Woman's mission to block traffic for 'car free' street party
- Credit: Archant/Sue Lawrence
A Norwich woman with a passion for cycling is planning to turn her road into a "car free zone" for one day only — and hold a big street party for all her neighbours.
Former librarian Sue Lawrence, 60, has lived on Alexandra Road in Norwich's Golden Triangle for 10 years — but lockdown was the first time her neighbours, of all ages, really got to know one another.
So when she got a Green Party newsletter through her door telling her Norfolk Car Free Day was on September 19, and that anyone could apply for a temporary road closure and free "Street Play" licence, she decided to make use of it and bring the community together.
Ms Lawrence hopes Norfolk County Council will allow her to close off Alexandra Road from its junction with Sandringham Road up to the chicane opposite number 29.
Residents parking in the carpark entered from the chicane will be able to come and go as usual, aided by a steward, but all cars usually parked up on that patch of the road will have to go elsewhere.
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The idea is to have a big "bring and share" lunch, and for the children to play games and activities out on the street without the threat of oncoming traffic.
As a "keen environmentalist", Ms Lawrence said the pandemic made her appreciate how much more peaceful everything was without reams of traffic flooding the city streets.
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She said: "I personally cycle everywhere, I'm really avid about it.
"I remember thinking how eerie it was at the beginning of lockdown to walk about with hardly any traffic and so little noise.
"But as daily walks became the norm, and everyone ventured out for their hourly exercise, I started to really enjoy how stress-free it all felt.
"It was so lovely to see so many people cycling, especially with young children.
"They felt safe in a way they normally wouldn't when traffic is at its busiest."
She added: "I know we can't give up cars altogether, but it'll be nice to see what it's like without them for a day. I bet people enjoy it, and I hope other streets do the same."
Anyone who wants to apply for a temporary road closure for Norfolk Car Free Day — or any "Street Play" day — can do so at: www.norfolk.gov.uk/business/licences-and-permits/highways-licences-and-permits/norfolk-car-free-day