Safer streets and #space4cycling local petitions

As we start to grow the number of petitions asking for specific changes to a range of streets, using the same format, and with local resident support. I thought it best to have a page which gives an overview, and shows where we are at on each of them.

All of the ones listed below will create local space for cycling. See the completed / presented petitions here.

2. Gathering signatures (both hard copy & online)

Clapham Common - Nightingale Walk - Windmill Drive
Online petition here
297 people signed as of 07/04/2014

Nightingale Walk - Windmill Drive proposed layout (dots represent planters)

Pilot low-traffic / home-zone around Tooting Common - Dr Johnson Avenue - Elmbourne Road
Online Petition here - UPDATE summer 2015 - Wandsworth Council are looking to re-incorporate Dr Johnson Avenue into Tooting Common whilst maintaining a walking/cycling route.
200 signatures as of 07/04/2014 - 174 with email + 26 without
Proposed layout (dots represent planters)

Time for 20 - London

This issue is a London wide one. We don't live in silos of political wards or councils. We need local authorities and the Mayor of London to move on this.

3. Presented to Wandsworth Council & City Hall

Let's pedestrianise Balham Town Centre at the weekends
Online petition here
Handed in September 2015.

Let's make Queenstown Road safe for all
Online petition here
Handed in summer 2015.

Let's make Tooting Bec Road safe for all
Online petition here
Handed in summer 2015.

Tooting High Street - #Saferstreets & #Space4cycling
Online petition here
Launched week starting 10th March 2014 - Handed into City Hall in July.
605 people signed as of 7th April - 493 signatures with email + 112 without email.

As the next three are very local, I door knocked to get signatures on them. Using the same approach, and the same ask as per the Fishponds Road - Broadwater Road area petition (see end of page). The total support across the three petitions totals 414 out of 892 households according to my counts.

Petition presented to Wandsworth council 25th Jan 2014. 318 signatures for the Brudenell Rd - Hillbrook Rd - Lynwood Rd and Derinton Road area. Number of households counted on these streets 555.

Petition presented to the council 25th Jan 2014. 34 signatures for the Kellino St / Letchworth St area. Number of households counted on these streets 131.

Petition presented to the council 25th Jan 2014. 61 signatures for the Lessingham Ave, Cowick Rd & Coteford St area. Number of households counted on these streets 206.

Let's make Mitcham Lane safe for all
Online Petition here
Mitcham Lane refreshed blogpost
547 signatures as of 18/11/2013 (some paper signatures without emails so not on the 38 degree system)

Pilot low-traffic / home-zone for Blackshaw Rd-Smallwood Rd-Fountain Rd (behind St George's)
Online petition here
459 people signed as of 27/11/2013

Smallwood Road - Fountain Road proposed layout (dots represent planters, X's bus/cycle gates)

6. Rejected

Kettering Street, SW16 6QA - council committee (June 2015) decided to not go ahead with a trial as no-one had been hurt in the previous 3 years, traffic levels are low, and if a trial were to go ahead there could be traffic issues on neighbouring streets. The committee asked officers to come up with a strategy to create home zones.

Fishponds Road - Broadwater Road area - Consultation took place with deliberately negative wording, and got a negative response. Councillors feel due process has taken place in spite of the problem remaining and no practical suggestions being made from elected representatives to remedy the problem.
19th Nov 2013 council committee agreed that consultation should go ahead. 40% target response rate needed.
Petition presented to council July 2012
243 people signed the petition - 95% of people asked supported it.

Fishponds Road - Broadwater Road - proposed layout (dots represent planters)

0. Inception
1. Supported by Wandsworth Living Streets & Wandsworth Cycling Campaign
2. Gathering signatures (both hard copy & online)
3. Presented to the Council
4. At committee stage
5. Go-ahead date tbc
6. Implemented / Rejected


  1. Hi. Just wondering who gave the person who set these petitions up the right to speak for local residents? I live in one of the roads affected (Rostella Road) and I DON'T agree with the proposed changes. Apart from thinking they're unworkable, I disagree quite strongly with the premise (which I'll be writing about in more detail elsewhere) and I'm also quite annoyed that these petitions have been set up with a strong emphasis on "improving local residents' lives", without checking whether those residents actually agree with the proposed changes. I'm also not happy with the fact that the choice offered is yes only- support is being gathered without any opportunity for people who oppose the proposal to also have a voice. I shan't be signing the petitions and I shall be contacting Wandsworth Council and the other organisations directly to make these points directly.

  2. I'd also be interested to know where the "local resident support" that is claimed actually came from. I'm a local resident, and nobody asked me.

  3. Hi Bar,

    I live locally and am canvassing for support. I fully accept that not everyone will be supportive, however, each of the petitions listed above, at present, are for trials to take place.

    The thinking behind it is, that we can learn from similar approaches to road management in other places and try them locally. The only way a trial could be made permanent would be following a full consultation with local residents. The trials can only go ahead if sufficient support is generated. If your views are the majority held views, then you have nothing to fear and perhaps I'm wrong in my approach.

    That said when I did the petition for the Fishponds Road scheme over 95% of people asked were happy to support it. Conducting a trial is different to suggesting permanent change. I would welcome your thoughts as to how we could improve our streets, and perhaps use a different approach which would be better.

