Council ends Streetspace trial at Turnham Green Terrace

Image above: Turnham Green Terrace, June 2020, installation of widened pedestrian walkways at the expense of parking places

Hounslow Council has decided to put an end to the experimental Streetspace scheme in Turnham Green Terrace which restricted through traffic and used parking bays to widen the footway.

The measures were introduced in June 2020, alongside similar measures in Devonshire Rd, after the Government gave local councils emergency powers to make more way for pedestrians to exercise social distancing. But they have been deeply unpopular and were lifted by the end of the year in Turnham Green Terrace following congestion on the High Rd a the time of major roadworks.

Publication of Interim Review – an overwhelming thumbs down from the people of Chsiwick

On Monday 17 May LB Hounslow published the outcome of its Interim Review of the first phase of the borough’s Streetspace trials, based on a widespread consultation over seven months which saw some 10,000 individuals take part and express their views. It says:

‘The Streetspace trial at Turnham Green Terrace in Chiswick, where through traffic was restricted and parking bays were used to widen the footway, will end. Loading and disabled bays will be retained as trial measures’.

The Council received 2,582 responses to their consultation which focused on Turnham Green Terrace. It got the biggest thumbs down of all the measures, with 89% strongly opposing it and only 6% strongly supporting it.

The main concerns expressed were that it caused congestion on surrounding roads (1226 responses) causing longer journey times on Chiswick High Rd, South Parade and Acton Lane and concern about the measure’s impact on the local economy (1052 responses) by decreasing the footfall at local shops.

See the details of public response on Turnham Green Terrace, collated by independent analyists Steer, here.

The trial outside the George IV pub on Old Market Place, where the footway has been widened using barriers, will also end, restoring more parking places.

Images above: The installation of the new traffic signs in Devonshire Rd last June; parking bays cordoned off; outside dining in April 2021

Future of Devonshire Rd still to be decided

The trial at Devonshire Road will be determined in the next six weeks ‘following further local engagement to assess whether they should be removed or whether there is support for a community-led plan’.

The Council’s consultation received 659 responses focused on the Streetspace scheme specific to Devonshire Rd. The percentage of those who strongly opposed the measures was 82%, compared with only 13% who strongly supported it. 79% said it should be stopped or reversed immediately. The main concern was about the impact on the local economy; the next most often expressed concern was the impact on surrounding roads causing longer journey times.

These comments were ‘largely due to perceptions of decreased footfall, brought about by the removal of venicle access and parking on the street’. The consultation was carried out between 23 June 2020 and 31 January 2021, which is before the habit of eating on the pavements and street space outside the restaurants really gained ground.

Unclear signage was another concern raised and restricted access for residents of the Glebe estate.

See the details of public response on Devonshire Rd, collated by independent analyists Steer, here.

Images above: Fisher’s Lane

Fisher’s Lane

The Council had 1,124 responses on the change at Fisher’s Lane, closing it under the railway bridge to vehicular traffic except buses. An overwhelming 88% strongly opposed it, with only 7% strong supporting it. 84% said they thought it should be stopped or reversed immediately. Top of the concerns (646 comments) was that of congestion, that the change meant increased congestion on surrounding roads, namely South Parade and Acton Lane, causing longer journey times.

Second to that was the concern that the measure will reduce air quality (358 responses). 277 people linked the closure of Fisher’s Lane to vehicles to the closure of Turnham Green Terrace, saying that at least one should remain open to traffic. Concern was also expressed about the impact on residents and the restricted access to and from Bedford Park, with a feeling among respondents that Chsiwick is being divided.

Other comments expressed the feeling that the change was generally ill thought out, and concerns surrounding the consultation process.

See the details of public response on Fisher’s Lane, collated by independent analyists Steer, here.

Duke Rd

Of the 137 responses to the consultation which focused primarily on Duke Rd, 88% were strongly opposed to the change, with only 7% strongly supporting it. The greatest number of objections (37) concerned the impact on surrounding roads, that it would increase congestion and cause longer journey times. Other concerns were about air quality (19), expressing concern that the measure would reduce air quality, and 16 people expressed concern about the consultation process.

