We are your neighbours.
We are homeowners, local authority and housing association residents and private renters - all from different backgrounds and occupations, and all concerned by the rising level of traffic using our streets.
We strongly support Islington Council’s scheme to make Highbury a Low Traffic Neighbourhood and want our voices to be heard. Our streets are for all to share. We walk, cycle, take children to the many schools in our area, and want safe, independent, active travel in clean air to be enjoyed across our community.
Andrea (Highbury Crescent), Andrew (Highbury Hill), Claire (Gillespie Road), John (Aubert Park), John (Highbury Grove), Jon (Martineau Road), Mark (Drayton Park), Pamela (Highbury Hill), Paul (Gillespie Road), Rachel (Highbury Hill), Richard (Gillespie Road), Stephen (Plimsoll Road), Vivian (Queensland Road)
Lisa, St Thomas's Road
We have lived on St Thomas’s Road for 15 years and the traffic around here has always been awful. Too much, too noisy, too fast and not safe for my kids to ride bikes. As someone who works on Climate and Sustainability I’m also very aware of the high pollution levels caused by traffic in the neighbourhood. As a family we are enjoying the new Low Traffic Neighbourhood immensely. We are cycling as a family more and my daughter can even skateboard to school down some of the streets. It is quieter and cleaner and feels safer. It is amazing. I hope it lasts forever.
Saira, Mother, Blackstock Road
Saira, Mother, Blackstock Road
Mum, Blackstock Road
We've lived in Highbury for 11 years and now have 2 young children. We bought a car just before our first child was born and sold it less then 3 years later, just after our second child was born, as we realised we just didn't need it given the availability of public transport, taxis, car club and cycling. Last summer we bought an electric cargo bike which we have used throughout the year which is both fun and practical. In terms of cost, it has been a much better investment for our London based journeys and we hugely support a future city which is more pedestrian and cycle friendly.
Robert, Stavordale Road
The traffic on Highbury Hill and Martineau Road has really impacted my life. The noise of the traffic is really bad. The pollution has most certainly affected my health, I have been in hospital with pneumonia. On Martineau Road the speed is supposed to be 20 miles an hour maximum but every day cars are ripping through here as though it were a Grand Prix circuit. The Zebra crossings are now redundant on Drayton Park and Martineau Road as cars do not stop. I really hope with the introduction of Quiet Streets there will be an improvement to this situation. I’m really looking forward to the Quiet Streets initiative.
Abi, 9, Gillespie Road
There's a lot of big lorries, vans and cars. It makes me feel scared because the traffic goes fast. I want to go out on my bike or scooter on the road.
Thomas, 7, Gillespie Road
I think the road is too busy. Cars go too fast and there could be a ginormous crash. We should stop the traffic to make the roads safer.
Mark, Drayton Park
We'd love to let our son Thomas walk or cycle to Mary Mags without us or with his friends, but the traffic’s very busy in the mornings on Drayton Park and there seems to be more and more rat-running through Fieldway Crescent. It doesn’t really feel safe enough.
Elena, St Paul’s Road
I discovered cycling through the pandemic. I was scared of travelling by bus; with less traffic off the main roads, I was able to cycle. Given the choice now, I would travel by bike; it gives you a sense of appreciation for the area, for where you live and where you travel to, whereas on the bus you are more in your own world; on the bike you are more aware of nature: springtime all the colour came out. Some people may not have considered going by bike, but if there is an environment with less traffic, they would be more active. Activity is beneficial in so many aspects: the more you move the more you feel healthy, you live longer. The car, yes, if you want to travel say to Scotland, but in your own everyday, you have to get into the kind of mentality where we change, we adapt with the time.
Christine, Wilberforce Road, Finsbury Park
I live in Finsbury Park. I believe the restrictions were introduced quite a long time ago, to combat kerb-crawling in what was then a red light area, but the streets in question were already becoming rat-runs to avoid the congestion on Blackstock Road. As a driver, initially I found them annoying because they interfered with my ability to drive straight to my house but now, as traffic increases constantly, I hate to think how busy my street would be without the restrictions. What it means in my daily life is that with my poor eyesight I am more confident crossing roads with much less traffic. In the summer it is possible to open the front windows without letting in so much noise and fumes, the back gardens are remarkably quiet for such a central area, and there is less worry for children and animals with fewer vehicles and, I suspect, slower speeds.
