Does this not push the pollution on to other roads?
It is a common misconception that taking road space away from motor vehicles means that congestion is then pushed to other roads. In the short term this is certainly the case, because people are used to using their cars and would not have considered alternative ways to travel.
What actually happens is that people start to realise that they can take the more direct (and usually quicker) route if they do it on foot, bike or via bus and start to consider these other travel options. The concept is known as ‘traffic evaporation’ (or Braess’ Paradox).
More on this – Reducing roads can cause traffic to ‘Evaporate’
What about access for Emergency Vehicles?
All streets remain fully accessible for emergency vehicles. The bus gate on Auckland Road’s junction with Cypress Road prevents all through-traffic except buses, cycles and emergency services. Generally, the emergency services are in favour of such schemes. Partly because they ultimately reduce overall traffic, but also because they reduce incidences of road collisions.
What about Disabled and Elderly Road Users?
All properties remain accessible for anyone who needs to use a car or taxi. The streets will be much safer for everyone to cross the road (whether they have a physical disability or other impairment). For those who want to use a bike or trike as a mobility aid, or those that use mobility scooters, these can all fit through the gaps in the planters and the road environment is much safer for these users.
There is some excellent research about disabled commuters in Cambridge in this Guardian article. The key points being:
For two out of three disabled cyclists, riding a bike is easier than walking, easing joint strain, aiding balance and relieving breathing difficulties. According to recent research by Transport for London, 78% of disabled people are able to cycle, while 15% sometimes use a bike to get around”, and
“Mobility experts are increasingly seeing cycling as a way to help people with disabilities move around cities independently.”
Reducing traffic has been shown to boost the community environment, where neighbours are more inclined to stop to chat and spend time outside their properties. There is an interesting study on this (see Revisiting Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets). Following the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are very aware of our elderly neighbours and how much they rely on their community. LTNs enable this stronger community spirit which benefits the elderly.
Why can’t they install speed cameras or other road calming measures instead?
Unfortunately, government legislation does not allow councils to install speed cameras anywhere unless there have been three people killed or seriously injured (KSI). Even then, the installation cost is prohibitive for most councils and they do not receive any monies from fines, which is passed back to central Government.
Other traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps and cushions, have no evidence to suggest that they reduce traffic speeds. Auckland Road has had speed cushions for many years and the results of a road speed survey clearly show that they are not reducing the speed of traffic.
Could they not keep the area open for residents only?
This may sound like the ideal solution. But unfortunately, this wouldn’t really resolve the issue, given how many vehicles would then be using the road again. It’s certainly unlikely to make the road environment feel safe for those walking and cycling.
We are not alone. They are ‘doing it’ to Enfield too…
So have a look at their comprehensive FAQs