Thursday, 12 November 2015

Tooting Labour at 6's & 7's on safer streets

To get one thing straight from the off, this isn't me 'just' having a go at the local Labour team. There are good people who support them, and campaign on their behalf, but as you'll see the lack of consistency on safer streets is glaring.

I was delighted to see that the Labour Bedford ward councillor has finally put up a post relating to the Balham High Road consultation that closes this Sunday. It's unfortunate that with only a few days to go the chance of them actually encouraging and boosting responses is limited. Still, better late than never I guess.

Yet, these views seem to contradict those of our local MP, also Labour's mayoral candidate:

With his office on that stretch of road, it's hard to think that he can't be aware of the danger.

So, which is it? 'Roads for cars' or 'streets for people'?

Little wonder that the Labour team, whilst having been successful in Tooting elections, have failed to deliver improvements on road safety on local streets for years in Tooting. The Conservatives can't be seen as being much better, they run the council and yet these proposals are the ones that have come to the fore.

Supported by the local Lib Dems, I've been able to run a series of campaigns and petitions. The delay in them being acted upon is illustrated by the two opposing points of view taken by the Labour team that represent the people of Tooting.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

10 days to tell TfL to do better on Balham High Road

We have just 10 more days to respond to this consultation on Balham High Road. I've posted about it previously here, the key points for me to raise with TfL are:

  • Where are the protected, continental style, cycle lanes? 
  • Where are the bus stop cycle lane bypasses? 

I've got a bunch of flyers printed to encourage people to respond. They won't get out there by themselves. I've got just over 2500 more to get out there. 

Interested in helping?

Here's what you can do:

  1. RESPOND to the consultation! (easy to forget to do!)
  2. Share details with your friends (email - Facebook - Twitter)
  3. Distribute some flyers (drop me a line if you'd like some - jon.irwin[at] I work in Balham and have them at my desk. 

The only reason that we can't have the sort of streets that are being built in central London at the moment, is if we don't ask. We don't have to wait 20 more years to get serious improvements to Balham High Road. 

NB - Also with a Crossrail 2 station going to be either in Balham or Tooting, there is even more reason to ensure that people are given safe space to cycle without needing to share local streets with construction vehicles. Over to you folks.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Streatham Road - missed opportunity

Cycling home last night, I spotted this sign at the end of my street:

From a glance this morning, Streatham Road has been re-instated to the original plans.

Every time that a road is re-surfaced like this, it is an opportunity to use latest best practise to improve safety. That requires that our local authorities have joined up thinking and are constantly learning and looking for ways to improve.

It was a suggestion that I made as part of this petition for Mitcham Lane which adjoins Streatham Road. At the last check, there is funding in the pipeline for Mitcham Lane to make the changes.

Would it not have made more sense to do improvements at the same time as the road was resurfaced last year?

I'm fed up with the council and councillors either complaining that they don't have the money, or they don't run the whole council to be able to make things happen. Clearly funds are tight. All the more reason to genuinely look holistically at how they want the area to be improved so that these limited funds can be targeted to get the best outcomes. No council can be all things to all people. The least we deserve is to be given clarity as to the real direction that our elected representatives want to head in.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Failing to deliver for Balham Boulevard

Having seen this consultation go live (technically the bit adjacent to where the Balham Boulevard project is due to happen) it doesn't bode well.

Here are some thoughts/comments below. I'd welcome your comments before submitting my response to TfL.

Balham Boulevard:
- it isn't as it is the stretch basically from Ritherdon Road south.
- however, it doesn't bode well for Balham Boulevard as this would adjoin it, so if this isn't significantly improved then Balham Boulevard will just be the name of the current road with perhaps some more paint on it.

*It is not possible to provide a segregated cycle lane at this location due to access to residential properties being required
- Utter rubbish. The LCDS illustrate how this can be done, and Old Shoreham Road in Brighton is a UK example where this is in place. A road for motor vehicles doesn't pose a problem for access to residential properties, neither does a pavement. Consultations for the Mini-Holland projects in London also show that TfL can do this.

