Opponents of LTNs claim they delay emergency services – but look at the facts | The Guardian
One thing is clear: there is virtually no evidence that low-traffic neighbourhood schemes hold up emergency vehicles
Peter Walker Fri 23 Apr 2021 07.00 BST
If you were to read certain newspapers for long enough, the message would seem clear: the main cause of traffic congestion is measures to boost walking and cycling – that is, separated cycle lanes, and so-called low-traffic neighbourhoods, or LTNs.
LTNs, schemes to dissuade through traffic on smaller residential streets by filters permeable to people travelling by foot or cycle, but not by private motor vehicle – whether camera-enforced or in the physical form of planters or bollards – are at the centre of a particularly fierce transport-based culture war.
The regular focus for this is access for emergency vehicles. Stories about ambulances or fire crews supposedly held up by badly implemented or not consulted-on planters are a near-daily staple of some news outlets.
This article is an attempt to get to the facts, and in turn to use the row about emergency access as a microcosm for the wider, and often depressingly toxic, debate on LTNs. The examples and studies cited will, I’m afraid, come from London, given the recent spread of LTNs in the capital, and the resultant fact that the research tends to be focused there.