Traffic engineering not necessarily the answer: learning the lessons of neighbourhood improvements in the Ruskin Park area

Most of us will be aware that physical measures are not necessarily the only solution when it comes to slowing dangerous traffic in residential areas. Here Lambeth Cyclists’ Clare Neely reflects on developments near her home.

Shortly Lambeth Council will be installing a number of physical measures; speed tables and road cushions, to reduce speeds in the area around Ruskin Park in SE5.

Sadly, and despite a spirited campaign by local residents, these are unlikely to reduce the rat running through the area which discourages cycling and walking. Many local people felt that a combination of 20mph signage and road closures to discourage speeding through traffic, would be a better use of resources. These measures would prevent people driving through the area and thus do more to encourage cycling and walking than solely physical measures managing the traffic there.

In discussions there was the usual motor vehicle capacity nonsense coming from the Council. It would seem though that everyone has now moved on. Even Norman Baker MP, the far from radical government Minister for Transport, wants to discourage short motor vehicle journeys and encourage cycling and walking.

Although the more over engineered scheme is set to be implemented in the Ruskin Park area, the arguments made during the campaign have not been lost. Other neighbourhoods which are subject to speeding rat running traffic we hope will be able to see that encouraging cycling and walking and reducing through traffic is a better solution to trying to slow down, but accommodate, through motor traffic.

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