No cars mean children can play out in streets

Children enjoying a Playing Out session in Harpenden.

Children enjoying a Playing Out session in Harpenden. - Credit: Playing Out

Despite the odd shower, more than a dozen residential streets in St Albans and Harpenden closed to through traffic for up to three hours last weekend to celebrate World Car Free Day.

The closures were organised as part of the Playing Out St Albans District project which is supported by St Albans district council and run by local environmental charity, Sustainable St Albans.

Sustainable St Albans trustee, Lesley Flowers, said: “After nearly 18 months when Playing Out sessions have not been possible, we are delighted that residents have once again been able to come out on the street, meet, chat, have fun and enjoy the fresh air.

"The sessions this weekend were a huge success as hundreds of people were able to enjoy socialising on their doorstep.”

Playing Out street organiser in Harpenden, Sam Sunderland, said: “Everyone on our street had such a lovely afternoon. The children were scooting, cycling, skateboarding, skipping, chalking, playing ball – you name it!

"And it was lovely for the adults to meet people we’d been chatting to on WhatsApp over the last year but never met in person before. We can’t wait for our next Playing Out session.”

The roads which took part have not been identified for safeguarding reasons.

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Residents of the St Albans district can apply to close their road to through traffic for up to three hours eight times a year for the purposes of children’s play and community building. Neighbours volunteer to steward the road closure points and assist resident drivers and their visitors with access.

Free information sessions will take place in early 2022 with applications for closures for spring 2022 onwards opening shortly afterwards.

Playing street organiser in St Albans, Caroline Cowling, said: “I attended one of the Playing Out information sessions and I remember coming away feeling positive that I could make it happen in my road. I am grateful for the support from the Playing Out St Albans district team and I am so pleased we have finally been able to enjoy all the benefits Playing Out brings to our community.”

Interested residents can find out more at or get in touch by email to