Pedestrian and cycle safety in Brent should be prioritised urge campaigners
PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 October 2019
Brent ranks among London's worst local authorities for the number of residents who choose to walk and cycle - and campaigners say it's partly because the roads are so dangerous.
Brent Cycling Campaign (BCC) reckons the council has the power to create safer spaces as it controls 95pc of the roads - the rest are run by TfL.
Three pedestrians were killed on Brent's streets last year, according to data from TfL; 47 had serious injuries and a further 160 had slight injuries.
And crashes caused 83 cycling injuries, though that figure is down compared with previous years.
In June the council launched a "School Streets" pilot to ease congestion around Harlesden and Wykeham primary schools. Motorists who drive in peak hours down the residential streets in which the schools are situated will be fined.
"We fully support the Schools Streets programme, which is one step in the right direction," said BCC coordinator Sylvia Gauthereau. "However, much more needs to be done.
"There are places in Brent where it is actually scary to walk or cycle - places that have been built around motor vehicles with little thought afforded to everyone else."
Her group wants the council to use its power to put in place Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) - schemes like the "mini-Holland" project in Waltham Forest - to block off roads to through traffic and keep them just for residents' cars.
Supporters say this both makes the streets safer and more pleasant, and cuts pollution.
"LTNs are fairly cheap to do and highly effective in improving people's mental and physical health, reducing road danger and making our streets more pleasant for everyone," Sylvia added.
London Cycling Campaign has been working on a "London Boroughs Healthy Streets Scorecard" where Brent scored a "rather poor" 3.7 out of 10. City of London came top with 8.7, followed by Tower Hamlets, 7.6, and Camden scoring 7.1
Inactivity in the borough was high, with Brent 26th out of 33 local authorities in the capital for people choosing to walk regularly, and third worst in terms of how many choose to cycle.
"Brent consistently fails to remove rat-running traffic from residential roads, coming 24th out of 33 for this easy to implement and highly effective measure," said Sylvia.
She added: "We would like to see more thought put into long-term solutions.
"Electric vehicles are certainly welcome within the context of pollution, but they do not remove road danger and risk worsening transport inequality."
A council spokesperson said the town hall was "working hard" to make Brent a cycle-friendly borough.
"Money is being allocated to local road safety improvements and projects to remove the barriers to walking and cycling in Brent, and support healthy neighbourhoods," they said.