Tara, 11, Highbury Hill
Before lockdown, when there was a lot of traffic on our street, it sometimes took me many minutes to cross the road on my way to school; the traffic was continuous and the cars were driving very fast. I would always insist that my Mom walked with me, as the traffic was too dangerous to cross on my own. Unfortunately, the street wasn’t any quieter in the evenings. My bedroom is to the front of the house, so when I laid in bed some nights, reading till 11pm, I could hear the roaring engines outside and often speakers blasting from cars.
Rebecca, Mother of 2, Fieldway Crescent
Our kids Max, 6 and Lukas, 3 dream of a traffic free Fieldway Crescent and Highbury Fields. Every morning we cross the streets together on our way to school, having escaped many scares when cars are racing through the back streets, forget to indicate or fail to see small children, putting us in mortal danger. Moments that were terrifying, and still make me shudder when I think back.
Every day we talk about how good the air would smell if there were no cars “imagine how amazing the air would be, if there were no cars around the park” Max, age 6 said the other day. Lukas, age 3 said “I can’t wait to scoot down our street and play football, like on our PlayStreet, when the cars are gone.”
“Does that mean we can cross the street without being scared?” They both asked me the other day.
Jon, Father of 3, Highbury Hill
I'm finding it hard to understand what it is that people struggle with overall about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Yes of course they will require us to rethink how we do various things, but we have to stand up and say enough is enough or if not when will we. In the last 10 years car use has increased by over 70% in London. All our streets have pollution levels above WHO limits and pollution affects everyone in an area. Old/young, rich/poor, black/white, there are no winners. I've lived here for 35 years, my children used to be able to play in the streets, my chronic lung illness has deteriorated year on year exacerbated by pollution and the streets have become dominated by car use. We accept cars as if they are a natural part of our lives, but they aren't, we have just become immune in our quest for “convenience” to what they are and the effects they have. The Clean Air Act and the Smoking Ban both seemed unreasonable at the time but on reflection they made perfect sense, just like reducing cars in our residential streets will seem when we look back. I counted just less than 700 vehicles passing my house in an hour recently. How many of you would find that acceptable in your residential street? We just have to change. If not for us but for our children and their children.
Tabitha, Mother of 2, Finsbury Park
I think it’s really important to take a long term view. Cars are a convenient way to nip around and fit 20 errands into your day, but we’ve lost sight of the detrimental effect that has on everyone around us. This generation of kids are barely allowed out of the house without an adult, and that loss of independence is almost entirely down to legitimate fears about road safety. Electric cars won’t solve this or the congestion.
I’ve lived in an LTN (Brownswood) for a decade. The inconvenience of having to drive the long way round to the main road was negligible compared with quiet nights and the lack of road danger. There’s no problem getting deliveries, but we tend to shop local. We’ve now gone car-free despite having 2 small children. 70% of borough residents can’t access a car, including many who are disabled or have special needs, but can’t afford to drive. They deserve safe routes for travel - and a few extra minutes on your essential car journeys should not make you want to veto these plans before you’ve given them a chance.
Steve, Plimsoll Road
In the 20 years I’ve lived here the traffic has increased to a dangerous volume and speed. Some are delivery vans but most are rat-running cars speeding dangerously across junctions up narrow streets. Coupled with spending cuts to the police this area is certainly not what it was, but the community is resilient and deserves safety and safe spaces. The LTN is a great first step in restoring safety for residents and strengthening the community during really challenging times. If it’s coupled with the enforcement of the 20 mph speed limit and leads to a large reduction in unnecessary short journeys then the community overall will be strengthened further.
Eileen, Mother of 3, Highbury Hill
I can’t wait to see some balance restored on Highbury Hill between motorists and everyone else. Traffic recently has become increasingly dangerous, polluting and noisy. Crossing the road anywhere other than the one zebra by the Barn is a lottery, especially for people who cannot move quickly, while cyclists turning on/off the Church Path have a torrid time as cars accelerate round the corner. The zebra crossing is generally ignored by queuing traffic, which means inching between cars even when crossing there. What a sorry waste of time to see teachers from the school having to do road crossing duty at the zebra crossing because they think the junction is so dangerous. The only time the traffic slows down is because it is backed up, a frequent occurrence now.
John, Highbury Grove
I often walk and cycle through Highbury to get to Nag's Head, Finsbury Park station and Parkland Walk. So I think it's going to be great wandering through a quieter Highbury especially Highbury Hill, Drayton Park, and St Thomas’s Road. Although Highbury Grove and Blackstock Road will be adversely affected in terms of traffic and congestion, I'm expecting that to last a few months and do not foresee the chaos predicted by others.
One marvellous benefit of the rollout of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods is that everybody seems to have become super aware of London’s very poor air quality. Anyway, in the first few months, I will be looking out for air pollution data from the schools along the road. I expect it to tick up slightly and then drop back to the previous (but still unsafe) levels.
