We have loved getting to know each other in our little bit of Leighton Road, but we know that there are limits to what we can achieve alone.
Without changes in wider transport policy and traffic management, we will continue to be affected by poor air quality and the incessant noise of cars and lorries. High volumes of traffic also represent a threat to our community. There is strong evidence from around the world that traffic gets in the way of us getting to know each other. Communities are ‘severed’.
While we have done our best to overcome the barriers to getting to know more of our neighbours in the road, we know that it’s not enough. That’s why we worked with Kentish Town Community Centre to convene a bigger conversation about how we could start to reimagine our neighbourhood more broadly. On 27th November, we convened ~30 people representing local businesses, health services, schools, other community groups and Camden Council to ask “What would it mean for you if we could reclaim some of our public spaces from cars?”
We had a rich and diverse conversation. For some it was about their children feeling safer and healthier. For others, the pleasure of being able to enjoy more plants and perhaps hear more birdsong. Local businesses could also see opportunities from more local shopping.
That evening’s conversation is feeding into Camden Council’s consultation on Healthy Streets in Kentish Town, which gives us an opportunity to radically rethink the way we use the public space currently devoted to cars. We will continue to work closely with the Council as that initiative unfolds, pushing for a high ambition outcome.
Our goal is to stop cars being pushed along Torriano Avenue and then along Leighton and Brecknock Roads as they make their way to Kings Cross and the M1. We then want to reclaim that space, creating spaces to sit and talk to each other, to grow things, to park our bikes….