Floating Bus stops or lack thereof
- Again in Brighton, Lewes Road, has a series of floating bus stops that from all reports work very well.

Affecting traffic capacity:
28% drop in motor traffic volumes (2005-2013) along the A24 Clapham South to Tooting Bec (
Providing a real alternative to travelling short trips by building proper cycle lanes along a road this wide would not only give people real choice as to how they travel, but also make it easier for those who need to drive to get around too.

- The central reservation hasn't been touched. This is wasted space currently helping no-one.
- From Tooting Bec heading south there is effectively only a single lane for motor traffic in each direction, and the same goes northbound once you start going through Balham. Smoothing out the narrow points for motor traffic would provide a more consistent travel time for motor traffic and free up significant amount of space to improve the public realm for walking and cycling, as well as the local environment for businesses and residents.

These are some initial thoughts. Please feel free to chip in.

In case you are wondering how this can be put forward given the high quality of other schemes which have gone to consultation recently, the answer is the politics. It is self evident that TfL has the engineering capability &/or sourcing capability to brief consultants to come up with high quality schemes that will deliver significant improvements to all road users. 

In the absence of a strong political steer as to what is wanted, the engineers are being asked to please everyone which isn't possible. This is a huge opportunity to genuinely improve the local area for generations to come. What is currently on the table frankly just isn't good enough. 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Lessons from elsewhere

It's been a while since my last post, but that's probably for the best.

There has been a lot going on over the summer in terms of real progress to humanise our streets, with the work on Embankment and around Oval being front of mind. As the naysayers are keen to point out, there isn't the space to implement these kind of solutions on every street.

That is true, one size doesn't fit all, but fortunately there are other options.

The Loughborough Junction experimental scheme started the other week, and whilst in Lambeth, should provide interesting lessons for other urban areas in the UK. It is interesting to see how the engineers/officers at the council have been able to already rapidly respond to the situation on the ground. It is also worth noting that local politicians have been open minded enough to allow the scheme to go ahead.

It is no secret that this approach is one that I feel has considerable merit, and that Wandsworth Council should be able to adopt. The barriers to that are political, no more, no less. At present both Labour and the Conservatives in Wandsworth have been resolute in their opposition.

A little further south, we have seen the Norbury Avenue scheme take place. Another trial, which has been contentious to say the least. It is sad that some of those opposed to the scheme have seen fit to vandalise the temporary measures inhibiting the ability to gather robust data. There was a lively discussion at Croydon Council regarding Norbury Avenue last Monday. Again, the outcome here will be an interesting one to watch out for.

Back in Wandsworth, the council has done a survey looking at the possibility of reincorporating Dr Johnson Avenue back into Tooting Common. Again, it will be very interesting to see how the council responds to this. My party has suggested that adopting a trial approach would be a good way to proceed to take into account the views which will have been expressed in the survey.

The approach taken to street management raises the important issue as to how councils reconcile their public health responsibilities against listening to local residents. Particularly when local residents may not believe the public health case, even when the evidence base is very strong.

For all those who believe that removing car access one one road will definitely cause further congestion, this post on the mathematics behind how that isn't always true is well worth a read.

Food for thought. As to if our local politicians are listening, well, we live in hope.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Traffic counts - not necessary

The traffic measures which have been implemented to allow the essential gas works to take place on Trinity Road are pretty significant.

If residents happened to petition on something like this, it is likely that the council may suggest that the potential for traffic displacement to neighbouring streets would mean that it wouldn't work. eg Kettering Street paper 15-238

I did the following FOI request to see if any consideration had been given to taking traffic counts to see what actually happens when compared to the traffic models.

The response is:

Wandsworth Borough Council, Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Traffic Division had considered traffic count variables on Trinity Road for the traffic management plan for the works.  Transport for London’s Traffic Flow Data system was used to ascertain the volume of traffic.   The Council did not undertake a traffic count for each of the roads listed below as Officers did not consider it necessary.

