Church Street Trial Closure From December
Eighteen month trial to test impact
Councillors have agreed to the 18-month trial closure of a notorious rat-run following complaints from residents going back decades.
Councillors held back from making the road closure permanent so that the impact on surrounding roads can be gauged.
Residents have started a petition against the trial closure.
As much as two-thirds of the peak time traffic in Church Street and North Street in Isleworth were found to be caused by people driving through the area to avoid congestion on a stretch of Twickenham Road, during a survey in November last year.
This blights residents’ enjoyment of their neighbourhood and raises safety concerns, particularly in Church Street itself, as its historic nature prevents the provision of minimum width two-way carriageways and footways.
Following a public consultation earlier this year, members of the Isleworth and Brentford Area Forum agreed that Church Street will be closed at the point just north of the bridge over the Duke of Northumberland’s River, where width restriction bollards are currently located.
The width restrictions are designed to stop heavier vehicles driving down the road that could damage the shallow foundations of the road’s historic buildings.
The closure of Church Street will mean a significant additional volume of traffic will use Twickenham Road, which will increase journey times for users of this link.
A traffic monitoring programme will be in place during the 18-month closure, the results from which will presented to the Area Forum in summer 2017, where a final decision will be made. Council transport officers are also going to look at whether there are any opportunities to improve traffic flow along Twickenham Road.
An 18-month trial is standard practice as it gives people the chance to alter their travelling habits, so a true picture of the impact can emerge.
While residents did not back proposals for changes to traffic controls in North Street in the recent consultation, councillors have asked officers to carry out another consultation three months into the Church Street trial closure to see whether residents’ views on wider closure options have changed. If so, further additional trial closures, and other mitigation measures such as waiting restrictions that help ease traffic flow, may be explored for implementation within the 18-month period.
Further design work will now take place, with the intention to close the road before the Christmas break, on or around 7 December. The council will be communicating with residents in the wider area on the proposal, and offering support to those who wish to try alternative modes of travel, particularly cycling, in order to reduce the impact of the closure on their travel.
Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, at Hounslow Council, said:
“The lives of residents have been blighted for years by people using Church Street as a rat-run. It simply isn't wide enough for the number of vehicles that drive down it and the number of pedestrians using the narrow footpaths.
“The width restriction does not seem to have worked to reduce the problem, so we have to test other measures.”
October 1, 2015