Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Fishponds Road #SaferStreets consultation out!

Exciting times in Tooting. Finally, almost 2 years after I presented my #saferstreets petition for Fishponds road, the consultation pack has been sent out!

Still we need to get around 40% of households to respond to this. If you live in or around Fishponds Road, or know people that do, please encourage them to respond. It has to be worth trying something different.

The question posed to local residents is:

Are you in favour of the introduction of road closures as a trial measure?

Yes / No / Undecided

The pack goes onto explain:

The council is aware that unnecessary through traffic uses the residential roads in the Fishponds Road area to avoid the traffic queues on the main A24 route. In response to a petition from local residents, the council is consulting on a scheme to limit this unnecessary through traffic.

The proposal is to implement a series of road closures in the area by placing physical barriers across the roads. All traffic would be prevented from driving through the roads. Cycle lanes would be provided to allow cyclists to bypass the road closures.

The scheme would be introduced for a trial six month period after which it would be reviewed with local people to see if the measures should remain or be removed.

These proposals aim to make it difficult for traffic to pass through the area by blocking access to existing cut-through routes. Although some through routes will remain, it is considered that these will be indirect and therefore not attractive to ‘rat-running’ traffic. However it is recognised that local residents will also be affected.

Responses need to be sent to the council by Friday 21 March 2014.

You can view the pdf pack here. Only people who receive this pack in the post are able to respond to the consultation.


  1. I live nearby (Tooting Broadway) and thought I'd seen everything that Tooting had to throw at me, but this is the most ludicrous proposal I've ever seen. What is proposed will solve nothing and if anything increase the amount of dangerous driving in the area because of the amount of sheer frustration you'll cause.

    You'll have queues of residents practically parked in Broadwater and Gatton roads as well as Glenburnie and Beechcroft Roads.

    Beechcroft road (which is already a problem) will be impossible, given that the light phases only allow 4 cars out at a time (ASSUMING there's enough room on the High Street for that to happen).

    You also say you're preventing the use of these roads as a rat run, but seem to have left a rat-run on Lingwell/Hebdon Roads - as well as off Khama/Graveney Roads - perhaps as some kind of joke.

    You neglect to mention that the High Street, Garratt Lane and Trinity Road already suffer from significant congestion already, which will be made worse by this "scheme", making it EXTREMELY difficult for residents to actually get out of there as well as significantly reducing the already iffy air quality in a residential area no less. But that's ok - the occasional cyclist will make it all worthwhile.

    With the number of residents cars now "parked" (for what I can only imagine will be unfathomable amounts of time), whilst trying to get onto the High Street or Trinity Road, air quality will be significantly reduced, especially for those residents in the roads I've mentioned above.

    Residents of those roads you've so graciously left open will be unable to move their own vehicles for vast amounts of time.

    The impact this scheme will have on the traffic flow of the entire area will be unbelievably negative, in an area that already suffers heavily. I can only assume a cyclist came up with this scheme.

    IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SOLVE THE TRAFFIC PROBLEM in our area - then I strongly suggest you take a long hard look at the light phases from the traffic lights at Garratt Lane/Tooting High Street - all the way up to the lights at Tooting Bec Station/Trinity Road.

    In addition, if Wandsworth Council has £100k just lying around to spend on initiatives, then what they should be doing is spending it on improving the road network - not schemes that will do nothing but aggravate everyone within a 1 mile radius of this madness

    1. Hi Jemil,

      Thanks for your comments. The officers when they prepared the paper 13-741 for this scheme noted that in their view, it should reduce traffic congestion in the surrounding area.

      Their exact comments are:
      "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 traffic over the larger

      The good news is that the consultation is for a trial, which will then be reviewed after 6 months. If local people support giving it a go, then we'll see what happens.

      In terms of highways spend, if you take a look at what the council's budget is for highways maintenance £80k isn't a lot of money. If you look at the crashes which have taken place along these roads between 2008-2012 on average they cost us £100k each year picking up the pieces. See crashmap.co.uk for the spots, I've used Department for Transport average costs on the collisions to reach the £100k average figure.

      This approach is supported by the local branches of Living Streets, and London Cycling Campaign. It has also been used to great success in Hackney over many years.

