by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 20 September, 2020
We have received a lot of feedback from residents on the trial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods scheme, mostly critical. We have spent the last few days listening to the concerns of the people who have contacted us and discussed the problem with Council officers and other councillors.
Clearly the barrier in All Saints Road has resulted in excessive traffic in Woodside Road, and also in Woodend/Greenhill and Aultone Way: roads that are not able to cope with the increase in vehicles. Also Oakhill Road has taken much more traffic from vehicles that would have used All Saints Road, causing congestion along the road and at the High St junction. As a result, we have asked the Council to remove this barrier and this has now been done.
As you know we have four road closures in our local area. Most of them are to reduce traffic in support of the Cycleway scheme running from Sutton to Morden. When the idea was recently proposed for the closure in All Saints Road, we raised our concerns about the likely impact on neighbouring roads but were told the closure needed to go ahead for the scheme to work and that the impact could be monitored.
It is clear that the All Saints barrier has not achieved the desired outcome of moving traffic from smaller roads onto the main roads – in fact it has done the opposite. We are sorry about the disruption that has been caused over the last week and have impressed on Council officers the need to remove the barrier as soon as possible.
We will be monitoring the impact of the other barriers to see if they are achieving the desired outcome of diverting the through traffic onto the main roads. We will continue to monitor them and listen to the views of local residents to see if we need to make further adjustments.
Further background to the schemes and the reasons why they have been introduced at speed all over the country are here. All Councils were asked by the government to introduce these schemes quickly given the concerns at rising traffic levels given the COVID-19 pandemic. The speed required meant that it was not possible to consult fully on these proposals, as we would normally do (and did for the parking schemes) but to monitor and ask for feedback during the trial. We know that residents received notification of the proposals very late. This was not the plan and we apologise for that.
The scheme is designed to tackle heavy through traffic and speeding in our area, and we hope that the remaining road closures will do that. A traffic survey conducted three years ago showed 5,000 traffic movements a day through the area, with nearly 80% of this cut-through traffic.
The scheme remains experimental and will be reviewed over the next six months – that means it will either be confirmed, modified or removed. The test will be whether it has had the effect of reducing traffic overall in the area.
In the feedback some people are telling us that their journeys are taking longer. This was to be expected. The test will be whether the closures are deterring drivers from outside our area from driving through, and whether the reduction in traffic overall makes up for this.
You have also asked about traffic monitoring. We understand that officers monitored the number of traffic movements in Oakhill Road, Benhill Wood Road, Elgin Road, Benhill Road, Grennell Road (top and bottom), All Saints Road, Woodend, Montrose Gardens, Aultone Way and Rose Hill Park West just before the closures were put in place and planned to do so again in November, to allow several months for traffic movements to settle down. Traffic movements in the first few days of closure will not be typical of longer term patterns, as drivers take some time to find new routes. However given the extreme changes to traffic in the first week, we have asked that traffic be continuously monitored during the trial so the need for any further adjustments can be assessed.
Some of the immediate impacts of the scheme have been quite worrying, with cars being driven over the pavement to get round the closures, and an increase in traffic speeds and we have alerted the police to this behaviour. And we have asked for more 20mph speed signs.
Please continue to let us know what you think through the Council’s consultation page. In addition to this, subject to the COVID restrictions not worsening, we will also be calling on residents to get your feedback.10 Comments