This raises three questions:

  1. Why were the fears of traffic displacement raised as a  reason to recommend no further action for the trial proposed for the Kettering Street petition? 
  2. Why wasn't this information used as part of the Fishponds Road area consultation to highlight to residents that their fears of traffic gridlock were unlikely to occur? 
  3. Why is it that councillors on the relevant committee aren't questioning officers given that they are aware from local groups of the evidence that contradicts council positions? 

Don't forget to add your support to the petitions that the Lib Dems are supporting me with locally. It is only with your support that we'll be able to make positive improvements. Labour and the Tories seem too dead set against making positive things happen for the time being.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Serendipity – Kettering St trial

Last night I returned home to find that a trial, of sorts, was taking place on Kettering Street. It has taken place without public consultation, and by all appearances seems to be a low cost solution.

Early morning view
Early evening with contractors present

Fallsbrook Road end of the street

Of course this is to allow the contractors to make good the water leak that has followed from the burst main the other week at the end of Southcroft Road. But it highlights just how quickly action can be taken if there is the will. 

What must residents do to get improvements?

I’m left asking the question, just what is it that councillors on the committee need to hear from local residents in order to act? The reason given for recommending no action on Kettering Street was that no-one had been hurt in the previous 3 years. Does that mean that we need people to be hurt for action to be taken? When the Fishponds proposals went to consultation, the outcome (if you dug into the detail) confirmed that residents agree there is a problem, but not how to fix it. That was reason enough for the committee to agree to do nothing. 

People getting hurt on Upper Tooting Road as a result of collisions from drivers using the back roads as short cuts as yet are not deemed to be the council’s problem as Upper Tooting Road is managed by Transport for London. 

I’ve written to Cllr Cook and Cllr Kaddy as the relevant cabinet member and chair of the committee asking them to clarify what residents can do to improve their streets. I'll keep you posted with the responses I get. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Inertia over the decades in Wandsworth

Whilst I really feel like progress is being made to create safer streets in Wandsworth, a spate of tweets the other evening highlights how it is the politics that really is the sticking point to taking action.

Yet, the councillors on the relevant committee feel like they are taking action asking for another strategy document to be drawn up instead of trialling temporary changes.

Plus ca change eh?

With problems such as:

Air pollution
Climate Change
Cost of living (associated with fuel costs)

Doing nothing really isn't an option. But it seems to fit perfectly well with our local councillors.

With a bit of luck, hopefully in the coming months we'll see TfL publish their proposals for both Balham High Road, and Tooting Town Centre. Both are listed on their Roads Modernisation Programme, and given the quality of work that is starting to appear, I'm optimistic that we could have equally high quality proposals for the local area.

If that is the case, then, I hope perhaps a few more people may be inclined to listen to the proposals that I, and others, have been advocating for over several decades now.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Trinity Road re-designed (temporarily for Gas Works)

The recently commenced road works to do essential gas works on Trinity road have galvanised TfL and Wandsworth Councils’ highway engineers into action.

In pushing through these temporary measures, the engineers are highlighting how quickly our streets can be reconfigured if the desire/need is deemed important enough. Gas works essential to re-design the streets, people getting hurt less so.

Sadly, as is all too common, little or no consideration for walking or cycling has been given. The pictures below ‘closing’ the pedestrian crossings give sight to a culture that puts walking as a non-essential means of transport.

With the gyratory type system which has been implemented for motor traffic, cycling contraflows could easily be permitted. The ‘filtering’ of some of the residential streets with no entry signs could be just for motor vehicles, allowing people on bikes to still use the streets in both directions.

You may think you missed the ‘consultation’ on these changes, but you didn’t, because the works are deemed to be essential.

When people ask through petitions, as I have done, councillors have rejected them. Either using difference of opinion from resident responses as to what will happen to prevent a trial taking place, or citing a lack of people getting hurt to justify inaction. The screen grab below is from, self evidently there is an issue at the junction of St James's Drive and Trinity Road.

I have asked in the past for traffic counts to be carried out when works such as these take place. I am confident that none are being done or were planned. The closing of the pedestrian crossings highlights that no real thought has been given to people walking through the area whilst the works are on-going. With so little thought given to even that, a traffic count to see the actual effects of the re-design would be a step too far.

