Majority of respondents against all measures in Brentford and Isleworth
Traffic on Windmill Road (before implementation of Streetspace scheme). Picture: Facebook
The publication of the interim reports by transport consultant Steer has confirmed a very high level of opposition to Hounslow Council’s Streetspace schemes in responses from residents in the Brentford and Isleworth areas.
The independent reports were commissioned by the council with over 10,000 responses concerning recently introduced traffic measures across the borough. All the schemes in the TW8 and TW7 areas were opposed by the majority of respondents with over 90% against the Amhurst Gardens restrictions.
The level of opposition is likely to put further pressure on the council to unwind more of the schemes implemented last year. The scrapping of some measures has already been announced.
Across the 27 measures that were covered by the survey opposition ranged from 57% to 92% depending on the scheme with the proportion calling for trials to be stopped immediately varying from 50% to 88%. The now scrapped Turnham Green Terrace closure in Chiswick was the least popular scheme according to the analysis.
Steer notes that it takes time for transport scheme to reach a ‘steady state’ as users of the transport system need to explore various options and adjust their habits in response to changed conditions. The consultant is to prepare a full report on the schemes being continued by the council at a later date.
The consultant acknowledged that any conclusions about the effect of the council’s measures had to be considered in the context of a significant decline in traffic across the borough for the period during which the analysis was done. Overall, traffic on the borough’s distributor roads was down considerably during the time of the review although local and residential roads have been less affected.
Steer did not attempt to separate the impact of Covid-19 reductions in traffic and Streetpace measures on air quality as any affects were likely to be masked. It states that the suddenness of the Secretary of State’s May 2020 directive under which many of the Streetspace measures were undertaken meant that there was no ability to undertake “before” surveys of air quality on the roads affected to establish baselines against which “after” surveys could be measured.
Hounslow Council also has given consideration of exemption for Blue Badge holders from some prohibited traffic movements. It was decided not to do this because of difficulties in determining whether or not the Blue Badge holder was in the vehicle to be exempt from any moving traffic offence.
In Brentford Occupation Lane (leading to Clayponds Avenue) has been closed using physical barriers between Ealing Road (B455) and Chestnut Avenue. There are also restrictions on through trips along Whitestile Road and Challis Road between Windmill Road (B452) and South Ealing Road (B455).
On Green Dragon Lane between Brentford High Street (A315) and Ealing Road (B455) through trips are restricted in both directions using ANPR cameras, but access for residents and their visitors has been maintained.
In Isleworth, Amhurst Gardens, Teesdale Avenue and Teesdale Gardens have had through trips restricted, however access for residents, buses and emergency services has been maintained.
For the schemes in the North Brentford area, Steer concludes that the restrictions on Occupation Lane and Chestnut Avenue have resulted in a reduction in morning peak southbound traffic on Clayponds Avenue. However, overall traffic has increased on Chestnut Avenue which it believed has been caused by vehicles displaced from Occupation Lane many of which are accessing Clayponds Hospital.
Whitestile Road, Challis Road and Enfield Road show decreases in traffic flow. However, roads adjacent to these schemes, such as Windmill Road have experienced a significant increase in vehicle flow according to Steer.
Overall for North Brentford, the report says there is a decrease in both local and through trips using roads in the area, however this is generally consistent with the borough-wide fall in trips. There also does not appear to be any change in terms of end to end trip speeds or the directness of trips using roads in the area that significantly varies from the borough-wide pattern.
In the Brentford South area the report says that since the introduction of the schemes on Green Dragon Lane and Netley Road there has been a significant drop in vehicle flow on Green Dragon Lane. It appears that some of this traffic may have been displaced to Brentford High Street.
Eastbound bus journey times on Brentford High Street have been reduced across all routes and all time periods, with a few anomalies. This is likely due to the changes to bus lane operational hours in the eastbound direction. Westbound bus journey times on Brentford High Street have generally remained unchanged.
The number of trips using roads in the area (both local trips and through trips) has noticeably decreased, over and above the borough-wide trend. Steer says that it does not appear that the schemes have caused any major changes to the directness of trips using roads in the area. However, the speed of trips using roads in the area has slightly increased during the same time period.
