Low Traffic Area Schemes
Low Traffic Area Schemes
Each area scheme involves a group of residential streets, close to main roads (the places where buses, lorries and non-local traffic should be), where through-traffic from motor vehicles is discouraged or removed. These roads are still accessible by car to residents living in the area, but through-traffic is discouraged.
By limiting through-traffic, Low Traffic Areas can reduce air pollution, lower collision rates, increase community activity, encourage people to switch to greener forms of transport and make streets more pleasant.
We are trialling five Low Traffic Area schemes across the borough which launched in September 2020:
North Cheam area (Esher Avenue and Wrayfield Road)
Many residents in Esher Avenue and Wrayfield Road are concerned about the speed of traffic driving along roads in the area and they are concerned that some roads have turned into shortcuts.
Changes are now being made to improve the quality of life in the area. These include:
A trial road closure of Esher Avenue at its junction with Wrayfield Road opposite the access to Fairlands Park. The road remains open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Double yellow lines either side of the road closure point.
A School Streets scheme, restricting traffic outside Cheam Park Farm Primary school at drop off and pick up times, Monday to Friday during school term times. Residents living in the school street area will be able to enter and leave at any time.
These measures are intended to help improve safety in Esher Avenue, Wrayfield Road and in the surrounding roads by reducing traffic levels and speeds. Reducing traffic will also cut air pollution outside Cheam Park Farm Primary Academy - Kingston Avenue site, (and in the local neighbourhood) making the area more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.
South Sutton area (Kings Lane)
This scheme is based on concerns from residents about the increasing traffic volume, non-resident vehicles cutting through the area and speed in roads locally. To address this we are trialling:
● An experimental road closure in Kings Lane over the railway bridge at the junction with Hillcroome Road/Upland Road. The bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.
● A trial 20mph speed limit in the roads south of the railway between Banstead Road/ The Crossway/ The Downsway/ Brighton Road which are not already 20mph.
These measures are intended to improve safety on Kings Lane and in the surrounding roads by reducing traffic levels and speeds. It will make crossing the bridge a much safer and more pleasant environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
North Sutton area (Grennell Road, and Benhill Wood Road)
The measures in this scheme are in response to a resident survey in 2017, when you told us that you felt there was too much traffic in the area, and a further consultation earlier this year on a 20mph speed limit.
Click here to download Quietways engagement report 2017
Changes are being made to improve the quality of life in Grennell Road, All Saints Road and Benhill Wood Road and the surrounding roads.
In order to achieve this we are trialling the following changes:
● Road closures to motor vehicles in:
- Grennell Road, north of Edinburgh Road
- Benhill Wood Road, north of the junction with Oakhill Road
- Benhill Wood Road, north of the junction with Benhill Avenue
● A 20mph speed limit in the North Sutton area
These changes will help improve safety in Grennell Road and Benhill Wood Road and in the surrounding roads by reducing traffic levels and speeds. The measures will also make the area more pleasant and quieter to walk and cycle around, and safer for children by reducing the number of non-resident vehicles cutting through the area.
Worcester Park area
This scheme is based on concerns from residents about the increasing traffic volume and speed in roads locally. The Council has already installed traffic calming measures and a 20mph zone, but some people have told us more should be done to tackle speeding in Browning Avenue and the road being used as a cut-through.
In order to achieve this we are trialling:
Bus gate/road closure to all traffic except for buses, emergency services, local authority vehicles and cyclists in Browning Avenue between Dorchester Road and Lindsay Road. This will be enforced with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. This means that motorists contravening signs will receive a penalty charge notice.
A no entry point in Lincoln Road from Green Lane to all traffic except emergency services, pedestrians and cyclists
These measures are intended to improve safety on Browning Avenue and in the surrounding roads by reducing traffic levels and speeds and to reduce the number of non-resident vehicles cutting through the area. The reduction in traffic levels and noise will make the area more pleasant and quieter to walk or cycle around.