The re-routing of the 319 has also resulted in 4 stops being suspended, with no temporary or request stops in place.

Seems that when you don't drive in Wandsworth your views and needs don't count. For all the warm words in terms of draft cycling strategy, or the walking strategy from years ago, the current consultation for a new strategy on air quality, without the political will to re-think how our streets are managed and run, little is likely to happen soon.

If you'd like to see real action, there are a bunch of petitions available to sign here.


I cycled past on Tuesday evening (30th June) to play touch, didn't have time to take pictures. The pedestrian crossings at St James Drive are no longer blocked. There is also a temporary bus stop on the route. Cycling against the flow of traffic is currently banned, although I don't understand why it should be.

I've also put in an FOI request to see if any consideration had been given to doing traffic counts as part of this work. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Strategy means nothing if no action is taken

Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately I missed out on last night's Wandsworth Council committee meeting.

The good news is that I've heard quite a bit of progress has been made on 20mph roll-out, and whilst we aren't yet at the stage of seeking a borough-wide consultation with exceptions made for key routes, there definitely is political will for this to be advanced.

There was another paper tucked away, relating to another petition that I've done for the street I live on. The petition was asking the council to trial changes to the street similar to what has already been done extensively in Merton and blogged about already here.

The recommendation to the committee was to take no further action as there have been no reported accidents in the 3 previous years, and for the 1 week in January when they did traffic counts the volume was low and speeds were low.

The Labour team managed to make the case that the network of residential streets that I live in, should be considered for a Home Zone. Officers have been tasked with coming up with a strategy for 'Home Zones' in Wandsworth. This is all well and good, however, strategy is one thing, physical change on the ground is another. Very easy to ask for a strategy and another report. Much harder to actually make meaningful change happen.

If Wandsworth council isn't even prepared to try changes on the ground, then short of serious political change at the council or multiple deaths on residential streets as a result of 'traffic collisions' I have real difficulty in seeing how the major changes that are needed for many streets in the borough will occur. This is the 2nd time that the council have refused this trial approach, the first one being with the Fishponds Road area.

The only consolation is the growing amount of support that together with the local Lib Dems we are getting for petitions calling for real changes. Do check out the petitions here, and lend your support.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Response from Wandsworth Borough Commander

The other week I wrote to our Borough Commander, and the head of the Met Sir Hogan-Howe regarding my concerns about road safety.

There were two specific asks in that letter:

  • I would like your officers to place road danger reduction and enforcement of the rules of the road as a much higher priority than it is at present. (For instance: Many drivers continue to seem unaware of Highway Code rules such as 163 and 170, both of which directly affect the safety and perceived safety of cyclists and pedestrians across our borough).
  • I would like Wandsworth Police to be supportive of consultations regarding street design and management that the professionals involved (notably highway engineers and public health officers) believe will reduce road danger and help 'rebalance' our streets towards benign modes of transport.

It appears that the Borough Commander views road safety concerns as different to crime as he would like to see 'road safety concerns discussed alongside crime priorities'. Semantics I know, but I feel that breaking the law whilst driving not only is illegal or criminal, but it places other people in a huge amount of danger. Not entirely sure why they can't be included as a key priority in terms of saving life.

Nonetheless good to see that he has flagged this with the relevant councillors. Well worth raising road safety as a concern at your local SNT meeting, and with your local councillors.

I'd have to dig a bit further to see what the statistics are on victims of violent crime in Wandsworth, when compared to victims of violence on our roads. It would be really surprising to me if what is currently recorded as victims of 'violent crime' even come up to 10% of victims of road violence/collisions.

Now for the good news, the council has been working on a new cycling strategy, and at the next committee meeting (16th June - agenda should be out the week before) we'll see how ambitious it is. From what I've heard it should be a strong proposition.

