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"Disneyland" wavy traffic-calming kerbs branded "woke vanity project" by furious doctor... but council insists it will create safe cycle route

Residents including an opera singer aren't impressed, but Islington Council says the changes will boost active travel, reduce driving speeds and keep pedestrians safe...

A council in north London is implementing a novel approach to traffic calming, building a wavy kerb to slow vehicles and make the street a safer route for active travel.

The construction, described as a "new anti-car measure" by the MailOnline and like "Disneyland" and a "woke vanity project" by one enraged resident, is being introduced following a public consultation last summer in which 23 per cent of respondents offered a "full objection" to the plans versus 28 per cent who offered "full support".

Islington Council believes the scheme will "improve" Charlton Place and Camden Passage, restricting traffic during school run hours as part of a low traffic neighbourhood, banning lorries over 3.5 tonnes, offering new seating and planting, a redesigned carriageway to "increase pedestrian safety" and creating a "safer cycle route".

And while the Mail says the changes come "despite" nearly a quarter of local residents strongly disagreeing with the plans, they come with the support of an even larger proportion (28 per cent).

From the consultation, where the 209 respondents could agree with as many statements as they felt applied to them, 62 per cent expressed positive thoughts while 57 expressed negative some level of negative comment. The highest supported option, full support for the scheme, attracted 28 per cent.

Charlton Place consultation (Islington Council)

 

Also shown in the consultation is that 47 per cent of non-car owners offered full support for the scheme versus just 11 per cent of car owners. Likewise, just nine per cent of non-car owners offered full objection to the scheme versus 26 per cent of car owners.

Despite the consultation suggesting support for the scheme, speaking to the Mail some of Charlton Place's residents, which include a doctor, Royal Ballet conductor, professional opera singer, writer and other medical professionals, have hit out at the plans, one resident calling it the council's "woke vanity project".

Trevor Turner, a 74-year-old doctor who lives on the road, says he is "f***** off" by the plans, specifically losing resident parking spots.

"We asked for more local parking spots for residents, but they didn't give us any," he said. "They have actually reduced the residents' parking spots, so we feel a bit f***ed off. They wanted to make it more accessible for cyclists, who come hammering down. The traffic on nearby roads is monstrous, and we still have to go through all these roads to get here. I have no idea what the curve is about. I guess it's to slow people down, but it won't slow down the cyclists.

"It's a woke vanity project and it doesn't reduce traffic at all."

Another resident said the curved kerb "looks like Disneyland" and is a "waste of money", while her friend suggested it is "not sensible or even practical" and "looks like la-la land now".

> Anti-cycle lane campaigners conga along seafront to protest new "Mickey Mouse" road layout

Professional opera singer Susan Daniel, who the Mail says lives in a £2.5 million terraced house, said the restrictions are "inappropriate" and suggested an ANPR camera to catch drivers breaking the rules would be the "beginning of surveillance".

Islington Council defended the "high-quality improvements" and said they will "make the local area greener and healthier for local people and traders".

"The changes will help attract more visitors and bring more footfall to local businesses, which include many unique shops, as well as outdoor markets and cafes," the council said.

"There will be new seating and planting on Charlton Place to create a pleasant, inviting area for local people to sit, rest and chat outside.

"The redesigned carriageway at Charlton Place aims to increase pedestrian safety by reducing the speeds of vehicles approaching the junction with Camden Passage. We consulted local residents and businesses on the proposals last summer, receiving more than 200 responses. We took feedback on board and made changes to the scheme."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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33 comments

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wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
7 likes
Quote:

And while the Mail says the changes come "despite" nearly a quarter of local residents strongly disagreeing with the plans, they come with the support of an even larger proportion (28 per cent).

Imagine their shock when they find out a major change to the entire country was carried out despite 48% of the electorate disagreeing.

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hawkinspeter replied to wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
5 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

Imagine their shock when they find out a major change to the entire country was carried out despite 48% of the electorate disagreeing.

Yeah, but that was just a small change and didn't at all remove easy European travel from young people that had no say in it.

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eburtthebike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

Yeah, but that was just a small change and didn't at all remove easy European travel from young people that had no say in it.

More to the point, it didn't remove the ability to travel for the owners and editors of the mail.

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Rich_cb replied to wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
5 likes

They'll be even more shocked to find out you can get a parliamentary majority of 67 on just 35% of the vote (2005).

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
8 likes

I think we are well on the way to the word "woke" migrating into a compliment meaning thoughtful, caring and considerate.

I think all well-meaning people should adopt it and use it with pride. I would certainly be pleased to be considered "woke".

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Mungecrundle replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
8 likes

I have always considered 'woke' to mean being aware of how other people's life experiences differ from your own and that being aware of that leads to better outcomes for more people.