Butter Hill area
These proposals are based on concerns from residents about the increasing traffic volume and speed in roads locally. The Council has already installed traffic calming measures and a 20mph zone, but is still receiving concerns regarding the volume of through traffic.
Changes are being made to improve the quality of life in the Butter Hill area. We are trialling:
● Installing a road closure at the junction of Butter Hill and Mill Lane to all traffic except for emergency services, local authority vehicles and cyclists. This will be enforced with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. This means that motorists contravening signs will receive a penalty charge notice.
These changes are intended to improve safety on Butter Hill and in the surrounding roads by reducing traffic levels and speeds. This will also make the area more pleasant and quieter to walk or cycle and reduce the number of non-resident vehicles cutting through the area.
Frequently asked questions
You can see answers to your frequently asked questions here. This page will be regularly updated.
Q: Why is the council putting these schemes in place now?
A: Transport for London modelling predicts that, without action, traffic volumes may get much worse than before the COVID-19 crisis. We must act now to create more space for local people to use sustainable transport (like walking, or cycling) as an alternative to using public transport while there’s limited capacity, or turning to private motor vehicles. The development of technology, including sat-nav and associated mobile apps, has also led to an increase in vehicles cutting through residential areas as they travel through Sutton. If more people choose to drive as lockdown restrictions are eased, this will increase, making streets more dangerous and unhealthy for the people who live on them. This is why we are taking action now.
Q: Where is the money coming from?
A: Sutton Council has been awarded £1million in emergency active travel funding from the Department for Transport and Transport for London. This is to implement more than 30 schemes borough-wide that will help social distancing and make it easier for people to walk and cycle safely.
Q: Why haven’t we been consulted before this work takes place?
A: As an emergency fund from the Government and TfL, proposals from all London Boroughs had to be submitted quickly, making the normal public consultation process difficult. We submitted funding bids in June to TfL and the Government and all schemes must be delivered by September.
Our Safer, Active, Greener, Streets programme has been based, as much as possible, on areas where the Council has carried out public consultations on this issue before. Where this was not possible, officers recommended areas which they are confident will benefit from these schemes.
Q: How can I have my say?
A: All residents will be informed by letter if a scheme is launching in their area.
We have chosen to implement the scheme on a temporary basis, under an experimental traffic order.
This means that during the first six months, a survey will be launched on our consultation website to capture your views on how the measures are working, we can review feedback and make any necessary changes. This will allow enough time for you to experience the changes and for traffic patterns to have settled down.
Q: What is a Low Traffic Area?
A: A Low Traffic Area is a group of residential streets, close to main roads (the places where buses, lorries and non-local traffic should be), where though-traffic from motor vehicles is discouraged or removed. This can be achieved with traffic filters, speed restrictions or camera enforcement. This allows residents of all ages to walk, cycle, meet or play where they live more easily. It also improves air quality. Similar schemes have been successfully implemented, not just in London but across the UK and Europe.
Q: What is a traffic filter?
A: Traffic filters (sometimes also called modal filters) allow walking and cycling through a certain street or area, but restrict access to through traffic, either by presenting a physical barrier, like bollards or planters, or by camera enforcement. If you need to drive, your neighbourhood is still accessible by car but it makes it harder for through-traffic to drive through a residential area.
Camera enforcement is used to enable buses and emergency vehicles to access the area. Each low traffic area requires the installation of a small number of traffic filters. The location of these filters prevents motor vehicles cutting through the local area.
Q: Will there be an increase in traffic on the main roads when the low traffic area schemes are installed?
A: We will keep the impacts of all changes under review by monitoring traffic patterns on key roads, including main roads, following the introduction of each scheme.
It is likely that in the beginning there will be a displacement of traffic in the area while people adjust to the new measures. However, evidence from similar projects in London shows that over time this increased traffic volume reduces as people make different travel decisions in response to them – main road traffic spreads out across the day, bus journey times are not significantly increased and air quality in main roads does not get worse. We know that some local residents will need to use cars to get about but if there’s an overall reduction in car use for short journeys, then this will not only make neighbourhood streets more pleasant and safer for everyone to enjoy but also make walking and cycling an easier and more attractive method of travel.
