Angry Scenes as Chiswick Hit By Gridlock
Concerns raised that last week was 'first rumblings of tidal wave of traffic'
There have been a number of confrontations across the Chiswick over the last week after the area was hit by traffic gridlock.
The worst affected roads have been Acton Lane/South Parade, Sutton Lane North and the stretch of Chiswick High Road just to the west of Acton Lane.
The congestion in the northern part of Chiswick has risen as awareness of the access restrictions on Turnham Green Terrace and Fisher’s Lane has increased. Hounslow Council has started issuing penalty charge notices for vehicles driving down the length of Turnham Green Terrace, so more attention is now being paid to the prohibition.
This has resulted in long queues of traffic particularly westbound on South Parade and Acton Lane sometimes stretching back as far as Bedford Corner. Static traffic for as much as a half an hour has been reported.
There have also been report of confrontations between pedestrians and motorists, as drivers opt to use the Fisher’s Lane underpass to escape the queue.
Sutton Lane North has also being tailing back to the roundabout near Wellesley Road as it has become the only route from south of the underground line to get to the other side.
There have also been substantial tailbacks on Chiswick High Road particularly east bound before the junction with Acton Lane where the flow of traffic is now controlled by temporary traffic lights to allow for the installation of a bus gate as part of the temporary Cycleway 9 scheme.
Hounslow has been granted TfL Streetspace funding for 50 projects, with a value of £1.8million including the cycleway project. This also includes 27 School Streets schemes across the borough and new restrictions on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road.
Roadworks on Chiswick High Road for the Cycleway are scheduled to continue until November. There is confusion over dot matrix board which was placed near the junction of Chiswick High Road and Turnham Green Terrace saying that the High Road will be closed next Sunday (27 September). No further information is available about this closure online and when we asked Hounslow Council for information they did not respond.
Cllr Sam Hearn, the transport spokesperson for the Conservative opposition group on Hounslow Council said, “It is outrageous that TfL insisted on pushing through their original Cycleway 9 scheme when their own specialist consultant's report concluded that the scheme would have negligible impact on air pollution on Chiswick High Road. What an opportunity missed. Now they have come with their new cut price ‘temporary’ scheme for the High Road. This sees the bus lanes abolished and the space handed over to cyclists. The resulting traffic congestion can only make the air-quality worse. Great stuff Hounslow Council - well done.”
Cllr Jo Biddolph who represents Turnham Green ward said, “The perpetual hectoring lecturing from those who cannot tolerate lives lived differently – and for whom no good reason for driving is good enough – has turned our polite, accepting, warm community into one of rising anger and, as one person I know put it, ‘making normally law abiding drivers into offenders out of sheer frustration’.
She claims this frustration and confusion over new road layouts has already led to near misses between pedestrians and motor vehicles.
She adds that her heart rate rose when she saw the photo of Will Norman of TfL’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner and Steve Curran, the leader of Hounslow Council, posing with bikes on the morning that road works began on the temporary cycle lane on Chiswick High Road. She described it as ‘like looking at a photo of a proud and un-cowed illegal elephant hunter posing with his trophy’.
Liberal Democrat councillors who represent Southfield ward, which includes South Parade say they have been trying to raise awareness of inadequate signage for the changes since they were introduced. Cllr Andrew Steed said of the Turnham Green Terrace and Fisher’s Lane restrictions, “Clearly both schemes are highly disruptive to many. Liberal Democrats believe the formal review of the traffic restrictions should be done urgently, not in another five months' time when the Councils say they plan to review the schemes.”
Another local councillor said, “We are probably just experiencing the first rumblings of a tidal wave of traffic and things will progressively get worse. Any change of behaviour in driver as a result of the congestion is likely to be outweighed by more people returning to work. If pressed for a prediction as to how this will play out, the situation on South Parade and Acton Lane already looks untenable with bus services severely impacted. Ealing Council haven’t as much vested in these schemes in the Chiswick area as Hounslow do and they will under increased pressure to act in the best interests of their residents and reopen the Fisher’s Lane underpass. That would be a relatively minor change for them to make, and while it probably wouldn’t solve the immediate problem, it would transfer some of the congestion over the border.”
In the south of Chiswick, residents of Park Road prevented contractors from Hounslow Council removing a traffic island and installing a barrier at the junction with Staveley Road. They say that the change will increase rat running on their road and will make crossing Staveley Road more dangerous and are demanding that traffic in the neighbourhood should be reduced by ANPR enforced local access rather than closing off roads.
Cllr Khan said, “The Streetspace programme is helping us create more space on our network to enable social distancing, whilst also offering residents and visitors viable alternatives to driving or taking public transport. The programme is therefore not only assisting in the fight to reduce transmission of the coronavirus, but also in helping address the major challenges outlined in our air quality and Climate Emergency Action Plans, as well as Hounslow’s wider green recovery plan.”
Will Norman, said, “Londoners have shown a record-breaking demand for cycling over the past few months and I’m delighted that this new route will make it easier and safer for residents of Hounslow to cycle across the borough. Enabling more people to walk and cycle is key to a green recovery for our city, and our world-leading Streetspace for London plans will make a huge difference.”
To have your say on any of Hounslow’s trial Streetspace schemes click on this link or email the transport team on email@example.com.
September 20, 2020