Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Elegant, simple & effective - Merton safe streets

Earlier today I dropped my Brompton into A W Cycles in SW19 (too lazy to change flat on rear myself) and I noticed that Merton Council are updating the older solution they had in place to stop rat-running and create a safer street environment.

This is an example of what they have had in place for a long time now, unsightly, but effective.

Here is the 2014 edition/look which achieves the same result:

The slimline bollards just behind the Mum and her child in the picture above, are a little harder to see in the picture below. However, if you look closely you can see they are set back from the main road. This allows for deliveries, and people to park cars to visit local businesses. 

In the pictures below, we have what I'm sure will be in time, raised flower beds / planters. A nice looking bottleneck to the end of a residential street.

For those who think that my ideas to trial solutions which will similarly block streets off in Tooting are fool hardy or won't work why don't you take a look just down the road. Perhaps ask some of the people who live on those streets how they find driving to the shops etc.

Thankfully, we don't need to look very far to see some high quality examples of how our streets can be improved. We only need to take 10 mins on the 57 bus from Tooting Broadway, or a walk or ride on your bike towards Abbey Mills to see what already exists.

Fingers crossed, that whoever gets elected in the coming local elections, they will recognise that a lot of people would like Wandsworth Council to trial out this type of street design.

I hope that together with my Lib Dem colleagues we might be lucky enough to represent Tooting. If so, we'll be able to speed up the roll-out of these trials and hopefully quickly make a significant improvement to the lives of everyone living in Tooting.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Local elections - Imprint

As I'm standing as a candidate to be a councillor for Tooting ward with the Liberal Democrats in the local elections on the 22nd May, I'm legally required to put this imprint on the site. For all election related posts, they are promoted & published by Adrian Smith on behalf of Jon Irwin all at 23a Kettering Street, SW16 6QA.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Tooting Safari seeking 'Space for Cycling'

Really great to see both local residents and Tooting businesses supporting space4cycling.org

See if you can recognise where these photos were taken, some aren't the best quality, but you have to grab your chance to take the picture!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Green shoots of spring?

Easter weekend has come and gone. Whilst walking along Blackshaw Road on Saturday, I saw the car above. Given that the vehicle is damaged from the rear as well as the front, I suspect that some other driver managed to hit this car from behind with some force pushing the car above right over the sign post.

In terms of street vandalism, the owner of the vehicle in the picture no doubt will get an insurance claim. When it comes to fixing the sign post, our council is very unlikely to file an insurance claim to cover the costs. We all will pick up the tab for that, whether we drive or not.

For those of you not local to Tooting, this is how wide the road is at this point:

Then on Monday evening returning from a visit to my family, I saw this on twitter:

Sadly, both Labour and the Conservatives locally seem to take the view that these collisions are a suitable price to pay for the convenience of allowing people to drive everywhere, and anywhere they would like.

With my Lib Dem colleagues we take a different view. We hold the view that a more strategic approach should be taken, one where walking and cycling are included as a serious transport option, and not something to be bolted on (maybe) at the end to fit in around the space for motor vehicles. This means making choices about whether we allow unfettered through access for people to drive along residential streets. It means looking at our main roads and providing true protected space for people to be able to cycle or use a mobility scooter along them.

It seems that some local businesses are already ahead of the game on this. The Castle pub on Tooting High Street has had a refurb, and re-opened last week. This is what they've done with what was car parking space. Now, how's that for some green shoots of spring?

As an aside, The Selkirk pub has a lovely beer garden too.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Why do I do it? Why should the Fishponds trial take place?

Just gutted for the family of the people involved in that RTC (Road Traffic Collision).

It's a beautiful spring day, I'd been out collecting more signatures for the Tooting High Street petition. Got home, putting their details onto the system I check on twitter, and I see the post above.

One family today will have received a call to go to the hospital for their loved one. It is very likely that the driver of the vehicle will not have been seriously injured. Cars/vans are very good at protecting their occupants. Whilst I don't know the exact details of this RTC, it is likely that the person who has been seriously injured wasn't in a motor vehicle. Whether they were or weren't is kind of irrelevant.

The fact is that at least someone has been seriously injured this morning on Fishponds Road, as a result of someone driving a motor vehicle.

I don't want to be a family member caught up in this, when I know action can be taken to reduce the risk of events like this taking place. How many more people do we need to let get hurt, before we will even just try a different solution?

For all those that oppose the trial scheme, I don't think many would choose to swap places with the family of the seriously injured person today.

I campaign because we can, we should, we must act to reduce the chances of this happening again. We need politicians who don't just stand up and say, 'one crash is one crash too many' and then not act. We need both politicians who recognise the problem, and importantly are prepared to do something about it.

I'll be standing with the Liberal Democrats in Tooting ward in the coming local elections. I think too many people have been hurt on our streets, and nothing of substance has happened to reduce danger for too long. If you agree with me, I hope that you'll be able to support me and my colleagues with your vote so that we can try to reduce the chances of these terrible incidents taking place again.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Progress on 20mph in Wandsworth comes at a slow pace

The Tooting Labour team are rightly pleased that our council has finally moved forward on consulting residents in Furzedown and Bedford wards on 20mph limits. In Bedford ward, I understand that the Conservative councillors are also supportive, so it's good to see cross-party support for these measures.

However, what I feel is a serious lack of conviction from both parties above is the following. The Labour team talk about their campaign for 20mph in Furzedown in 2007. It is now 2014. If as a party, they had been seriously behind 20mph limits, I do think that 7 years is more than long enough to have campaigned and petitioned borough-wide.

The Conservatives have a similar lack of conviction. Senior party members know that the evidence suggests that most people are supportive of 20mph limits on residential streets when asked. Indeed where their members have 'campaigned' on it, the support has been overwhelmingly positive. Yet the lack of any real desire to make evidence based policy decisions, or indeed ensure that the council adheres to policy guidelines as highlighted in this weeks open letter to the Prime Minister, makes local progress even more challenging.

With the local elections fast approaching, for those looking for real progress, and an evidence based approach to improving the local area, there is a real choice. I'm going to be standing with the Liberal Democrat team as a candidate for councillor in Tooting.

Too many people for too long have had their concerns ignored by both Labour and the Conservatives. We need a strong voice for local people at the council, one which I believe me and my Lib Dem colleagues would be better placed to deliver.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Air pollution highlights need for safer streets

The recent weather conditions which have deposited dust from the sahara across London have highlighted the chronically bad air quality conditions that we all live with on a day to day basis.

As this report from the BBC highlights, the main cause of air pollution in London is as a result of motor traffic: http://www.live.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-26837256

This is yet another reason why we need to create safer streets, where walking or cycling short distances become the norm.

Our Mayor talks about ‘encouraging people to walk/cycle’ something which our local authorities have been doing for decades. I’m not suggesting that they should stop doing that, but let’s fix the streets so that being able to choose to cycle to the shops doesn’t seem like a life or death decision.

There are a number of petitions that I'm running locally which I'd urge you to support, if you haven't done so already:

Achieving small changes on their own won’t fix everything, but lots of small changes can all add up.