LB Hounslow plans to suspend parking on Turnham Green Terrace

Image above: Turnham Green Terrace. Photograph – Anna Kunst

The Cabinet Member for Transport on LB Hounslow, Hanif Khan, has told The Chiswick Calendar that he plans to suspend some of the parking on Turnham Green Terrace. The move is to make it possible for pedestrians to pass each other safely.

The pavements are too narrow for people to pass each other and maintain a two metre distance. To do that you have to walk into the road, which is currently impossible on the western side, as there are usually cars parked all the way along.

The plan, which he describes as a temporary measure, would extend the area for pedestrians beyond the pavement and is expected to be finalised at a meeting later today. Cllr Khan told The Chiswick Calendar the plan had been put forward as a recommendation by the Council’s traffic officers to help people meet the Government’s social distancing requirements.

“We have to ensure that people can get around the borough safely without being too close to each other”.

Providing they are signed off by the council’s legal office today, the changes will be made with immediate effect. Usually changes such as these would require consultation, but Cllr Khan believes he is able to suspend parking without prior consultation because of the Coronavirus emergency.

Changes to Wellesley Rd and Stilehall Gardens to cut rat running

The suspension of parking in Turnham Green Terrace is one of a package of measures which Cllr Khan sees as ‘phase 1’ of reducing traffic in Chiswick. There are also traffic reduction measures planned for Chiswick, affecting Wellesley Rd and Dukes Meadows.

Stilehall Gardens and Wellesley Rd have long been regarded as ‘rat runs’ for traffic coming through Chiswick to get on to the South Circular. Cllr Khan plans to implement straight away the part of the Cycleway 9 proposal which stops traffic exiting from those two roads onto the South Circular.

London boroughs are bracing themselves for the end of the lockdown. Anticipating that a greater number of people will want to use their private cars when they go back to work, rather than risk taking public transport, they are looking for ways to mitigate the increase in congestion which is likely to happen.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said:

‘London’s road to recovery cannot be clogged with cars. It has to be one Londoners can walk & cycle down as part of a greener, cleaner, healthier future’.

The Mayor’s Commissioner for Walking and Cycling, Will Norman, said:

“With London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of pre-crisis levels, up to eight million journeys a day will need to be made by other means. If people switch only a fraction of these journeys to cars, London will grind to a halt”.

Outlining the Mayor’s Streetspace Plan, he said: “We need to come out of this crisis in a radically different way”. The Mayor’s Streetspace Plan, would “fast track the transformation of London’s streets to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle as part of their daily journeys. These changes, unparalleled in a city London’s size, will be designed to serve the unprecedented levels of walking and cycling that we expect to see following the end of the lockdown”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also joined the call for more journeys to be made by foot and bike. He told regional leaders on Friday that they should be encouraging people to commute on foot or by bike to help avoid a dramatic increase in car use when lockdown restrictions are partially lifted.

Photograph above: Marianne Mahaffey

Closure of the road through Dukes Meadows

Also part of Phase 1 is the closure of the road through Dukes Meadows at the point it passes through the tunnel under the railway bridge by the Virgin Active Riverside Gym & Health Club. The Council will implement a trial closure to vehicular traffic, so that passage through the tunnel will only be possible on foot or by bike.

This they say removes ‘a dangerous pinch-point where pedestrians and cyclists often come into conflict with vehicles in a narrow space with limited visibility. It is hoped this would provide a safer and more pleasant environment for those using and travelling through the park by foot or by bike.  The trial would be in place for a minimum of six months and reviewed before determining whether or not to make any permanent change’.

The closure of the road at the railway bridge is part of the ‘Dukes Meadows Master Plan’. The Council published details yesterday:

‘The implementation of Dukes Meadows masterplan focusing on improving the public realm and encouraging safe cycling and pedestrian use has continued over recent weeks, with workers onsite adhering to government guidance on social distancing. Verges have been tidied up, overhanging vegetation cut back, drainage improved and over 5.5km of yellow lines have been painted to make it clear where parking is or isn’t permitted.

‘Further work starting this week will include the installation of ’bodpave’ – permeable hardstanding which allows grass to grow through it – parking bays on the northern side of the promenade. These will be fenced off for a number of weeks to allow the grass seed to grow through. Additional facilities for cycle parking are also being explored.

‘This new approach to parking will help in regulating the inconsiderate vehicle use on site and will start being enforced this month. Charging for the remaining parking at the weekends will start later in the summer’.

Dukes Meadows Masterplan

The Dukes Meadows masterplan has attracted considerable external funding since consultation and planning consent was given in February 2018. Over £1m has been secured for the development of a pedestrian bridge that will further increase the opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to use the site.

‘Though the main objective of the bridge is to facilitate a safe and inviting route along the Thames Path, the bridge aligns with Hounslow commitments for a cleaner, greener borough and a contribution towards a modern and more sustainable transport network. As well as creating wider transport links, the bridge will encourage a more sustainable access to this great asset for local residents.

Parts of the ‘masterplan’ have met with stiff opposition. in October last year Kathleen Healy, Development Manager for Dukes Meadows Trust, delivered a petition with 1400 signatures against plans to develop car parking areas and coach turning circles by the riverside,

According to LB Hounslow, other ‘notable improvements to the site’ as part of the implementation of the Masterplan include:

*Secured over £2.2m to improve sporting facilities *Improvements of the public realm at Dan Mason Drive including installation of bollards and grounds maintenance improvements *Repairs to the Bandstand area *Access improvements for cyclists and pedestrians at the Edensor road entrance *Regular repairs to the road *Treatment of Japanese knotweed *Improvements to the nature reserve and installation of bat boxes *Improved tree management and opening of views *Fence repairs *Regular enforcement presence to make the site safer *An events management plan with all the stakeholders on site *A new event to celebrate the Oxford-Cambridge boat race

Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said: “It is fantastic we have managed to carry on our ambitious investment programme into Dukes Meadows park even during this difficult time.  The teams have done a great job tidying up the verges, trimming back vegetation and formalising the parking spaces. Undertaking this work at a time when people are making fewer trips by car will give the maximum chance of the planting to establishing itself in these parking areas.

“We are also keen to trial changes to how people access the park by car to provide more space for those walking and cycling in this beautiful space – we look forward to user feedback on that. There could well be varying requirements for social distancing for many months to come, so it’s important we develop plans to provide as much space for people as possible.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Dukes Meadows Petition Delivered

See also: Hounslow Council passes Cycleway 9 proposal