STOP RAT RUNNING
THROUGH
ABBEY ROAD
NEIGHBOURHOOD

What is the issue?

  • Abbey, Dane & Mill Roads are the last remaining residential roads which are used as cut throughs (rat runs) between Merantun Way and Merton High Street with an AI traffic sensor showing an average of 4150 vehicles per day (1 every 20 seconds). 
  • This results in disruption and impact to local residents daily due to gridlocked traffic, air pollution, noise pollution, littering and danger to school children and the community.
  • New residential developments will add ~2600+ new homes with no consideration of traffic flows and the impact on Abbey Road neighbourhood. Recently established schools with 1500 staff and students further increase this pressure. 
  • The past 10 years has seen a 76% increase in rat running on residential streets due to mobile sat nav use and a doubling of traffic on London streets with only a 1% increase on A road traffic. 
  • Major carriageways like the A219 at South Wimbledon have right turn restrictions pushing more traffic onto our residential streets. 
  • Our ask is for the council to consult with residents and take appropriate measures which will have substantial impact in reducing rat running for the whole neighbourhood. 

Abbey Road, Dane Road and Mill Road have for too long been used as rat runs between Merantun Way and Merton High Street and the problem continues to get worse. The traffic has been increasing over the years, and it is a major issue that is causing significant problems for local residents and visitors of these roads as well as interconnecting roads (Croft and Meadow Roads). 

The Abbey Road neighbourhood is in a vulnerable location because of the layout of main roads in Merton, becoming gridlocked morning and evening due to rat-running. A typical doorbell camera is registering over 5,000 cars per day on this residential street. Abbey Road and Mill roads are the last remaining two-way streets off of Merton High Street so they are now taking the brunt of all the through traffic pressure. The issue is exaccerbated further by no right turn restrictions at peak hours (07:00 – 10:00 & 16:00 – 19:00) in place from Kingston Road onto Morden Road (A219) which instead of a major carriageway taking the brunt of the traffic, our residential streets pick up the pressure. 

The amount of traffic in residential streets in London has more than doubled in the last 10 years, whilst traffic on main roads has declined. Abbey Road/our neighbourhood has experienced a similar growth. The roads are not wide enough to support the two-way flow of traffic or extent of traffic (Department for Transport)

We know that most of the cars passing through are using it as a rat run between Merantun Way and Merton High Street (in 2008, the Abbey Road area traffic scheme revealed that 76% of drivers were using it as a cut through) and sadly the traffic “calming” measures put in place by the council in 2009 have only exacerbated the issue, for example the rumble strips increase the noise for residents without deterring vehicle speed and the indented sidewalks assist in grid locking traffic.

These issues, the High Path redevelopment (+2400 homes), Clarions Eddie Katz development (+116 homes), Station Roads Abbey Wall development (+66 homes), the recently founded Harris Academy with 1150 students, plus Merton’s net zero targets, mean that we are now requesting that the council take significant action to reduce traffic congestion down Abbey Road, Dane Road and Mill Road.

Since this image was created, Clarion has been given permission to expand the High Path Regeneration by a further 600 new homes taking the total to 3400.

We ask the council to consider and take appropriate substantial measures to achieve this, including making Abbey Road and Mill Road a one-way street or introducing a low traffic neighbourhood. This would be done in a way that had minimal impact on residents, but blocks rat runners from using these roads, therefore helping to reduce the amount of traffic on the road and make it safer and more pleasant for everyone who uses it 

What impact does it have?

Air pollution

Our air quality is poor, caused by idling cars at rush hours waiting to turn onto Merton High Street or A24 and parents waiting to pick up kids from school. Possibly up to 1 tonne/day of additional CO2 based on evidence from the South Fulham Traffic Congestion and Pollution Reduction Scheme

Noise pollution

Noise of revving engines and horns being beeped constantly, drivers having early morning arguments about who has right of way or having stand offs.

Damage to road and residents’ cars

Our own parked cars have been hit and scratched, lampposts have been knocked over leaving the street without adequate safe lighting through winter for pedestrians and trees are regularly hit with branches snapped off, all by passing traffic.  

Danger to safety of children and community

The street is commonly used by school children and the amount of aggressive traffic is dangerous. There has already been an incident of two school children being hit by a car and there is every chance this will happen again. Emergency service vehicles have been caught in the grid lock and lorries have got entirely stuck. HGVs have ignored the width restrictions getting stuck half way down the street. 

What do we want?

We want the council to consider and take appropriate substantial measures to achieve this, including running a consultation on potential options such as:

  • Making Abbey Road and Mill Road one-way streets
  • Introduce an Active Travel Neighbourhood
  • Resident only access using ANPR
  • Apply peak time traffic flow restrictions 
  • Restrict right turns from East bound traffic on Merton High Street and right turns on West bound traffic off the A24 

Any solution would be done in a way that had minimal impact on residents, allows for safe access for emergency services, easy access for visitors of residents and delivery services but blocks rat runners from using these roads, therefore helping to reduce the amount of traffic on the road and make it safer and more pleasant for everyone who uses it.

Learn more about the options and cast your vote for your favoured option at the bottom of the page on traffic restriction options

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