Reimagining Rolt Street - Healthy Street proposal of the year 2017

Sustrans staff talking to residents at Rolt Street

Our urban designer took to the streets to hear from local people

Rolt Street entrance to Folkestone Gardens before the community led redesign

Before: The entrance to Folkestone Gardens and Rolt Street could be transformed

Artist's impression of Rolt Street new design

Artist's impression of the new design

We were commissioned to deliver on a community-led design project which set out to link Rolt Street in Deptford with Folkestone Gardens, the neighbouring park, creating a safer environment and helping the whole community make healthier travel choices.

The project was commissioned by the London Borough of Lewisham and was developed in partnership with park user group Deptford Folk and the local community. Anchored in Deptford’s Maritime history, the scheme aims to overcome issues including fast-moving traffic, poor visibility and sight lines and lack of safe crossing points, and to create an attractive place for people to enjoy.

Award winning design

Our Community Street Design for Rolt Street, in partnership with London Borough of Lewisham, was nominated for the Healthy Street Proposal of the Year award.

The award category recognises the exceptional quality in street design that increases active travel choices, safety and liveability.

The judges feel that no organisation has done more to embody the spirit of healthy streets than Sustrans.

- Healthy Streets Awards 2017 jury member Brian Deegan

Community-led street design

Directly responding to resident feedback, the council asked Sustrans, in our capacity as healthy street experts, to redesign the entrance to Folkestone Gardens from Woodpecker Road and Rolt Street.

We specialise in community-led design: a process that involves local residents throughout, ensuring proposed designs meet the needs of local people. This approach means solutions are designed by the community, for the community, ensuring good fit and the long-term success of the project.

Our consultation approach included outdoor pop-up events that were designed to get the community’s insight on what they wanted from the entrance to Folkestone Gardens.

The majority of the community felt that access to Folkestone Gardens from Woodpecker Road was just not safe enough. They also wanted to improve the streetscape on the south side of Folkestone Gardens.

After listening and observing how the entrance to the park was used,  we ran a collaborative design workshop to develop ideas further using the insights from the listening exercise.

Then our urban designers, engineers and community facilitators collaborated with local people to put into practice what the community wanted to be changed, by testing their ideas. We narrowed the carriageway using hay bales and implemented calming traffic measures as part of our street trial event.

The community really appreciated the trial, they quickly saw the benefits that the temporary measures brought, and wanted them made permanent. Our automatic traffic counts revealed a 20 mph reduction in mean speed on the street trial day compared to the rest of the week.

Rolt Street reimagined

Our community-inspired design has reimagined Rolt Street as an extension of Folkestone Gardens, creating a better place for people to walk, cycle, play and stay. A one-way boulevard design will allow cars to pass through from Childers Street junction towards Trundleys Road with speeds set to 5mph.

The whole design has been developed in connection with the maritime history of Deptford Dockyard in mind, with timber seating and corten steel used to create a gateway to the garden, grounded in the history of the local area. This community street design, made with and for local residents, could encourage future generations to make healthier travel decisions and enjoy a life with less pollution and traffic. 

Zoe Spiliopoulou, Head of Built Environment at Sustrans London, said:

“Our people-led approach means streets and spaces are designed with, and for, the local community and we were delighted that was recognised when this scheme was shortlisted for the Healthy Street Proposal of the year.

“It was important the design met the needs of local families and commuters alike whilst highlighting the historical significance of the area. It's a proposal to help the local community and future generations make healthier travel choices and enjoy life with less pollution and traffic.”

Nick Harvey, Cycling Programme Manager London Borough of Lewisham said:

“The Rolt Street Community Design Project is a great example of Sustrans ability to provide multidisciplinary expertise in community engagement, scheme design, and client management. As a Council, we are very pleased with how the project has been managed by Sustrans, and equally as important so are the community.”

Deptford Folk said:

"The Rolt Street project could not have happened without the input and know-how from Sustrans. Together we have managed to work with a diverse cross-section of the area to design something that will bring real improvement to the park, access to it and the safety of all users."

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