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The revenge of Britain’s motorists The war on cars is carving up cities

Shut up and drive. (Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Shut up and drive. (Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


July 20, 2023   6 mins

In 1934, the developer of a new private housing estate in Oxford built two large brick walls across public roads to keep out the working-class residents of nearby local authority housing. Nine foot high and topped with iron spikes, the Cutteslowe Walls, as they became known, were an obscenity that stood for more than 20 years, despite repeated attempts to knock them down. They even survived being ploughed into by a tank on military manoeuvres during the war. It wasn’t until the late Fifties that officialdom finally found a way to have the Walls removed.

Walls have been going up again in Oxford over the past few years. But this time, they aren’t made of brick. The barriers consist of wooden planters festooned with daffodils or removable bollards. They might seem innocuous compared with brick walls. And their purpose, too, seems so benign. These road blocks are intended to create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, or LTNs, which, according to the established propaganda, are officially good for us: they cut traffic speeds, carbon emissions and noise pollution. They are supposed to encourage children to ditch their PS5s and play outside. In particular, they are designed to make us drive less. And they are not confined to Oxford; they’re springing up across the country.

Unlike the Cutteslowe Walls, these fenced-off micro communities retain one point of entry and exit for drivers — every address within an LTN remains accessible — but the routes are purposefully more circuitous, sometimes tortuously so, to encourage a “think twice” approach to hopping in the car when it would be quicker to walk or cycle. The ideal LTN is a compact square-kilometre in size, meaning the average able-bodied resident should be able to walk from one side to the other in under 15 minutes. They are a nice idea — but one that lately has hit the cold, hard bollard of reality.

Blocking roads to reduce traffic is not a new idea. But using roadblocks to reconfigure swathes of existing cities is a relatively recent innovation. The poster boy of this cyclo-urbanism is the Danish architect Jan Gehl, who, over the past 40 years, has successfully managed to entirely remove cars from parts of Copenhagen. Aspects of his plan have been cribbed by UK cycling activists with a knowledge of civic planning, and placed into campaigning proposals for corners of cities that they particularly value, such as the streets they lived on.

When Covid-19 prompted a mass avoidance of public transport and a sense of crisis about the future of the city, LTNs were offered up by activists to councillors as both an opportunity to turn Britain into a nation of cyclists, and to prevent mass gridlock as we took to our cars. Since March 2020, an area the size of Tyneside has effectively banned motorists without much oversight by professional urban planners.

And yet LTNs seem to remain popular. A recent poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 58% of Londoners supported the introduction of LTNs, with only 17% opposed. Of course there will be a vocal minority unhappy at the disruption, angered by the increase of traffic on congested arterial routes or the closure of their favourite rat run. These are presumably the same people who made off with the bollards in Oxford soon after they were first installed — or knocked them down, set them alight or took chainsaws to them. In February, almost three years after Oxford’s first trial LTN, some 2,000 protesters were still sufficiently disgruntled to attend a rally in the city centre that ended with violent clashes and five arrests.

There is a sense that politicians are increasingly waging a “war on cars”. Measures include road filtering, to give priority to low-carbon methods of transport, and placing extra charges on polluting vehicles, in a push towards net zero. The shift is prompting anguished debate and splits within parties. Earlier this month, Labour lost one of its safest council seats in the country to a former party member-turned-independent who stood opposed to the imposition of LTNs across Newham, in East London. Last autumn, former Labour politician Lutfur Rahman was returned as mayor of Tower Hamlets, also in East London, deposing the party’s chosen incumbent, on a pro-motorist platform; one of his first acts was to axe a newly installed LTN and demand a review of the others across his borough. More recently, the prospective Labour MP for Uxbridge has been openly campaigning against Sadiq Khan’s Ulez scheme.

In Oxford City, large swathes of Labour’s local party have defected to an independent group fighting the LTNs and the traffic schemes that will supersede them; in March, its official candidate in the Littlemore ward came within an inch of being beaten by such an independent.

The truth is that the bollards in Oxford’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have upset more locals than the Cutteslowe Walls ever did. Even the Liberal Democrats, part of the rainbow coalition of progressive parties which run the Oxford’s council, are rejecting the idea they once championed. Andrew Gant, Lib Dem cabinet member for highway management, was keen to make it clear to me that the LTNs weren’t his idea. Describing Oxford’s wider traffic management system, he insists: “The LTNs are not one of the core schemes.” Three years after traffic filtering was trialled, the bollards and planters are to be replaced by other forms of traffic calming, such as bus gates monitored by traffic cameras and a workplace car parking levy.

