– now called ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’
In 2014 the LCC Policy Forum chose ‘Quiet Zones’ as a campaigning issue for the 2014 London local elections. They were later re-named ‘Areas without Through Traffic (AWTTs)’. George Coulouris and Anthony Gilmour led the preparation of this 2-page document (AWTTs 2-page) and a set of documented examples of existing AWTTs.
This presentation Quiet Zones talk 18-8-2013 covers the definition, benefits and some other examples of Quiet Zones.
A key example was in Primrose Hill, as illustrated in this map with photos: Primrose Hill Example.
Primrose Hill is now one of London’s most desirable and sought-after residential areas. It has a long and interesting history documented and discussed in this document of great interest: Primrose Hill, an urban village examined written by Alistair Barr, founder of Barr Gazetas, for a course on Urban Design. It includes this section on the origins of the Primrose Hill traffic removal scheme:
The last piece of the jigsaw which enhanced the urban life here was an unplanned event. It was a very small change which has had a major impact on daily life. Regents Park Road leads to Bridge Approach which connects northwards to the main integrating routes. Regents Park Road was a major east west route from central London to the east and made it incredibly busy. Even now it is possible to hear elderly taxi drivers telling you that the closure of this railway bridge added 3 miles onto their favourite routes to Hampstead, Kentish Town and the City.
In the 1960’s two children were knocked down and killed at the railway bridge at the end of Regents Park Road. The outcry was made articulate by the first of the urban pioneers that Raban disparages. As a result the bridge was closed to traffic and one of the five entry points to the village was blocked to cars whilst still allowing pedestrian access to the next district.
This was the most dramatic improvement to the area since rail electrification because Regents Park Road was no longer a through route. The massive decrease in traffic flows encouraged restaurants and shops to settle and form an even more vibrant village centre. Some residents would argue that the process has gone to far as yet another overpriced shop selling novelty goods opens. This small act of road closure has consolidated the desirability of the true urban village. Some may argue that it has also bought in influx an frivolous shops that Jonathan Raban calls the Moroccan Birdcage outlets. However the lack of through traffic means that these shops never last as long as the more practical ones as they are non sustainable in a mainly residential area.
An urban promenade has been created in Regents Park Road with all the richness of a village centre. This would not have been possible if the road had remained a busy traffic through route. This is an essential difference to the other quoted London villages of Highgate, Hampstead, Chelsea and the like. Although they have many attributes, the presence of the busy through routes ultimately prevents the formation of a relaxed village neighbourhood.
(First published in Urban Design Studies, Volume 5, 1999, School of Architecture and Landscape, University of Greenwich. Reproduced here with the kind permission of Alistair Barr)