No, I know there’s no time to read this when there’s still another 13 consultations to get through by Sunday…and that’s just the Camden ones!
Let alone the 712 comments (at last count) SE
Tuesday 15 March 2016 07.00 GMT
Having slower traffic where people
live is a start. But to really boost cycling we need less traffic
– and that means curbing rat runs
Slower speeds are necessary to reduce injuries. But even if 20mph limits can be properly enforced – a big question – would this be enough? Do they, alone, create pleasant, liveable neighbourhoods, where lots of people will choose to walk or cycle? Do we want to see a steady stream of traffic in residential streets, even travelling at 20mph, or should our goals be more radical?
A recent study found the dominance of cars on residential roads has substantially damaged young people’s quality of life in urban and rural areas.
New analysis of road injury data helps allay some fears, suggesting that moving traffic from minor to major roads can reduce pedestrian injuries.
In urban areas, driving along a minor road causes around 50% more risk to pedestrians than driving the same distance along an A road.
In 2014, motor vehicles injured 7,179 pedestrians on urban A roads and 14,168 pedestrians on minor urban roads. The distances driven on the two road types are 49.3bn and 64.8bn vehicle miles respectively.
So, stopping rat-running can reduce pedestrian injuries. Making motorists use major roads won’t even necessarily mean more miles driven, because rat runs are generally chosen to avoid congestion rather than reduce mileage. Often that doesn’t even cut a journey time.
What about air pollution? Air quality and active travel expert Dr Audrey de Nazelle said:
Giving active travellers a network of streets away from motor traffic helps them minimise exposure to air pollution, important because their inhalation rate is higher than for passive modes.
Cutting traffic on the residential roads will improve air quality on these streets. Will it increase traffic and hence air pollution on major roads in the surrounding areas? Probably a little – but if the programme is ambitious and many residential streets reduce vehicular access, there will be overall less motor traffic in the area, so improvements in air quality overall.
Encouragingly, research has found that reducing space for traffic often reduces traffic volumes overall in an area, partly because creating more pleasant streets means people are more likely to walk and cycle for shorter trips.