Q: What is a bus gate?
A: A bus gate is a road closure with signs that prevents motor vehicles using the road, but allows buses to continue to use it. In other words, there is no physical barrier blocking motor vehicles. The legal order and signage erected will allow the council to enforce the restriction without the use of a physical barrier.
Bus gate for illustrative purposes only. Picture credit: © Bill Harrison
Q: Why are wooden planters being used in some Low Traffic Area and School Streets schemes?
A: Installing planters has many advantages in experimental road schemes. They are easy to see and help to physically define a space, informing motorists that they are entering an area with different restrictions in force. This is especially helpful when people driving in the surrounding area are getting used to new measures. Planters are a temporary, low cost, sustainable alternative to other types of traffic filter and do not prevent access when needed by exempt vehicles. All the planters are fitted with reflective strips to improve visibility at night.
Q: Can I still drive home?
A: Yes. It is vital that people who need to use their cars, such as blue badge holders, can still do so. This is not a pedestrianisation scheme. Residents will still be able to access their property by car, as will visitors, deliveries from outside the area and services such as waste collection, but their routes may need to change. Vehicles will not be able to use residential streets as a cut-through.
We may need to remove a small number of parking bays near some filters, although we will keep this to a minimum and, if needed, we will try to find alternative locations for those we remove.
Q: Will there be exemptions for residents or blue badge holders?
A: There are no exemptions to traffic restrictions but all residents will still be able to drive to and from their homes, and people will still be able to access all amenities in the area by car.
Q: What will the impacts be on people with disabilities?
A: Anyone who can currently access their home by motor vehicle, private car or taxi will still be able to after the schemes are installed. People who use walking aids, wheelchairs or mobility scooters will find the streets quieter, safer and more enjoyable with lower amounts of traffic, and fewer drivers using residential areas for quick short-cuts. The Council will ensure that dropped kerbs and level surfaces are kept clear of unnecessary obstructions. People with visual impairments will benefit from reduced traffic and road danger, and the reduction in noise should help with navigating their local area more easily. It’s also important to note that there are no plans to include any new “shared space” areas. Pavement space will be maintained for people walking or wheeling. The quieter and calmer streets should also make the streets more welcoming to people with cognitive disabilities.
Q: What is an Experimental Traffic Order?
A: An Experimental Traffic Order, like a permanent Traffic Regulation Order, is a legal document that imposes traffic and parking restrictions. However, unlike a Traffic Regulation Order, an Experimental Traffic Order can only stay in force for a maximum of 18 months while the effects are monitored and assessed. An Experimental Traffic Order is made under Sections 9 and 10 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Once an Experimental Traffic Order comes into force there is a six month period in which objections can be made. If the ETO is subsequently modified, objections can be made in the six months following from the date of the changes. Please note that that any formal objection that is submitted may become a public document and could be published.
Q: How will the 20mph speed limit be enforced?
A: Speed enforcement is the responsibility of the Police because speeding is a criminal offence. In London, the Police, in partnership with Transport for London and the Borough can install cameras to use as a deterrent against speeding but due to their high installation, maintenance and running costs are not used on all roads but prioritised to roads where speeding has been the main factor in causing many personal injury accidents. The schemes currently being introduced across the borough will not have any speed cameras. We will not be installing any speed reducing features, e.g. road humps, as part of the trial schemes. There will be 20mph signs and road markings to indicate which roads are 20mph and a traffic order written to allow the Police enforce the 20mph speed limit.
Q: How are you going to measure the success of the scheme?
A: We will study the volume of traffic before the launch of the trials and will be comparing this with traffic monitored during the six month trial period. We will also be gathering feedback from our residents on sutton.citizenspace.com
Q: Who makes the final decision to remove a scheme after the trial period comes to an end?
A: Delegate authority is given to the Interim Strategic Director, Environment, Housing and Regeneration, in consultation with the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee. See recommendation 2.4 of the Strategy and Resouces Committee report