Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Street Wise; Homes & Property

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Street Wise; Homes & Property

Article excerpt


Families are reclaiming the streets for their children, thanks to a new pilot scheme that could make roads safer, says Anthea Masey

THERE can't be many streets in London where you can play hockey with your children in the middle of the road in the knowledge that you are not going to be knocked over by some fast rider on a rat run. But this is exactly what Charmian Boyd and her children, Marianthe, Alexander and Helena Evangelidis, are able to do in their street in West Ealing, thanks to a groundbreaking scheme that is redesigning city streets to put the needs of pedestrians and cyclists first.

Boyd and her family have the good fortune to live in a Home Zone.

The idea for these pedestrian- friendly areas comes from Holland and Germany, where there are thousands of such schemes.

Attracted by the idea of making their streets safer for the people who live there, Boyd and others in the Five Roads Forum, her local residents' group, got together to look at ways of improving road safety and enhancing the streets with new trees and flower beds.

Luckily for them, their efforts and enthusiasm coincided with the Government giving the go-ahead to 13 pilot Home Zone schemes, three of which are in London and the South-East: in the Five Roads areas of West Ealing; in Holmewood Gardens in Brixton and in Cavel Way in Sittingbourne, Kent. Since then, the Government has committed [pounds sterling]30 million to a further 61 schemes.

The idea got off the ground in this country more than five years ago, when the residents of Methley Ter race in Leeds proudly reclaimed their street by grassing over the road, which had become a rat run.

Nothing quite as radical has been done in London, but the key idea behind Home Zones is to create neighbourhoods where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over the car, and traffic is slowed to no more than 20 miles an hour, with an advisory speed limit of 10mph.

One of the key design features of Home Zones involves paving over roads and raising them to the level of the pavements. The space created is thus used, at given times, by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists; there are no longer separate roads for cars and separate pavements for pedestrians. …

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