I think it's important to give the scheme a chance. I am confident that ward councillors will back the changes if the air pollution is noticeably worse. However, if some able bodied residents change their mode of travel, there will be an overall drop in motor traffic in Highbury, the background air pollution will drop and there will be a reduction in air pollution on Highbury Grove and Blackstock Road as well.
I look forward to seeing more electric scooters and electric buses on Highbury Grove. The bottom line is that most of us have got to get out of our cars.
Ruby, Gillespie Road
I can now walk to school with my friends as there is no traffic on Gillespie Road. The air feels cleaner and my friend's asthma is better.
Jake, Gillespie Road
I can now walk to my friends' houses crossing the road on my own as there is so much less traffic and I feel safe.
Derek, Baalbec Road
Over the more than twenty years we've lived in Baalbec Road, we've seen the traffic increase more and more. It's particularly bad now during rush hour in the morning with a constant stream of vehicles cutting through from Highbury Grove, over the fields to Holloway Road. It can't cope with the volume at times and gets blocked. Then drivers start honking on their horns - until someone is forced to back up and clear the jam. We can't wait for our LTN and a quieter safer street - and hence a better neighbourhood.
Emma, Mother of 2, Plimsoll Road
I’ve lived in the area for over 20 years and have been dismayed at the rising level of traffic, particularly larger commercial vehicles. Whilst the level of car traffic passing our house is fairly low and not problematic, at least a dozen times each day we have large lorries passing, presumably due to their satnav directions. On nearby Gillespie Road, there are often speeding cars and motorbikes, again using the area as a rat run/cut through. So restrictions on through traffic would mean a much safer neighbourhood for me and my children. However, I don't want to disadvantage disabled/less mobile people living in Highbury West, or to push our (my) local traffic away from our leafy streets onto the main roads where there are primary schools (as well as people’s homes!). So I’d love to see a solution where through traffic was restricted in Highbury West, with residents being exempt. Apparently only 30% of Islington residents own a car so doesn’t seem to be the residents causing the problems.
Laura, Highbury resident for 10 years, Avenell Road
We live on Avenell Rd and hear the vehicles speeding up and down it all hours of the day. After learning the average speed on Avenell Rd is 19mph, and walking to/from nursery with our toddler every day we are now ready to take action to make the street and neighbourhood safer for us residents. The streets and parking were designed when the area was more commercial supporting Arsenal at Highbury Stadium. The reality now is the extreme opposite with high density housing and the supporting youth, community and family services. I fully believe the LTN will meet the needs of the residents of the area with little impact to local businesses. If anything it will convince me more to take a nice walk up to local shops without dodging the speeding and polluting traffic.
As Blackstock is one of the boundary roads of the scheme, some of the traffic will probably get snarled up there when the scheme starts- and it will be difficult to watch, but it should settle down. A lot of the traffic is through-traffic cutting through Hackney/Islington to reach central London- and I think many of those drivers will choose to avoid the area altogether. Longterm there should be area-wide traffic reduction- but this will be measured/ monitored.
My take is that if we do nothing and continue to let the traffic go everywhere, the main roads are pretty awful anyway. So although that is an important concern, the alternative strategy of not implementing traffic reduction still leaves the main roads heavily congested and polluted. Over in Hackney, they have been rolling out LTNs for decades and are now starting to reduce traffic lanes/space on their main roads (see schemes planned for Seven Sisters - Woodberry down stretch, Green Lanes, Church Street).
So for me it’s about looking to reduce traffic over the next few years to the point that people just don’t feel they need cars in inner London- working on residential streets first, then tackling the main roads too. Until now the pace has been so glacial, we’ve gone backwards. I realise other people will feel differently, but as an Ambler parent, I don’t feel that the impact on our already-horrible road is going to be enough to deny the families of Drayton Park/ Gillespie kids traffic reduction outside their schools. It’s not a zero-sum game. Not sure that will help alleviate people’s anxieties. We need to push for other improvements on Blackstock in the short term like low-emission buses.
Amir, Monsell Road
I think it'll be great to stop Monsell Road being a through road. There's not too much traffic on it, unlike Gillespie Road which I used to live on, but that just means cars speed down it instead, and we also get an unreasonable number of trucks thundering past which I very much doubt are all delivering locally. My kids (ages 7 and 8) and I could ride our bikes down it and feel safe in the first lockdown, but since August / September it's felt too dangerous for that. Hopefully the street will be usable by kids on bikes and foot again once the changes are made.