  4. Hi Jon. Well, actually, I'm quite happy with my street as it is. There's not a vast amount of traffic down it, and no rat-running that I'm aware of, and I've lived here for twenty years. Fishponds Road is a very different case, for obvious reasons. I don't particularly need this bit of Tooting needs to be improved. I think there's probably better things for Wandsworth to be spending its money on than trials - better protection for cyclists along Garrett Lane and Tooting High Road, for instance.
    It's also not just about improving our streets, it's about improving our communities. One of the things I love about London,and Tooting in particular,is its diversity. Shutting off parts of it to all except those making "local" journeys isn't the way I want my community to develop. Many people are already priced out of Tooting; blocking off the roads for the benefit of local residents just feels a bit nimbyish to me - a bit like the first step in the creation of the sort of middle-class ghetto that I definitely don't want to live in. London is a great city made up of interconnected communities; blocking off parts of those communities to non-locals doesn't sound right to me. I want to live in a joined-up city, not one made up of dozens of local ghettos.
    I'm also not completely comfortable with the idea of forcing traffic down a few main roads. All of those roads are residential - do those residents get a say in whether they get our unwanted traffic and noise pollution? They're also roads used by a lot of cyclists and buses. I don't think the cyclists will welcome more congestion and increased congestion will slow down buses. Buses are already used a lot by those who don't have much of a choice of alternative transport and as a socialist I don't particularly like the idea of making their journeys slower and more unpleasant so that my already highly privileged middle-class life can be made a bit nicer.
    I also feel very uncomfortable about trying to change people's behaviour through a negative (ie by stopping them doing something). I'd rather try and do it by a positive - spending money on better cycling infrastructure and improving public transport, which would hopefully have a better effect on both local and long-distance journeys without turning parts of the borough into no-go areas for anyone except locals.
    Finally, and without wanting to be rude, you don't live in any of the areas for which you've proposed changes, and, unless I'm missing something, you're not proposing changes for that area. Perhaps, if you really want to trial how shutting roads will affect traffic, you should try it in your own area (which is the area you know best and where it will be easiest for you to judge its effect) before proposing it for other areas.

  5. Hi Bar,

    Thanks for posting again, twitter isn't always the best/easiest place to exchange views. Totally with you on improving communities which is why I really recommend viewing this:

    In terms of improving Garratt Lane and Tooting High Street. Tooting High Street - I've presented plans for that, and I understand TfL are quite advanced with their internal plans for that. Garratt Lane, I've got ideas for that, if you've heard about the Balham Boulevard project I've blogged on that too. Tooting High Street would be funded by TfL so the money would come from a different pot to local council funds. If you'd like me to email the presentation I made to the Town Centre Partnership drop me a line - jon.irwin[at]

    You come from a socialist viewpoint, I hold a liberal one, and our council is dominated with conservative views. I would love it if the council on road issues was able to take a stronger view with regards to creating better, more attractive walking and cycling routes to relieve the motor traffic congestion which we all suffer from. However, we are where we are, and I'm doing my best to make positive change happen with the current political representation that we have. You may be aware of the air pollution crisis that London is suffering from. The vast majority of air pollution is caused by motor traffic. If we can reduce motor traffic significantly, we'll improve health outcomes for everyone.

    Most people don't cycle because they are understandably afraid. Creating a grid of residential streets which are through roads for people on foot, bikes, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, but aren't to private motor vehicles would create a safer network of streets where people can feel they can choose to ride a bike. We would still need to deal with the main roads that is true. But I think we need to do both, and I believe that using this type of approach will allow us to get closer to Dutch style street layouts.

    I've lived in Tooting for 4.5 years now, most of that time was on Selkirk Road. Hence having the petition for your streets and Fishponds Road one already gone through the council system. Rest assured that I have more in the pipeline, but I do think that it is worthwhile to get significant progress on a few first, and then I can move onto other ones.

    If I am lucky enough to have children in the next few years, it would be fantastic if the streets had been improved so that instead of the 'school run' being car dominated, it was parents and children all cycling and walking to school. That's the future that I would like to see locally.

  6. Hi Jon. You make some good points. With regard to the Appleyard research, as I've already tweeted, I'm not convinced that US research is necessarily totally relevant to London which is a very different city. I also think, as I said above, that there's some "bigger-picture" stuff to be thought about which isn't addressed by a solely localised approach.
    I think my issue with the petitions is that they're a bit of a blunt instrument. There's no room for disagreement or alternative solutions. What I'd like to see is an approach which first of all attempts to define the issue, and secondly, seeks a solution (or solutions), from all the interested parties. Eg, in our little area, I'd also be wanting to canvass views from workers, patients and visitors at St George's, many of whom will not be local, but who also have a right to be heard. Hopefully that way one could find a solution which worked for everyone (and which may well be better than one imposed from outside - can you tell I work in Quality Management yet? ;-) ). When we meet up in real life hopefully we can join forces to achieve that!

  7. My street, in Raynes Park, was blocked off to through traffic(except bicycles) several years ago, and now it's a very calm, pleasant street.

    I sincerely doubt anyone in my street would want to go back to the former situation, despite that now you can only drive out from one end.

    I think the petitions mentionned in this blog will really make life better for the affected residents - less noise, less pollution, less danger.

    If we are going to make a London a liveable place, built around people rather than motorised traffic, we are going to have to bar motorised through-traffic from our residential streets, like the Dutch do.

    I believe we will also need to build a network of safe, wide, cycleways along our main streets, where the bicycles are separated from the motorised traffic.