Low traffic Neighbourhood – Step 2 – the Campaign
400 Bathonians were energised
Here’s a picture released today of Cllr Joanna Wright returning to Walthamstow with Cllr Clyde Loakes of Waltham Forest who masterminded their successful implementation of LTNs across Walthamstow. His talk was highly inspiring and left a packed Guildhall pretty much converted. I wrote this up two weeks ago here. We are now at an important next step.
There is now interest across several parts of Bath
Several areas of Bath are looking to consider LTNs now and are readily using our starting materials here to catch us up. It’s not a bad thing to have widespread support for this initiative but we do need to be leading the pack. It is likely in my view that funding will be very limited to start with and will go to those who show the most promise. The early adopters’ success could be the catalyst for further funding down the line sometime.
From the scientific evidence presented at a 3 day University Incubator workshop I attended last week, it’s clear that the public health risks from too much traffic are the most pressing and persuasive. Safety and lifestyle of our whole community are also highly important and together would far outweigh any inconveniences to us as residents – and any design for our LTN will be based on these priorities. We now need to act fast.
Next stage in the campaign
We met with our local councillors last summer. They said give us proof of your community’s support for the concept and we will fight for you be considered. So, first, a big thank you for 104 people for putting their names to the campaign. Just to remind you what we said…
Camden Road – that many know as a cut through to avoid the London Road needs to be returned to being a vibrant residential street – Camden Street, for short.
There are other rat runs used through Camden and Walcot which also make life for residents, walkers and cyclists difficult which could be included too.
How this is done using the LTN concept we’re not entirely sure as yet but it will certainly have to involve a larger area than just Camden. Please join our campaign and feed through your support and any ideas. We need several hundred of us to make a difference.
We now need two things which you can help with – neither requiring much time and both making a big difference.
Your Household: to keep the momentum going we really need to show that there is yet more support in our community for the concept at least. The simplest step is to make sure that anyone over 17 (i.e. eligible now or soon to vote) in your household has at least been asked to sign up – please do check.
Friends and Neighbours: not everyone in the community is in regular touch with the Camden Residents Association so please do mention our campaign to friends and neighbours. The 21 questions and answers here can be helpful when they trigger doubts or uncertainties, and do please feed through any arguments that are worrying you to us.
Please click on the button to join the campaign
All good in principle, but Camden Road is Camden Road. Not Camden Street. It’s a ‘Bath thing’
The LTN is a fine idea, but I’m not convinced that models such as Walthamstow – a very large London borough with a population estimated at 276,000 – helps a relatively small town such as Bath. Have any other London boroughs tried it? Have the Lib Dems – always highly selective when presenting evidence – picked on the only urban area that’s done it? Has lighter traffic for Walthamstow impacted adversely parts of neighbouring boroughs?
There’s certainly far too much traffic on Camden Rd during the rat-run hours, but I doubt that it has ever been or can be a ‘street’, just as London Road has been or can ever be a ‘community’. These are, I think, delightfully romantic concepts. They are essentially thoroughfares comprising blocks in which small groups of friends/neighbours comprise micro-communities.
Volume is not the only issue as we all know. Speed – when achievable – is equally dangerous. I’ve recently had to spend my days travelling to RUH and back. Weston Road is a 20 zone and is regularly policed with speed traps. People know that. They crawl along. They have been caught. It is a deterrent. Why not up here ? Right now they are going past my house at at least 35mph.
I totally support the LTN but it will take time and anyway is not on its own a remedy for the speeding problem. So I will also support any push for speed cameras on Camden Road and other ways of enforcing the limit.
For some ‘street’ has more of a community sound to it but if it means other things to others it is probably not that helpful.
There’s four more important themes coming up. Let’s start with ‘thoroughfares’. That’s a nice word, and probably far less emotive than ‘rat-run’. It links up two places with a road. The LTN is a neighbourhood by definition. With a busgate on Camden Road there is no thoroughfare between Claremont, at the very minimum, and Lansdown Road. Therefore the only motorised vehicles passing through the thoroughfare are buses. Everything else is making short journeys in and back out of the neighbourhood – not through it. These will be, in the main, done by residents or those serving residents.
Comparability of Waltham Forest and Bath. The Mini Holland project covered four Walthamstow villages. These in fact constitute an area 25% of the size of Bath. I have a scale diagram comparing the two. However the levels of through traffic were probably higher as commuter traffic aiming for the inner London boroughs from the arterial roads and North Circular were using rat-runs through Walthamstow. Two other boroughs attempted the concept but they were not bold enough and did not succeed. Yes displacement is likely pushing traffic to the main roads but so is modal shift away from private motorised vehicles.
It is readily acknowledged that Camden Road behaves in two ways: as a ‘stop start’, congested road with high acceleration in peak times and a temptingly fast route at off peak times. Hence the well known speeding figures – 65% of drivers speeding each day. Our application for two vehicle activated ‘slow down’ signs has temporarily stalled but is being pursued actively with the help of our local councillors.
Enforcement – feels essential now and we’re getting another assessment done early next month by Avon Police. If the LTN happens then this should be a tiny issue.
A lot of this is covered in our LTN 20+ Q&As in the LTN section of our web-site.
We will manage improvement in the end. Speed enforcement necessary. I don’t know if it’s possible to get satnav operators to desist from saying ‘take Camden Road, traffic low’. The clean air act will stop at least some of the Travis Perkins type users who snarl us up. The London Road needs to be sorted too. But of course this has all been discussed and I know and appreciate that much in-depth study has been undertaken by you. Appreciated. You are right – Camden Road is a thoroughfare and should be, to allow this City and the communities within to thrive. By making it a tad less easy to speed up here from 7.15am and from 6.14pm, we may push traffic back down the hill. I find, as a user, the 20 mph on full Weston Road a nuisance – particularly past Victoria Park. It’s not like this Road. BUT, as a stressed driver, I have occasionally gone back down to the Bristol road as I can at least do 30 there. As one of my neighbours said,”people don’t unlearn a short-cut” until forced to think about it. And satnav-lazy drivers aren’t helping. N.
When can we expect an article in the Local-Look about this ? also are any widely publicised local meetings in Fairfield Larkhall claremont area and Snowhill planned ? Not met a single resident or business who is aware of it.
OK – good idea. I’ll check if they will run an article. I did one 18 months ago about the CAZ.