Filtered permeability: a campaigning instructable

In a recent post, David Hembrow introduced the fifty bollard game: a practical exercise for campaigners to look at how a few strategically placed bollards could solve problems on their streets. A few bollards to create filtered permeability — closing off streets and country lanes to ratrunning, forcing motorists to keep through journeys to the main roads — can be a cheap and quick to implement solution to reclaiming those places from traffic.

Last week I talked to my neighbour @Jon_events, who has some practical experience with turning this game into reality, and we thought we’d try making a quick guide for other campaigners who want to fix their streets:

So, if you want to turn the fifty bollard game into reality, you should (a) set out your demands to the council exactly, so that they can’t mess it up or fob you off with excuses about how it would be much more complicated and expensive and bogged down in red tape than you think; and (b) get your neighbours to join you in a petition making those exact demands. (Exactly how many of your neighbours you need to support you will vary according to the pre-existing political will in your local council.)

The key part of Jon’s approach, though — necessary both to cut through the red tape, and to get sceptical neighbours on side — is not to ask for bollards at all. At least, not to begin with. Jon asks for flower planters, and — here’s the important bit — an Experimental Traffic Order. While almost everybody recognises the problem of ratrunning, some people have concerns about the proposed solution. But it’s difficult for them to say no to a reversible trial.

The time consuming bit is treading the streets, knocking on doors, explaining the proposal and getting signatures. So we made another guide, this one for our neighbours:

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5 responses to “Filtered permeability: a campaigning instructable

  1. Nice to see this one moving ahead!

  2. Excellent. Good local action which should benefit the people who live in those streets. Good luck with it.

  3. We did something similar around Nelson Street in Bedminster (Bristol) about 10 years ago, got the road made into a one way street and had planters to ‘unstraighten’ the road. It’s a brilliant idea!

  4. Reblogged this on démeaux and commented:
    Worth a read, as always, making streets in London more liveable/friendly would be great. Particularly resonant with me as the street I live on IS friendly. However, traffic is still high. (nobody wants to go down Streatham High Road if they can help it)

  5. Getting a lot of flack online at the moment, as the first one of my petitions (for Fishponds Road area) has come to consultation time. Now the doorstepping is to encourage as many people to respond positively as possible. There are some people who won’t even entertain the idea that this kind of scheme could work, so are strongly urging other local people to say no. Fingers crossed

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