Also the council is currently consulting on a new air quality strategy. Local air quality is massively impacted by the volume of motor traffic on our streets. There are some interesting proposals in this strategy which if taken forward, and hopefully improved from the consultation process, will allow the council to take stronger action on improving air quality. Part of the actions that are needed are creating safer streets which enable more trips to be walked and cycled than at present.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Another victim of our broken roads - we will not forget

In the early hours of Saturday morning this bank holiday weekend, a 33 year old person was killed. All we know is that it occurred somewhere around the junction of Dr Johnson Avenue and Tooting Bec Road. The police are appealing for witnesses and anyone who recognises the vehicle to contact them.

I took the picture last night. There are no visible marks that highlight the violence which occurred so recently.

What is so sad, is that this is the logical outcome of the approach taken by our council endorsed by both Labour and the Conservatives with regards to road safety. Our highway engineers are only empowered to look into road safety improvements if the following conditions have been met:

3 people killed or seriously injured in 3 years at the same location
25% of local residents sign a petition

The personnel working for our emergency services, literally have to pick up the pieces of broken bodies that result from this policy. The engineers are blocked by our local politicians from being able to put forward proposals to make the roads safer by the current policy position.

With the general elections fast approaching it is worthwhile reflecting on this, and the parties that support it. Locally my party, the Liberal Democrats are campaigning to change this position. I hope, if you live locally and are active with one of the two parties that do represent us at the council, you can ask your party if perhaps it is time to review the position.

If you choose to vote for Labour or the Conservatives locally, in part you are endorsing this policy position. Sometimes voting can seem futile, and that things won't change. I disagree.

Our votes do count. 

Policies do matter. 

Lives of people who live in our communities depend upon them.

Sadly, one member of our community is no longer with us this week. Let us make sure that their life wasn't lost in vain.

You can also lend your support to this petition which I'm running specifically for Tooting Bec Road. It is tragic that before substantive action will be taken to make this road safer, it is very likely that more people will be hurt.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A letter to the Borough Commander - engaging with the police

The growing number of police that are actively using social media (Twitter) in particular, is a really good way to engage on issues that might otherwise drop by the wayside.

As a result of the exchange below:

It prompted me to write to Wandsworth Borough commander. Given that the issues raised aren't unique to Wandsworth, I've sent a copy through to Sir Hogan-Howe as well as Living Streets and London Cycling Campaign.

I also dropped along to my local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) meeting to raise the issue there. You can find details about your local team here. If you are interested in getting involved, some details about what you can do here.

And here's the letter, dropped it in to the Police Station on the 21st April 2015.


Dear Borough Commander,

I am writing to ask you how we can more effectively tackle anti-social and dangerous behaviour by people driving on our streets.

The SNT meetings are a great forum to allow very local concerns to be flagged. However, whilst I live in a particular street in a particular ward (Furzedown), political boundaries do not apply in terms of the streets that I need to use to travel around the borough. Indeed, Wandsworth Council recognises this when, for example, it designs formal cycle routes that link different destinations across the borough. As a family we rarely use our car, most of the time we walk, cycle or use public transport.

Council policy (not under your remit) is to wait for 3 KSI's to occur in a given location in 3 consecutive years before the highway engineers at the council will investigate options to provide safer streets. Alternatively, 25% of households in the street/locality need to prepare and gather a petition. I’m not too keen on anyone having to be one of those KSI's to effect change. I don't think the current approach is an acceptable approach for a public authority - especially one that has recently taken charge of public health in Wandsworth.

In Wandsworth, people talking on their phones while driving, or driving at speeds which are inappropriate for their surroundings - to take two examples of commonly seen behaviour - rarely place the individuals driving at serious risk of injury. For those of us who are walking or cycling, however, a moment's carelessness or inattention by drivers can have serious or fatal consequences for us or our loved ones. The asymmetry of risk borne by people on foot or bicycle as compared with those within a motor vehicle is, as you will be aware, clearly shown by the road traffic casualty statistics for our borough. And, equally importantly, the perception of danger from motor traffic understandably discourages many people in Wandsworth from walking or cycling - to the detriment of everyone's health and the long-term strain on the NHS.

Moving onto specific asks, I would be grateful if you would consider the following suggestions:

1. I would like your officers to place road danger reduction and enforcement of the rules of the road as a much higher priority than it is at present. (For instance: Many drivers continue to seem unaware of Highway Code rules such as 163 and 170, both of which directly affect the safety and perceived safety of cyclists and pedestrians across our borough).

