The Burleigh Street Rat-run

Letter to residents

We have some good news on our campaign to get something done about vehicles using the end of Burleigh Street as a rat-run onto East Road to dodge the traffic lights.

Despite the prohibition “except for access” on vehicles’ use of the passageway from Adam and Eve Street, the shortcut has become routine for some drivers – many taxis prominently included.

Burleigh Street is narrow and no more able to safely accommodate motor traffic along the stretch near East Road than the rest of the same street which is fully pedestrianised. The whole street is a major artery for cycles and pedestrians crossing to and from Norfolk Street and is crowded at rush hours. Some businesses want to encourage a relaxed street environment with pavement tables and chairs, which is difficult to sustain with motor vehicles going past.

Policing the existing “no entry” sign is unreasonable to expect with other demands on police time, so we devised a solution to physically restrict vehicular access, while allowing free flow of cyclists and pedestrians – and to allow traffic with a genuine need to call at a Burleigh Street address and with no alternative means of getting there.

After surveying the individual businesses at the end of Burleigh Street, we learned that their needs for vehicle access were on the whole quite limited and could be met via Burleigh Place and Crispin Place (alongside the Chinese restaurant), which would not be part of any logical rat run.
But deliveries to a couple of the businesses required larger vehicles which couldn’t practically negotiate the other route. They would still need to enter via Adam and Eve Street.

Working with Council officers, we identified the possibility of installing a bollard across the entry to the passage from Adam and Eve Street; the bollard would be removable by a lock; individual businesses could apply to be key holders on proof of need, taking on the responsibility to replace the bollard and lock it each time after use.

We are pleased to report that last week, after the required formal consultation, the project was given the go ahead and the necessary traffic orders were approved. We can expect the scheme to be implemented within the next few months.

This is a welcome end to a lengthy exercise which we hope will make a positive contribution to residents and general visitors to the area.

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