On 7 May 2020, Hounslow Council announced a whole raft of new traffic measures that it was implementing to improve road safety and help social distancing.
Published: Friday, 29th May 2020
These Streetspace projects are being introduced to create more space for people to follow social distancing guidelines in town centres, and to get around the borough safely on foot and by bike.
Since then, the government has released statutory guidance strengthening their requirements on councils to undertake these works and for them to be done as ‘swiftly as possible’.
The council supports the government’s approach which will help ensure that traffic levels, which have recently increased, are kept as low as possible. Reducing traffic volumes and providing more dedicated space for vulnerable road users will help improve safety on the roads, support people to undertake more physical activity and help sustain recent improvements we have seen in local air quality.
Giving more people the option of making their journeys on foot or bike will also help keep the roads clear for those that have less choice in making their trips in a vehicle, limiting the cost of congestion as businesses start to reopen.
In response, Hounslow Council is accelerating its plans for a range of measures to create more space for cyclists and pedestrians (including those in wheelchairs or otherwise with mobility impairments) in town centres and to reduce through traffic on residential roads. The proposed measures have been informed by responses to the borough wide consultation that are reviewed weekly, which to date has received hundreds of contributions.
Further to the comprehensive range of measures announced on 7 May, the following trial schemes are also being introduced:
- Action will be taken to improve access by bike to West Middlesex hospital and reduce through traffic in residential neighbourhoods in Isleworth. This will include trial access restrictions on some local roads and cycle lane improvements on Twickenham Road. It is vital that NHS staff in particular have access to their place of employment given ongoing restrictions on the use of public transport. It is heartening to see they are also taking steps to improve cycle parking at the hospital in anticipation of a big increase in people using bikes to get there.
- Further measures to improve the capacity of the busy southern footway at the eastern end of Hounslow town centre (just west of Kingsley Road) are planned. Further parking bays are also to be suspended at Hounslow West and these will be upgraded from cones to barriers to improve compliance.
- The Council is exploring opportunities for 'pop up' cycle lanes across the borough, and particularly along the A315 as the route of Cycleway 9 and into Heathrow airport. The Council is holding further meetings with TfL this week to discuss further.
- By far the largest number of comments received from the Council’s transport consultation relate to Chiswick Town Centre. The council plans to trial further measures here to reallocate road space to those accessing the town centre by foot and by bike. To this end, the Council will be restricting through traffic on Turnham Green Terrace and Devonshire Road, limiting vehicle access to bus and essential servicing. Any required access to premises and some disabled bays for blue badge holders will also be provided. The suspension of parking provides space for businesses to safely reopen and opens up the possibility of more trading being permissible from the highway in order to comply with social distancing regulations. Further parking bays will also be suspended outside the police station to provide more space for pedestrians and cycle parking in this location.
- The team is also exploring further options to reduce through traffic around the Duke Road/Dukes Avenue area and on Fishers Lane.
- A range of trial measures in the Grove Park and Strand on the Green areas are being brought forward as part of the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood work. Further detail on this to be provided next week.
The government requires councils to bring forward these measures ‘within weeks’ and has advised that councils do so using temporary or experimental traffic orders. These orders allow for schemes to be implemented on site promptly and feedback on them taken during the first six months following their introduction. The Council will then consider the feedback received before determining whether any of these measures should be made permanent in some form.
Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council said: “In line with government requirements the council is looking to move as quickly as possible to make the network as safe as possible for those trying to get around on foot and by bike. We’re thankful for the hundreds of comments we’ve received on our borough wide consultation which we are using to help prioritise some of our work to develop these trial changes– please keep them coming! Whilst the government’s requirements preclude widespread consultation ahead of trials commencing, please be assured that we’ll be collecting all the comments made on these proposals during the next few months which we will review carefully before we decide whether to make any of these measures permanent or not.”
The COVID-19 Transport Response – Hounslow’s Streetspace consultation is open until the 25 June and can be accessed here.