Chiswick traffic management changes, May – July 2020

Images above: Sign outlining changes in Fisher’s Lane

Check this before venturing out in your car

Hounslow’s Streetspace programme introduced significant changes to traffic management across the borough in May, June and July 2020. The various projects have mainly been introduced as experiments under temporary traffic orders and have been designed in line with the Government and the Mayor of London’s policies to provide more space for walking and cycling.

Already a shared goal to promote ‘active travel’ the Covid-19 pandemic has catapulted these measures to the top of the priority list as planners fear after months of being at home, commuters going back to work and parents whose children are going back to school will rely on their cars to avoid using public transport, with resulting gridlock in London.

Here’s a list of the traffic management changes which have already been introduced or are imminent, as of the beginning of August 2020.

Wellesley Road and Stile Hall Gardens closure

Images above: Motorist ignoring the ‘no entry’ sign denying access on to the South Circular from Stile Hall Gardens; closure of Wellesley Rd

One of the first changes to be made in Chiswick was the closure of Wellesley Rd and Stile Hall Gardens to through traffic. Road closures at the junctions of Stile Hall Gardens and Wellesley Road with the A205 (South Circular) were introduced on Thursday 4 June. Access for cyclists has been maintained, as has access for motor vehicles into Stile Hall Gardens from A205.

‘Bringing this closure forward will significantly reduce through traffic on these narrow residential streets, and also improve conditions for cyclists more generally on this route between Brentford and Chiswick town centres by delivering lower traffic volumes’ said Hounslow council.

Unlike many of the other measures, this is a permanent closure and is not expected to be reviewed as it has been fully consulted on over a period of several years as part of the planning consultation for Cycleway 9.

Residents in these two streets have campaigned for years to have them closed to through traffic. They report that two months on, there is still a steady trickle of car drivers who come down Stile Hall Gardens looking to turn onto the South Circular, not helped presumably by the fact that at time of writing Google maps still show it as a through route.

The Chiswick Calendar’s spy at the end of Stile Hall Gardens tells us, once there, confronted with the choice of turning back or ignoring the signs and plowing on, about a quarter decide to ignore the no entry signs and drive on regardless.

Bus lane hour extensions

Plans to extend bus lane hours across the borough to 24/7 where possible, and at a minimum to cover the busiest times Monday-Sunday, have been completed. The extension, on a trial basis will be reviewed in autumn 2020 informally and then formally early in 2021.

Turnham Green Terrace – Parking Suspensions and Restricted Access

Images above: A squashed planter in a closed parking bay; temporary bollards initially being laid out neatly: heavier replacement bollards, before they all got moved about

The partial closure of Turnham Green Terrace in July has caused much confusion. The intention is to prevent through traffic. Described as a ‘closure’, the restrictions still allow access for some loading/unloading and blue badge parking facilities and access to Turnham Green Terrace Mews ‘for businesses and associated visitors’.

There has been much criticism of the lack of clarity in the signage. The sign on the Bath Rd indicates no left turn except for disabled access. ‘local buses, taxis and for access’, with no mention made of loading or unloading.

The loading bays in Turnham Green Terrace are intended to be ‘for all vehicle users who are picking up or dropping off items at businesses and not just those traditionally classified as ‘goods vehicles’. Loading/unloading will be limited to a maximum stay of 20 minutes’.

Many of the pay and display parking bays have been suspended, coned off to widen the footway to increasing social distancing for pedestrians by allowing them to walk in the road,, separated from traffic by a barrier. But drivers have moved the plastic bollards marking out the suspended bays and even the planters placed in the middle of the former parking spaces. The one pictured was squashed by a lorry (unintentionally apparently).

The council says ‘this measure will be enforced by CCTV rather than physical measures to enable the permitted access described’.

The council has extended the footway adjacent to the bus stop outside Nos. 2-12 Turnham Green Terrace ‘to improve social distancing capabilities for both those waiting at the bus stop and pedestrians using the footway’.

The Turnham Green Terrace measures are due to be reviewed in the autumn – Interim review: autumn 2020. Final review: early 2021.

Devonshire Road – Parking Suspensions and Restricted Access

Image above: installation of planters in Devonshire Rd

The partial closure of Devonshire Road between its junctions with Chiswick High Road and Glebe Street in July has met with more success. Again the intention is to prevent through traffic. Drivers seem to have cottoned on to the idea more quickly, perhaps because it is a smaller street, not a main through route as Turnham Green Terrace had been. Like Turnham Green Terrace, although this is described as a ‘closure’, there are some loading/unloading and blue badge parking facilities and there is access to Prince of Wales Terrace for residents, businesses and associated visitors.

