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Modal Filters

In many parts of Trafford, pavements are narrow and people walking, and cycling are squeezed into narrow spaces and unable to practice social distancing as required. There are many older and vulnerable people without cars who need more space on roads and footpaths. This quick guide provides further information about modal filters and its benefits.

What’s a modal filter?

A modal filter is any measure, at a single point in a road, that allows the passage of some modes of transport but not others. The type of modal filter suggested for use in your road allow walking and cycling but it stops other types of motor traffic.

Modal filters offer the solution of closing roads to through motor traffic which greatly reduces the number of vehicles using the road, speed reduction, while enhancing walking and cycling. However, access is still available for cyclists and pedestrians. It is extremely likely that a reduction in motor traffic will increase safety.

In general, modal filters are placed in such a way that all types of motor vehicles can access properties along a road, but through-traffic is prevented. This immediately makes the road much safer for walking and cycling.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, modal filters offer the benefit of allowing people to walk in the road, while social distancing. People using mobility scooters and wheelchairs are also able to use roads more safely particularly where foot-ways are narrow and sometimes hard to navigate. Modal filters help towards reducing pollution levels and overall traffic levels, encouraging people to make local journeys by foot or bike.

Will modal filters affect access for emergency services?

The team at One Trafford Partnership always consults with emergency services before installing a modal filter. They are generally quite supportive for several reasons. First, safer conditions on a street mean that there are fewer road traffic crashes requiring a response. Second, the reduction in motor traffic on filtered roads means that they are much emptier when the emergency vehicle arrives, making it easy to drive through.

Where is the car traffic going to go?

Car journeys will largely take place on main roads, and ideally residential side streets should only be used for access to properties. Decades of studies have shown that removing rat-runs and road space for cars contributes to a reduction in car usage. This will also result in a reduction of pollution and an increase in active travel. The public health benefits for travelling by foot or bike are enormous.

What is a temporary scheme?

Much of what has been proposed in the plans following the Emergency Active Travel Fund (ERTF) announcement will be put in place as an ‘Temporary Traffic Regulation Order‘ (TTRO) in order to test out ideas on a temporary basis before a decision is taken to keep the filter or remove it.

In line with Covid-19 guidance TTROs are being put in place within a limited time-frame but they will be monitored on a regular basis.

Will I be able to drive and park my car on a road where I live or work if a modal filter is placed outside my home or place of business?

Yes, residents and businesses directly affected by modal filters will not only have access to their homes and places of business, but they will also be consulted by letter and a short survey to provide their thoughts on whether they would like modal filters to be placed in their area.

Other drivers will be able to drive their vehicles however they may need to change their route in some cases. Road signs will be placed in any affected areas. If it is an option, people should consider walking or cycling for shorter journeys.

What about the needs of people with disabilities?

The One Trafford Partnership has a duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable accommodation to ensure that people with disabilities do not experience any disadvantage compared to able-bodied persons, and that will continue to be the case.

It’s very important that these schemes also enable more people to walk or cycle, especially people who use hand-cycles, tricycles, various types of cycles adapted for disability, or mobility scooters, and that people with partial sight can safely navigate the temporary changes. Modal filters improve safety for all road users. People will find it much easier to walk, wheel or scoot along a road after a modal filter has been installed because of the greatly reduced amount of motor traffic.

Will access be available for taxis, service and delivery vehicles to my business or home?

There will be no motor vehicle access through the filters for taxis, service and delivery vehicles. Access for motor vehicles within this category will be from either side of what is ultimately a closure.

Residents who work from home for example and have visitors or use taxis as a mode of transport will need to advise taxis to park on the either side of the modal filter.

Posted on 30th July 2020

by Nosheen Haque