In Isleworth, the report says that prior to the schemes being put in place, it appears that Amhurst Gardens was used by vehicles making longer distance trips, including to and from West Middlesex Hospital. There has been a significant drop in the total number of vehicles using the five roads between London Road and Twickenham Road. For the three roads directly affected by the schemes, there has been a large drop in the number of vehicles using Amhurst Gardens, which was busy relative to other roads in the area. Teesdale Avenue and Teesdale Gardens also saw reductions, albeit from a much lower base. Linkfield Road has experienced a small increase in vehicle flow during the same time period. This may be due to traffic displaced by the schemes. On the other hand, St Johns Road has experienced a reduction in vehicle flow. The number of through trips using roads in the area has dropped by a significant amount, significantly in excess of borough-wide trends. On the other hand, the number of local trips has increased over the same time period. The average speeds of local trips in the area has increased, whereas the average speed of through trips has remained largely unchanged
Northbound bus journey times for route 267 on Twickenham Road have generally increased since the schemes have been introduced across all time periods. During weekend days, this increase is reasonably uniform, however during weekdays the bus journey time increase is particularly significant in the afternoon peak period. Southbound bus journey times appear to show no significant change. This may indicate that the changes to bus lane operating hours in this direction are having some positive impacts on bus journey times.
Steer analysed the responses given through Hounslow Council’s Citizenspace web site on the schemes. There were over 10,000 comments made overall and respondents were allowed to comment on specific measures under the Streetspace programme.
The restrictions on Occupation Lane elicited 89 responses to the survey, 68% of which were opposed most of which were strongly opposed. There was concern that the measure was increasing congestion on surrounding roads (e.g. Windmill Road) and that access to medical facilities was being made more difficult.
The Green Dragon Lane measures were opposed by 64% of the 79 people who responded on this measure, most of them strongly. The primary areas of concern were increased congestion on surrounding roads, causing longer journey times and the impact of this on air quality.
The Whitestile Road restrictions which were part of a range of measures in North Brentford incorporating Enfield Road and Challis Road were opposed by 85% of the 54 people responding. Two thirds of respondents said that the measures were causing increased congestion on surrounding roads including Windmill Road.
There was a more mixed range of views on the restrictions on Enfield Road. Of the 42 responses 57% were strongly against but over a third were in favour citing the reduction in speed and volume of traffic on Enfield Road. Those against were generally opposed because they felt the measure had added to congestion on Windmill Road. Those supportive of the closure said that it improved safety due to a reduction in the volume and speed of through-traffic.
Just 28 people responded to questions about the Challis Road restriction in North Brentford with 91% opposed. The main concern was that the measure was increasing congestion on surrounding roads such as Windmill Road.
Three quarters of the 78 people who responded to questions about the pop-up cycle lane were opposed to the measure with 67% strongly opposed.
The primary areas of concern was that it was felt the bollards left insufficient space for vehicles to make room for emergency service vehicles, particularly those accessing West Middlesex Hospital. Increased congestion on Twickenham Road was also raised and several respondents noted that the removal of bus lanes and stops for buses to pull over caused traffic to build up behind buses, as there is insufficient space for vehicles to overtake.
Other comments of concern included :reduced accessibility for patients and visitors to West Middlesex Hospital; the cycle infrastructure being unnecessary, or not being used; safety concerns for both drivers and cyclists; reduced air quality; and the placement of bollards making it difficult to turn on to, and off, Twickenham Road.
Of the 131 people who responded specifically about the Amhurst Garden’s restrictions, 91% were opposed with 84% strongly opposed. The primary area of concern was increasing congestion on surrounding roads, notably Twickenham Road and London Road. Other issues raised were air quality, restricted access to medical facilities and issues for children travelling to school.
Similar reasons were put forward by the 86% of 37 people responding who were opposed to the nearby Teesdale Avenue restrictions. The Teesdale Gardens restriction was slightly less unpopular with 71% of 42 respondents opposed.
A spokesperson for the Hounslow Cycling Campaign said, “We support measures to reduce traffic on Green Dragon lane in Brentford as this is a popular cycling route from Ealing to Brentford and the pop-up cycle lane on Twickenham Rd Isleworth and will be going through the details in the reports for these and all the other schemes to inform our views.”
The final review for the scheme will be published in July 2021, along with decisions about which schemes will be made permanent.
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May 21, 2021