Wandsworth Suspends Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Wandsworth Council is suspending its Low Traffic Neighbourhood which has affected areas such as Tooting and West Putney following an urgent review subsequent to residents’ complaints. Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation, Cllr John Locker said:

“We have monitored the traffic flows and listened to feedback from residents and businesses. We have also spoken to our partners including local hospitals and key services to hear the impact on them.

It is clear that the LTNs are not delivering the benefits we want to see. In fact it looks like the combination of changes in areas like Tooting, where TfL are making changes to the main high road, are unfortunately having the opposite effect. That is why we have taken the difficult decision to pause and re-think about how we can achieve our objective of delivering healthier, safer streets”

He added: “We all want to do what is right environmentally, whilst maintaining people’s ability to travel and making sure town centres and high streets function properly. It’s important that we listen to what people are saying so that we get this right.”

But other London Councils such as Lewisham are not listening and are still persevering in the vain home that the worsening traffic congestion they have caused will go away. It will not.

Opposition is growing to road closures across London with many local groups being formed. The ABD is happy to advise or assist any local groups.

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If You Can’t Beat the Virus – Beat the Motorist, and Wandsworth Demonstration

The following is an interesting article recently received from a contributor who prefers to remain anonymous. It no doubt reflects the views of many ABD members:

“Over the recent months of attempting to carry on with life under the dark cloud of Covid19 we have all learnt that there are sacrifices that we must make for the greater good of the community. The great British public have rallied to the cause and, in the main, accepted the restrictions to the conduct of their daily lives.

My fear is that we are being forced to accept a number of limitations to our freedoms that are not justified by the Covid crisis but are being implemented without care or consultation.

I am specifically concerned about the redistribution of the road space in favour of pedestrians and cyclists and against the interests of other road users be they private motorists, commercial users or those on public transport.

The widening of payments and cycle lanes, the closures to facilitate pavement restaurants, and, worst of all, the closure of many routes through suburban areas all come at a cost. There is more congestion and hence more pollution and longer journey times consuming more fuel and adding to the burden of private citizen and business operation alike.

Anyone who has tried to get a response from a local council over the last few months will be familiar with the refrain that “Due to Covid 19 there are restrictions on staffing and many services may take longer to implement”. Given that councils are unable to provide basic and urgent care and support services it is a miracle that they are somehow able to create road closures complete with blooming planters overnight! 

Perhaps we should question our representatives about what their priorities are.

A cynical person might suspect that they are diverting the few available resources they have to these road closure schemes because the current Covid 19 regulations allow them to introduce them with little or no consultation. It is quite clear that many of these schemes have been ill thought out and are causing chaos. This is hardly surprising given that so little thought has gone in to considering the consequences on neighbouring streets. My only thought is that what the council can put in place overnight residents could remove in the same timescale.

This is only one part of the concerted effort to bully and demonise the motorist. It is said that there should be no taxation without representation and maybe this is a lesson that the motoring public can learn. If the available road space is to be redistributed in favour of pedestrians and cyclist then the burden of tax should move in the same direction. That motorists are treated as cash cows and required to pay more and more for less and less is nothing short of a scandal that will eventually lead to acts of civil disobedience”

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Wandsworth Road Closures         

On the subject of road closures, the following is a note recently received on a demonstration against them in Wandsworth on the 12thSeptember:

“The onewandsworth group are arranging a peaceful socially distant protest, details can be found below

https://onewandsworth.org/the-protest

Also please sign the Wandsworth Council petition. Every signature helps:

Roger Lawson

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Richmond Ignores 20 Mph Vote, and Wandsworth’s Doubtful Claims

 

The London Borough of Richmond is set to ignore a public consultation where a majority of respondents opposed the introduction of a borough-wide 20 mph speed limit. The almost 10,000 respondents voted 47.9% in favour and 49.7% against. There was even less support for the notion that 20 mph speed limits will improve air quality and reduce car use.

However they have made some changes to the original proposals with more roads excluded from the scheme. See https://tinyurl.com/y2qcfz2m for more details.

Note that the LibDems won control of Richmond Council in 2018 when it had previously been Conservative controlled. They took over from LibDems in 2010 after the latter repeatedly ignored public opinion, e.g. over emission-based permit parking charges.

Comment: It looks like the LibDems are back to ignoring the results of public consultations, presumably because they think they know better. A very dubious decision which they will surely live to regret.

Wandsworth Claim 20 Mph Success, But Is It?

Meanwhile the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth have claimed a success for their borough-wide 20 Mph scheme which was implemented in 2017. Analysis of the first year post implementation data indicated a reduction of 9% in casualties although mean traffic speeds only fell by 0.6 mph. On that basis they have claimed it to be a success although casualties actually fell by 28% across all roads in the borough (which includes the Transport for London controlled main roads where the speed limit generally remained unchanged).

The other problem with this data is that using only a one-year post implementation period is known to distort the figures. A three-year before and after period is recommended by road safety engineers to avoid temporary reactions to perceived road changes.

But Wandsworth is claiming it as a success anyway and is looking to impose 20 mph limits on some major roads such as Putney High Street.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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