Traffic and Communities
Some residents hold street parties to highlight the problems of traffic and parking in their street. Some think about taking action about it having enjoyed their street without traffic for a day.
Parked and moving vehicles make the street unfriendly. Research has shown that the more cars there are in the street, the less neighbours know each other. Street parties can counter the tendency for people to be anonymous, retreating behind their front doors.
How you can have less cars in your street
We have a special way that you can reduce parking in your street by sharing a car with a neighbour. This involves one being named on another’s insurance. See our Guide.
Otherwise, when it comes down to it less people need to use or buy cars, so the solutions are the usual suspects of using public transport more, walking (see www.livingstreets.org.uk) or cycling (see www.ctc.org.uk or www.sustrans.org.uk).
The way to deal with parking by non-residents is with a Residents Parking Permit Scheme as part of a Controlled Parking Zone. This is only possible over wide area and will involve paying ?50-100 per year and so most residents would have to be behind it.
Parking on pavements, on corners or across entrances is illegal but it is a low priority for the police to take action on this obstruction due – persistence is needed. It is only council’s responsibility where there are yellow lines. Ask Living Streets at www.livingstreets.org.uk
The Campaign for Better transport does just that: www.bettertransport.org.uk
If you want to do something more to help children play in your street ask London Play’s Street Play Project.
How you can reduce traffic and its effects in your street
You may want some form of traffic calming. The best ways are with reducing speed by with engineering such as narrowing the road, chicanes, and/or speed cushions. But these can be expensive and the council will probably only pay for it if there are regular and serious problems with accidents and speed. If you are determined try asking Sustrans Liveable Neighbourhoods Project for help. Or ask Living Streets.
The Campaign for Better Transport has some good detailed Guides on reducing traffic here.
A home zone is where the structure of the street is changed a lot to be shared space for pedestrians and vehicles. You are unlikely to achieve this as the costs of changing the surface is a lot. However, it is a good idea in new developments and the ideas can inspire your design of traffic calming. See www.homezones.org.uk. For creative ideas for promoting traffic calming in communities in Oxford see Road Witch Project.
See this amazing example of the most comprehensive re-design of streets which turned Poynton into a newly vibrant village.
20mph zones are common now, though they tend to work best with traffic calming such as speed tables.
If you have a lot of bollards in your street you could brighten them up with paint like in this project, though you would need permission. So instead of permanent paint you can use materials covers etc. Lovely.
Planting trees with small leaves in large tubs or in the ground soften the look of the street and breaks up the sightline of drivers. The problem will be underground utilities like the sewers.
See our guide about car sharing.