Three neighbourhoods in Kingston will be newly designated as 'low traffic' in order to tackle the rising amount of through traffic or "rat running" in residential parts of the borough.

The scheme is being rolled out by Kingston Council (RBK) as part of the London Mayor's Street Space initiative, and is due to be introduced this Autumn.

Barriers called 'modal filters' will be placed at the entrances and exits of the designated streets, making them impassable to cars and heavier vehicles but accessible for cyclists and pedestrians, RBK said.

In a statement announcing the measures on Friday (July 31) a spokesperson for RBK said that the new initiative would focus on three main areas.

Namely, the Mount Road, Roebuck Road and Chantry Road area in Chessington, Albert Road in Kingston and the Lower Ham Road area in Kingston.

Through traffic "rat running" happens when drivers divert of busier main roads through residential neighbourhoods to avoid heavier traffic, a problem some local authorities in London have said they hope to address.

"The health and safety of our residents is our number one priority in Kingston and we are working hard to transform our public spaces to make it easier for you to walk and cycle whilst maintaining social distancing," RBK's Hilary Gander said on Friday, referencing the ongoing need for distancing between people to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

“We remain fully committed to creating safer, more active and greener streets for everyone to enjoy," she added.

"These measures are being introduced on an initial trial basis of six months; if they prove successful, subject to consultation with residents, they could be made permanent".

RBK issued details of the measures it was now preparing for the three designated "low traffic" neighbourhoods, reproduced below.

  • Chessington - Mount Road, Roebuck Road and Chantry Road
  • This residential area adjoins Chessington Industrial Estate and is bounded by the A3, A243 and A240. Modal filters will be installed on Mount Road, Roebuck Road and Chantry Road to reduce through-traffic in the area. The surrounding roads will be monitored to understand where displaced vehicles are diverted to.
  • Kingston Town - Albert Road
  • Albert Road is regularly used as a cut-through by motorists trying to avoid the main road junction with Cambridge Road. A modal filter will be installed at the Albert Road/Hawks Road junction to make this residential road safer by preventing vehicle access. To achieve this, a section of Albert Road’s one-way system will be reversed (southbound) and alterations will be made to the contraflow cycle lane (northbound).
  • Street space will be maximised to aid social distancing to support pedestrians and cyclists, including local families on the school run.
  • Kingston Town - Lower Ham Road area
  • Paths and roads are narrow in this area and traffic congestion is common. A modal filter will be installed on Lower Ham Road (between Woodside Road and Bank Lane) to prevent through-traffic and minimise vehicle movements. Vehicles will maintain access to properties and businesses in one direction. These changes will create a quieter and safer environment for people to enjoy walking and cycling close to the river.

“We are also assessing a number of other locations that could benefit from similar measures and hope to introduce more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the near future," Gander added.

"Let us know what you think about the temporary safety measures in your area by getting in touch with us on our Let’s Talk portal.

"We’re keen to find out what is working well, what could be improved and if there are other locations in the borough that could be further adapted to aid social distancing."

Residents can share their thoughts and suggestions by visiting: