Could it finally be the end for hated bus gate?

Controversial scheme might be gone by next Spring

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Hopes have been raised that the bus gate near the junction of Chiswick Lane and Chiswick High Road could finally be removed.

The Chiswick Area Committee's Planning meeting which takes place on January 5th will be asked to consider a proposal that will result in significant changes to traffic management on this stretch of road. The proposals already have funding and if past removal of the gate could take place as early as next Spring.

The scheme has been highly unpopular since its installation in 2001 with many people feeling that it had worsened congestion in the area without doing anything to improve the reliability of buses.

A review of the bus gate was undertaken in mid 2003 seemed to confirm these views raising hopes that the scheme could have been scrapped. The review concluded that the gate was incorrectly sited and was causing confustion amonst drivers. In addition the bus gate reduced the capacity of the junction by Chiswick Lane leading to a increase in congestion on Chiswick High Road.

It was recommended that the bus gate be removed and the junction of Chiswick High Road and the Stamford Brook bus garage should be signalised. This configuration would allow westbound bus lane traffic to proceed through this junction while general traffic on Chiswick High Road would be held when necessary to allow buses to safely exit the bus garage.

The arrangement would double the available space between the two signalised junctions and provide more space for westbound buses and general traffic to move into the correct lane for the Chiswick Lane junction.

However the recommendations were not implemented due to resource limitations and difficulties securing TfL funding to progress the proposals.

Over the past six months, the scheme has been reviewed again, this time involving the TfL’s term bus priority consultants, including a very experienced traffic modeller. The review’s conclusions were the same as the 2003 review authored by Hounslow Council's Head of Transport, Chris Calvi-Freeman. This most recent review also included the Chiswick Lane junction. The consultants concluded that the changes to the bus gate would significantly improve the traffic throughput at the approach to the junction, reducing delays to all traffic and clearing the way for Upham Park Road traffic to have its own phase, which would reduce conflict and improve road safety.

Detailed plans are currently being drafted and discussed with TfL. Funding for the changes has now been secured from TfL.

These proposals are now being put before the Chiswick Area Committee but on the condition that they agree the full package. If it passes the committee stage the consultation process would begin early next year and the bus gate could be removed by Spring or Summer 2005.

December 23, 2004