I think not being able to drive West (one of my few car trips is to the Islington recycling centre) will add 5 minutes at most, if there's traffic, by having to go via Blackstock, Seven Sisters, Isledon and Holloway roads, which is a tiny price to pay in convenience, and I think vastly over-exaggerated by opponents of the LTN!
There's another concern about whether camera enforced closures will be effective, I have raised this with the council and they say compliance increases 10-15% each month with larger increases in the early months, but they note there will still always be some people who ignore the warnings and drive through anyway. I can only hope that these are rare enough that the street is usable by kids and other less confident road users.
Paul, Baalbec Road
The introduction of traffic filters and other traffic calming measures around the Highbury Diamond is a long overdue move which I am profoundly grateful for. The use of the area as a rat run to avoid Highbury Corner has been frightening. As someone with damage to my vision after Covid, I hope this new scheme will be vigorously enforced. It can be a frightening experience trying to navigate this area on foot with damaged vision while cars have sped by with no concern for other road users. The new scheme needs to be actively enforced to bring much needed relief to the area, as well as making the area a safer place for residents.
Julian, Avenell Road
Closing the end of Avenell Rd to traffic will undoubtedly save lives, probably a cyclist’s, through a well thought out plan. I had meant to put pen to paper before, especially after I recently witnessed two incidents in a period of 24 hours which illustrated the problem of the road becoming a rat run after the Gillespie Rd closure. In the first, two cars head to head, and neither refusing to budge; an argument carrying on for five minutes until one person came out of their house saying ‘there’s a baby trying to sleep inside’. The road is not wide enough to take two-way traffic that wants to move quickly using satnav directions. The other was between a car travelling fast along Avenell Rd with a pedestrian crossing the road at Gillespie Rd; the traffic is now at right angles to the pedestrian traffic from Arsenal station down Gillespie Rd rather than travelling in the same direction as the pedestrians down Gillespie Rd; another accident waiting to happen. Since the closure of Gillespie Rd, vans and cars are going up Avenell Rd to the top; this extra work comes in the shape of more pollution, fumes for the council blocks and lead staying forever within 200 metres of where it is emitted.
P Eaton, Avenell Road
We have lived in Highbury for 8 years and have raised our daughter here. We love the feeling community, but have, over our years here, become increasingly concerned about the increase in car traffic and the behaviour of drivers. We have seen more car use and more speeding cars. Our streets are there for all of us, not just for the motorist minority. We therefore really welcome these changes and hope that they encourage all local residents to, where they can, consider alternatives to their own journeys by car.
Jenny, Highbury New Park
I’m a passionate supporter of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and for de-incentivising driving in our wonderful city. I would like to see space on our public byways fairly distributed and balanced towards sustainable travel: walking, cycling and public transport. Tackling the obesity epidemic and poisoning of the air we breathe must become a priority in our drive to promote a healthier, long term future fit our children. Now is the time to act.
Kayte, Queensland Road
I've lived in Highbury for seven years and have a two-year-old daughter. I like to walk as much as possible, for exercise, fresh air and to enjoy the lovely streets of Highbury. I also like to go running locally. Many of our local streets are quiet but several are really busy and walking doesn't always feel safe. There is a lack of proper crossings on Drayton Park and Holloway Road near where I live, which makes it stressful just to get to the other side of Holloway Road or go to the library or get to Highbury Corner. As my daughter gets older, she enjoys walking rather than sitting in her buggy, but traffic on local roads makes me wary of letting her walk. Our parents often look after my daughter and I worry about them having to navigate dangerous roads with a buggy. I also really worry about air pollution. Anything that makes our local streets safer for kids and people who walk or cycle will be great!
Ben, Avenell Road
I'm delighted about the trial of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Highbury West. I've lived in the northern part of Avenell Road for ten years and I've felt very lucky not to live in the areas that suffer more from traffic, like the southern part of Avenell Road, Aubert Road and Highbury Hill. I'm 62 now and retired but when I worked I used to cycle to work and the local area was pretty good for cycling except for Drayton Park. So I'm pleased that a cycle route will be able to make use of our LTN - it would be very sad if it was lost following the trial. The LTN will make the local streets that bit safer and more peaceful and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. Of course it's important to keep an eye on congestion and air pollution on the main streets and how that affects people who live, shop and work on those streets, but it seems to me the benefits are likely to outweigh the potential downsides by far.
Nadine, St Thomas’
I'm 54, work at home, have 2 children (primary and secondary age), have lived on this road since Jan 2000. While the numbers of cars parked on the road has reduced despite the numbers of residents rising in that time, the levels of air pollution and traffic in the area have risen hugely.
