PLANTERS: Controversial road blocks to become permanent in Longford
Cromwell Road Planters, Image: Longford Residents
Controversial road blocks and low traffic networks near a Trafford park are here to stay.
The planters, or modal filters, currently on Norwood Road, Cromwell Road and Hillingdon Road near Longford Park, have proven ‘incredibly divisive’ for the local community.
But after the council carried out a public consultation, a majority of the public voted in favour of the low traffic network the planters have created outside their homes.
The planters are designed to prevent cars and other motor vehicles from passing through and reserves access to the street for pedestrians and cyclists.
The aim was to prevent the residential streets from being used as rat-runs by commuters.
Greater Manchester was awarded £3.1m from the government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). Trafford was given £366,000 to improve cycling and walking options for residents and commuters across the borough.
The planters were funded by this cash.
While their initial positions at first caused some upset, residents have now voted to tweak the planters’ locations slightly – but they will remain in the community.
Residents voted to retain the planter on Hillingdon Road, relocate the planter on Cromwell Road to the north side of Longford Avenue and relocate the planter on Norwood Road to the north side of Longford Avenue.
Those in favour of the scheme are thrilled by the news.
Dom Jordan, who lives on Norwood Road and is part of the campaign group Longford Safer Streets, said: “It’s really brilliant to see that the council have decided to move the planter to positions which put all the families who live here first and rat-runners second.
“It’s been a long time coming but the residents of the Longford triangle have now been asked three times whether they want to return to the previous situation – thousands of drivers every day using residential roads to cut a minute or two off their journeys – and on all three occasions only a minority of respondents have asked for the planters to be removed. We applaud the council’s test and learn approach which has given the scheme the best chance of success.
“There will no doubt be some short term issues while drivers get used to the new positions but in the long term we will all benefit from safer, quieter streets with reduced noise and pollution.”
Rachel Horst, who lives on Kenwood Road, added: “I’m so relieved and thankful that our councillors have supported the suggestion by the community to trial a full LTN. It will deliver quieter residential streets in Longford and stop rat-running from cars trying to avoid the main roads.
“As an urban planner and safer streets advocate myself, I support the concept of low traffic neighbourhoods, and I was excited when I first heard that one was going to be trialled in my neighbourhood. The initial scheme was installed in good faith, but it failed to hit the mark.
“I am really excited to see how the new layout will work once everyone gets used to it. I want my children to be able to walk and cycle to school safely and for residential streets not to take the burden of a continued growth in car ownership and SAT Nav detours.”
Another residents’ group, Longford Residents, has often spoken out against the planters.
Last year, a spokesperson for the group said: “The planters are blocking the road. It’s created a divide in the community and emergency services would struggle to get into our road. It’s just ridiculous, it’s an absolute nightmare and it’s causing chaos.
“The council obviously doesn’t want to take them out. But someone’s going to die if an ambulance can’t get through.
“And people are speeding about, getting frustrated at having to find another way around. It’s absolutely stupid.”
Last year a petition for the planters to be removed had gained 407 signatures by December.
Despite concerns from some members of the community, the planters are set to become a permanent fixture.
A spokesperson for Trafford council said: “Trafford council has made the decision to implement an experimental Low Traffic Neighbourhood order for Longford Park following the results of a consultation with local residents.
“A majority of the residents selected Option A – to retain the planter on Hillingdon Road, relocate the planter on Cromwell Road to the north side of Longford Avenue, and relocate the planter on Norwood Road to the north side of Longford Avenue.
“The report is published in full on the Trafford council website and residents will soon receive a letter confirming the decision once the legal notice has expired.
“Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation.”
Words: Alice Richardson, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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