Lessons to be learnt from Fishers Lane Closure

Traffic Chaos ends as controversial project is completed

Fishers Lane Chiswick

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The effect of the closure was to divert traffic either to the Acton Lane, which was already affected by roadworks, and Turnham Green Terrace which is difficult to navigate at the best of times. This resulted in what one long term resident described as the worst traffic jams in Chiswick for the last 20 years.

There has been much criticism of Ealing Council's failure to adequately publicise the closure and keep residents informed of progress. Even Hounslow Council's Head of Transport, Chris Calvi-Freeman, only heard about the plans when details of the works were posted on the ChiswickW4.com discussion forum. After an emergency meeting, Ealing were persuaded to delay the closure to allow more time for the Acton Lane project to be completed but refused to postpone the job for more than a few weeks.

Ealing Council publicised the works by printing a notice in an Ealing newspaper and putting some yellow signs by the road. Apart from this no attempt was made to keep people informed about the project or its progress. Even Ealing's web site which includes lists of roadworks did not mention the closure of Fishers Lane.

Many people cannot understand why the painting of a bridge, which would seem to the inexpert eye a job that could be completed in a couple of days, took such a long time. For most of the time there appeared to be nobody actually working on the bridge. No official explanation has been given but work men on the site in conversation with local residents have blamed the weather and LUL for not turning off the electrical current to allow them to work. In addition vandals took the opportunity to climb up the scaffolding to spray graffiti on the bridge.

The works near the junction of Acton Lane and Chiswick High Road are also due to be completed. Chris Calvi-Freeman said, "Iím advised that the carriageway will be reinstated before Christmas, with only the line marking left to be done in the new year when the contractors come back from their break. Once again, my personal apologies to everyone who has been delayed by the protracted process at this site."

The delay on this site was caused by Southern Electric who needed to reinstate electricity supply before the roadworks could be filled in.

Local traders believe that the closure has had a significantly negative effect on trade. One retailer commented, "People were driving as far as Turnham Green Terrace, seeing the huge tailbacks and then giving up. It has probably cost us thousands in lost revenue."

It is widely felt in the Chiswick community that if an apology for the chaos is not to be forthcoming then at least an explanation of why the works were scheduled for a time that seemed guaranteed to cause maximum disruption.

Comment

For some time now ChiswickW4.com has been receiving complaints from users of the site that the part of Chiswick which is in Ealing Borough is ignored. This is not by design. In fact the company that developed the site is based in Ealing Borough as are most of the regular contributors. Many times over the last three years we have asked Ealing Borough to send us information that may be relevant to local people but have never received any acknowledgement.

This isn't a question of Ealing Borough disccriminating against Chiswick. Our sister site in Acton is similarly treated even though it covers an area almost entirely in the Borough.

The contrast with Hounslow Council could hardly be greater. Despite the fact that ChiswickW4.com has become a focus for criticism for Hounslow, the borough has nevertheless chosen to use the site as a medium to keep residents informed about events in their area. It is arguable that Chiswick residents in Hounslow are kept more closely in touch with the workings of local government than any other area in the U.K.

If you live in Ealing Borough and would like to be kept better informed about local events we would suggest contacting your councillor and asking that this site receive equal treatment to other news organisations and that the council considers using it actively as a medum to engage with local residents.

December 23, 2003