Christopher, Elfort Road
I am a 42 year old hospital doctor working in neonatal intensive care. I have lived in Highbury for over 10 years and have 2 primary school age children at a local Highbury school. Introduction of a low traffic neighbourhood will mean that my children can walk, cycle or scooter more safely to school, and that I can cycle to work (in West London) more safely. As a paediatrician I also see first hand the damage that pollution from motor vehicles causes our children, and look forward to this reducing in line with lower levels of through traffic.
Paul, Gillespie Road
My children have suffered far too long with the noise from car horns, speeding vehicles and pollution. We can’t wait to have our roads back so we can cycle outside with our children. We will be swapping the car for peddle power once the LTN arrives.
Tyler, Amber Road
I’ve lived in Highbury for over 13 years and the increase in traffic and number of heavy vehicles using our residential streets is significant. It creates so much noise, pollution and problematic vibrations to foundations that cause damage to period homes. The rest of London, especially nearby Hackney, has already done so much to introduce safe cycle routes. This low traffic zone improvement is much needed, long overdue and most welcome. Thank you.
Matt, Battledean Road
I’m an NHS doctor living in Battledean Road and working in Hackney. I therefore travel west to east in the morning and drop my son off at his nursery in Stoke Newington on the way. Obviously, the reverse is true in the evening. I used to do this by car as I felt cycling was unsafe, and frankly... it was easier. Since the introduction of LTNs in Hackney and Islington I have invested in an electric cargo bike for £1000 on gumtree... which seems expensive but much cheaper than my car! I now use the cargo bike to go everywhere... the weekly shop, hardware store, commute etc. The rain and cold weather haven’t put me off either... My 2 year old loves it, I’ve lost weight and feel healthier, and the roads feel considerably safer. If the LTNs stay, I think I will end up selling my car as no use for it anymore! It will save me a small fortune in upkeep, tax, insurance, parking on street and at work etc...
Julia, Grosvenor Avenue
The problem is that my road is a rat race. Grosvenor Avenue has seen MORE and not LESS traffic. I am hopeful that in the end low traffic zones will make less people opt to drive. In my opinion we need to move away from cars as much as possible.
Hannah, Plimsoll Road
I was delighted when I first heard about this initiative. I know that some people need to drive, but we also have a lot of people driving incredibly fast down our road or sitting in their cars with their engines idling. We know that some people will be inconvenienced but this initiative will make such a difference to the health and safety of everyone who lives on our street, including my two little girls. I really hope we can keep this really positive improvement!
Asma, Queensland Road
As someone who has walked and cycled in London since 1995, it is great to see the positive changes that continue to occur with low traffic neighbourhoods. I cycle and walk with my partner and children around our neighbourhood in Highbury and Holloway. We also both cycle to work in different hospitals and community settings where we both work as nurses. We live in a diverse community in quite a built up area where there are busy roads nearby. I feel happier knowing that my children are in low traffic neighbourhoods when they are learning how to cycle on roads and when they cross roads. More Black and Asian people are likely to walk than own a car and as a brown woman of South Asian heritage cycling and walking daily I want to feel safe and not pressured by motor vehicle drivers. Being in a low traffic neighbourhood is safer for me, this reduces my risk of a road traffic accident (RTA). Having been the victim of an RTA I do not want this for anyone else.
Piers, Battledean Road
I am delighted that the low traffic neighbourhood has been applied to our area. It will reduce pollution, noise and makes it safer for me to cycle and walk my dog.
Rachel, Highbury Hill (near Arsenal tube)
Driving in London has long been overrated: parking and other charges, maintaining and insuring a vehicle, congestion. With increasing population and increased driving, traffic has slowed for decades. I gave up a car over 10 years ago, for health and environmental reasons. I want to stay healthy well into my retirement (in my fifties now). Without driving, getting my 150 mins of activity a week is easy. Local household shopping (including in Camden, for my elderly mother) , taking my son to after school activities, has all proved straightforward when we have so much within easy reach: Clissold and Finsbury Park, Highbury Fields, shopping at Highbury Barn, Blackstock Road or Nags Head all within a mile or so. Professionally, as a GP in Bow, I cycle or walk. A liveable neighbourhood scheme there, which has 70% public support, will most likely exempt blue badge holders from restrictions. For those needing to drive occasionally, I recommend zipcar: I used them twice in 2020: I drove my dad to the coast in July. Hastings and the A21 were also one big traffic jam, and we wish we’d taken the train. Local authorities have a responsibility for public health; pollution and inactivity cost lives.