    2. Jon

      I'm all for road safety - but this is quite frankly one of those things that we as London residents have to put up with - as the alternative is much worse. I mean - take a long hard look at the closures you propose. I imagined myself living at an address on Ansell Road belonging to a friend of mine - and knowing how many mummies are on the school run, and other motorists on their way to/from work, I estimate it would take me AT LEAST 15-20 mins to get onto a main road (and I'm happy to donate some money to charity if I'm wrong).

      Yes I have looked at Crashmaps and I concluded that 12 or so "accidents" since 2005 is probably the lowest in the area and there are other areas that could be focused on, where there have been numerous and more severe incidents (including one that I myself have been injured in).

      The council officers who wrote this paper either took leave of their senses for a few days, or have no idea how people use the road and how traffic flows work. They reference a "possibility" which is is code for "no idea"/"it wont" and they talk about off-setting traffic - as if somehow they can make it disappear. Has anyone seen how many residents have cars in the Fishponds area? only the local crackheads could more hopelessly optimistic.

      As for cyclists - who have more dedicated road space available to them than I do as a Motorcyclist - half of them are completely unaware of basic road safety! no lights/helmet/reflectives/highway code/no idea.

      Perhaps bringing back the cycling proficiency course would be a better use of £100k.

    3. Jemil,

      I've been away for a few weeks hence the lack of response.

      I'd like to take you up on your offer of a donation to charity type bet. The only way for us to be able to follow though on this, would be to conduct the trial. If we don't, then any wager would be pointless.

      Officers are, in my view, hamstrung from being able to work using their professional opinion to improve our streets. This is as a result of the policies that the Tories have implemented, and haven't been challenged by Labour.

      There are two ways in which they can act to do any changes to our streets.

      1) Someone gets killed
      2) 25% of local residents sign a petition calling for a specific request.

      You may view the officers professional opinion as flawed, but they are highways engineers. There is a Chartered Institute of Highways Engineers paper from over 10 years ago which illustrates an acknowledged phenomenon called traffic evaporation.

      You can see the paper here: http://www.onestreet.org/images/stories/Disappearing_traffic.pdf

      If it works, and people want to keep it, then I think that most people will see it as an improvement. If it doesn't work, then I'm happy to take the flak as having pushed for the trial in the first place.

      With regards to other streets having more collisions etc, I agree, more should be done to make all our streets safer. I'd like our officers to not have to wait for local residents to get seriously informed on these matters, or someone to lose their life before they can exercise their professional skills to improve our street network for everyone.

  2. Jon - I live in the affected area (Fishponds Road) and am absolutely against this ridiculous proposal. The use of the phrase 'rat-running' is a ludicrous one, I understand that cars do use the area as a bypass route, but this has severely detrimental effects to those of us who actually live in this area. We would, in effect, be penalised and forced onto Tooting High Street / Trinity Road / Garratt Lane. These roads are already heavily congested at certain times of the day, and pushing traffic out of the Fishponds area onto the main roads is an extremely poor idea.

    I utterly disagree with your rationale behind implementation of this scheme and would similarly urge other like-minded residents to not trial this half-baked idea for 1 single day, let alone the 6 months you propose. I would also caution you not to bring party politics into this issue - whether you are Lib Dem (as you are), Labour or Conservative makes no difference whatsoever, this is an absolutely draconian plan, poorly thought out, causes major issues to those of us living in the area and is a wholly inappropriate waste of council money.

    To put the amounts into context, the paper issued on this sets the consultation cost at £6,000 and a 6 month trial period for the proposals at £78,000.

    (Link: http://ww3.wandsworth.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s29873/13-741%20Fishponds%20Road%20area%20road%20closures.pdf).

    The costs far outweigh any perceived benefits whatsoever.

    1. Hi FishpondsResident, I think my latest post may be of interest to you: http://traffikintooting.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/traffic-religion-its-all-about-belief.html

      The current policy of the council, is to wait for someone to be killed, or 25% of local residents to petition for them to look into any changes or improvements.

      To put the amounts into context, if you look at the number of collisions that take place each year in the trial area (crashmap.co.uk) it averages out at a cost of £100k each year. That is picking up the pieces of those collisions.

      If you search for rrcgb2011-02.pdf 'Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2011 Annual Report' on page 2 is the average cost per collision, and per fatal/serious/minor injury.

      If you think that it is a good way to spend our money letting people get hurt each year, and not doing anything to try to reduce the risk of that happening, that is fine. I recognise that people hold differing views, and in speaking with people on the doorstep I'm all to aware of this.

