Future of Grove Park and Strand on the Green LTNs expected to be announced this week

Traffic officer Jefferson Nwokeoma briefs residents

LB Hounslow say they will make a decision this week on what changes, if any, they will make to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme that covers Grove Park and Strand on the Green.

It will be a Chief Officer’s decision, but senior transport officer Jefferson Nwokeoma says it is one he will take in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Katherine Dunne, taking into consideration also the representations of residents and ward councillors.

Some parts of the scheme, no exit to the A4 from Harvard Hill and the division of Staveley Rd have already been made permanent.

Residents have been unhappy with the scheme from the start. While the majority say they want less commuter traffic cutting through the residential area to access the A4, north / south circular and A316, many have found the restrictions confusing, divisive, badly signed and overly complicated.

Roadworks on the A4 have further complicated the issue, as the restrictions were lifted for short periods and then reinforced. There have also been penalties wrongly applied and successfully appealed.

Jefferson Nwokeoma told residents the Council was talking to Transport for London about improving the signage from the A316, as residents have reported relatives, friends and trades people being repeatedly caught out because they have not noticed the restrictions.

The Council now has a year’s data since the most recent changes were introduced, which Jefferson presented to residents on Friday 24 February. It showed the Low Traffic Neighbourhood is succeeding, Jefferson told the meeting, with traffic volumes down and air quality increased.

In January 2022 access was restricted to Staveley Rd from the A316 to general traffic Monday – Saturday from 8am – 7pm, except buses and permit holders. At the same time one side of Burlington Lane was blocked off to prevent entry from the A316.

Images above: No entry to Burlington Lane from A316

Traffic volumes down, air quality up

Traffic Volume 

The data shows a 45% decrease in the total weekday average flow of vehicles on Burlington Lane over the past four years, from 3170 vehicles in 2019 to 1750 in 2022. The trial restriction over the past year resulted in an 85% reduction in westbound vehicles and a 21% reduction in eastbound vehicles.

On Staveley Rd the traffic flow has decreased 57% from 5744 vehicles in 2019 to 2376 in 2022. The trial restriction over the past year resulted in a 54% reduction westbound vehicles and a 66% reduction in eastbound vehicles.

When they compared the average daily flow for 2021 and 2022 on the A316 and the A4 they found there had been a reduction in northbound traffic volumes on the A316 and a slight increase in westbound volumes recorded on the A4.

Image above: Map showing traffic data survey locations: red dots indicate LBH sites, blue dots indicate Transport for London Road Network sites, green dots indicate Vivacity sites

Traffic speeds

The Council has also reviewed traffic speeds in these two roads and in Sutton Court Rd, Hartington Rd and Thames Rd. Most locations showed a reduction in traffic speeds, except for on Burlington Lane, east of Staveley Rd, which showed a slight increase.

Fines

Two enforcement cameras were installed at either end of the restricted area. Jefferson told the meeting a total of 82,484 penalty charge notices had been issued between 14 February 2022 and 31 January 2023.

He said the figures shared in social media for the money this has brought into the Council were not accurate. Simply multiplying 82,484 by the maximum fine of £130 did not give an accurate figure as most people paid within 14 days, paying £65, not £130.

Enforcement was suspended on days in August, September, October, December 2022 and on one day in January 2023 due to works by Transport for London on the A4.

The trend – an initial spike in charges, gradually tailing off, is typical of what they would expect when new restrictions are introduced and people get used to them, he said.

Image above: Map showing monitoring sites for air quality: red sites used to produce an average for the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood area; blue sites for separate data on A4 and A316

Air quality

The concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) was monitored at various sites within the ‘South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood’ (ie. Strand on the Green and Grove Park, south of the A4), as well as on the A316 and A4.

The concentration of NO2 recorded within the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood and at the two sites on the A316 fell relative to the borough average between January 2022 and December 2022. Conversely the level of NO2 concentration recorded on the A4 notably increased relative to the borough average.

Active travel

The statistics in ‘active travel’, ie. walking and cycling, are too low to be statistically useful, as Hugh McNeil, a resident who happens who is a statistician by profession, pointed out. But they did show the trend was increasing, said Jefferson.

You can see the full data presentation here:

Click to access SCLN-Staveley_Burlington-trial-Residents-Briefing.pdf

Huge majority against making the trial access restrictions  to Staveley Rd and Burlington Rd permanent

During the most recent consultation a huge majority of residents said they were opposed to making permanent the most recent restrictions, introduced a year ago.

82% of all respondents were opposed to making the trial access restrictions to Staveley Rd from the A316 permanent. Only 10% of those who took part in the survey were in favour of making them permanent. A similar majority, 80% were opposed to making the trial no-entry to Burlington Lane from the A316 permanent. Only 9% wanted it made permanent.

Tim Munden, a committee member of the Grove Park Group of residents said this showed what a missed opportunity the scheme has been. Surveys show residents are massively in favour of there being some restrictions, but against the existing scheme.

He outlined several issues which residents raise repeatedly: access for visitors, a permit system which would enable them to visit without being fined; the scheme is too complex, with different rules governing different roads; unclear signage; concerns about speed and the scheme diverting traffic onto other roads.

Dennis Flaherty, Chair of Chiswick Horticultural & Allotments Society, said the restriction to entry to Staveley Rd had limited their activities severely. Although their 500 members were able to get permits to enter the road to get to their allotments, they also had plant sales at the weekends. Now they can only trade on three Sundays a month, as the traffic for the car boot sale at Chiswick School prevents them holding sales on the first Sunday of the month.

The Staveley Rd restrictions were originally introduced to make it a School Street, as Chiswick School is on the corner of Staveley Rd and the A316, directly opposite the entrance to the allotments. He asked for the restrictions to be implemented on weekdays only, when the school was open, as the Saturday restrictions were losing them much needed revenue, yet the school was closed.

Julia Harman wanted to know why the whole of Grove Park and Strand on the Green was not treated as one unit, bordered by the A4 at top, the river at the bottom and the north / south circular and the A316 on either side.

As a resident of St Mary’s Grove she cannot enter at Kew Bridge and drive to her home along Strand on the Green, but has instead to go up to Chiswick roundabout, along the A4 and back into Grove Park via Sutton Court Rd.

Ben Cate, a new resident who has only been here a couple of weeks said he was surprised he had to register separately for a resident’s permit and for inclusion in the scheme. Would one registration not do for both? he asked.

Once he had registered he was told he would not need to do anything further, but still he received a penalty charge notice nine days later.

“The current implementation is not working,” he said.

Image above: Chief Officer Jefferson Nwokeoma

“Just because the majority is opposed doesn’t mean we will scrap it”

Jefferson said he would make his decision about the future of the scheme on three criteria: what the data showed about how it was meeting its aims, the Council’s policy and the feedback from residents.

An indication of his thinking perhaps is that he told Tim Munden he disagreed with his comment that the scheme was too complex, and he told Dennis Flaherty:

“You cannot have traffic restrictions without there being some impact” and “Just because the majority is opposed doesn’t mean we will scrap it.”

He said his decision would be published in the week beginning 27 February.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Tube strike set for Budget day, 15 March

See also: Ruth Cadbury backs ‘Happy Valley’ neighbourhood policing plan

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