Agenda item


            The Chairperson introduced Ms. Z. Hawa, Ms A. Madden and Ms. P. Mansour, representing Sustrans, to the Committee and they were admitted to the meeting.


            Ms. Madden provided an overview of the work which had been undertaken by Sustrans in relation to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN).


            She advised that the Connectivity, Active, and Sustainable Travel Working Group draft action plan, which was currently out for consultation, included co-design, place based active travel initiatives to encourage walking, wheeling and cycling, together with a goal to develop and implement two exemplar initiatives in line with the Eastern Transport Plan (previously the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan).


            She highlighted that Belfast regularly appeared in the top 5 most congested cities in the UK, costing the Belfast economy £102m in 2022, and more than a third of Belfast households did not have a car, yet suffered the impact of air and noise pollution, road safety concerns and pavement parking in their neighbourhoods.


            She outlined the transformative powers and benefits of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in creating modal shifts, via:


        An alternative, holistic approach;

        Local trips would be walked instead of driven;

        Every property could still be accessed by car, but they might have to travel a bit further;

        Multiple modal filters would make it impossible to drive straight through the area, as each property accessed from 1 boundary road. Lots of streets would become quiet and safe to walk / cycle, traffic stays on main roads, which were designed to manage flow and driving short trips becomes less convenient; and

        A public health tool.


            Ms. Hawa and Ms. Mansour described how Belfast could approach LTN design through: Street classification; Cell Definition; Filter Placement; Considerations; and Boundary Road Measures but that this must be done in tandem with the Department for Infrastructure, and that DfI will ultimately have the statutory authority to approve, and to deliver LTN’s. Ms. Mansour pointed out that Sustrans was undertaking a demonstration project area in the Holylands, working with the residents to redesign the area in a street led survey and a co-design workshop, culminating in a street closure day in September with cycling and walking related activities and installation of temporary design solutions with the community.


            The representatives explained the key elements of LTN delivery and highlighted that the success was dependent on looking beyond boundary roads and complementary measures, deep engagement, robust monitoring and communication, prioritising need, and political will.


            During discussion, the representatives answered a range of questions in relation to consultation with the Department for Infrastructure and businesses, funding and the process to implement LTNs and its link to the Eastern Transport Plan, the need for buy-in from road users for LTNs to be successful, and the health benefits, together with the need for a school streets initiative in Northern Ireland,


            Ms. Madden highlighted the resource research links within the presentation slides and advised that they would welcome any further questions and opportunities to present to the Council on the issue.


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development advised that public engagement for the Eastern Transport Plan, which had been presented to the Committee in June, would commence on 4th September and Members might wish to provide feedback to the Department for Infrastructure.


            She pointed out that the Connectivity, Active, and Sustainable Travel Working Group had been established under the City Development Board of the Belfast Agenda.


            She reminded the Committee that the issues raised could be discussed further at the forthcoming All Party Round Table on Connectivity, Active and Sustainable Travel.


            After discussion, the Chairperson thanked the representatives for their attendance and they retired from the meeting.


            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.


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