June Update from Councillor Matt Harmer
* A4 latest *
It looks as though we have some progress on the A4. It’s some while now since parents of young children contacted me regarding the safety of A4 crossings. They told me that there had been a number of near misses and asked me if it wasn’t possible to do something.
As always, these things cost money and I asked council planners to look for funds that we could spend. They looked and found some money stemming from planning permissions that had been given in the area. Some of the time deadlines had expired and I’m happy to say that they managed to negotiate an extension where deadlines has passed.
Anyway, I spent a couple of mornings walking up and down the A4 with council traffic people and their colleagues at Transport for London (TfL), who manage the major roads in London. They were then charged with making what improvements they could, and last week they came back with some proposals.
What people wanted most of all was longer time to cross. And it looks as though we’ll get some positive changes there. Unfortunately, extending the time dramatically simply isn’t possible – not because of any decisions by the Council but following a decision of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. However we should be abl to reduce the time that people have to wait to cross.
But there are other things that are on the list. Something that has always bothered me is the state of the crossing points on the A4. The only light is above the traffic lanes. We’re told that lighting will be improved for pedestrians. At present it’s hard to cross Windmill Rd and Clayponds Avenue because there are no controls to stop the traffic and tell pedestrians that it’s safe to cross. One crossing of this kind will be put on each road.
There’ll also be some changes to what is charmingly called the street furniture – the railings, traffic signal push buttons etc. At the moment, people waiting to cross at Windmill Road stand in the middle of the cycle lane, worryingly close to the corner. It’s a bad layout and asking for trouble. There are also proposals to change some of the traffic signals, which have got a bit grimy (understandably, given where they are). I’ve asked that this be funded from TfL’s own budget, as they’d have to do it anyway.
A couple of caveats. The work will happen, and I will be pressing for it to happen quickly, but there is very little political accountability at TfL – it’s hard if not impossible to insist that things happen. The M4 has been deemed a Priority Route for the 2012 Olympics and will probably get first call for maintenance work – very annoying, but a fact of life. However the London Mayor and London Assembly elections are less than a year ago and if this has to be made an election issue then i’m sure we can make it one.
Finally on this, thanks again to everyone who contacted me and has signed petitions to ask for it to happen – it has definitely helped move things up the agenda.
* Cycling changes *
Staying with transport things but getting on our bikes. You may remember that our area was down to become some kind of cycling hub. Last week councillors discussed some changes to roads and payments that should help cyclists. Here are some of the main ones:
• A cycling lane to allow left turns into Lateward Rd from Boston Manor Road. That’s the road just north of the police station. If you are cycling from the station to, say, St Paul’s School then at present you need to go a very long way round. A small cycle-only lane will make it possible to go directly without messing up traffic flows.
• Some changes on Green Dragon Lane to make the road safer for cyclists where the slaloms that are there to slow down cars are located.
• A cycle path through the Haverfield Estate
• A route through The Butts and lowered kerbs around Tallow Road. You will know where this is if you cycle – parallel to the High Street, just to the north, and a useful link down to the canal area of the High Street.
• A new cycle lane along the High Street and along from Morrisons to the junction with Ealing Road and beyond.
• Some dropped kerbs to enable cyclists to get from the canal towpath to the A4 cycle lane (via Transport Avenue).
• Better cycle storage facilities, stands etc.
I cycle short distances and these changes will make things easier. There’s sometimes a belief, I think, that ‘becoming’ a cyclist involves ridiculous amounts of lycra and knowing about WD40. It doesn’t. Going down to Richmond via the towpath on a nice day beats the 65 anyday.
If any of these changes strike you as poor decisions please let me know, and do let me know if there are any other changes we should try and make.
* St Paul's update *
After all that cycling, we might like to go and sit in St Paul’s Rec Ground. The playground seems to be very popular, and what is supposed to be a cycling track has become an exercise area, which is good. The people charged with maintaining and improving the park will be meeting some local campaigners this Thursday. So if you have any ideas for the park – and many of you have contacted me regarding litter bins and a couple of the rides that need fixing – then please let me know.
One thing that will be discussed is the mural, and plans are in place to repair/replace the parts affected by graffiti. I understand that plans are in place to restart an active Fiends group, and I’m sure volunteers will be welcome.
* Funding available *
Finally for now, a call for applicants for a Council fund for community initiatives and development projects at a local level. The maximum grant is £500 and you get more details at http://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=60335 and see a report on things funded previously at http://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=60342 If you want to apply, get in touch and I'll let you know who to contact.
* CPZ latest *
I expect to get an update on the situation regarding any potential Controlled Parking Zone on Enfield Road and the surrounding roads. A reminder - rather than go into another consultation following the petition that requested this I asked for some empirical work to be done on the present parking situation - are the cars parked during the day from the local area, is there a particularly beneficial time to have parking controls and other questions. We'll still go through a normal consultation process but the idea is that anything we consult on will be based more in fact than guesswork.
Unfortunately it took rather longer than expected to get three quotes to this work, as required. Anyway, that's now been sorted. As I said, there'll be no CPZ without a majority of support but the new petition scheme requires us to answer the request made by residents of the area.
* Can I help? *
Finally, please get in touch if you think I can help, either by emailing email@example.com or calling 020 8560 7033.
In the meantime, thanks for reading.
My mailing address is:
153 Ealing Rd
Brentford, Middlesex TW8 0LF
020 8560 7033
June 15, 2011