2. I would like Wandsworth Police to be supportive of consultations regarding street design and management that the professionals involved (notably highway engineers and public health officers) believe will reduce road danger and help 'rebalance' our streets towards benign modes of transport.

I make these requests in the light of supportive comments by the Mayor in response to Mayoral Questions at the London Assembly about the important role of the Metropolitan Police in supporting walking and cycling. I hope you will also agree that, at this time of pressure on public budgets, it is particularly important for us to have evidence-based policing, in order to help ensure that policing is as cost-effective as possible.

By way of background, you may be interested in the findings and recommendations of the Transport Safety Commission, which has recently made available a well argued report 'UK Transport Safety: Who is Responsible?'. You can download the prepublication version and see further details via

Happy to meet to discuss. I look forward to hearing back from you.


Will be interesting to see what response I get. If the letter resonates with you, and you don't live in Wandsworth, then feel free to adapt/tweak and contact your Borough Commander. Issues are only issues if we raise them. 

At a council level, if you'd like to see Wandsworth Council adopt a pro-active approach to reducing road danger, then do lend your support to this petition.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Easter: 'he will rise again'

Whilst I don't hold a religious faith, the story associated with Easter and Christ rising from the dead is one that I've grown up with.

I think it's also worth remembering the many that don't rise again, the fallen on our roads.

This image is from the constituency dashboard. Tooting has 55% higher level of pedestrian casualties than the national average. Worth noting that the data source for the figures are STATS19 (reported road collisions). With minor injuries the National Office for Statistics estimates that these could be under reported by a factor of 4.

At the same time that PACTS went live with the dashboard, they also released this report with a lot of very practical ideas that will hopefully be implemented by the next government (whatever form it takes - minority/coalition or unlikely but possible majority government).

We have become numb to the regular reporting of carnage on our streets. This 21 year old lady in Kingston crossing the road on foot next to her university was killed this week. The occupants of the car have survived with minor injuries.

The PACTS report linked above highlights the different approaches taken to reducing danger using different transport modes (road/rail/air) in the UK. Without serious change, more people and families will continue to lose loved ones needlessly.

At present, in Wandsworth, 3 people need to be killed or seriously injured on council managed roads, or a major petition has to be presented to allow our highway engineers to look into road safety improvements.

I don't think that's right. If you live, work or study in the borough, from Tooting in the south to Battersea in the north or Putney in the west, and agree with me, please lend your support to this petition calling for change borough-wide.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Priorities, priorities ...

It's been a little while since I last wrote. Being a new dad for the first time has re-jigged priorities a bit, and at the same time given me more reason (as if I needed more) to see the need for a radical re-think of our streets.

Regular readers will recall I ran a petition in the autumn of 2013 called, 'Let's make Mitcham Lane safe for all'. I've updated the visual to the one below:

If you haven't already supported it, you can add your name via this link.

A little time has passed, local elections have come and gone. So to re-cap what happened after the petition was handed in.

July 2014:
My petition for Mitcham Lane was noted along with another petition from the local Labour councillors also calling for improvements on safety to Mitcham Lane and to help local businesses.

You can read the paper here. Worth noting that the Labour team voted against me speaking, decisions details for point 11 on this link. So much for Labour councillors speaking up for all the community, bit difficult to do that if they aren't prepared to listen.

Fast forward to March 2015, where we now have sight of these proposals on how to spend the Community Infrastructure Levy in Wandsworth, termed the Wandsworth Local Fund.

Turns out that Mitcham Lane is going to benefit from £424,000 worth of investment (see the paper here point 25).

Sadly, from my perspective, our local Labour councillors have decided that these funds should go towards:

Streetscape, business and environmental improvements (from Blegborough Road to Eardley Road including parts of Thrale and Westcote Roads).

