A statement from Cllr Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council, about the proposed reallocation of road space measures in South Chiswick.
Published: Friday, 12th June 2020
“Hounslow Council is aware of a Change.org petition to have measures recently proposed to reduce traffic levels and reallocate road space to pedestrians and cyclists in South Chiswick, reversed and made subject to further consultation.
“We would like to clarify that the measures recently proposed will be brought in on a trial basis and are in response to Central Government’s new statutory guidance issued under the 2004 Traffic Management Act, in response to Covid-19, requiring councils to act as ‘swiftly as possible’ given the urgent need to change travel habits before restrictions are eased, so that people can walk or cycle safely while observing social distancing. The new guidance lists a range of possible measures to achieve this; such as school streets, temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to through traffic
“During the lockdown period, residential streets across the borough have seen a significant reduction in traffic levels and increases in the number of people walking and cycling, both for exercise and everyday local journeys. Weekly transport data released by the government demonstrates the level of change across various transport modes throughout the lockdown period. While ‘all motor’ vehicle trips declined significantly, the data shows that as of early June, this is already back to nearly 70% of pre-lockdown traffic levels. With public transport capacity significantly reduced for the foreseeable future, and a greater number of people returning to work, the concern is that the south Chiswick area will begin to see a significant rise in traffic volumes and as a result the benefits residents have experienced through quieter and safer streets risk being lost, while greatly discouraging active modes of travel.
“Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the Council launched and continues to carry out ongoing engagement with residents, resident’s associations, schools and businesses within the area as part of the Liveable Neighbourhood project. During the initial consultation phase in late 2019 more than 640 comments were placed on the map, and in total nearly 3500 ‘agreements’ were left. It is however recognised that while this was a positive start to the project, and despite mail outs and consultation drop-in events, a proportion of the local community has until this point not had an input on the proposals. The need to continue this engagement process is recognised, with ongoing communication and consultation still planned during the trial period.
“We appreciate that some of the changes announced are not that common on the network and it is understandable that residents have lots of questions about how these will work in practice. Over the coming days lots more detail and a comprehensive FAQ section will be added to our website. In addition, we will be writing to all addresses in the area via Royal Mail to provide more information on the measures and how people can provide feedback during the trial.”