The evidence is in: low-traffic neighbourhoods are popular | Julian Bell | The Guardian
Wed 2 Jun 2021
Are measures to make streets safe for walking and cycling unpopular? Are they vote-losers? Have we failed to take communities with us – and will we, as local politicians, pay the price?
As a former Labour leader of Ealing council in west London, I was at the heart of this debate. The low-traffic neighbourhood schemes we installed in my borough, using cameras to stop rat-running in more than a hundred streets, caused a row noisy even by the standards of cycling scheme rows. Demonstrators marched to the council offices with “Julian Bell – end this hell” placards. The “Bell” and the “end” were placed together to make a further well-loved phrase.
The infrastructure was vandalised. I was accused of not consulting or listening to people’s views – though the schemes, as trials, were themselves consultations. The schemes were often labelled “unpopular” and “controversial” in the local press.