LB Hounslow is showing signs that they will make changes to the traffic restrictions introduced in central Chiswick over the summer.
Cllr Guy Lambert, Cabinet Member for Highways, who is one of the counciillors closely involved the decision making, has told The Chiswick Calendar the decision to close Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Rd to through traffic will be reviewed “soon – in the next couple of weeks”.
The fate of the unpopular road scheme, which has seen thousands of drivers fined, has not been decided yet, but “there will almost certainly be changes” he said.
The decision to make Turnham Green Terrace a no through route was made under the emergency powers given to councils by the Government to create more space for walking and cycling. No entry ‘except for disabled, local buses, taxis and for access’ signs were installed at both ends of Turnham Green Terrace and at the High Rd entrance to Devonshire Rd in mid-June.
Drivers are allowed to park in a disabled bay if they have a disabled badge and anyone is allowed to stop in a loading bay to load or unload heavy or bulky items for up to 20 minutes. One big problem with the design of the scheme is that drivers can’t tell when they enter the street whether there are disabled bays or loading bays free.
The council has always said the traffic restrictions were introduced as a temporary measure and would be reviewed.
“We said we would do an interim review within four months” Cllr Lambert told The Chiswick Calendar, “and a final review in six to seven months, though the law allows for 18 months”.
The Council has engaged independent transport consultants Steer to carry out a review and report back to them.
Images above: Turnham Green Terrace approach from the north; new signs which went up in June
Public outcry against the measures
By the end of October, more than 7,000 penalty notices had been issued to drivers, many of whom appealed on the grounds that they hadn’t seen the signs or hadn’t understood what they meant, and more than 8,500 people have signed a petition against the closure of Turnham Green Terrace and Fishers Lane.
LB Ealing closed Fishers Lane to vehicles other than buses not long after LB Hounslow closed Turnham Green Terrace. The result has been that anyone living north of South Parade wanting to drive to Chiswick High Rd has either to go west to join Acton Lane or go east to join Goldhawk Rd from Bath Rd, leading to increased traffic on those roads.
The closure of Turnham Green Terrace has been unpopular with traders, who say they have lost business, and with people whose journeys now take longer. Some traders on Devonshire Rd have also protested that they have been badly affected, though those businesses selling food have been able to spread out into the street and increase their dining area by putting up outside tables.
Back to how it was or try out something different?
If LB Hounslow decides the traffic restrictions have not served the purpose they were meant to serve – to reduce air pollution and make road conditions better for pedestrians and cyclists, they may decide to try something else rather than go back to how things were before the pandemic.
Lib Dem councillors representing Southfield ward on LB Ealing carried out a survey of residents in their ward, the majority of whom would prefer to see a system in which Fisher’s Lane is one-way in one direction and Turnham Green Terrace one-way in the other.
Bedford Park resident, architect Peter Murray has also been looing at alternatives with a group of fellow architects and planners who live in the area. He organised a workshop to discuss other ways of developing Turnham Green Terrace. He is commissioning work from urban designers Chris Martin and Brian Deegan or Urban Movement to feed into the ongoing public consultation LB Hounslow is holding about the Streetspace changes.
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