Examples: Being aware of the everyday difficulties experienced by people with disabilities. Being aware that you may well have enjoyed unconscious privilege in your own life. Being aware of issues that affect other groups.

The flipside of this is that I also expect some allowance for my many ignorances and to be allowed to ask what might be considered naive questions without the other party taking offence or more likely someone else taking offence on their behalf. Example, the difference between "person of colour" or "coloured person". Being woke requires you to do more than complain about political correctness if you use the wrong term but to actually understand what the difference between those terms mean.

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JustTryingToGet... replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
4 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

I have always considered 'woke' to mean being aware of how other people's life experiences differ from your own and that being aware of that leads to better outcomes for more people.

Examples: Being aware of the everyday difficulties experienced by people with disabilities. Being aware that you may well have enjoyed unconscious privilege in your own life. Being aware of issues that affect other groups.

The flipside of this is that I also expect some allowance for my many ignorances and to be allowed to ask what might be considered naive questions without the other party taking offence or more likely someone else taking offence on their behalf. Example, the difference between "person of colour" or "coloured person". Being woke requires you to do more than complain about political correctness if you use the wrong term but to actually understand what the difference between those terms mean.

If you look at the way the word woke is used as a perjorative, and the individuals/organisations that use pejorative this supports your definition.

It is typically used as a pejorative towards people demonstrating consideration towards others, and it's used as a code word to "other" people and/or issues.

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Rendel Harris replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
8 likes
IanMSpencer wrote:

I think we are well on the way to the word "woke" migrating into a compliment meaning thoughtful, caring and considerate. I think all well-meaning people should adopt it and use it with pride. I would certainly be pleased to be considered "woke".

A present from a friend last birthday, very much worn with pride:

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
2 likes

Nice!  Particularly like the avocado eye!  Only missing a CND / extinction rebellion symbol.

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IanMK replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
4 likes

Not as good but this arrived yesterday

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vthejk replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
4 likes

As a teacher (and amateur pedant), I like to occasionally point out to kids that they're actually saying someone is 'awake,' therefore alert and aware of people's needs.

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Rendel Harris replied to vthejk | 1 year ago
3 likes
vthejk wrote:

As a teacher (and amateur pedant), I like to occasionally point out to kids that they're actually saying someone is 'awake,' therefore alert and aware of people's needs.

Very good, along the same lines I enjoy pointing out to people that if they're saying I'm politically correct they surely must be admitting that they are politically wrong.

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Brauchsel replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

If we're doing pedantry, I like to remind people of the etymological fallacy

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Rendel Harris replied to Brauchsel | 1 year ago
1 like
Brauchsel wrote:

If we're doing pedantry, I like to remind people of the etymological fallacy

Yeah, I don't actually think that people who call other people politically correct are admitting that they are politically incorrect, it's just a good way of annoying them.

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Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
8 likes

If you cannot appeal to the common decency of giving up some car use for a better local environment, then maybe you can appeal to the basic Gammon / NIMBY preoccupation with the value of their houses?

Just the first article I came across and would be mildly interested if this is repeated in other low traffic neighbourhoods. This is from a blog by Savills Estate Agents dated Feb 2021.

"Evidence from low-traffic neighbourhoods in London’s Waltham Forest reveals house prices have increased at a greater rate compared with the wider local authority.

Four low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been in place across the borough since 2016. Comparing the pound per square foot (£psf) values of homes inside the four LTNs with those in the rest of Waltham Forest, we can see that property prices have risen. Indexing average £psf values versus their 2016 average shows that in Q2 2020, values in LTNs had increased by 4 per cent over and above those outside (11 per cent vs 7 per cent)."

Before and after LTN picture, same road in Waltham Forest.

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wycombewheeler replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
1 like
Mungecrundle wrote:

 maybe you can appeal to the basic Gammon / NIMBY preoccupation with the value of their houses? ... "Evidence from low-traffic neighbourhoods in London’s Waltham Forest reveals house prices have increased at a greater rate compared with the wider local authority. .

When you consider the largest objection to LTNs come from those surrounding the LTNs rather than those living within them, everything makes more sense.

Not only will their journeys through neighbouring areas be disrupted, but also their house will not gain as much value.

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chrisonabike replied to wycombewheeler | 1 year ago
0 likes

Yup - that appeared to be shown in the study (see link posted by Awavey).  Residents themselves were split down the middle with lots of specific queries, people from further away were positive (if it had been a major cut through for them I guess that would change), but those in surrounding streets definitely weren't keen.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 year ago
6 likes

What a surprise - the Daily Mail stirring up culture wars. 

