Image above: Fisher’s Lane, taken from South Parade
An independent report is to be presented to Ealing Council later this month which recommends making the traffic restrictions on Fisher’s Lane permanent.
The Cabinet meeting at which the report will be considered is due to take place on Wednesday, 22 September. The meeting is also expected to confirm the scrapping of six Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the borough.
The report argues that making the restrictions permanent benefits both cyclists and pedestrians in the area. It states that the closure has brought traffic levels down to those permitted by TfL for unsegregated cycle routes.
Cycle counts were done on Fisher’s Lane before and after the closure of the road to general motor traffic, showing an increase in cycling of 140% between November 2019 and September 2020. Further counts and surveys will be done this autumn.
The report claims that opposition to the scheme was mainly triggered by the initial disruption when it was launched and the effect of the closure of Turnham Green, which has now been removed. It concludes:
“It is considered that the benefits of the scheme for both cyclists and pedestrians outweigh the initial opposition.”
The head teacher of Belmont Primary School, Elaine Lacey, wrote a letter in support of keeping Fisher’s Lane closed to traffic, saying:
‘Belmont Primary School is very concerned about the possible reopening of Fisher’s Lane to traffic on the grounds of children’s safety. We are in complete support of the continual closure of Fisher’s Lane to traffic.
‘Fisher’s Lane playground is used every day by many of our pupils and pupils from other local schools. Prior to the closure of the road, there was always an issue with crossing because of the four way interseciton and because parked cars blocked vision for both cars and pedestrians.
‘Many of our children cross the road to use the common and Rocks Lane and there is no doubt that they have been safer as a result of the changes implemented’.
Chiswick School has also received letters from parents in support of the Fisher’s Lane changes, saying it makes thier children’s journey to school by bike much safer.
Image above: Fisher’s Lane, taken from the south
Majority of penalty notices issued to people coming from outside W4
Earlier this year a Freedom of Information request showed that when the restrictions were first introduced Penalty Charge Notices were being issued at the rate of 60 a day. It was calculated then that if this rate of issuance were maintained, even assuming people paid up quickly and paid the lower amount due, the camera monitoring the Fisher’s Lane junction would be bringing in revenue to the council substantially in excess of £1 million per annum.
Since then the rate at which penalty notices have been issued has dropped, suggesting that people have got used to the change and are no longer caught out by it. A further FOI request for the period from 19 – 25 June showed an average of 23 penalty notices being issued each day and the vast majority being issued to people whose journey originated W4, with the biggest single group coming from outside London.
Image above: Graph showing information on where drivers who received PCNs for driving through Fisher’s Lane 19 – 25 June came from
Council to hold fresh consultation
The Fisher’s Lane closure is a joint scheme with Hounslow Council and Hounslow’s approval is needed before a permanent traffic order can be obtained.
The council plan to hold a further consultation on the restriction which will last for 21 days. This is required in advance before issuing the permanent traffic order. Detailed design of the scheme will take place in November with implementation of the permanent scheme planned for December.
In a recent Facebook post, the OneChiswick group, who are opposed to most traffic restrictions in Chiswick, said:
‘We will continue to campaign for [Fisher’s Lane] to be reopened as it is an essential route for so many and it is used so little at present causing heavy and polluting traffic along South Parade.’
Meanwhile campaigners for the road to remain closed to vehicles have been posting images of South Parade virtually empty at morning and evening rush hour, suggesting that drivers may have decided to take other routes or other transport alternatives.
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