Published Friday, 11th September 2020
Sutton Scene - Deputy Leader column 110920
During lockdown, many people across Sutton experienced the benefits of better air quality and a safer environment with fewer cars on the road. I am excited that we now have an opportunity to introduce schemes to improve the quality of life in areas that have suffered from speeding, excess traffic, noise and poor air quality on their roads.
These schemes will create what is often referred to as ‘low-traffic areas’. Every resident living in these neighbourhoods will be able to drive to their street and still have access but we will minimise the amount of ‘rat-running’. This means that residents should benefit from streets with less traffic, less noise, less speeding and better air quality.
This week we launched our first two low-traffic neighbourhoods in South Sutton and North Cheam and we’ve been encouraged by some of the comments we’ve received so far.
One resident told us that, despite initial reservations, he was now sold on the idea. After just a few days, he was impressed that children were already enjoying the bit of road closed to through traffic. The intervention has also made it much safer for elderly people, people with disabilities, children and dog walkers to access Warren Park via the bridge on King’s Lane.
I appreciate that there will be some inconvenience for some drivers and it is possible that some journeys may take a bit longer especially at peak times. That’s why the schemes are temporary and will be reviewed after six months. If they don't work, they can be changed or removed.
The Council must follow the timescales and guidance set out by the Government and Transport for London in order to receive emergency funding for these schemes. The guidance made it clear that the changes need to be in place by the end of September and that the public consultation take place during the experimental trials.
It may take time for some of these schemes to bed in before residents see the full benefits, so I hope that you will bear with us in the first month. I also encourage you to give us your views once you have seen the impact in your area.