Whilst for many management of our streets should be about improving them based on evidence, the reality is that any changes are very political. The consultation currently on-going for the proposed trial is really highlighting the differences in approach between the local parties.
Let's look at the Labour position.
Cllr Ben Johnson has put his views across on Streetlife:
On the proposals: when similar (but permanent) measures were proposed a couple of years ago, the response from residents was overwhelmingly against the changes. The feedback I've received so far suggests that the view on this proposed trial scheme is similarly negative.I'd like to make a few comments with regards to his position. The people who are against doing anything are very fervent in their position. Those who are more open to the possibility that it could work, aren't screaming and shouting about it.
I do think it's right that every now and again residents are consulted on proposals to mitigate frequently reported problems such as traffic on residential streets, so that councillors and officers at the Town Hall can be clear that we're acting in accordance with the will of residents. I don't live on one of the streets affected, so I won't try to tell those who do how to respond; but along with James and Sheila, I'll be absolutely clear that once the results are in, the views of residents who live in the streets affected take precedence over all else - and of course no changes should ever be forced on residents by those who don't live in the area. (Streetlife link here)
He also says that he thinks it's right that people should be consulted every now and then on frequently reported problems. Why doesn't he think that instead of consulting to throw a bone to those concerned local residents, we actually try something different on our local streets? Frequently reported problems won't go away by consulting every now and then, unless I'm mistaken.
Our Sadiq Khan MP has had this to say:
Whilst I welcome efforts to improve safety in our area; I also understand that these plans would have a big impact on local residents. Some residents feel the trial could lead to an overall reduction in traffic and rat-running on roads such as Broadwater and Fishponds, but I also know that other residents disagree and feel the trial could prove more inconvenient for them and others, and create further traffic problems, as others have highlighted.Here he recognises that there are two differing views, and therefore a possibility that the scheme could result in an overall reduction in traffic and rat-running. Yet instead of welcoming the prospect of a trial and encouraging people to support it so that we can see if it works here or not, he is not taking a position on this other than to encourage people to respond.
Therefore it is really important that all local residents affected by these proposals don’t miss out on the chance to have your say – and that no changes should be introduced without the views of the local community’s being heard. (Streetlife conversation here)
I've been campaigning on this well before I was campaigning as a Lib Dem candidate for council. I'd love this scheme to go ahead as a trial, so that we can test in the real world if what I've suggested works here or not. From the people I've been speaking with on the doorstep I'm quietly optimistic that we might just get enough people supporting it for the trial to take place.
From the way Labour are presenting themselves on this, I really think if you want things to happen to improve your streets locally in Tooting Labour are all talk and no action.