Showing support for Sutton’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

We want better, healthier and safer streets for everyone in the borough.

A street in a low traffic neighbourhood, Waltham Forest (Image: Paul Gasson)

Traffic taking a shortcut through neighbourhood streets, or “rat running”, has many negative effects on residents. It creates noise, danger and pollution, and puts people off walking, cycling or socialising on the street. A low traffic neighbourhood is a whole residential area that is access-only by car. Point closures (like the bollards in the picture above) prevent rat running, but allow people to walk and cycle through. Every street can still be accessed by car.

In low traffic neighbourhoods:

  • Children can play and neighbours socialise
  • Any age can walk or cycle through the area
  • Driving very short journeys is less convenient
  • Traffic within the area reduces by 50% or more, and overall by 15% or more
  • Air pollution, noise and danger drop dramatically.

Sutton Council are starting to introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in:

  • South Sutton & Carshalton
  • North Sutton
  • Wallington (around Butter Hill)
  • North Cheam
  • Worcester Park

The full list of all the Streetspace funding bids the Council has made to Transport for London can be seen here (LB of Sutton).

© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

The changes start to come into force from Monday 7 September, but we shouldn’t expect the infrastructure to be complete on day one.

There are bound to be teething problems. Motorists have had very little warning and sat navs will take time to learn the changes (you can help with this – see below).

A friendly word with any confused motorists will help too. We get some very large vehicles through the neighbourhood who may struggle if they need to turn back.

This will all improve as the scheme beds in, but please expect some confusion and disruption for at least the first week.

A guide to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (2019) is available to download here (pdf). ‘Evaporating traffic? Impact of low-traffic neighbourhoods on main roads‘ (London Living Streets, July 2019) examine concerns that low-traffic neighbourhoods may divert traffic onto main roads leading to increased congestion and air pollution.

A ‘community right’ to low traffic neighbourhoods is exactly what has been missing for decades of car-centric street design. Children, for instance, have lost the right to play outside, just so that drivers can cut a few corners on their commute.

Clare Rogers (LCC) https://www.lcc.org.uk/articles/gearing-up-to-low-traffic-neighbourhoods-and-school-streets

To show support for your Low Traffic Neighbourhood directly with ward councillors right now use the links below to contact them through writetothem.com. Maybe take ideas from other campaigns such as Gravney Tooting, Tower Hamlets or Enfield for what to include in your message.

  • South Sutton & Carshalton (also affecting The Wrythe)
    • A filter in Kings Lane due 7th September 2020
    • Busgate with Mill Lane due 21st September 2020
    • WriteToThem SM1 4PG
      • Jake Short (Liberal Democrat)
      • Jill Whitehead (Liberal Democrat)
      • Chris Williams (Liberal Democrat)
    • WriteToThem SM5 2RE
      • Colin Stears (Liberal Democrat)
      • Sam Weatherlake (Liberal Democrat)
      • Nali Patel (Liberal Democrat)
  • North Sutton
    • WriteToThem SM1 3SS
      • Ruth Dombey (Liberal Democrat)
      • Stephen Penneck (Liberal Democrat)
      • Marlene Heron (Liberal Democrat)
  • Wallington (around Butter Hill)
    • Busgate with Mill Lane due 21st September 2020
    • WriteToThem SM5 2TW
      • Marian James (Liberal Democrat)
      • Barry Lewis (Liberal Democrat)
      • Sunita Gordon (Liberal Democrat)
  • North Cheam
    • Esher Rd, Wrayfield Rd opposite Fairlands Park due 7th September 2020
    • WriteToThem SM3 9TJ
      • Martina Allen (Conservative)
      • Peter Geiringer (Conservative)
      • James McDermott-Hill (Conservative)
  • Worcester Park
    • Browning Avenue / Ruskin Dr due 21st September 2020
    • WriteToThem KT4 8LB
      • Jenny Batt (Liberal Democrat)
      • Tom Drummond (Conservative)
      • Drew Heffernan (Liberal Democrat)

Help teach the sat navs
The quicker we can get sat navs to understand these routes have been blocked off, the quicker the scheme will start to work properly. We can as residents report changes to Googlemaps and Waze. The more of us that do this, the better.

We should not do this until the changes are in place but after that please help out. Instructions to do this are copied below

Google maps:
https://support.google.com/maps/answer/3094088?co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&hl=en

Waze:
https://support.google.com/waze/answer/7101380?hl=en

Tell the council what you think
Objectors to these schemes won’t be holding back, so those of us who support need to make our voices heard as well.

This does not need to happen immediately – we suggest letting the scheme establish before responding to the consultation – and we will share some suggested points you might want to make (including our aim to bring the missing roads into the LTN).

Once the schemes are launched we will all be able to respond to the consultation via sutton.gov.uk. We suggest seeing how the measures bed in before responding.

Our leaflets currently being distibuted

Posted in Areas without through motor traffic, Consultation, Liveable Town Centres, Streetspace
90 comments on “Showing support for Sutton’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  1. Giuseppe Pichierri says:

    I am a key worker heavily involved in the COVID-19 response -and I have now a queue of cars outside my house waiting to get out of Ruskin Drive. This is having a huge impact on myself, my commuting times and my level of stress -already quite high even before the Council decided we all must cycle. Although I genuinely empathise with residents in Green Lane and Browning Avenue, the lack of traffic lights here in Ruskin Drive has created an even worse scenario.
    If GetSuttonCycling was on the frontline of NHS clapping, may perhaps care to address this situation?

