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

Close the rat runs!

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.

So far in Enfield…

While Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland closed 35 roads, resulting in less traffic, less air pollution and more walking and cycling, so far Enfield’s scheme has closed none. However, the Quieter Neighbourhood scheme in the Fox Lane area is a serious attempt to reduce through traffic and shows willing by the council to try different measures.

Our ask

We want to see low traffic neighbourhoods benefitting every ward in the borough, especially the most polluted and/or deprived areas. We ask the council to trial ‘point closures’ in the Fox Lane area, to remove through traffic and create a truly quiet, low traffic neighbourhood. If successful this could be a model for other areas across the borough.

How point closures (in green) could remove through traffic from the Fox Lane area

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