Share this article share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

street in fox lane quieter neighbourhoodAn update on the Let's Talk Enfield website has information about extension of trial operation of the low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in the Fox Lane Quieter Neighbourhood and announces a new focus on gathering information about the impact of the scheme on people with disabilities and their carers.

Waiting for traffic to become "more normal"

Enfield Council has extended the statutory consultation period to 19th May, which is six months after it modified the experimental traffic order (ETO) to allow for a camera-enforced modal filter at the junction of Conway Road and Fox Lane. However, the ETO continues to be live until March 2022 so that traffic surveys can be carried out at a time when traffic conditions are "more normal" than they are at present.

In the immediate future the council will be engaging in particular with members of the community with disabilities, representative groups of people with disabilities, and carers. They have contacted Blue Badge holders directly with a further survey, and will also be contacting anyone who, when filling in the survey about the scheme, identified as having a disability, receiving care assistance in their home, or as a carer. The information gathered will be used to update the Equality Information Assessment for the Fox Lane scheme.

Disability charity: Ripping out LTNs "isn't the solution"

It's probably no coincidence that the council's increased focus on people with disabilities comes not long after the publication of Pave the Way, a report by the charity Transport for All (TfA) into the impact of LTNs on disabled people and the future of accessible active travel.

TfA conducted a very thorough and carefully designed survey of 84 disabled people, aged 8 to 89, across a range of impairment groups. Participants were based in 19 out of the 21 London boroughs that have implemented new LTNs, plus five locations outside the capital. The survey revealed both benefits and disbenefits for the participants, and among the the main conclusions that emerged were that communication and engagement with disabled people have often been inadequate (especially when schemes have been implemented in a hurry as a measure to cope with Covid-19), that both supporters and opponents of LTNs have been misusing disability to support their arguments. However, despite problems with LTNs, they say that "ripping them out and returning to normal isn’t the solution. ‘Normal’ – what we had before – wasn’t accessible enough either."

You can read the report's executive summary below.

Pave The Way: The impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) on disabled people, and the future of accessible Active Travel.

Executive Summary

pave the wayAt Transport for All, we fully support the fight for climate justice and the importance of introducing environmental initiatives that promote Active Travel such as walking and cycling. This is particularly important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, when additional space is needed for safe transit.

However, it has been disappointing to see disabled people and their needs being used by both proponents and critics to further their political aims, with improper research and consultation leading to misinformation and inaccuracies.

One of the most controversial measures aimed at encouraging Active Travel has been Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, using tools such as bollards and cameras to reduce pollution, traffic and road danger in residential areas.

Disabled people hold both positive and negative opinions on LTNs, but they don’t feel listened to by policy makers, or that they have opportunities to share their views. COVID-19 compounds this isolation, with many disabled people shielding and/or not accessing streetspaces.

We found failures with the consultation process used to collect resident feedback, as well as with Equality Impact Assessments.

72% of participants reported issues with how changes have been communicated, including the lack of information provided, its quality or accessibility, and not receiving a warning before an LTN is installed.

With this ground-breaking report, we have consulted disabled people directly where many others have failed.

We spoke to 84 disabled people, aged 8 to 89, across a range of impairment groups. Participants were based in 19 out of the 21 London boroughs that have implemented new LTNs, plus five locations outside the capital. Qualitative data was collected using both semi-structured verbal interviews (on video call and by phone) and written questions to ensure accessibility. Responses were then transcribed and coded to produce quantitative data.

In terms of the positive impacts of LTNs, participants reported easier or more pleasant journeys; an increase in independence; a decrease in traffic danger and benefits to physical and mental health.

Criticisms included longer journey times for residents, as well as their visitors who provide care and support. This leads to travel becoming more exhausting, expensive, complicated or difficult. There were also cases of a negative impact on mental health, issues with taxis and a perceived rise in traffic danger.

Though with many disabled people experiencing genuine and meaningful benefits from the LTNs, ripping them out and returning to normal isn’t the solution.

‘Normal’ – what we had before – wasn’t accessible enough either.

The answer involves engaging with and listening to the perspectives of disabled people who have been significantly erased from the conversation. Only then can we move forward with accessible and inclusive solutions which benefit everyone, and the environment.

We recommend a series of immediate measures and long-term solutions to address the many barriers that disabled people face to Active Travel; encourage walking, wheeling and cycling; and create an accessible public transport system as a viable alternative to car use.

Links

Fox Lane Area Quieter Neighbourhood: Update 4 March 2021

Transport for All: Pave the Way report

Log in to comment

Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #5933 12 Mar 2021 10:00
Waiting for traffic to become "more normal", might be tricky because while traffic data company Inrix now has London as Europe’s 9th most congested city (2020) with an average wait of 69hrs pa, better than 2019’s 3rd spot absolute congestion improvements are presumed to be Covid influenced and the RAC say we may never see pre Covid congestion levels again if home working stays. So when the experts haven’t a clue on the biggest picture it’s going to be difficult to pick and analyses small influences such as LTN’s out of it all.