’ll speak for myself, not others.
Evaporation: certainly ultra-locally three cars have already or are slated to disappear altogether as a consequence and there are other conversations in a similar direction. Change won’t happen overnight.
But if you believe anger and pushback only appeared when the trial went live you must have missed traffic issues locally for the last three decades. Volume and velocity have been huge issues, on numerous streets, for at least that time. What never happened was a call to share the traffic or similar from those less busy street residents during that time. I’m not surprised in that, but that is the Pacific Island analogy.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Page:
  • 1
Moderators: PGC WebmasterBasil Clarke
Time to create page: 0.166 seconds