Hackney neighbours plan party to celebrate DIY Street improvements

New-look street designed with safety in mind

by Kevin Emery   November 11, 2009  

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Residents in Hackney will celebrate the opening of their re-designed street this weekend to unveil a safer and more attractive neighbourhood for the whole community. Clapton Terrace is one of 11 DIY Streets pilot schemes taking place throughout England and Wales.

The scheme, led by Sustrans, has been organised to improve urban areas by making them safer, cleaner and more people-friendly and it has encouraged local residents on Clapton Terrace to decide on measures that tackle the problem of speeding traffic on their street, which has long been a rat-run hot spot for vehicles avoiding Clapton Common.

Residents voted for a speed table to be constructed to slow traffic down, as well as the installation of communal bins, trees to be planted on the street and easy access to the green space opposite the terrace for children to play safely.

To mark the opening of their new-look street the residents will celebrate on Saturday with an evening of music, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts from braziers. There will also be workshops inviting neighbours to decorate candles and make paper lanterns to light up the street.

Lynn Altass, co-chair of the Clapton Terrace Residents Association, said: "There is a real sense of optimism among all residents in the neighbourhood and we are delighted to see such improvements made to the safety and overall look of our street."

The construction follows two years of community meetings led by Sustrans and supported and funded by Hackney Council, TfL and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The residents' success in slowing down traffic and making their street a safer place to live could see the DIY Streets project rolled out in cities throughout the UK.

Mira Ruskin, project officer for Sustrans DIY Streets, said: "The level of enthusiasm among all residents has been impressive and has really helped to make this scheme possible.

"Hackney is a crowded area where many residents are without gardens, so it is fantastic to see how successful this scheme has been in transforming what has previously been a rat-run into an attractive living space."