    • Bill Ward says:

      I suggest they put lights at Ruskin Drive, but then the residents there will complain as it affects kerb appeal for their lovely homes

  2. Paul McLaughlin says:

    Your statement on the data https://getsuttoncycling.org.uk/2020/09/24/responding-to-comments-regarding-data-and-the-larger-issues-at-hand/
    does not allow comment, so I add it here.

    I refer to a letter from Ruth Dombey, who quotes the 2,000 per hour figure. Jenny Batt also refers to this number and states in another email that “we have asked for clarity on the figure of 2,000 per month that was given to us by officials last month”. The core issue here is that we now all agree that the 2,000 per hour cars down browning was wrong. The statement that this is “4 times the capacity of the road” was wrong and therefore the fundamental premise that a bus gate is needed to reduce traffic is also wrong.

    The data in the now available spreadsheet shows a peak of 561 per hour on Tuesday, but that peak is in the 400’s on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The key thing is that the average for the next few hours is about 200. So the rush hour is a couple of hundred extra and this is road used by residents like myself at that time to get children to school, go to work etc. So while there may be rat running, there is not actually a whole lot of it.

    I am a cyclist and fully and fundamentally agree that roads should be safer. The route to get to any cycle superhighway from here is a joke and you take your life in your hands when you do so – even the CS isn’t safe being often just a painted bike on the road! But I never once felt endangered on Browning Ave as I cycled along at rush hour. It is just not that busy a road.

    I would much rather funds were spent on making dangerous roads safe. This scheme doesn’t do that. The road wasn’t that busy to start with. Cars are still going up and down it, so it is not some pedestrianised idyll, they now just have to turn off down totally unsuitable side roads.

    Queues backing up down Ruskin prevent cars who now have to turn left off central to get to Dorchester not being able to, leading to queues on Central.

    Journeys of a few of minutes from the bottom of browning to anywhere on the other side of the gate are taking 5 times longer – leading to stress, anger and lots of unnecessary pollution.

    Residents feel very frustrated by this, and by GSC, who seem to have been the main lobbyists behind the ill-considered scheme which has been overwhelmingly opposed by thousands of people.

    What would actually help, rather than talking about “bedding in” and “getting used to” the scheme, would be for GSC to acknowledge that while LTNs are a great idea, the bus gate at browning is not helping to create one, is diverting traffic down even less suitable roads, and should be cancelled.

    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely agree 100% I live in Dorchester rd I saw 2 cyclists on the pavement and 8 cars queueing in my disabled bay I had to park in another rd so thank you for only thinking of cyclists GSC

  3. Brenda McDonald says:

    Terrible, terrible idea for those of us who need to drive to work to teach your children. You have made an already stressful job, with long hours, even harder. Having to sit on Central Road for even longer makes absolutely no sense. Sort that road out first. Stop acting like a bunch of clowns and Listen To Us.

    • Bill Ward says:

      Central road is flowing better from what I’ve seen….and before you shoot me down, this scheme has made my journey longer but at least it flows now

  4. Another Pleb says:

    I was enjoying learning to cycle and teaching my daughter to cycle in this area, we even went out on our first ever family bike ride a few times, thanks to your closure of Browning Ruskin is now so fast moving and dangerous that I can’t consider allowing my daughter to ride to school and we have to revert to driving or walking. I also have to drive further to get to local addresses on journeys that I can’t walk to-surprisingly I can’t walk to have my car MOT’d, nor can I get to work in time if I drop my daughter at school and then rely on public transport for the rest of the journey, which will now be even longer and slower thereby creating more pollution. I appreciate that you might not understand the need to drop your kids at school and get to various locations of work around the country but some of us plebs work for a living and would like to keep living in Worcester park. Stop spouting nonsense, if you care about the neighbourhood, environment and cycling you would be encouraging investment in safer routes not closing roads which will make pollution higher and other routes more dangerous. Turning road users against cyclists also doesn’t help any cyclist.

  5. Robert Walker says:

    I’m just off Mill Lane and we love it – so quiet without the roar of traffic constantly in the background, shouting, car horns and revving engines. It’s quiet at night now, it’s all back to how it was ten years ago.

    It’s so peaceful at all times of day, less traffic is enabling people to get about on foot or by bike, it is encouraging people to get out and about in their local area where they were deterred beforehand. Transforms what had become a local hellhole back into a peaceful residential area. I’ve been away in Wales and Oxford lately, the level of local traffic has been off-putting on my return; really was very grim and getting worse.

    No longer is there the constant noise of traffic (had been getting worse and worse in the ten years since I bought a place there). Now there’s no road rage, nobody sounding their horns (before it was constant beeping and people leaning on their horns for prolonged periods), no standoffs and fighting in the street from arguments about right of way, nobody speeding down the road to force their way through. No longer are there lines of traffic meeting head-on, with people shouting at each other and arguing about who needs to reverse.

    Drug dealers no longer park up to meet with people from the council estates on either side, no drug users leaning into driver’s window and the car speeding away, nobody getting into a waiting van to do a drugs trade.

    So far there have been no accidents, a relatively common feature on this rat-run with speeding cars colliding with parked vehicles with hit-and-run a regular thing.

    “The problem that many towns suffer is that, in trying to accommodate traffic, they have allowed streets to become so heavily dominated by vehicles, that those streets have lost their primary purpose, which is as places that attract people, that attract investment, that attract spending.” – Ben Hamilton-Baillie

  6. Madame says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. The closure of Browning has pushed heavy, speeding traffic down Ruskin. Cars are idling in queues generating more pollution and people are now rat running down other streets. All you have done is push the problem to another road, without consultation and without listening to the over 3000 residents who actually live here who have complained. Heads should roll, and hopefully it won’t be a child’s when knocked over on Ruskin.

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