The Conservative Party, more than any other, is seeking to distance itself from the LTN experiment. Last week, transport secretary Mark Harper demanded that councils across the country rethink “unpopular” LTNs. But they need to backpedal harder if they don’t want to be associated with the policy. In Oxfordshire, it was a Tory-led council that green-lit local LTNs. It was Boris Johnson who, as prime minister during the first lockdown in 2020, set up a ÂŁ225 million Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) to promote new transport routes for walking and cycling.

In and of itself, EATF would have been relatively innocuous, were it not for the fact that David Cameron’s government had already granted new powers to local authorities under the 2015 Infrastructure Act. The worst kind of Coalition compromise, it sloughed off oversight for road maintenance to local authorities in an attempt to “get things done”, and encouraged experimental traffic orders that implemented new road schemes without public consultation. As if emerging from a stupor, Rishi Sunak’s administration has now removed funding for LTNs, while in Oxford, the party is now campaigning against the very thing it introduced.

 

The supposedly progressive idea of roping-off residential streets for the all-round benefit of local residents doesn’t work. If you want to know why LTNs have gone from being a panacea for the UK’s urban traffic problems to being sidelined three years later, look no further than Oxford. Here, LTNs were bad politics from the beginning, a case of localism run riot, and what happens when you give the cleverest people in the room carte blanche to bulldoze through a single solution to a single policy. In lockdown, the Conservative-run county council, followed by the Lib-Lab-Green coalition that later replaced it, gave unprecedented priority to activist groups with a narrow agenda regarding transport policy. These groups included Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, whose campaign manager once glued her chest to a busy road in the name of Extinction Rebellion.

In addition, no matter how nice they may be once you’re inside, LTNs weren’t really planned at all. This pioneering piece of urbanism was mainly a series of poorly conceived roadblocks determined by the suggestions of cycling activists on Zoom meetings. Little professional understanding of traffic flows were ever applied. Indeed, possible traffic jams were considered a plus as they would provide further disincentives to car travel.

Given that LTNs were conceived to operate at a street level, it is not surprising that they have gone so badly wrong at a wider urban scale. The arterial road system in Oxford, particularly the ring road, is not up to dealing with the amount of new traffic that has been forced into it by the roadblocks; traffic times have lengthened hugely. Anti-car advocates insist that such measures work in cities like Utrecht in the Netherlands or Ghent in Belgium, conveniently ignoring the fact that both places also have three-lane ring roads and three tram lines. If we are to have Ghent-style LTNs, let’s have the rest of Ghent’s infrastructure, too.

At a political level, there is some irony in the fact that europhile supporters of LTNs have not heeded the lesson of the gilets jaunes protests in France — namely, that blue-collar workers will not be made sacrificial lambs to environmental policies. Idrees Mohammed, managing director of Oxford Lettings, a property management agency, told me that electricians now charge 60% more for a call-out into the Cowley LTN because it takes so long to get to it. Amir Steve Ali, who works in a takeaway in East Oxford, recently delivered a petition against LTNs to Downing Street with more than 30,000 signatures. “You’re trying to keep some of the roads clean-air, pollution-free — but you’ve just chucked your rubbish next door, where others are now facing gridlock,” he says. “Where’s the justice in this?”

The LTNs were primarily designed to inhibit one form of transport use, rather than, say, make improvements to cycling provision. For a university city once synonymous with the bike, Oxford has pretty poor cycle lanes out to the suburbs, incapable of handling any increased demand.

There is something more fundamental at play than the local situation in Oxford, however. In recent years, there has been a slow retreat from shared urban experiences. Lockdown delivered a shattering blow to the idea of the city as a shared space. LTNs were supposed to encourage “15-minute cities”, where everything you need, from school to supermarket to GP surgery, is just a 15-minute walk from your front door. This concept was not an attempt to “lock” people into their homes, as some of the wilder claims would have it. But LTNs did emerge from the same failure to preserve our collective ownership of streets, which includes the rights to traverse them in the predominant transport system of the age, the car.

Could LTNs have been introduced in a way that would have benefitted Oxford as a whole, rather than just the advocates who live within them? Or is chopping a city up into neat but almost impenetrable quads, in a bid to please academically minded activists, always a bad idea? How different is it, fundamentally, from building walls to keep people out? Those waging war on the car must endeavour to answer these questions, or else risk throttling the very places they cherish.


Tim Abrahams is a Contributing Editor at Architectural Record.

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Why no mention of the elephant in the room – access by emergency services, or rather life-threatening delays in access? Those who revel in these LTNs may do so until the point where their house burns down, or relative dies before the ambulance can get through.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Haven’t you heard about the depopulation agenda? Every little helps.

Roger Tilbury
Roger Tilbury
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hopefully when their EVs sponateously combust….

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Haven’t you heard about the depopulation agenda? Every little helps.

Roger Tilbury
Roger Tilbury
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hopefully when their EVs sponateously combust….

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Why no mention of the elephant in the room – access by emergency services, or rather life-threatening delays in access? Those who revel in these LTNs may do so until the point where their house burns down, or relative dies before the ambulance can get through.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

I use a car and a bike. I live in a city. I support more use of bikes and feet rather than cars. But LTNs and ULEZ and everything else is too much stick, not enough carrot.

Birmingham introduced cycle lanes along some of the main arterial routes, with proper infrastructure and gates. I now cycle into town almost every time, whereas before I would have been reticent about sharing the road with cars whilst I was on a bike. This was after 20+ years of not being on a bike.

You have to build the infrastructure first, and make it attractive to use a bike rather than a car, and then, and only then, can you put other measures in place to reduce car journeys.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Spot on. If the eye watering levels of subsidy that go into air travel (for example) were applied to public transport then it could be improved to point at which it would make less sense to drive.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
1 year ago

What ‘eye watering’ levels of subsidy go into air travel? The vast majority of airlines are private enterprises that live or die on their own success. Trains are buses are generally subsidised.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

Their fuel is tax free.

Michael North
Michael North
1 year ago

That is not a subsidy. Perversion of the language alert!!

Michael North
Michael North
1 year ago

That is not a subsidy. Perversion of the language alert!!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

Their fuel is tax free.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
1 year ago

What ‘eye watering’ levels of subsidy go into air travel? The vast majority of airlines are private enterprises that live or die on their own success. Trains are buses are generally subsidised.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

You have to build the infrastructure first, and make it attractive to use a bike rather than a car, and then, and only then, can you put other measures in place to reduce car journeys.

Couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve felt for a long time that our transport infrastructure is provided on contention such that it makes the various users of it hate all the other users of it rather than the provision.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Here in the States, we’ve become largely unable to construct public transportation. Close to a billion was spent on a monorail in California that was never completed; In NYC, a subway line that had been planned for 70 years was recently finished, at a cost of over a billion USD per mile. The final cost of the new Lexington Ave line, including subway stops and everything else, was well over a trillion.

This is because our many layers of government and countless competing activists disrupt or destroy the actual construction process. Environmentalists insist every inch must be exhaustively studied for, and mitigated against, harm to plants or animals. Unions insist on huge numbers of unnecessary, overpaid workers. Identity warriors insist on hiring for gender, race, or ethnicity, rather than competence, and various other cronies demand their vigorish before a single jackhammer can pierce the bedrock.

My own city, Boston, recently electrified its school bus fleet. On chilly mornings these buses of course won’t run, so privately owned bus fleets belching diesel must fill the gap. Tens of millions were spent on transport that simply doesn’t work.

Public transport, much like solar panels (Solyndra) and windmills (Texas power outages) simply doesn’t work in the USA. This is largely because the people in charge of such projects have little real experience in the private sector, are beholden to equally out of touch and impractical activist groups, and view the public coffers as bottomless wells for personal enrichment. The actual transportation of human beings to their various destinations is largely besides the point, which is why public transportation – at least in most of the USA – fails.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
1 year ago

I should add, I personally enjoy biking for recreation.

Insofar as a viable means of transport, I can only respond with one argument – February, a month where one is often immobilized without snowplows.

I suppose cross country skiing is an option, if one has the fitness to carry groceries on one’s back for a few miles.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
11 months ago

And doesn’t need that many groceries.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
11 months ago

Before returning to freeze to death in one’s heat pump equipped home..with gas and wood burning alike outlawed.
LTNs and ULEZ sit inside that much wider context of making life more difficult and miserable while doing nothing truly effective to actually address global warming.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
11 months ago

And doesn’t need that many groceries.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
11 months ago

Before returning to freeze to death in one’s heat pump equipped home..with gas and wood burning alike outlawed.
LTNs and ULEZ sit inside that much wider context of making life more difficult and miserable while doing nothing truly effective to actually address global warming.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

QED Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
1 year ago

I should add, I personally enjoy biking for recreation.

Insofar as a viable means of transport, I can only respond with one argument – February, a month where one is often immobilized without snowplows.

I suppose cross country skiing is an option, if one has the fitness to carry groceries on one’s back for a few miles.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

QED Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

The UK has dreadful infrastructure, whether that be for drivers, cyclists, people using trains and (apart from the new parts of Heathrow) airports too. People are like rats in a sack fighting for space. The two additional things that need to change are the concept of ‘road tax’ giving motorists the idea that they own the road, and public cycle storage so that it might still be there when you return to it (in lieu of having proper law and order because that seems a stretch for the UK).

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

John Galt would not have thought much to your suggestions

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

John Galt would not have thought much to your suggestions

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Yes. One of the advantages of cycling is that unlike roads cycle routes don’t need to be continuous to be useful. Cyclists are capable of getting off our bikes and pushing them across awkward junctions. New routes could be made fairly cheaply though cemeteries and industrial parks by simply knocking holes in fences and walls. This is far more sensible than pinching roadspace with cycle lanes. Roads have to be constructed to take 42 ton lorries whereas a bike can run on six inches of tarmac.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
11 months ago
Reply to  odd taff

I do hate the thought of crowds of cyclists and cycle traffic jams. One of the nice things about bicycle commuting is there weren’t that many of us!

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
11 months ago
Reply to  odd taff

I do hate the thought of crowds of cyclists and cycle traffic jams. One of the nice things about bicycle commuting is there weren’t that many of us!

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Here in the States, we’ve become largely unable to construct public transportation. Close to a billion was spent on a monorail in California that was never completed; In NYC, a subway line that had been planned for 70 years was recently finished, at a cost of over a billion USD per mile. The final cost of the new Lexington Ave line, including subway stops and everything else, was well over a trillion.

This is because our many layers of government and countless competing activists disrupt or destroy the actual construction process. Environmentalists insist every inch must be exhaustively studied for, and mitigated against, harm to plants or animals. Unions insist on huge numbers of unnecessary, overpaid workers. Identity warriors insist on hiring for gender, race, or ethnicity, rather than competence, and various other cronies demand their vigorish before a single jackhammer can pierce the bedrock.

My own city, Boston, recently electrified its school bus fleet. On chilly mornings these buses of course won’t run, so privately owned bus fleets belching diesel must fill the gap. Tens of millions were spent on transport that simply doesn’t work.

Public transport, much like solar panels (Solyndra) and windmills (Texas power outages) simply doesn’t work in the USA. This is largely because the people in charge of such projects have little real experience in the private sector, are beholden to equally out of touch and impractical activist groups, and view the public coffers as bottomless wells for personal enrichment. The actual transportation of human beings to their various destinations is largely besides the point, which is why public transportation – at least in most of the USA – fails.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Vanbarner
John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

The UK has dreadful infrastructure, whether that be for drivers, cyclists, people using trains and (apart from the new parts of Heathrow) airports too. People are like rats in a sack fighting for space. The two additional things that need to change are the concept of ‘road tax’ giving motorists the idea that they own the road, and public cycle storage so that it might still be there when you return to it (in lieu of having proper law and order because that seems a stretch for the UK).

odd taff
odd taff
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

Yes. One of the advantages of cycling is that unlike roads cycle routes don’t need to be continuous to be useful. Cyclists are capable of getting off our bikes and pushing them across awkward junctions. New routes could be made fairly cheaply though cemeteries and industrial parks by simply knocking holes in fences and walls. This is far more sensible than pinching roadspace with cycle lanes. Roads have to be constructed to take 42 ton lorries whereas a bike can run on six inches of tarmac.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Spot on. If the eye watering levels of subsidy that go into air travel (for example) were applied to public transport then it could be improved to point at which it would make less sense to drive.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

You have to build the infrastructure first, and make it attractive to use a bike rather than a car, and then, and only then, can you put other measures in place to reduce car journeys.

