• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

LTNs should ‘make streets safer for children’ suggests sign inspired by Cat Stevens


Sep 6, 2022

The council encourages the public to make the traffic filters that establish Low Traffic Neighbourhoods pleasant places.

They are being planted up and cared for by local people. These small signs are appearing on the planters.

The words are from the song Where Do The Children Play? by singer/songwriter Cat Stevens (also known as Yusuf Islam) in his perceptive 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman. These words justify LTNs.

Read again: LTNs vandalised – everything we need to know

The line “Switch on summer from a slot machine” talks of how the recent development of the package holiday, combined with the development of mass air travel, allowed ordinary people to leave the cruel drizzle of England and jet off to a Spanish costa to enjoy some sunshine.

Oxford Mail:

But the line “where do the children play?” is a warning.

It speaks of a downside of industrialisation – that in a mechanised society the ever-increasing number of cars on the road, and the concrete to accommodate this, were destroying the informal play spaces of the streets. An animated version of the song is on YouTube.

Oxford Mail:

Two children and their little dog are playing marbles on the pavement, something dangerous today, but common when I was a child, while they are slowly engulfed by a threatening tide of the detritus of a vehicle dominated society.

Some people want all the LTNs abolished.

Read again: Photos of east Oxford LTNs being rolled out

Oxford Mail:

I ask them how their saving of 10 minutes driving to a ring road supermarket is more important than happy children in the informal play space of their home streets.

Theo Hopkins


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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF