Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Progress on Fishponds - almost frustrated

Last night, the Fishponds Road scheme, which readers of the blog may know, went back to committee at Wandsworth Council.

Quick re-cap, I petitioned 2 years ago, to get support to do a trial where barriers to motor traffic would be placed where the dots are on the map below. Got 243 signatures on the petition, and it was over 90% of people who I'd door knocked and asked for their support.

The officers had drawn up a decent paper (13-741), recommending that the scheme go forward to consultation. I raised a few points:

  1. Great that we are closer to doing something tangible to deal with the actual problem
  2. Unfortunate that the proposed temporary barriers aren't very visually attractive
  3. Would the committee ensure that pedestrian and cycle counts are done as well as motor vehicular counts too.

I would have liked to have added that as the scheme is an experiment, perhaps not all of the proposed extra signposts are necessary, which have bumped up the cost considerably as the posts 'need' to have electrical supplies.

All I can see is that there seems to be a desire to completely pamper people driving in the area and treat them as if they are idiots, as if they wouldn't be able to see a barrier in front of them. Then we wonder why we end up with so much street clutter!

Following my short piece, one of the local Labour councillors, put forward their views. The councillor flagged the reality that some local residents may not view the scheme positively. That said, the councillor was happy for it to go ahead to consultation, and that if there was enough local support to conduct the trial they too would be supportive.

Cllr King who is the relevant Cabinet member then gave the impression that as previous consultations, of a different nature, to deal with the recognised problem had failed, that local residents have already had their chance. A compromise was finally reached that the consultation would go ahead, and that a target of 40% response to the consultation would be needed in order for any trial to go-ahead.

So, good news is that we are going to have a consultation.  Challenge is that 40% response rate is bloody high.

So, if you live locally, or in south west London, and think that trialling different ways to make our streets safer is a sensible way to go, I'm going to need your help.

When the consultation document goes out, a lot of people tend to ignore them. People who tend to respond all too often are those who object. I really believe that this type of scheme will work, and will deliver huge benefits to the local area. In fact the officers even state in their conclusions:

There is a possibility that there will be a increase in traffic flows in some residential roads due to transfer of traffic on account of the point closures, but this will be offset by the forecasted reduction in (motor) traffic over the larger area.

If you'd like to see real space for cycling, this is one of the measures that needs to happen. It'll only happen with local support. Local people are more likely to support it, if other local people ask them to.

Will you join me?

Drop me a line jon.irwin[at] if you are keen. When the consultation document gets sent out, we can then go door to door.

Together we can make our streets safer. 

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