The results of 3 trial ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ schemes in B&NES have been published. Overall, they show good support from residents. The trial schemes put bollards and planters in place at the end of 3 streets to reduce through traffic on roads perceived to be ‘rat runs’. The aim of the schemes is to make roads and residential neighbourhoods safer and healthier spaces for people to walk, wheel or cycle around, and to encourage people to consider more sustainable forms of transport, especially for short journeys.
Car, cycle and pedestrian movements were monitored before and during the one year trials, and residents surveyed for their feedback before and after the trials.
Queens Charlton Lane, which runs between Queen Charlton and Whitchurch saw a 80% reduction in car movements, a 60% increase in cycling, a 300% increase in pedestrians and very little change to traffic on surrounding roads; 73% of residents supported the scheme at the end of the trial.
Southlands, which runs parallel to Weston High Street, where through traffic only accounted for 25% of vehicle movements before the trial saw a 7% increase in walking and a 75% increase in cycling. 57% of residents opposed the scheme at the end of the trial. Two of the reasons given for this were that it did not tackle the parking problem and a perception that it caused congestion elsewhere. An RPZ would solve the parking problem and measured traffic flows showed that overall congestion was about the same.
Church Street, which runs between Ralph Allen Drive/Prior Park Road and Widcombe Hill, saw a 65% reduction in vehicle movements in Church Street but with a 20% increase in traffic turning from Prior Park Road into Widcombe Hill. There was no change in pedestrians or cycling on Church Road. 63% of residents supported the scheme at the end of the trial.
Overall most residents felt the trials made the streets safer and encouraged walking and cycling. If Southlands Residents against the scheme were informed that congestion elsewhere did not increase and that parking problems could be addressed by a RPZ, would this have made a difference to their views? 75% of Southlands Residents with children under the age of 16 thought road safety had got better (54%) or stayed the same (21%).
We support the council’s approach in creating ‘Liveable neighbourhoods’ to encourage Active Travel, trialling them first but not forcing them on residents. We also support moves towards improving public transport and discouraging car use so that overall traffic, including traffic displaced by Liveable Neighbourhoods, is reduced.