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JustTryingToGet... replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 year ago
4 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

What a surprise - the Daily Mail stirring up culture wars. 

A paper from arseholes filled with hate for arseholes filled with hate.

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OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
8 likes

The opera singer can cry me a river.

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Awavey | 1 year ago
2 likes

the full consultation report is worth reading, that (sort of) bar chart was actually comprised from free text comment responses that they then collated together and grouped into similar chunks of opinion. But where the respondents lived who responded in those ways is perhaps the more enlightening chart to go with it.

https://www.islington.gov.uk/-/media/sharepoint-lists/public-records/tra...

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Rich_cb replied to Awavey | 1 year ago
1 like

Indeed. Although it also has to be pointed out that car owners were very much over represented in the 2 most proximal groups.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
1 like

Interesting to see a rather high percentage of walking (but then I'm not familiar with London...)

Kind of as expected - people with cars not being keen on measures which might negatively affect them.  Also apparently the residents are more likely to own a car than the borough average (I don't understand the percentages in figure 15 though).

Charlton Place Consultation Report wrote:

Almost half of respondents (48%) stated their household owned one car. Non-car owners were 44%.

...

Respondents who stated they live in the area or within the borough have higher car ownership levels than the borough average of 29% of Islington households with access to a car or a van (LTDS, 2019). There is a significant proportion of cars owners that live on a road near Camden Passage, and this could be related to residents using the parking bays located at Charlton Place. The graph in figure 15 shows all responses received

...

Figure 18 shows that respondents who own a car are more likely to object to the proposal than those who are car-free. Car-free respondents have the biggest proportion which fully support the proposed improvements (51%), but also mentioned that they would like more improvement in the public realm (14%). For those who own a car, the largest proportions were the full objection of the proposal (39%) and the full-time traffic filter (26%).

People didn't actually have too many things they objected to!  However, strangely the main issues seemed to be connected:

Charlton Place Consultation Report wrote:

What participants dislike more about Charlton Place were: a) nothing or no response (35%); b) motor traffic (pollution, speed and noise, 18%); c) a narrow & uneven pavement (8%); and d) too much parking (double parking, cars, people waiting in their cars, add yellow line, 9%).

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ubercurmudgeon | 1 year ago
9 likes

For once, this may actually be an appropriate use of the word "woke". Because surely part of the point of these sort of street designs is to ensure motorists are awake while using them, and alert to their surroundings instead of obliviously driving with half their attention on their satnav, or searching for a parking space.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
12 likes

"They wanted to make it more accessible for cyclists, who come hammering down. The traffic on nearby roads is monstrous, and we still have to go through all these roads to get here."

Do the cyclists go faster than the cars?  No, thought not.  The irony of someone pointing out that the traffic is monstrous, while objecting to a scheme to reduce it, is delicious.

"Professional opera singer Susan Daniel, who the Mail says lives in a £2.5 million terraced house, said the restrictions are "inappropriate" and suggested an ANPR camera to catch drivers breaking the rules would be the "beginning of surveillance"."

The entitlement!  Sing your heart out baby, change is gonna come.  Try "The Times They are a Changin'" by Bob Dylan to start with.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90WD_ats6eE

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BalladOfStruth replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
12 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

"They wanted to make it more accessible for cyclists, who come hammering down. The traffic on nearby roads is monstrous, and we still have to go through all these roads to get here."

Do the cyclists go faster than the cars?  No, thought not. 

Cyclists get constant shit for going "too fast" when they're doing (at best) two thirds of the speed a car would be. I see it constantly in comments on dashcam/helmet cam videos.

Apparently 15kg of bicycle at 20mph is dangerous but 1800kg of car at 30mph is fine. The lack of self awareness with some motorists is crazy.

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jaymack replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
4 likes

...if only Bob could sing. Still, she's going to have to get used to the fact that a hard rain's gonna fall. 

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eburtthebike replied to jaymack | 1 year ago
1 like
jaymack wrote:

...if only Bob could sing. Still, she's going to have to get used to the fact that a hard rain's gonna fall. 

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4HW33SgZlM

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
2 likes

Pedant hat [on] "Islington Council believes the scheme will "improve" Charlton Place and Camden Passage, restricting traffic during school run hours as part of a low traffic neighbourhood, banning lorries over 3.5 tonnes, offering new seating and planting, a redesigned carriageway to "increase pedestrian safety" and creating a "safer cycle route"."

What's with all the random quote marks?  Almost as bad as random apostrophes and just as wrong and annoying.

Pedant hat [off]

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STiG911 | 1 year ago
9 likes

'This is a Woke project, we want more space for our cars!!!' Said the world biggest babies, yesterday.

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