Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stamping Down on the Rat-Run Menace; Motoring

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stamping Down on the Rat-Run Menace; Motoring

Article excerpt


RAT-RUNNING - we are all guilty of it. Why sit in a long line of traffic going nowhere when you can dive down a sidestreet and find a crafty shortcut? It seems to be a temptation impossible to resist for commuters and is a phenomenon that councils around London are now battling against by installing road humps, chicanes and pinch-points.

It seems fine when it is someone else's road and you are only passing through for a minute. But, as a new report from pressure group Transport 2000 reveals, it is a different story when you happen to live in that road and are faced with an endless procession of speeding commuters.

The organisation is now highlighting the problem and trying to make drivers aware of the misery they inadvertently inflict on communities, with a novel competition.

It is appealing to residents to nominate the worst rat-runs in the UK.

It has already named two appalling examples in London to get things moving, but believes residents will be able to nominate hundreds more.

Whichever rat-run is singled out by judges as the worst will receive a two-day package of consultancy work from transport experts with the aim of finding a permanent solution to their problem.

Residents will then have to present their evidence to the local council in the hope that they will provide funding for the work to be carried out.

According to Transport 2000, which launched the campaign with the backing of the Big Issue magazine and transport charity Sustrans, 10 per cent of the A-road network is badly congested. As a result, millions of motorists turn off major roads in search of escape routes.

Julia Samson, the pressure group's spokesperson, said: "Drivers who hunt down less congested shortcuts through areas of housing are often oblivious to the impact they are having.

"What were once quiet, residential streets are now the equivalent of main roads, with the added danger, noise and pollution that this brings. …

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