Traffic Light Changes Bring Chiswick to a Standstill
Olympic vehicles and ambulances caught up in High Road chaos
A call for Transport for London to reconsider its Olympics traffic light phasing on Chiswick High Road, which has caused long delays, has been made by local representatives and by Hounslow Council.
Councillor John Todd, who lives near one of the worst areas of congestion between Chiswick High Road and Chiswick Lane, said he had made representations to TfL, along with GLA member Tony Arbour, and Hounslow Council.
A meeting took place with senior TfL management on Friday afternoon, in which the Borough demanded an explanation and a plan to resolve the issue. And at a separate meeting on Friday in City Hall the matter was raised by the head of Transport at Hounslow Council, Mr. Chris Calvi-Freeman, to the Commissioner of Transport for London, Mr. Peter Hendy.
There is growing outrage locally at the long delays in Chiswick due to the changes in traffic light phasing to improve the flow on the Olympic Route Network. Traffc jams have been in evidence throughout every day during the week.
Councillor Todd commented;
"We have all seen the significant and unnecessary delay to traffic in Chiswick High Rd since TfL changed the traffic light phasing. Nothing I have researched, including the cessation of the green filter light allowing traffic to enter Chiswick Lane, aid traffic movement and add to the viability of the Olympic traffic scheme".
After gridlock in previous weeks due to the closure of the elevated section of the M4 some relief was expected locally but the new phasings have made conditions as bad as they were when the motorway was closed.
Complaints from local residents about the changes have met with stock replies from TfL giving no indication that changes are to be considered. Many believe the changes have been badly thought out and are counterproductive. A number of other boroughs throughout London have also complained of similar problems following changes.
A new pinch point seems to have been created at the junction of Chiswick Lane and Chiswick High Road. Increased priority is being given to traffic travelling up Chiswick Lane from the Olympic Games Lanes on the A4/M4.
Traffic emerging from Chiswick Lane getting increased time
The green phase for traffic on Chiswick High Road at this junction has been reduced to around 12 seconds with the red phase now over a minute. In addition the left filter light into Chiswick Lane for westbound traffic has been deactivated. Previously this allowed extra time for traffic turning into Chiswick Lane to clear the junction.
Traffic at Chiswick High Road/Chiswick Lane junction westbound
Queuing at Chiswick High Road Chiswick Lane junction eastbound
The queues back along Chiswick High Road do risk negating the changes at the junction with Chiswick Lane as traffic is sometimes getting stuck in the junction boxes with drivers confused by the red light at the exit to the junction.
Bus stuck at box junction at Chiswick High Road/Chiswick Lane
The queues of traffic at this junction are now regularly stretching back to the Goldhawk Road and into Hammersmith. Phasing changes also appear to have been made further up Chiswick High Road with queues forming at the lights at the junction of Heathfield Terrace.
Traffic westbound on Chiswick High Road
Many local residents feel the changes could be very dangerous and actually hinder the flow of Olympic related vehicles. Traffic levels on the M4/A4 have been light and whilst Chiswick is in gridlock the Olympic Route Network is practically empty. Both ambulances and Olympic vehicles were spotted yesterday (Thursday 19th July) caught up in stationary traffic on the High Road.
Two official Olympic cars stuck in traffic on Chiswick High Road
Ambulance stuck in traffic on Chiswick High Road has cross lanes
Traffic lights at the junction of the A4 and Sutton Court Road are to be be re-phased this weekend according to announcement by TfL which many fear will result in even greater problems
This is part of their overall rephrasing of 1300 sets of traffic lights along the Olympic Route Network, and they have advised the public to try not to drive near Central London.
Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer, Surface Transport TfL, said: "Our advice to motorists is clear – avoid driving in central London, around the Olympic Route Network (ORN and Games venues from mid-July, but if a journey is absolutely essential be sure to plan ahead and allow extra time. "
TfL have not responded to our request for an explanation of the specific reasons for the rephasing of lights in Chiswick.
July 21, 2012