Would you like to live on a Quality Street?
We are really pleased to be supporting the Sustrans Quality Streets campaign. The Sustrans movement is doing some outstanding work on sustainable transport and creating better places for people to live. They are calling for all of us to contact our councillors and ask for 20mph speed limits created on our residential streets to improve the quality of life for people living on them.
You can check out the Quality Streets campaign website here. This article by Sustrans explains in their own words the importance of this work.
Not talking to your neighbours? Blame the traffic
UK Charity Sustrans launches ‘Quality Streets’ campaign
With government’s Big Society ambitions of empowering communities still to take shape the charity Sustrans is giving people the means to improve their local area by demanding local authority investment in ‘Quality Streets’, where people feel safe to walk, cycle and socialise.
Sustrans is encouraging everyone to take the first step towards turning their roads into quality streets, the key element of which is a 20 mph speed limit. So Sustrans is asking people to lobby their local councillor for slower speeds at www.quality-streets.org.uk between now and 28 February 2011
Alex Allen Sustrans’ expert in street redesign explains:
“When we surveyed 2,000 individuals last year, 85 per cent of them said they faced problems from speeding traffic or nuisance parking. People feel powerless to deal with the problem: 90 per cent of those people we spoke to didn’t know how to make improvements to their street, yet 70 per cent were willing to get involved in making changes.
“People think of traffic as something that affects the physical environment – taking up space, causing noise and pollution – but its effect on our social lives may be even more profound. At its worst, traffic prevents community interaction and wellbeing. It is a part of modern life but it doesn’t have to dominate our lives and we want local authorities to make the first move towards more quality streets by lowering speed limits to 20mph in urban and residential areas.”
Sustrans’ work with hundreds of residents reveals that unsurprisingly people don’t like their streets being used as “rat runs”. The overwhelming majority are concerned that the street outside their front door is not safe for their children or even a place to meet and chat to friends, family and neighbours.
Over the last three years Sustrans has worked hand-in-hand with local communities to improve their streets with inexpensive, cost effective re-designs aimed at minimizing speeding traffic, rat-running, anti-social behaviour. Simple ideas such as slowing down traffic using brighter reflective road surfacing, using greenery to act as natural chicanes and tidying up rubbish bins to clear pavements have all been done with minimum cost but big benefits.
In the streets where such changes have happened residents now feel much safer, with their fear of traffic greatly reduced, Their streets have become more pedestrian friendly, half of residents agreeing that traffic speeds have been reduced and 36 per cent saying they’d be happy to let their children play outdoors (compared with just nine per cent before the changes were made).
The changes are also improving quality of life and bringing people together, with 40 per cent of residents now socialising much more with their neighbours, and 67 per cent enjoying being outside their front door because it is now a greener more pleasant environment
The most recent project completes this weekend (30 October) in Oxford, where residents of Beech Croft Road have transformed their street which had previously been blighted by speeding traffic, and cars parked on pavements. The innovative new high visibility reflective road surfacing, strategically placed planters and bike racks all serve to slow down traffic and turn the street from race track and car park to somewhere for the people who live there.
Visit http://www.quality-streets.org.uk before the end of February, 2011 to lobby your local councillor.