  3. Jon - It is absolutely ironic that you point me in the direction of www.crashmap.co.uk, where the most severely affected crash area is on Upper Tooting High Street - the very focus of your plans, where Fishponds Road area traffic will be diverted onto!

    Let me clarify, I do not hold the view that nothing should be done about road safety. I simply believe that you have a very narrow perspective of the underlying issues. The box junction next to Tooting Broadway station, for example, is one of the most dangerous in London (as flagged out by the crashmap site). It has some of the poorest road traffic, pedestrian and cycle behaviour and if your campaign was to improve this area, I would second that view.

    However, you have chosen to focus your efforts on the Fishponds Road area, where there is nowhere near as much of a problem. The resistance you may have faced on your plans so far has been justly deserved. Our views have not been spilled into emotion (as you falsely conclude) - they have the force of pure unabated logic.

    I do not accept your views of the Fishponds Area as correct or appropriate, many of us who live in this area have used these roads for many years and there is no reason why that right should be taken away from us. In fact, I believe you will add an extra 5-20 minutes per journey (on average) and contribute further towards clogging up traffic on the High Street and doubtless causing more accidents / collisions / fatalities on this road – which would be ironic given your words to me in your final paragraph above.

    Please allow me to point you in the direction of this article:


    Your plans will most certainly exacerbate the problems highlighted in the article above. The consultation has closed and I hope that no more council money is wasted on this ill-conceived Fishponds Road Area proposal.

    1. Morning FishpondsResident,

      I did post a response last night, but it doesn't seem to have been posted.

      Firstly, really pleased you seem to agree with me that there are major safety issues with our road network. The challenge is how to get improvements done whilst we have the existing policy framework endorsed by our current political representatives.

      In terms of looking at the wider local area there are two further links I'd like to share with you:

      a) Tooting Broadway - ideas for further discussion: http://traffikintooting.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/tooting-broadway-ideas-for-further.html

      b) Latest petition getting support to improve Tooting High Street: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/let-s-make-tooting-high-street-safe-for-all/

      I don't accept your 'pure unabated logic' as correct. That said, I'm prepared to be proved wrong by the evidence. Transport for London (TfL) have provided the funding for this trial scheme. They would have needed to approve the budget, and given how tight money is right now, they would need to justify the case somewhat more than perhaps in the past. As an organisation that specialises in looking at transport issues, I suspect they can see the value in the scheme.

      If the scheme doesn't go ahead then the funds will be returned to Transport for London, and wouldn't be given to the council to use for other purposes.

    2. I'll keep this response short and sweet - Transport for London (TfL) are wrong in their focus, they should be focusing their efforts on Tooting High Street / Upper Tooting Road and not on the Fishponds Area. I am not sure what justifications TfL used but they were evidently misguided - as stated, the Tooting Broadway Box Junction is a daily hazard for all those who cross those roads and should be a very obvious beneficiary of any traffic related budget.

    3. You've slightly misled me like a true politician on this front Jon - TFL LIP funding is a budget set for the council to use, so it's the council (and your views) that are wrong, as you're misusing TFL budget. My guess is the Council are trying to find some way to splurge TFL LIP budget and for misguided reasons have centred on my road. Improve the Tooting Broadway Box Junction. Leave the Fishponds Area be. Thanks.

    4. Glad we agree that work should be done on Tooting Broadway. As ever, it is a matter of priorities. For too long, both Labour and Conservative politicians have put forward the perceived needs of motorised traffic over and above the safety of people.

      Broadly speaking, the Tories are more pro private car use, Labour public transport use. This tends to mean that walking and cycling has been missed as a means of travel in our local area for far too long.

      If there had been a genuine desire from those two parties to do something about Tooting Broadway, we should have heard from them years ago. As you'll have seen from the ideas I put forward a while back, I have been working behind the scenes to try to get some progress there.

      Also, whilst I fully accept you don't believe that a trial is worthwhile on Fishponds road, do you not think the views of the 243 people who signed the original petition should count? If it goes ahead, whatever the outcome (I hope it would be positive) I also hope that we can then agree as to if the scheme is a good one or not in light of the evidence. The council are responding to a local petition, is that not local democracy in action?

      We may just have to agree to disagree on this particular issue. I hope that in our exchanges, we have been able to both put forward our respective positions, and indeed listen to a different perspective.

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