The loading bays in Devonshire Road are for all vehicle users who are picking up or dropping off items at businesses, and not just those traditionally classified as ‘goods vehicles’. Loading/unloading is limited to a maximum stay of 20 minutes.

The old pay and display parking bays which are not being used for loading or blue badge parking purposes have been suspended to widen the footway and enable better social distancing for pedestrians.

The measures in Devonshire Rd are also enforced by CCTV and are due to be reviewed in the autumn – Interim review: autumn 2020. Final review: early 2021.

Images above: Signs at the entrances to Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Rd

Chiswick Parking Suspensions (outside of the police station)

A number of parking bays have been suspended outside the police station ‘in order to create more space for pedestrians, provide additional cycle parking and help reduce car travel into the town centre in line with government guidance’.

Disabled bays have also been moved from the footway side to other locations within the car park to allow for the footway to be widened. The council says:

‘We stand by to review further parking suspensions if businesses in this location require additional space to open safely’.

Interim review: autumn 2020. Final review: early 2021.

Duke Road Closure

A restriction on motor vehicles entering Duke Road from Chiswick High Road has been introduced, ‘resulting in fewer turning movements at the junction, reducing the risk of conflict with cycles and pedestrians’. Access is maintained via Duke’s Avenue – Bourne Place. Cycles are exempt from the Duke Road restriction.

Interim review: autumn 2020. Final review: early 2021.

Fishers Lane Restrictions

Images above: Signs at the south end and at the north end of Fisher’s Lane

Fishers Lane has been closed to all vehicular traffic except local buses and bicycles where it passes under the railway bridge. The reduction in motor traffic, introduced on 31 July 2020, is to improve the environment for cyclists. The weekend after the the introduction of the signs and road markings, motorists coming from both north and south were blithely ignoring them.

Interim review: autumn 2020. Final review: early 2021.

School Streets

Image above: Chiswick School from Staveley Rd; Edensor Rd, outside Cavendish Primary School

The introduction of timed resident-only access and/or parking restrictions to reduce traffic and parking outside school gates at school arrival times was already under way elsewhere in the borough. Some form of School Street is also being introduced at Grove Park Primary, Chiswick School and Cavendish Primary as part of the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood.

Grove Park Primary School Street

Timed road closures will be introduced to remove traffic from around the two entrances to the school, with residential properties within the zone ‘white listed’ to ensure access to properties is maintained. Roads affected: Nightingale Close, a section of Grove Park Terrace and part of St Thomas’ Road. The school and the council are discussing the initial design. Once the plan is finalised, residents will receive a letter explaining how the zone will operate and how to register vehicles, in time for expected implementation in September 2020. Interim review: January 2021. First formal review: Spring 2021.

Chiswick School

The School Street scheme at Chiswick School includes a section of Staveley Road between the A316 and Burlington Lane. The plan involves a timed closure of the road at school start and end times of the school day but will not affect bus routes. ‘The exact extent of the zone and timings of the closure are being considered and will be communicated to residents in early August’ according to the project website. Expected implementation date: September 2020. Interim review: January 2021. First formal review: Spring 2021.

Cavendish Primary

A timed closure of the whole of Edensor Road in Grove Park was considered, but after residents objected, describing the scheme as both ‘unworkable’ and ‘unnecessary’, the council has brought forward an alternative plan for Cavendish Primary School, extending the Red Route from the A316, which you can read more about here.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School & The William Hogarth Primary School

Those schools which are in cul-de-sacs are trying out resident-only restrictions outside the following schools in Chiswick: St Mary’s Catholic Primary School & The William Hogarth Primary School. Temporary closures completed June 2020; semi-permanent measures to follow in the autumn. Final review : Summer term 2021.

South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood

Images above: Strand on the Green, Thames Rd

This involves a comprehensive package of measures which are quite complicated to get your head round, which predate the Covid emergency. Planned in collaboration with Transport for London, they are designed to stop people from outside the area using Grove Park and Strand on the Green as a rat run, to get from Chiswick Bridge to Kew Bridge, or Chiswick Bridge onto the A4, avoiding the Hogarth roundabout. Traffic surveys carried out by the council in the autumn showed that over 70% of traffic entering Hartington Road from the A316 by Chiswick Bridge is driving straight through the area. Sutton Court Road has over 8,000 vehicles per day.

Closure of Dan Mason Drive to traffic underneath railway line

The road through Dukes Meadows was closed to vehicular traffic in early summer, to ensure a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists. Interim review: autumn 2020. First formal review: early 2021.

Making Strand on the Green / Thames Rd a no through route

LB Hounslow’s raffic surveys show that there are over 4,000 vehicles using Thames Road on an average weekday. A high proportion is through traffic, with drivers passing through the area from one end to the other. In both directions approximately 60% of the traffic between the western end of Strand on the Green, and the eastern end of Thames Road, passes through the area in less than four minutes.

