STOP RAT RUNNING
THROUGH
ABBEY ROAD
NEIGHBOURHOOD

Questions and Answers

General

What option are you supporting?

We are not advocating a particular solution; we want Merton Council to finally take significant action to tackle this issue once and for all. We have suggested some options that could be considered as part of the consultation, such as an LTN or a one-way street, but ultimately we are just asking the council to consider viable approaches and consult on these to get the views of residents.

Why should we do this?

Abbey Road and Mill Road remain the only two two-way traffic residential roads in the whole neighbourhood resulting in enormous pressure being put on roads which are not wide enough to accommodate the amount of traffic. 

Additionally we want to address the following: 

  1. Improved safety: Reducing traffic congestion and implementing measures like one-way streets or low traffic neighbourhoods will increase safety for all road users, particularly pedestrians, children, and the elderly.

  2. Reduced air pollution: With fewer vehicles using residential streets as shortcuts, air pollution levels will decrease, leading to a healthier environment for residents and visitors alike.

  3. Enhanced quality of life: A decrease in traffic volume will result in reduced noise pollution, creating a more peaceful and enjoyable living space for everyone in the community.

  4. Encouraging sustainable transport: By making the streets safer and more pleasant, walking and cycling become more attractive options, promoting a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

Aligning with local developments: As the High Path development progresses, it is crucial to address the additional traffic that may result. This petition supports a proactive approach to mitigating potential issues.

Why now?
  • The amount of traffic in residential streets in London has more than doubled in the last 10 years (Department for Transport)
  • The traffic “calming” measures put in place have exacerbated the issue through increasing the noise and gridlocking traffic.
  • The High Path development by Clarion Housing and the hundreds of new homes created will bring more traffic to the area without any plans on how to manage this. Previous local counsellors maintained that the redevelopment would bring about the opportunity to review and reconsider traffic flows in Abbey Road and the surrounding area.
  • The Station Road apartment development will also add increased through traffic for delivery vehicles. 
  • Merton’s has ambitious 2050 net zero targets and this sort of action to encourage active transport will contribute toward this goal. 
  • Harris Academy Wimbledon (315 students) was founded in 2014 so did not exist at the time of the previous consultation.

Therefore, we feel now is the right time for the council to relook at this.

I live on a surrounding/nearby road and I am not significantly affected, why should I care?
  • Air pollution will still affect you in the surrounding roads.
  • Looking to the future, the impact of High Path regeneration is likely to be significant on surrounding roads too given the increase in homes and traffic in the area.
  • Safety of you/elderly relatives/your children accessing your road through Abbey/Dane/Mill roads.
  • Impact on, and safety of, parking your cars nearby.
The Council already tried this and there wasn’t support previously?
  • In 2008 the council did consult on options to reduce rat running, including converting Abbey Road into a ‘one way’ (southbound) and Pincott Road into a ‘one way’ (northbound). This made it as far as the council preparing a full proposal but it was rejected for reasons not shared.
  • The solutions put in place had little impact on the rate of rat running with rumble strips increasing the noise for residents. 
  • Given the exacerbated issues in recent years, and the number of developments including High Path development which will bring more traffic to this area (with no plan on how to address this), we feel the council should revisit this now.

Example options to consult on

Active Travel Neighbourhood - Advantages & Disadvantages

Many of us will be familiar with Active Travel Neighbourhoods (Also known as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)) with all of the residential roads on the North side of the high street having already been turned into them. 

A ATN is a residential area, bordered by main roads (the places where buses, lorries, non-local traffic should be), where “through” motor vehicle traffic is discouraged or removed. Strategic road closures (like bollards or planters) prevent through traffic. Every street is still accessible by vehicle.

There are many ways to design a low traffic neighbourhood, but the main principle is that every resident can drive onto their street, receive their deliveries etc., but it’s harder or not possible to drive straight through from one main road to the next.

A neighbourhood ATN would likely add restrictions to Abbey Road, Mill Road and Pincott Road stopping access between Merantun Way (A24) and Merton High Street.

This would:

  • Improve the air and noise quality, make it safer for school children and reduce climate impact, while improving the lived experience for all residents and encouraging healthier modes of transport.
  • Address all issues outlined (air pollution, noise pollution, danger to school children & the community, and risk to road and resident’s parking).
  • Northbound traffic would be redirected onto the A219 Morden Road which is a major carriageway with multiple traffic lights and better able to absorb the traffic.

It may cause slightly longer journey times for some residents going from Station Road to Merton high street, however, for many people, this inconvenience of a few minutes is a price worth paying to have a quieter and safer neighbourhood and cleaner air.

One-way streets - Advantages & Disadvantages

Convert Abbey Road into a ‘one way’ (Northbound or Southbound) from its junction with Merton High Street to its junction with High Path. And convert Mill Road into a ‘one way’ (in the same direction) from its junction with Mill Road to Merton High Street. This would run in the opposite direction to Pincott Road which is currently one way.


This would reduce issues caused by two-way traffic including less grid lock caused by passing cars, only one-way traffic within the area would be re-distributed onto Pincott Road, and the traffic flow on Mill Road would be significantly reduced.


However, this would not remove the majority of the traffic within the area, or entirely resolve issues of air pollution, safety to children or risk to road and resident’s cars.

 

No right turn from East bound traffic on Merton High Street

A large amount of traffic heading southbound on Abbey Road is from drivers cutting across from Haydons Road to get to Merantun Way (A24).  

 

This would be a smaller restriction and have a smaller impact but would go someway to resolving traffic flows.

Residents Only Access using ANPR (with visitor passes)

This solution is based upon the successful roll out by Hammersmith & Fulham Council in south Fulham which changed opinion from 87% opposed to a 91% approval rate. The use of automatic numberplate recognition cameras to recognise non registered residents cars cut traffic by 75% while retaining access for residents. 