See the details of public response on Duke Rd, collated by independent analyists Steer here.

Dan Mason Drive

The feedback the Council received on the blocking of Dan Mason Drive to through traffic at the railway bridge near the Riverside Health Club was that almost two thirds of respondents opposed the change, either strongly (57%) or somewhat (7%). The concern most frequently expressed was that the measures increased congestion on surrounding residential roads. A significant number of respondents also made the point that the measure did not respond to the area’s problems and was an over-reaction, or ill thought- out as Dan Mason Drive is not a though route.

See the details of public response on Dan Mason Drive, collated by independent analyists Steer here. Some 200 responses focused on Dan Mason Drive.

Images above: Stile Hall Gardens; Wellesley Rd

Stile Hall Gardens and Wellesley Rd

Even in Stile Hall Gardens, where some residents have campaigend for years for their street to be closed off, due to the tail backs and pollution caused by drivers using it as a cut through to the North / South Circular, there was a majority against the decision to close the road off.

Of the 99 responses that focused specifically on Stile Hall Gardens, 62% opposed the measure and only 25% strongly supported it. The major concern (30 responses) was that the measure increased congestion on surrounding roads (eg. Chiswick roundabout, Chiswick High Rd) causing longer journeys.

15 people suggested that access for local residents should be allowed, for example by the use of ANPR cameras. 15 said they thought it would reduce air quality. 12 were supportive of the measure due to reduced speed and volume of through traffic. Ten expressed concern about the impact of the measure on residents and ten said they were concerned about access to Kew Bridge.

See the details of public response on Stile Hall Gardens, collated by independent analyists Steer here.

The number of respondents whose responses focused on Wellesley Rd was 170. Of these, 60% opposed its closure to through traffic. 37% strongly supported it. As with Stile Hall Gardens. the main concern (52 responses) was the effect on surrounding roads (eg. Oxford Road North, Chiswick High Rd) causing congestion and longer journeys. 22 responses expressed concern that it would reduce air quality.

17 were supportive, due to reduced speed and volume of through-traffic. 16 were supportive of the measure due to improved quality of the environment, resident wellbeing and walking and cycling journeys. 16 were supportive of the measure due to improved safety for cyclists.

14 opposed it because there were simultaneous measures in Stile Hall Gardens and Wellesley Rd.

See the details of public response on Wellesley Rd, collated by independent analyists Steer here.

Images above: Harvard Hill

Harvard Hill

Feedback to the closure of Harvard Hill was also negative. Access to the A4 was blocked to stop commuters using the residential estate as a rat run. Cars could still turn into Harvard Hill from the A4. Of the 248 responses received in the consultation which focused on Harvard Hill, 56% said they opposed the change, to 30% strongly supporting it. The primary area of concern expressed was increased congestion on surrounding roads, notably Sutton Court Rd, causing longer journey times.

See the details of public response on Harvard Hill, collated by independent analyists Steer here.

Second stage of the Review process

In all, 22 Streetspace trials across the borough will progress to the Final Review, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of July, ‘taking into account fresh traffic data collected outside of the last lockdown period to help accurately assess the impact of the measures’.

The review process consists of two stages ‘to allow the Council to make faster changes where it is clear the trials have not worked as intended’. The schemes that will be made permanent will be decided at the Final Review stage.

‘Important for us to listen’ says Council

Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport and One Hounslow, said:

“We recognised that many residents feel very strongly about Hounslow’s Streetspace trials and that’s why it was important for us to listen, to show we’re listening, and to commission these independent reviews. We need to be sure that the decisions we take reflect where the schemes are working well and where changes need to be made, and that we have heard both the facts and the voices of our communities.

“The decisions we’ve announced today make clear that – as I have said throughout – we are listening and making changes based on what we’re hearing as well as what the traffic data is telling us.

“I want to thank every resident, councillor and business owner who took part in the consultation, whether you were for or against the trial in your area, or somewhere in-between”.

Traffic and air quality data

Hounslow Council announced in October that an independent review would assess the traffic and air quality data, as well as the views of residents. The final review for the scheme will be published in July 2021, along with decisions about which schemes will be made permanent.

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