An access- only zone is being introduced from the Kew Bridge / Strand on The Green junction, to the junction of Grove Park Terrace / Grove Park Road. This means that you can drive in to the area to visit or stay, you can park to go to the shops, pubs and restaurants, but you will not be able to just drive straight through from one end to the other without being fined. Automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) are being introduced at both entry and exit points to monitor the flow of cars. Expected implementation date: August 2020. Interim review: autumn 2020. First formal review: early 2021.

Hartington Rd / Cavendish Rd

Hartington Road is one of the busiest residential roads in the area, with nearly 8,000 vehicles on the average weekday at its busiest point, according to LB Hounslow traffic surveys. Two thirds of all traffic is heading in a northbound direction. ‘The northbound dominance of traffic continues on Bolton Road, Grove Park Road and Sutton Court Road, which highlights the degree to which traffic uses this route as a cut through between the A316 and A4, in order to avoid Hogarth Roundabout’.

A restriction on northbound access from Hartington Road is proposed, near to the junction with Cavendish Road, in order to remove this through traffic, controlled by use of an ANPR camera. Northbound access to drivers will be open to residents only, via a ‘permitting system’. Vehicles with pre-registered licence plates would be able to continue to travel in a northbound direction. It is proposed that this will be open to residential properties that sit within the geographical area covered by the ‘CS’ and ‘RV’ controlled parking zones. Expected implementation date: August 2020. Interim review: autumn 2020. First formal review: Early 2021.

Harvard Hill junction with the A4

Images above: Sign at Harvard Hill; Road Closure barrier

Long known by taxi drivers and sat nav users alike, cutting through Grove Park to exit on to the A4 through Harvard Hill used to shave a whole two minutes off your SE – NW journey. The road was blocked off at the end of July to prevent this. It is however blocked on one side only, the left lane turning out on to the A4. Drivers can still use the other lane to enter Grove Park from the A4.

This has left sufficient lee-way for enterprising drivers to manoeuvre dangerously around the barrier, blocking traffic from turning in as they attempt to get out, and has led to a succession of less reckless drivers U-turning in Harvard Hill when they see the barrier. Interim review: autumn 2020. First formal review: early 2021.

Images above: A motorist drives into Harvard Hill and does a three point turn to drive out again

Staveley Rd

In order to ensure that the changes on Hartington Road do not simply displace traffic further north onto Staveley Road, a ‘diagonal road closure’ is proposed at the junction with Park Road.

The sections of Staveley Road either side of Burlington Lane have traffic volumes of over 5,500 vehicles on the average weekday, according to the council’s traffic surveys. In the busiest hour during the week there are just under 500 vehicles. ‘Traffic speeds are some of the highest in the area, while through traffic is also high, with 65% of vehicles using Staveley Road in a westbound direction to connect between the A316 and Sutton Court Road’.

This measure will prevent traffic heading east/west along Staveley Road and north/south along Park Road. It will still be possible for vehicles to turn left from Staveley Road into Park Road, when travelling in both directions. However, any vehicle wishing to continue straight ahead will need to find an alternative route. The junction will remain open for cyclists in all directions.

Expected implementation date: August 2020. Interim review: autumn 2020. First formal review: early 2021.

After consultation, the council is also now looking at restricting traffic in Lawford Rd, to avoid the new measure funnelling displaced traffic along there instead.

Sutton Court Road / A4 junction

The council and Transport for London are ‘exploring opportunities’ for temporary measures that benefit pedestrians and cyclists, ‘including possible temporary traffic signals, changes to existing signal timings, temporary cycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossing points’.

A316 / Dan Mason Drive / Hartington Road junction

The council and Transport for London are ‘exploring opportunities’ for temporary measures that benefit pedestrians and cyclists, i’ncluding possible signal timing changes that allow for a dedicated pedestrian crossing phase’. At present there is no green/red signal for pedestrians, which can require crossing between fast moving, turning traffic.

More details

You can see all the council’s published details about the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme here: hounslow.gov.uk

You can see all the council’s published details about all of its Streetspace plans here: hounslow.gov.uk

Cycleway 9 East (Brentford to Chiswick)

The council is working with TfL ‘to explore opportunities for the acceleration of the delivery of the approved Cycleway 9 scheme between Hammersmith and Brentford’.

Expected implementation date: Summer/Autumn 2020. Interim review: N/A (as Cycleway 9 has been fully consulted on over a period of several years already). Final review: 2021.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Radical plans for south Chiswick

See also: Councillors say traffic plans make south Chiswick ‘unliveable’

See also: Understanding the traffic plans for Grove Park

See also: Decision time for Cycleway 9