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Vandals target LTN bollards and planters less than 24 hours after trial is introduced

The six-month trial in east Oxford has been described as a “civil war” between residents and the council by anti-LTN campaigners

Bollards have been removed and planters vandalised less than 24 hours after a six-month Low Traffic Neighbourhood trial was introduced in parts of east Oxford.

Work to install three new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Oxford, in the Divinity Road, St Clement’s and St Mary’s areas, was completed on Friday.

However, the six-month trial, approved by Oxfordshire County Council in December, has been the subject of protests by opponents of the traffic reducing measures and, like a similar scheme in the Cowley area of the city, has already been vandalised.

According to the Labour councillor for Iffley Fields & St Mary’s, Damian Haywood, half of the bollards blocking vehicles from entering the selected areas have been ripped out since the LTNs were finished on Friday, while residents have used power tools in an attempt to remove the planters.

> Voters targeted on Facebook with anti-low traffic neighbourhood ads 

Amir Steve Ali, a vocal opponent of the LTNs who stood as an independent candidate for St Clement’s at the recent local elections, posted a photo of a bollard that had been ripped out on the Cowley Road and placed in one of the planters.

On an anti-LTN Facebook page, the group’s moderator commented under the photo: “More to come hopefully, hopefully it will the trend to how many can be knocked down or set on fire”.

“People are angry,” Ali said. “The only time people get angry is when people feel there is an injustice that has been done to them.

“People feel like they have no choice but to take action into their own hands. The traffic situation is a total nightmare at the moment.”

Journalist Neil Clark, who has also publicly voiced his opposition to what he calls the “anti-car movement”, praised the vandals for “taking [the] law into [their] own hands” during what he described as a “civil war” between the council and local residents.

However, Labour councillor Haywood, who has faced opposition from within his own party over the proposed LTNs, tweeted his frustration at the attempt to destroy the scheme.

“I am absolutely fed up with a culture that demands we drive everywhere and encourages vandalism to maintain this,” he wrote.

> LTN bollard replaced after vandalism disappears less than 24 hours later 

This latest act of vandalism against LTNs in Oxford comes just over two months after a bollard at the Temple Road LTN, in Cowley, was rammed off the road less than a day after it was replaced due to earlier vandalism.

A decision on the future of the LTNs in Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Park, established in March 2021, is due in July.

Despite the vocal opposition to the schemes in Oxford, many residents have demonstrated their support for the recently installed LTNs.

Green Party councillor Emily Kerr tweeted yesterday that residents have put the vast majority of bollards back in place and repaired the vandalised planters.

Kerr also tweeted this morning that she “spoke to a resident in the new East Oxford LTN last night.

“He said that he’d slept properly for the first time, without being woken up in the middle of the night by speeding cars zooming past. This is a benefit which hadn’t even occurred to me before.”

A resident who lives on one of the Temple Cowley LTNs told the Oxford Mail: “I think it’s quite brave of the council. 

“Something has to change and it’s always a difficult thing. It’s made a huge difference where I live on Oxford Road.

“It’s much safer for children playing, and so many more people are cycling.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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6 comments

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 years ago
2 likes

the council just have to repair the damage and eventually the vandals will go away. I am convinced the local residents will support the LTN and more so at the end of the trial.  

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 2 years ago
5 likes
Lukas wrote:

the council just have to repair the damage and eventually the vandals will go away. I am convinced the local residents will support the LTN and more so at the end of the trial.  

It'd be better if the police/council recognise that LTNs are likely to be vandalised and so set up a pre-emptive camera to hopefully catch the vandals and ensure that they pay for any damage caused.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

"See? Spy cameras - they're monitoring you coming and going. We told you..."

Sadly another fairly mundane but useful idea (LTNs) has been turned into a politically poisonous buzzword. So while I hope otherwise I could see councils and politicians dumping further developments of these.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 2 years ago
2 likes

"Journalist Neil Clark, who has also publicly voiced his opposition to what he calls the “anti-car movement”, praised the vandals for “taking [the] law into [their] own hands” during what he described as a “civil war” between the council and local residents."

Funny, I always thought it was journalist's job to be independent, unbiased and to report the facts, not to encourage vandalism and destruction of community property.  From what I can find about him, he's less a journalist than an extreme right wing shock jock who earns money by abusing people he doesn't like.  If he's a journalist, Putin will be getting the Nobel peace prize.

 

Amir Steve Ali appears to be cut from the same cloth:

"salam Namaste hello.lack of understanding amongst black,asian and white is dividing us,We all are human,same blood colour."

But not if you don't drive.

"Amir Steve Ali designed and paid for the flag which carries greetings and messages of peace in seven languages around a globe supported by a sea of hands of different skin tones."  His "unity flag"; only for drivers.

But he supports bigots who vandalise something because they can't tolerate having their privileges taken away because they're entitled.

“The world today is full of misunderstanding and lack of trust."  I think we understand you pretty well Amir, and I can't think of any reason, any reason at all, why we wouldn't trust you.

Still, he did get 292 votes in the local election.  I can't believe he stood as an independent, not a tory.

A final quote from the Oxford Mail, talking about his flag, nails it:

"It’s a small way of spreading love and reminding people we are all together.”

No.

Avatar
NOtotheEU replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
5 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

I always thought it was journalist's job to be independent, unbiased and to report the facts

Sadly most journalists simply spout the narrative of whoever pays the bills and report just the facts that suit them.

eburtthebike wrote:

Amir Steve Ali appears to be cut from the same cloth:

 

A politician who says what he thinks will get him votes but does nothing to change regular peoples lives for the better? I don't believe that can possibly be true!

Avatar
mattw replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Neil Clark is a funny old stick, who engaged in a 10 year almost-war with Oliver Kamm.

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