Images above: Automatic traffic counters ripped out in Gordon Rd, Grove Park Terrace and Hartington Rd
The automatic strips for counting traffic which have recently been installed in Grove Park to measure the number of vehicles driving through have been systematically ripped out by vandals.
Residents noticed on Bank Holiday Monday (31 May) that the cables had been cut and thrown to the side of the road in different locations around Grove Park. In all, 20 of the 37 fittings have been vandalised.
Traffic schemes were introduced in south Chiswick during 2020 to try and stop commuters cutting through a residential area to shave a couple of minutes off their journey time.
The Streetspace schemes were introduced in the area south of the A4 which includes Grove Park and Strand on the Green, to try and dissuade drivers cutting off the corner on their way from the A316 to the A4 to avoid Hogarth roundabout.
There has been a dramatic fall in traffic in the area since the street schemes were installed. Hounslow’s traffic mangers installed automatic traffic counters in September 2019, then again in September 2020 and again in May 2021 so they can compare the traffic flow after the end of lockdown, to make a more realistic comparison on which to base future decisions.
Cllr Guy Lambert, a member of the Cabinet on Hounslow Council who has supported the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, told The Chiswick Calendar: “such appalling vandalism doesn’t really help anyone”.
“I can only assume whoever’s done this doesn’t want the facts to come out, which isn’t very clever. Now things will be delayed, the traffic officers will have to go and buy more and reinstall them, which will add to the cost. Things will be delayed. It’s very counterproductive”.
Cllr Sam Hearn, a member of the Conservative opposition on the council, in whose ward Grove Park falls, told us:
“It’s mindless. Without data you can’t make proper judgements. You can have a sensible debate and dispute data once you have it, but you can’t discuss it sensibly if you don’t have the data. All you’re left with is assumptions”.
But he added: “When the council doesn’t communicate with people it’s not surprising a few of them take exception to things they don’t understand. There was no explanation as to why they’re there”.
Automatic traffic counters vandalised in Burlington Lane, Burnaby Gardens, Devonshire Gardens, Fauconberg Rd, Grove Park Bridge, Grove Park Gardens, Grove Park Rd, Grove Park Terrace, Hartington Rd, Kinnaird Avenue, St Mary’s Rd and St Thomas’ Rd.
Traffic counters under discussion
The Facebook group OneChiswick, who are taking the council to Judicial Review over the cycle lane through Chiswick, published a list of locations where the traffic counting strips had been placed a few days earlier. There is no suggestion that the organisers of OneChiswick are behind the vandalism. They told us:
‘A discussion thread was started on the OneChiswick Facebook page five days ago asking where traffic counters were being located.
‘A discussion ensued in which contributors discuss the purpose of the traffic counters, including the benefit such data to the debate over low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and other streetspace measures.
The discussion references locations, including why certain locations do not have traffic counters, namely those roads onto which traffic has been displaced by the low traffic neighbourhood and other streetspace measures, such as the A316, Burlington Lane and Goldhawk Road. (In other words, the thrust of the thread is whether Hounslow Council has sought to manipulate which data it has chosen to collect.)
The location of sites in this thread are provided in 45 different posts over five days by several dozen contributors. They are NOT provided in a list published by OneChiswick. The 45 posts reference counters all over Chiswick, and in other boroughs, in locations such as Isleworth, Acton, and as far away as Dulwich.
‘OneChiswick abhors vandalism of any kind and would never seek to encourage it’.
Images above: Snapshots from the OneChiswick thread listing places in Chiswick where there are automatic traffic counters
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