by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 8 March, 2021
Residents from Collingwood and Bushey Roads met with senior managers from TfL, Go-Ahead buses and Sutton Council last Thursday 4 March, at a meeting arranged by your ward councillors.
The meeting had been called following concerns of residents about the speed of buses (there is a 20 mph limit in Collingwood Road), the number of out-of-hours buses, especially at night, and fuel tankers supplying the bus garage. The issues are part of general concerns about speeding and heavy traffic in both roads. These issues have been discussed between councillors and the bus company for some time, and the meeting had been arranged to let residents have their say directly.
The meeting was held by video link and residents expressed their concerns about road safety, and the effect of heavy vehicles on the structure of their houses.
In response Go-Ahead described the automatic monitoring system they set up for monitoring bus speeds in Collingwood Road in September, accompanied by warnings to drivers, now extended to Bushey Road. This has over the months resulted in lower speeds, with a significant reduction in speeds by January. Most over the limit speeds tend to be at night. Go-Ahead committed to continuing this monitoring system, and further improving their performance.
Go-Ahead explained that the garage, which had been built in 1929, is the base for many buses in the area, including the 93, 151 and 213, all of which are high frequency buses. They need to leave and return to the garage at the beginning and end of their shifts. Also during COVID they have needed to use the garage for a mid-shift meal break, as alternative cafes, etc have not been available. This will not be necessary when the lockdown ends.
We made the point that Sutton is the only bus garage in South London based in a residential area, and as such there should be a reduced number of buses based at the garage compared with other garages. Go-Ahead have looked at this, but all their other garages are full. However, following a review of schedules with TfL, the number of buses using the garage is now being reduced by more than 25%. It is still possible parts of some routes, such as the 93, could be moved to Merton at some point in the future.
Go-Ahead has now appointed a Controller to manage the stacking of buses outside the garage in the early evenings, which currently causes disruption.
Questions were raised about the route fuel tankers take to the garage, which is currently along Collingwood Road. This is currently decided by London Councils, which is a joint body of all London Boroughs, and Sutton Council would have to apply to this body to get the route changed. Sharing the journeys with Bushey Road had been suggested, but it was recognised that moving traffic is not the best option, the goal must be to reduce or eliminate the need for heavy tankers to use residential roads. Consequently we have asked Council officers not to propose a change in the route at this time. TfL are moving to electric buses, which will solve this problem, with the London bus fleet all becoming electric. We would like to see Sutton being given priority for this programme.
Some felt the only alternative in the long run is to relocate the bus garage away from residential roads. Council officers committed to discussing possible options with TfL/ Go-Ahead, but this would be a long term solution.
On the wider traffic issues in both roads, we have asked for officers to investigate extending the 20mph speed limit to Bushey Road. We have also asked the police to mount Speedwatch patrols with hand-held speed cameras in both locations. Also we have asked for Collingwood Road to be completely resurfaced, and this is due to be discussed at the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee meeting on 18 March for the coming financial year. Light up speed warning signs are due to installed near the junction with Chaucer Road in the next few weeks. Funding is being sought for a study to look at how cameras could be installed in Collingwood Road to enforce the existing weight restriction.
We will continue to fight for traffic measures in both roads to ensure that speed and weight limits are effectively enforced.
Ruth, Marlene and Steve2 Comments