Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

What is a low traffic Neighbourhood?

A low traffic neighbourhood is a residential area where ‘through’ motor traffic is discouraged or removed, and the remaining space is improved for residents.

They are usually created using barriers (also known as modal filters) which allow walking and cycling through a certain street or area, but restrict access to motor vehicles. Physical barriers such as planters or signs are strategically placed to prevent vehicle access on selected roads to stop motorists using the area as a cut-through.

Why are they being introduced in the borough?

Kingston Council declared a Climate Emergency motion on 25 June 2019 and is committed to addressing issues that affect the environment and health of our communities, with the resources it has available.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has seen a complete transformation in people’s daily habits, with travel being significantly impacted for most of us. The majority of journeys that would usually be made on a daily basis stopped, and traffic levels fell dramatically which provided people with a safer environment to take their daily exercise or plan essential trips. We know lockdown conditions have changed as well, with a move back towards a new normal, and the Streetspace Plan is looking to build in some resilience to support local journeys being made by walking or cycling.

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it is predicted that personal car use will increase as people are reluctant to travel on public transport, unless we can encourage more people to walk or cycle. The potential for increasing traffic levels makes the streets less attractive for those who choose to walk and cycle, and it is crucial that we build in a safer environment for those modes of transport, to prevent area wide congestion. This is why we are taking immediate action.

Our new temporary low traffic neighbourhoods will help tackle through-traffic (‘rat-runs’) in residential neighbourhoods and maximise space for pedestrians and cyclists. They will also play a vital role in improving air quality, delivering safer roads and promoting active travel as we work towards becoming a cleaner, greener Kingston.

Where are they being introduced and when?

We are currently trialling a low traffic neighbourhood in Kingston Town (Queens Road and Crescent Road). Heavy Goods Vehicles can no longer access these roads, providing more streetspace and improving access to Richmond Park for pedestrians and cyclists. The scheme also complements our school streets in the area.

Kingston Town - Albert Road - 7 September 2020
Albert Road is regularly used as a cut-through by motorists trying to avoid the main road junction with Cambridge Road. A planter will be installed at the Albert Road/Hawks Road junction to make this residential road safer by preventing vehicle access. To achieve this, a section of Albert Road’s one-way system will be reversed (southbound) and alterations will be made to the cycle lane (northbound).

Kingston Town - Lower Ham Road - 7 September 2020
Paths and roads are narrow in this area and traffic congestion is common. A planter will be installed on Lower Ham Road (between Woodside Road and Bank Lane) to prevent through-traffic and minimise vehicles using the road. There will be access for vehicles to properties and businesses in one direction.

Surbiton - King Charles Road - 14 September 2020
A barrier will be installed on King Charles Road (between Hollyfield Road and Beaconsfield Road) to prevent the road being used as a through-route (rat run) for motor traffic.

Where is the money coming from?

These new, temporary measures are being delivered as part of the Government's Emergency Active Travel scheme and the Transport for London (TfL) London Streetspace Plan to support active travel and aid social distancing. Both of these have strict programmes, with delivery of measures to be in place by the end of September, and those tight deadlines have dictated the method of delivery.

How do these schemes align with existing borough transport policies?

In 2019 the borough produced its current version of the Local Implementation Plan (called LIP3), which sets out how we intend to manage our road network and make improvements in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the plan covers the period until 2041.  This is a statutory document that all London Boroughs must have in place. LIP3 included a number of set aims including that our streets will be Healthy Streets and more Londoners will travel actively; our streets will be safe and secure; and that our streets will be used more efficiently and have less traffic on them. There are other outcomes that relate to public transport, but it is important to identify that the proposals being brought forward are in line with our policies.

The London Streetspace Plan is focused on creating space for social distancing and boosting levels of active travel by:

  • Providing temporary cycle routes to extend the strategic cycle network, with London’s main roads repurposed for temporary cycle lanes and wider footways
  • Providing additional space for people walking and cycling in town centres and at transport hubs, including widening of footways on local high streets to enable people to queue safely for shops 
  • Accelerating delivery of low traffic neighbourhoods and school streets by working with boroughs to reduce through traffic on residential streets, to further enable more people to walk and cycle safely as part of their daily routine

How long will the measures be in place?

These measures will be in place for an initial trial period of six months, at which stage the measures will be reviewed. If they prove successful and subject to feedback received, they could be extended for a period of time (up to 18 months from implementation) or become permanent.

How were these locations identified?

These locations were chosen based on a number of factors including where previous correspondence and information has been received from residents, as well as recommendations from engineers and planners (with some areas identified through existing proposals, suitably modified). Sites have been visited by engineers, who are confident that these locations will benefit from the new measures.

Why have residents not been consulted first?

