Hounslow Council has announced it will be restricting through traffic on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road, limiting vehicle access to buses and essential servicing, in order to allow shops and restaurants to spread onto the pavements and shoppers to move about in the road with safe social distancing.
Parking spaces will be suspended, but required access to premises and some disabled bays for blue badge holders will be retained. Further parking bays will also be suspended outside the police station, to provide more space for pedestrians and cycle parking.
Changes introduced in response to Government guidance and to local consultation, says LB Hounslow
A statement from LB Hounslow said:
‘On 7 May 2020, Hounslow Council announced a whole raft of new traffic measures that it was implementing to improve road safety and help social distancing. These Streetspace projects are being introduced to create more space for people to follow social distancing guidelines in town centres, and to get around the borough safely on foot and by bike.
‘Since then, the government has released statutory guidance strengthening their requirements on councils to undertake these works and for them to be done as ‘swiftly as possible’. The council supports the government’s approach which will help ensure that traffic levels, which have recently increased, are kept as low as possible. Reducing traffic volumes and providing more dedicated space for vulnerable road users will help improve safety on the roads, support people to undertake more physical activity and help sustain recent improvements we have seen in local air quality.
‘Giving more people the option of making their journeys on foot or bike will also help keep the roads clear for those that have less choice in making their trips in a vehicle, limiting the cost of congestion as businesses start to reopen.
‘In response, Hounslow Council is accelerating its plans for a range of measures to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians (including those in wheelchairs or otherwise with mobility impairments) in town centres and to reduce through traffic on residential roads. The proposed measures have been informed by responses to the borough wide consultation that are reviewed weekly, which to date has received hundreds of contributions’.
Image above: Turnham Green Terrace, coned off to allow for social distancing
Local pressure for car ban
By far the largest number of comments the Council received from its transport consultation related to Chiswick Town Centre.
Groups such as Abundance London and the Hounslow Cycling Campaign have long campaigned for these two popular shopping streets to be car free, and for people to become less reliant on cars, favouring walking and cycling instead.
When Turnham Green Terrace was closed for a street party in September, businesses along the street were full of enthusiasm and praise for the event, reporting that it was a huge success from a business perspective. “Fantastic, a lovely atmosphere, great to see everybody out’ said John Fitzgerald, manager of Snappy Snaps, ‘the busiest I’ve seen the Terrace in years”.
Since the Covid-19 emergency, it has become obvious that people are not going to be keen on using public transport again, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged people going back to work to use it as a ‘last resort’. Michael Robinson, a member of the committee of Hounslow Cycling Campaign, argued in a guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar that it would be ‘Carmageddon‘ if residents didn’t take the opportunity to demand an end to rat-running through their streets by commuters.
Chiswick Calendar guest blogger Keith Richards said the council’s response, as set out on 7 May had been ‘pathetic’. Setting out a few traffic cones along one side was nowhere near sufficient. ‘Turnham Green Terrace is the perfect chance to create a traffic free, pedestrian shopping space’ he argued.
Dr Ed Seaton set out the case for action here, saying it was ‘time for action not words’: ‘The Covid pandemic should fundamentally alter the way we behave, both now and in the future’.
Conservative Councillors recently revised their policy on walking and cycling. Cllr Sam Hearn, who leads for the group on transport issues, said:
“One of the few benefits of the lockdown has been the improvement in air quality. If we want to retain that benefit to our previously heavily polluted area, we need to avoid a return to normality and a surge in car use”.
In his guest blog for The Chiswick Calendar he said:
“It is sensible … that Chiswick, and the rest of the borough of Hounslow, should play its part in enabling what is known as active travel… We have an opportunity to improve our communities’.
Duke Rd / Dukes Avenue / Strand on the Green
The Council’s statement also made reference to trying out traffic reduction in other parts of Chiswick:
‘The team is also exploring further options to reduce through traffic around the Duke Road/Dukes Avenue area and on Fishers Lane.
‘A range of trial measures in the Grove Park and Strand on the Green areas are being brought forward as part of the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood work’.
Further detail on this to be provided next week.
You can see the Council’s full statement here.
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