Despite a loud opposing minority, low-traffic neighbourhoods are increasingly popular
YouGov poll found positive views on LTNs are three times higher than negative ones
They are not purely, or even mainly, about cycling, but the row about low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), – where some residential streets are closed to through motor traffic – epitomises broader attitudes in the UK towards safer, more human-friendly streets.
And amid the daily froth of sometimes entirely false stories about LTNs closing roads, or slowing emergency service response times, one thing is often forgotten: these schemes tend to be very popular.
This is shown by new YouGov polling, commissioned by Greenpeace and shared with the Guardian, which found that where people had opinions on LTNs, positive views were more than three times more prevalent than negative ones.
The nationwide polling, carried out earlier this month, found 26% of people said they strongly supported LTNs, and 31% would “tend” to. In contrast, 8% strongly opposed them, and the same number tended to. That left more than a quarter of people who either didn’t know, or were neutral.
Arguably even more notable was another element of the poll, where people were given a list of seven possible changes to local transport, and asked to pick the two they found most important.
While the most popular choice was fewer potholes, picked as one of the options by 48% of people, 21% wanted more cycle routes, and 34% opted for reduced road traffic. Just 8% supported extra roads being built.
What does all this mean? It means – and I fully accept this is easy for me to say, never having stood for elected office in my life – that MPs and councillors who welcomed moves to boost walking and cycling amid the first peak of coronavirus should maybe see the angry cries of people who oppose LTNs in context.
I've seen this done in more touristy areas (Williamsburg, VA and St. Augustine, FL specifically) but it demands a decent sized parking lot(s) nearby for all the foot traffic. As to a residential area....not seeing it. Then again, owning a car (sense of independence & freedom) is ingrained in the psyche of Americans (of my generation and older) such that NOT having a car is somewhat absurd. While America has a large population of city dwellers who neither own nor operate vehicles, and rely primarily on public transport, the idea of living in a city somewhat forces the requirement to not have a vehicle (cost prohibitive to own, insure, and store a vehicle you use seldom throughout the year). Besides, those people are weird and I won't talk to them.
Back to the OP, I can see a desire for LTN in more suburban areas or in near-city areas as a choice of the citizenry rather than a social requirement (living in big cities) so long as general needs can be met (stores, grocery, etc) But, it's going to require the residents to be of a certain mindset, and be accepting the inconvenience that creates should you have to commute for work and such.
Interesting concept. Certainly not one I'd choose. /Arrogant_American
they tried traffic calming measures (e.g. chicanes) on through roads here and they worked for those streets but the traffic ended up being redistributed to parallel routes so it's a bit of a failure of urban planning.
the only real roadways success i've seen here in the past 20 years has been installing roundabouts and now, finally, they're starting to see the wisdom in bus lanes.
While America has a large population of city dwellers who neither own nor operate vehicles, and rely primarily on public transport, the idea of living in a city somewhat forces the requirement to not have a vehicle
A neighborhood where someone doesn’t need an automobile is an excellent option for senior citizens. One of my relatives who definitely should not be driving lives in one and can still live a full life. It’s great.
Yeah in general this is something that's likely to resonate with or be understood most strongly by people who live in more densely populated and older settlements in Europe/Asia, with their tiny winding densely networked streets, and also in a few older densely populated urban cores in the US (probably mostly bits of BosWash and Chicago). Plus there's a much stronger walking and cycling culture outside North America, whereas most US folks I know will drive or taxi even tiny distances rather than walk.
The problem is, in American cities it would also require building parking lots adjacent to major arteries and then providing new transit options otherwise people will feel a bit extorted having to pay road fees when there's no reasonable alternatives.