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…

So far we have two ‘Quieter Neighbourhoods’ in the west of the borough – Enfield Council call these ‘Quieter Neighbourhoods’ (QNs) but effectively they are low traffic neighbourhoods or LTNs.

The first to be created, in September 2020, was the Bowes Primary Area Quieter Neighbourhood. This cut off a major rat-run between Bounds Green and the A406 via Warwick Road. In 2012 part of the upgrade of the A406 for the Olympics created an area of Bowes that was effective an QN. However, these works exacerbated both the Warwick Road and Brownlow Road traffic. Now Warwick Road has been treated we are still calling for a solution for Brownlow Road (in the form of a bus-gate).

The Bowes QN also helped create a cycle route by filtering Palmerston Road at the junction with the A406 as part of the works. Enfield have worked with their neighbouring borough Haringey to expand the QN and this is still in a trial period.

The second QNwas created in October 2020 around the Fox Lane Area Quieter Neighbourhood. This cut off a number of rat-runs, for example, between Bourne Hill and Cannon Hill/High Street or drivers using Old Park Road to avoid the traffic lights. It has created a popular cycling route along Fox Lane too.

A third QN has been planned called the Connaught Road Area Quieter Neighbourhood. We are still waiting for this to be completed.

Both completed QNs have been modified after extensive consultations and council reports and they have now been made permanent.

***UPDATE** As of September 2023 the council have announced two further QNs. One is ‘Edmonton Green QN’ which will be next to the North Circular Road and Fore Street (see here for details. A further QN is planned in ‘Bowes East’ (see here for details) which between Green Lanes and Wolves lane. This is still at an early stage of development so please give your views via the Let’s talk Enfield website.

Our ask

We want to see low traffic neighbourhoods benefitting every ward in the borough, especially the most polluted and/or deprived areas.

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