Couldn’t agree more with this. I’ve felt for a long time that our transport infrastructure is provided on contention such that it makes the various users of it hate all the other users of it rather than the provision.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

I use a car and a bike. I live in a city. I support more use of bikes and feet rather than cars. But LTNs and ULEZ and everything else is too much stick, not enough carrot.

Birmingham introduced cycle lanes along some of the main arterial routes, with proper infrastructure and gates. I now cycle into town almost every time, whereas before I would have been reticent about sharing the road with cars whilst I was on a bike. This was after 20+ years of not being on a bike.

You have to build the infrastructure first, and make it attractive to use a bike rather than a car, and then, and only then, can you put other measures in place to reduce car journeys.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
1 year ago

Our councils and planners have spent the best part of 20 years handing out planning permission to poorly designed out of town retail parks and drive thru fast food outlets. All this, while cutting back on bus services at the same time.

The jobs created are those with unsocialable hours, where a private car is essential and a newish car let alone an electric one is simply unafforable.

Care workers are having enough trouble finding parking spaces in residential areas as some commuters are parking their cars there to avoid paying for expensive parking (at railway stations) or or limited spaces at their place of work.

We are governed by idiots.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Agree with much of that AR.
Here’s one though – hospitals always had staff needing to work unsocial hours, and car usage in the past was much less. I mean most families had 1 car at best. So how did these people get to work? Probably walked, cycled, or on the bus/train. Now they drive. People prefer it, but we then don’t personally have to pay the externality costs generated.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I suppose back then people simply lived much closer to work when there was much less development, and a society that wasn’t geared towards the car or perhaps more importantly to an all round 24/7 high churn service economy that now has a much larger/aging population (just my opinion).

.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

In our town the hospital was in the town centre. Recently relocated to out of town. The car parking was intentionally sized to be too little to encourage bus usage. It did not work. The car park was extended at 3x the cost of having built it the right size in the first place.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I suppose back then people simply lived much closer to work when there was much less development, and a society that wasn’t geared towards the car or perhaps more importantly to an all round 24/7 high churn service economy that now has a much larger/aging population (just my opinion).

.

Guy Pigache
Guy Pigache
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

In our town the hospital was in the town centre. Recently relocated to out of town. The car parking was intentionally sized to be too little to encourage bus usage. It did not work. The car park was extended at 3x the cost of having built it the right size in the first place.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Raiment

Agree with much of that AR.
Here’s one though – hospitals always had staff needing to work unsocial hours, and car usage in the past was much less. I mean most families had 1 car at best. So how did these people get to work? Probably walked, cycled, or on the bus/train. Now they drive. People prefer it, but we then don’t personally have to pay the externality costs generated.

Andrew Raiment
Andrew Raiment
1 year ago

Our councils and planners have spent the best part of 20 years handing out planning permission to poorly designed out of town retail parks and drive thru fast food outlets. All this, while cutting back on bus services at the same time.

The jobs created are those with unsocialable hours, where a private car is essential and a newish car let alone an electric one is simply unafforable.

Care workers are having enough trouble finding parking spaces in residential areas as some commuters are parking their cars there to avoid paying for expensive parking (at railway stations) or or limited spaces at their place of work.

We are governed by idiots.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

I’ve cycled to work all my adult life because it’s the easiest way of negotiating the mean streets of South London.
Some motorists behave like morons, but so do some cyclists.
However, there are a third more cars on the road than there were 30 years ago and a lot of them are massive 4x4s.
I agree with the author that LTNs and other schemes like this are not the solution, but they’re not the main reason you’re stuck in traffic.
Even before they were introduced South London was a massive, ugly gridlocked car park.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Butcher
Stuart Sutherland
Stuart Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I agree with you. There two sides to this story. Too often the argument is from the viewpoint of the motorists. If you’re trying to cross inner cities by bicycle or public transport it’s quite a challenge. Cities and towns weren’t originally designed for motor vehicles, especially the oversized vehicles that pass for family saloons these days!

Stuart Sutherland
Stuart Sutherland
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

I agree with you. There two sides to this story. Too often the argument is from the viewpoint of the motorists. If you’re trying to cross inner cities by bicycle or public transport it’s quite a challenge. Cities and towns weren’t originally designed for motor vehicles, especially the oversized vehicles that pass for family saloons these days!