Improvements to include carriageway resurfacing, footway reconstruction, de-cluttering of street furniture and removal of guardrail where it is safe to do so. Drainage will be upgraded where necessary. The existing parking layouts and times will be investigated to see what scope there is for additional facilities or changes to the hours of operation for the benefit of shoppers/businesses. The existing traffic management layout and crossing facilities will be investigated to see what improvements can be made to assist vulnerable users, pedestrians and cyclists.
(I should add, this is pending June committee approval)

The beady eyed amongst you will have noticed that these funds will go towards carriageway resurfacing. If I'm not mistaken, it's been barely a month since Mitcham Lane has been resurfaced.

I don't deny the fact that the proposed work is needed, or won't be an improvement. However, I would have preferred that we could have had cycle lanes as per my petition above. It would also be great, if each time the roads were due to be resurfaced, that our engineers were able to use their skills and knowledge to improve the roads (removing the centre white line is a simple example that comes to mind). Another petition asking the council to be more pro-active on this front is here.

However, it is the will of both the Labour and Conservative councillors who represent Wandsworth residents that for the engineers to be able to act we should wait for 3 people to be killed or seriously injured, or we should wait for a significant petition. There's a catch, which you may have noticed. I have petitioned.

In fact, I did stand as a Lib Dem candidate in the local elections. Yet our Labour councillors take a different view on road safety. They, like the conservatives, choose to ignore that Upper Tooting Road collisions are caused by people rat-running, and objected to trialling ideas that are proven to work in other places.

It wouldn't be my choice, but then, I'd really like to see safer streets. I question if the Labour team's choice of spending priority will deliver the greatest improvement to road safety.

Often people will ask me, isn't this already happening?

What they don't realise is that the people who have been elected have other priorities. The actions of our councillors speak louder than their words.

Labour's claim that they can't do anything without running the whole council is patently untrue. For local people who would really like to see serious action on road safety, I'm afraid neither of the two parties who've been elected to represent us locally are likely to deliver significantly.

On the plus side, I'm optimistic that a number of my petitions will work their way through the system in the not too distant future. With the support of local people, we will improve our streets and our area.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Reminders why our local streets need to be fixed

With my latest petition for Tooting Bec Road continuing to tick up a few more supporters, I thought it was worthwhile highlighting a few comments and recent tweets which highlight why improvements to this road and others need to be made.

I asked our local Wandsworth Guardian journalist her thoughts, and from speaking with other local residents in the local elections last year, I know she's not alone:

Here are a selection of the comments left under the petition to date:

I cycle along the road several times a week from the athletics track to the lido & feel very vulnerable and exposed so a separate cycle path would be the safest option. The piece of road at the entrance to Tooting Lido car park is also a risky spot and hard to cycle safely out of the Lido, a Keep Clear marking on the road would make that a much safer spot. - Lucinda
Please can we have cycle paths on either side of the road? Two-way tracks on one side don’t work. Also, there’s a lot of anti-social behaviour from a small number of people who currently choose to cycle on the pavement along this stretch of the road. Please make the police arrest them; at present the police aren’t interested in tackling this problem. - Will
We've got 134 signatures so far, but will need more to ensure that TfL and the council act. With the Mitcham Lane petition we've got officers looking into new proposals following a petition which gained 553 signatures.
The creation of segregated cycle routes will encourage many more people to cycle and access the open spaces of Tooting Bec, including older people and families who currently are too intimidated by the proximity of fast moving traffic. - Steve
Myself and my dog nearly run over each day we cross the lights near franciscan rd with drivers going 40 mph in a 30 and they go through the red lights – the quicker this happens the better. Have called TFL to introduce speeding cameras and told there needs to be a fatal accident before they do that! Madness - Niall

If you agree with Sophia, Lucinda, Will, Steve or Niall please add your name if you haven't signed it already

It would be great if we didn't have to do all these petitions and if our elected politicians not only recognised the problem, but were prepared to take action to deal with it. 

Our council, our Transport for London, is accountable ultimately to us through our imperfect democratic institutions. 

Petitioning is a small way in which we can illustrate the need for change. 

Add your support here:

PS: don't forget you can now register to vote online. Do that now if you aren't sure you are registered to vote.