Majority of residents think Staveley Rd barrier is a success

Residents have got used to the controversial traffic measure

By the dawn’s early light on 1 October 2020, a team of Hounslow Highways workmen arrived in Staveley Rd in Grove Park and installed a barrier as part of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood initiative to stop commuters using the road as a cut through. Twice before they had tried, only to be met with protests from residents.

Now, 20 months on, the barrier has been made permanent with raised kerbs and landscaping instead of unattractive orange plastic, but some still want it ripped out and are hoping to persuade the newly elected Hounslow Council to rethink.

Is that the majority view? The Chiswick Calendar’s reporter Matt Smith has carried out a survey of Staveley Rd and Park Rd, the two streets directly affected by the barrier. The verdict? The vast majority of residents like it and want to keep it.

Image above: Staveley Rd in blossom; photograph Jennifer Griffiths

What do Staveley Rd and Park Rd residents think?

By Matt Smith

I knocked on every door on Staveley Rd and Park Rd and asked all those who answered the same questions: was traffic better or worse along their road since the barrier was introduced and did they think it should stay or be removed. I also asked them to give a few words of explanation for context.

The diagonal barrier forces drivers on Staveley Rd to turn off into Park Rd, to stop it being a direct route from the A316 to Sutton Court Rd, so Park Rd residents have always been more against the idea (see our previous survey carried out a month after in was initially installed). Prior to the installation of the barrier Staveley Rd was a wide, straight road along which commuters liked to speed. Park Rd was a quiet residential road.

Of the 64% of households who took part on Staveley Road, 85% said they wanted the barrier to stay put. 10% said they would like to see it removed and 5% said they were indifferent. 93% said traffic was better along Staveley Road, 2% said it was worse and 5% said they had not noticed a difference.

On Park Road, of the 57% of households who took part, 49% said they would prefer the barrier to stay put. 40% said they would like to see it removed and 11% were indifferent. 61% said traffic had got better along their road, 16% said it had got worse and 23% said they hadn’t noticed a difference.

This snap poll shows there is no majority for removal of the barrier on either road. Staveley Road residents are overwhelmingly supportive of it. The majority of Park Rd residents are either supportive or indifferent. Certainly the angry vocal opposition which remains does not represent the majority view.

Images above: pie charts showing survey data gathered from Park Road by (Matt Smith)

“The introduction of the barrier has literally changed our lives”

Similar to what we found with the 2020 survey, scores of respondents on Staveley Road praised the introduction of the barrier for making the road a safer and quieter place to live. Many said the pros (much less traffic) far out-weighed the cons (the inconvenience of not being able to drive from one end of the road to the other).

Some respondents told me their quality of life was “significantly better” with others saying they had been “miserable and unhappy” before.

One respondent said before the barrier was put in, his children had two near-misses during the morning school run, as cars speeding down the road had hit the door of his car as his children were climbing in.

He said he was so worried a serious accident might happen, he bought orange cones to keep cars away from his own vehicle as his children got in, which he doesn’t need to do anymore because the crossing had made the road “much more liveable”.

A different respondent said he was “a strong believer that change only happens with disruption” and said the disruption caused by the barrier has made the road safer and quieter place to live. Another respondent agreed, saying her household can sleep with the windows open now without fear of being woken up by cars driving past. She praised the council for doing “a really nice job” putting cherry trees on the barrier.

One woman who has two cats told me when she adopted them she worried whether she had made the right decision, as she lived on a busy road affected by rush hour traffic. Since the barrier was put in place she said she has been “much less concerned” and didn’t want to go back to the days when cars would speed down the road.

Another said “the house is more valuable now” because the road was quieter.

One person told The Chiswick Calendar:

“The introduction of the barrier has literally changed our lives” (for the better).

Those who wanted to see the crossing removed included an elderly lady who was worried about emergency service vehicles still being directed to turn into Staveley Road from Sutton Court Road and being forced to make a detour.

One man said the crossing had made the road more dangerous because traffic is forced into making a sharp turn, but admitted there was less traffic, which reduced the chance of a collision. Another resident who does not drive said he would be glad to see the back of the barrier because he said it was “a nightmare” to order Ubers to his house.

Images above: pie charts showing survey data gathered from Park Road by (Matt Smith)

The barrier is “a nuisance” and “unnecessary”

Plenty of Park Road residents told me the crossing should be removed because it was inconvenient for them and their visitors. While some admitted traffic was better, they also wanted to stress  the crossing was still a “nuisance” and “unnecessary”.

One respondent said the crossing should be removed because he was not able to drive directly down to Chiswick Station which “makes life really difficult and complex – fit and able people who can cycle are fine but I have disabled children.”

He praised the “pleasant looking” finished barrier but, referring to changes made since it was installed, said it was unnecessary now other restrictions had been introduced in south Chiswick. LB Hounslow closed off Burlington Lane to entry from the A316 and restricted entry to Staveley Rd (beyond the first few yards) to those with a permit between 8.00am and 7.00pm last autumn.

He also claimed the area was never a massive rat run in the first place.

Another respondent who wanted to see the crossing removed said the whole south Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood scheme needed to be rethought. She said it takes “so long” to get to Dukes Meadows to take her son to golf and called for a “better and comprehensive solution than closing individual roads”.

One woman said it should be removed because she swims at the New Chiswick Pool and it used to just be a left turn out of Park Road but now she has to drive “all the way around”. Another woman said Hounslow council had “taken away [residents] freedom”.

Most who said the crossing should stay up also said the traffic was better, often citing prior safety concerns before the temporary barrier was set up. One man said he lost a dog ten years ago to a speeding car and said he doesn’t support any effort to remove the barrier “because it’s now a much safer place to live”. Another respondent said it was safer for her and her daughter to cross the road to go to Chiswick Park now, because there is much less traffic.

Another resident told me though it is inconvenient, they “wouldn’t want to sacrifice the quiet road to go back to the way things used to be”. Another, who has changed his mind about the barrier, told me:

“I didn’t support it when it first went in, but now I can’t see a downside to it.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: What’s happening in and around Chiswick over the Jubilee weekend

See also: A treasure trove of royal memorabilia from the National Archives at Kew on show for the Jubilee

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