ARERA press release – forthcoming modal filter on Arbury Road

Arbury Road East Residents Association (ARERA) welcomes the forthcoming experimental modal filter on Arbury Road, part of region-wide Government-supported measures to improve community health, prevent the spread of Covid-19, enable safe walking and cycling  and reduce levels of pollution, both air and noise.

For Arbury Road we expect that there will be a temporary barrier (a ‘modal filter’) placed in a way that keeps full motor vehicle access to all properties, while stopping rat-running. The road will become safe for people walking and cycling to spread out, and pollution levels will greatly reduce. Both of those effects will help prevent transmission of the virus.

Emergency vehicles will be able to pass through if needed.

We believe that this modal filter will be placed somewhere northwest of Leys Road and southeast of the Gurdwara just before Arbury Court. The experimental traffic order is expected to run for between 6 and 18 months and will open up a wide-ranging consultation between residents and all road users about the future of the road.

For the longer term, we envision a filter that will enable emergency vehicles and drivers with blue badges to pass directly through while still stopping rat-running.

During lockdown, the amount of motor traffic went down but the average speed went up. With lockdown easing, our road is again congested. Cyclists and pedestrians are being forced into narrow spaces, and pollution levels are rising. Many people, especially children, do not feel safe cycling on the road. For years Arbury Road has suffered from pollution and dangerous road conditions, with many crashes and injuries sustained people walking and cycling here as a result of speeding and excessive motor traffic. Now, we are in danger of things getting worse than they were before.

At the end of 2019, a survey of local residents and businesses found 87% of respondents preferred a modal filter as the best way to improve safety, reduce pollution and encourage walking and cycling.

We understand that for local car drivers there may be some extension to their journey times depending exactly where the barrier is and in which direction they need to travel, but such diversions are unlikely to take more than a few minutes and will soon become part of people’s journey planning. We recognise this is an inconvenience for some people, but on the balance, we find that the importance of protecting our community’s health is much more urgent.

On Arbury Road, there are two schools, two recreation grounds and a residential home for older people – all of these facilities need to be taken into account when considering matters related to walking and cycling safety and the quality of the air we breathe. In the forthcoming consultation it is vital that all residents and users participate so that the best long term solution may be found.

We are calling for the experimental modal filter to be installed as soon as possible in order to protect the health of the people and families who live here and go to school on Arbury Road, so that we can spread out while walking and cycling, and so that the pollution levels stay low, in order to keep us safe from Covid-19.

Arbury Road East Residents Association

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