Permitted through traffic:

  • All vehicles registered as a local resident in the Abbey Road neighbourhood and surrounding High Path estate  
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Public service vehicles
  • Taxis
  • Essential services
  • Residents’ visitors (with a guest permit)

Prohibited through traffic:

  • Vehicles registered to an address outside of High Path Estate and Abbey Road neighbourhood.

Cameras would identify prohibited traffic by ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras, and the system would issue the registered driver with a penalty charge notice.

Obtaining a guest permit

Residents of Abbey Road neighbourhood would be able to obtain daily guest permits for their visitors’ vehicles by using RingGo. These permits would be free of charge. Also, any resident buying a visitor parking permit would automatically have a guest ‘through traffic’ permit issued as well as part of the same process.

Parking

There would be no change to existing parking arrangements. These would be completely unaffected by our proposal.

 

Peak time restrictions

Having peak time restrictions applied in a similar approach to the ANPR model for resident only access but limiting access between 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm each day when traffic due to school collections and end of work day results in backlogged vehicles up the high street – 

 

What would the impact be?

What impact could traffic restrictions have on air pollution?

A study by Imperial University on LTNs in London found reduced pollution in the surrounding streets:

  • Nitrogen Dioxide fell 5.7% and under 9% on the boundaries. 
  • NO2 exposure has adverse effects on health and is linked to reduced life expectancy, respiratory problems, asthma prevalence, incidence of cancer and adverse birth outcomes.

Source 

Wouldn't traffic restrictions displace traffic onto surrounding residential roads? / Won’t traffic displacement clog up main roads?

Reports carried out show that LTNs do not substantially push cars onto boundary roads. Main roads are better suited to absorb traffic than residential neighbourhoods, with a wider carriageway; its what main roads are for. Evidence from other schemes, such as south Fulham shows that, while traffic on surrounding main roads increased initially, the volume of traffic declined over time, and is now 12% lower on main roads and 23% less than previously across the whole south Fulham area.

An Imperial University study showed that traffic dropped by half within LTNs and 13% at the boundaries. Ultimately, they concluded their results showed that LTNs are beneficial for communities and do not cause harm in boundary areas. (Source)

Another study, the largest of its kind run by Westminster University in London looking at 46 LTN schemes across 11 boroughs showed 46.9% reduction in traffic on the roads inside the LTN and a 30% drop on surrounding boundary roads.

Will it stop me driving to and from my home?

The focus is on removing through traffic, not obstructing local residents, their visitors or deliveries. Every street would still be accessible by car, emergency services, delivery vehicles and refuse trucks. 

To stop through traffic, some residents’ car journeys may take a few minutes longer (e.g. if they have to enter in a certain side of the road) but the neighbourhood would remain accessible. For many people, this inconvenience is a price worth paying to have a quieter and safer neighbourhood and cleaner air.  

How will visitors be impacted?

Visitors would still be able to access the roads and would be able to more safely park their cars when visiting residents without worrying about damage to their vehicles.

Won’t traffic restrictions impact the elderly and disabled?

Anyone who needs to travel by car or taxi would still be able to and would be able to park more safely closer to their homes making the street more accessible.

The streets would be much safer for a frail or disabled person to cross a road at their own pace, and for those who want to use a bike or trike as a mobility aid. Mobility scooters will be able get through the filters that stop cars.

Won’t traffic restrictions impact access for deliveries?

Everyone would maintain the ability to have all deliveries, of any size, delivered in exactly the same way as present. Courier firms and other delivery companies may need to adapt their route slightly, but that initial change should become second nature in a very short period of time and as sat-navs are updated to reflect the new reality. Experience from south Fulham shows that supermarket and Amazon delivery have quickly adapted.

Will this restrict access to emergency services?

Every street will still be accessible by emergency vehicles. Emergency services typically support LTNs because they mean fewer injuries in road collisions, and the evidence from other similar schemes is that emergency services report a reduction in response times.  Additionally, residents have observed numerous occasions where emergency vehicles have been caught in the grid lock, unable to reach their destinations.  

An 8-year study in Waltham Forest by Imperial and Westminster University and London School Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed no impact to response times inside LTNs and there was supporting evidence of improvements of response times on boundary roads. 

Source

What impact would traffic restrictions have on crime & safety in the area?

The introduction of LTNs leads to a decrease in total street crime, increasing with duration since implementation, and with no displacement to other areas. After 3 years of implementation, a study found an 18% decrease in street crime in LTN areas. A larger reduction was found for violent crimes and sexual assaults

Evidence suggests that LTNs lead to a three-fold reduction in injuries within LTN areas.

Safety on our streets – After hours when dark (9pm – 5am) the street does not have constant traffic so the current circumstances would not change. However it would be easier to identify unfamiliar cars or unexpected people due to reduced through traffic.

Last year, a van cutting through Abbey Road knocked over a lamp post leaving half the street dark through winter which was a much greater risk to crime than a reduction in traffic. 

Will traffic restrictions make it more difficult to access St Johns the Divine Church?

Pedestrian & cycle access would not be impacted in any way. The nearest bus stop is 400ft away (1 minute walk) on the A219. 

Cars will still be able to access the church in all circumstances but depending on their direction of approach they may need to make slight alterations to their route. 

Local Examples

A picture looking at Victory Roads LTN
Victory Road and the other battles roads are setup as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to huge success a stopping cut through traffic
Pincott Road, 1 way South bound has successfully limited cut through traffic but has pushed it onto Abbey Road
An example of one way restrictions on previously two way streets down Tooting Road to stop high street traffic cutting through residential areas
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