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

I’ve cycled to work all my adult life because it’s the easiest way of negotiating the mean streets of South London.
Some motorists behave like morons, but so do some cyclists.
However, there are a third more cars on the road than there were 30 years ago and a lot of them are massive 4x4s.
I agree with the author that LTNs and other schemes like this are not the solution, but they’re not the main reason you’re stuck in traffic.
Even before they were introduced South London was a massive, ugly gridlocked car park.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Butcher
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

I guess the LTN are part driven by locals not wanting their streets used as rat runs? Inevitable that’ll have some opposed and other supporting. But the issue is caused by too much car traffic overall. Some of dealing with that is about alternatives including building the cycling/walking infrastructure first.
But ever been to a school near drop off time these days? Gridlock and fumes pumping out. What are we doing? Who got a lift to school when we were that age? (I’m a boomer and guess many Unherd readers similar). So some of this is about what we’ve normalised which probably also plays into other impacts on children – obesity perhaps, even just the social skills to navigate yourself to school on time.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I walk past such a school on the way to work. I’ve actually been nearly doored on several occasions by kids jumping out of a car using the footway as a drop off.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I walk past such a school on the way to work. I’ve actually been nearly doored on several occasions by kids jumping out of a car using the footway as a drop off.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Dalton
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

I guess the LTN are part driven by locals not wanting their streets used as rat runs? Inevitable that’ll have some opposed and other supporting. But the issue is caused by too much car traffic overall. Some of dealing with that is about alternatives including building the cycling/walking infrastructure first.
But ever been to a school near drop off time these days? Gridlock and fumes pumping out. What are we doing? Who got a lift to school when we were that age? (I’m a boomer and guess many Unherd readers similar). So some of this is about what we’ve normalised which probably also plays into other impacts on children – obesity perhaps, even just the social skills to navigate yourself to school on time.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

If they try these where I live I will definitely be going out to buy some spray paint, super glue, expanding foam, etc. It is so exciting being part of the counter culture. Fight the power!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

If they try these where I live I will definitely be going out to buy some spray paint, super glue, expanding foam, etc. It is so exciting being part of the counter culture. Fight the power!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Interesting and powerful comparison to the Cutteslowe Walls.

I was surprised that a poll found 58% of Londoners supported LTNs. I hit the link to the Forbes article. It was so poorly written and organized, I gave up trying to understand it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Interesting and powerful comparison to the Cutteslowe Walls.

I was surprised that a poll found 58% of Londoners supported LTNs. I hit the link to the Forbes article. It was so poorly written and organized, I gave up trying to understand it.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

Two funny axioms leap to mind: “Pedestrians hate motorists, and motorists hate pedestrians, but everyone hates cyclists” and “ Not every *sshole owns a BMW, but every BMW owner is an *sshole”.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 year ago

And that in turn reminds me of a joke: What’s the difference between a porcupine and a BMW?

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 year ago

And that in turn reminds me of a joke: What’s the difference between a porcupine and a BMW?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

Two funny axioms leap to mind: “Pedestrians hate motorists, and motorists hate pedestrians, but everyone hates cyclists” and “ Not every *sshole owns a BMW, but every BMW owner is an *sshole”.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago

A thoroughly confused article – what the f… are “europhile supporters of LTNs” when they are at home? How did Brexit creep into the LTN debate.
It’s just typical petty local politicians who get a bit of power and want to bully people.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? These are the people who admire everything about the way Europe does things. Europe has LTNs, so they want Britain to have LTNs.

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? These are the people who admire everything about the way Europe does things. Europe has LTNs, so they want Britain to have LTNs.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago

A thoroughly confused article – what the f… are “europhile supporters of LTNs” when they are at home? How did Brexit creep into the LTN debate.
It’s just typical petty local politicians who get a bit of power and want to bully people.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

The Cutteslowe Wall was in North Oxford – not East Oxford! Facts matter.

The location in North Oxford was most of the reason why the wall was built, and most of the story at the time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

The Cutteslowe Wall was in North Oxford – not East Oxford! Facts matter.

The location in North Oxford was most of the reason why the wall was built, and most of the story at the time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
1 year ago

Cambridge now has some quite decent cycle lanes on most main roads coming into the city and it does encourage the cyclist.

Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
1 year ago

Cambridge now has some quite decent cycle lanes on most main roads coming into the city and it does encourage the cyclist.