Our low traffic neighbourhoods are being delivered in response to COVID-19 as part of the Travel for London (TfL) Streetspace programme and the Government's Emergency Active Travel scheme. 

Proposals from all London boroughs had to be submitted, designed and delivered quickly, all of which meant that we were unable to follow our normal practice of extensive consultation prior to schemes being considered. Funding bids were submitted in June and all successful bids need to be in place by September.

These measures are being introduced on a trial basis for six months using Experimental Traffic Orders, which can be brought into force quickly, using low cost and temporary materials. The advantage of this is that the schemes can be monitored for effectiveness and the council can listen to feedback from residents based on the real impact, rather than a hypothetical discussion about a plan or proposal.

Local residents will receive a letter if a low traffic neighbourhood is launching in their area, approximately two weeks before the proposals are implemented.

The Traffic Management Orders will also be advertised in local newspapers, as well as The London Gazette. 

How can I provide feedback?

Once the measures are in place and during the trial period you can share your views and comments via our ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ consultation on our Let’s Talk portal, this will allow time for residents to experience the changes and for traffic patterns to settle down.

If you would like to submit a formal objection to a scheme, this can be filed once the trial is in place and must be submitted within the first six months. Formal objections can be made by emailing [email protected] referencing the scheme as follows:

  • Kingston Town - Albert Road -  KingMap0045
  • Kingston Town - Lower Ham Road -  TMO-P302
  • Surbiton - King Charles Road -  TMO-P306

How will the council be monitoring the success of the schemes?

All immediately affected roads, plus surrounding roads will be monitored. Data will be collected by installing traffic count tubes and comparing them to previous data, together with site observations. We will also be gathering feedback from residents on our Let’s Talk Portal.

What are you doing about the displaced traffic on surrounding roads?

We appreciate that there will be variations to traffic patterns as these schemes take a little while to settle down. This is why these measures have been introduced as trials, and we will be monitoring the changes to traffic patterns before/after, before any decision is made to extend the trial or to make it permanent.

If my road is closed, how will emergency vehicles be able to access?

The safety of our residents is a key priority. Kingston Council is working closely with the emergency services before each scheme is installed to make sure they can still access every street, and will continue to work with them to see how the trial measures work in practice. 

Can I still drive inside a low traffic neighbourhood? 

Yes, this is not a pedestrianisation scheme. It is vital that people who need to use their cars, such as blue badge holders, can still do so. Residents will still be able to access their property by car, as will visitors, deliveries from outside the area and service vehicles such as waste collection trucks, but their routes may need to change. The aim is to deter through-traffic, not remove all traffic. 

Will there be exemptions for residents or blue badge holders? 

The measures proposed will create physical barriers to prevent through traffic using certain routes. This will mean that all local traffic, including blue badge holders may need to use alternative routes to get into and out of their residential areas.

Were certified risk assessments carried out ahead of implementation of all of the trials?

The schemes were designed in line with legal requirements and current road safety standards. A full road safety audit will be carried out on the temporary layout if a decision is taken to make a scheme permanent.

Were air pollution tests carried out ahead of implementation of all of the trials?

Our state of the art air quality monitoring network of 40 nitrogen dioxide diffusion tube monitors and three automatic monitoring stations provide us with excellent coverage across the borough, including the roads surrounding our Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

A comparison of the data gathered before and during the operation of the new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods will provide us with a good indication of the impact of any traffic displacement on local air quality. 

Albert Road - local diffusion tubes are located on London Road (outside Kingston Grammar School), at the junction of Hawks Road and Cambridge Road and at the junction of Cambridge Road and Gloucester Road.

Lower Ham Road - a diffusion tube is located at the junction of Richmond Road and Lower Kings Road.

King Charles Road - local diffusion tubes are located at the junction of Ewell Road and St Marks Hill, the junction of Ewell Road and Elgar Avenue, and outside number 53 Elgar Avenue. We also have three tubes and an automatic monitoring station on and around Tolworth Roundabout.

What will happen after the 6 month trial comes to an end?

Kingston council is legally obliged to formally consider all formal objections received during the first six months of the scheme’s operation. The council will also carefully consider all feedback received on Lets Talk and traffic data collated during the trial before deciding whether the changes should be extended for a period of time (up to 18 months from implementation), made permanent or removed.

How can residents stay informed on any further developments?

The latest information will be added to this webpage. Once available, the results from the residents survey and data comparisons will also be uploaded here. 

Where can I find information on other temporary streetspace measures in place?

A range of measures have been introduced in busy areas across the borough to help make public spaces safer and encourage social distancing. For further information please visit getting around RBK page

If I have a question who can I speak to?

If you have any further questions in the meantime, please email [email protected]

Last Modified: 18/12/2020 14:44:54