Car-free cul de sac lifestyle adds value to your house price

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Creating cycle Quietways throughout London, including Croydon, offers numerous, unexpected benefits, according to KRISTIAN GREGORY

Live on a busy rat run? How would you like to live on a quiet cul-de-sac instead, without having to move home?

Local children help planting up one of the new planters installed a week ago on Norbury Avenue

Local children help planting up one of the new planters installed a week ago on Norbury Avenue

This is the question residents of Norbury Avenue have been asked, and to help them decide they’ve been given three months to live that reality to see how they like it.

It isn’t a new concept, but it’s new to Croydon. You take a residential road that is carrying far more motor traffic than it is designed for and put heavy planters in the road. These planters are then filled with soil for growing flowers, herbs, vegetables or whatever else the residents want. The planters stay in place long enough for drivers to get used to the new layout, and for residents to experience the benefits of a home in a cul-de-sac. If they don’t like it, it can be re-opened to traffic.

Initially, residents may feel the new layout is less convenient. However, the benefits will creep up on them as the experiment progresses.

On a scorching hot day, windows will be open to catch the cool breeze but the dull roar of passing traffic and the smell of exhaust fumes will be noticeably absent. The street is now safe enough for children to play out, and the murmur of children laughing or neighbours chatting may be the only sound. The quietness is relaxing, anxiety fades.

Studies have also shown that community cohesion is better on streets that carry smaller volumes of traffic. If you live on Norbury Avenue, don’t be surprised if you know your neighbours a bit better by the end of this trial.

Cycling Quietways have been introduced elsewhere in London

Cycling Quietways have been introduced successfully elsewhere in London, including in the City

You’re also now connected to the only cycling Quietway in this part of London.

When the Quietway route is completed, you’ll be able to take your family for a safe and pleasant cycle along this corridor. Cycle to Tooting Bec with the family for a morning swim at the lido. Escape the cramped northern line and cycle all the way to Waterloo on similar such roads. Drop into Clapham Junction for a guilt-free breakfast at Jack’s. This scheme opens the door to easy health and well-being opportunities.

This street in Hackney was trialled as traffic-free for a period, and has never reverted to having motor traffic on it

This street in Hackney was trialled as traffic-free for a period, and has never reverted to having motor traffic on it

The icing on the cake? The benefits described mean that demand is higher for properties on cul-de-sacs than those on busy roads, so the value of your home on Norbury Avenue has likely jumped by thousands of pounds overnight.

If this sounds good, perhaps you’d like to see it on your street?

The Norbury Avenue project shows the way to make Croydon streets nicer places to live. The planters are easy to install and the trial nature of the project means no expensive traffic impact studies are needed. Talk to your neighbours and see how they feel about living on a cul-de-sac for a few months.

If people like the idea, engage your local councillor and ask them to help you trial this on your street. Tell them you want what the residents of Norbury Avenue have got.

  • Kristian Gregory is a member of the Croydon Cycling Campaign
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Commuting, Cycling, Environment, Norbury, Parking, Property, Thornton Heath, Transport and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Car-free cul de sac lifestyle adds value to your house price

  1. “The trial nature of the project means no expensive traffic impact studies are needed”.
    Are you sure? Surely the point of a trial, if run responsibly, is to measure its impact on residents and road-users alike. The closure of Norbury Avenue may well increase the value of properties on that road. But what is the traffic impact on the surrounding streets? Will their property values fall because of extra traffic on them as a result of the closure?
    Only proper impact studies can help determine the true success, or failure, of any such schemes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • KristianCyc says:

      I guess I had the redesign of Bank junction in mind here. City of London has put off closing one of the arms of this junction until 2019 to build an expensive compturised traffic model of the junction to see what would happen. Instead, they could have just closed it on a trial basis years ago and monitored the results, which would in turn be more accurate than their computer model. Instead they are spending a fortune on a computer model, and a bright young graduate was killed there last month.

      Different types of road should fill different purposes. Main, distributor roads are designed to carry high traffic volumes. Look at a map of Croydon and you’ll see it consists of groups of residential streets surrounded by distributor roads. Ideally when closing one rat run through residential areas you would close off the rest as well, forcing traffic to navigate the area using the surrounding distributor roads, rather than pushing it onto adjacent residential roads. Thus an area based approach is probably best, but some of the areas can be quite big which can make the size of the change quite daunting, particularly to a council that has no prior experience of doing it.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Notes from our June 2015 meeting | Get Sutton Cycling

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