Merton is trialling its first phase of low traffic neighbourhood schemes to create safer, healthier residential streets, and to actively encourage more walking and cycling.
Five Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) are currently being trialled across the borough as part of the council’s action to promote healthy and safe travel in response to our climate change declaration in July 2019, and the challenges brought by COVID-19.
Under the schemes, roads will be closed to through traffic to prevent the use of residential streets as ‘rat runs’ by vehicles which should be using main roads. Due to the pandemic and the time-constraints regarding funding, Experimental Traffic Management Orders are being used, which allows the council to implement the measures during the consultation period. This means residents and the council can experience, and more effectively monitor the impact of the trials over time before making a final decision. Residents are encouraged to give their views and share their experiences on the LTN’s using our online consultation, which is to run for six months.
Reducing traffic brings a wealth of benefits to neighbourhoods, including:
· Making it safer for people to social distance, and for residents to feel safe walking and cycling on the streets they live in.
· Creating a more pleasant environment for residents by reducing vehicular noise, air pollution and carbon emissions.
· Boosting the neighbourhood economy by making it more attractive for people to walk or cycle to local shops and services.
Research has also shown that low traffic schemes have found they have led to a reduction of car journeys being made in a neighbourhood by more than 40 per cent
Although roads will be closed by the use of bollards and planters, all residents will be able to drive into their street, get deliveries and welcome visitors. Every street will also be accessible by the emergency services.
Councillor Martin Whelton, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Transport, said:
“Merton is currently trialling road closures for five low traffic neighbourhood schemes, in schemes funded by Transport for London, and residents can give their feedback to our online consultation over the next six months. We really want to her what local people think on how the schemes are working, and how they could be improved. It would be greatly informative if people could give the schemes some time to bed in, and then share their experiences over the weeks and months to come before a final decision is made.”
“The aim of low traffic neighbourhoods is to reduce ‘rat-running’ in residential streets, bring improvements to air quality and reduce the potential for injury or loss of life from dangerous driving in residential streets.”
“Merton is a great place for families and we are committed to improving the quality of life for all our residents by creating more pleasant and healthy environments. Reducing traffic in residential streets will create spaces for people to socialise, play, walk, cycle, shop, use local services and enjoy being part of their community.”
The experimental order, which is effectively the statutory consultation, will run for a maximum of 18 months and at the end of this period a LTN can be made permanent, amended or removed.
For further information please visit our website www.merton.gov.uk/covid-19-transport-projects
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Trials of LTN are being rolled out in the following streets: