Author: Susie Morrow, Chair
TfL Plans to abolish Traffic Lights at Selected Crossings in Wandsworth – Local Residents’ first victory
Recently launched local group, Wandsworth Living Streets, welcomes the news that Transport for London will not now axe eight pedestrian and pedestrian-and-cycle crossings which were previously slated for removal.
Transport for London (TfL) announced in the July 2010 that it had identified 145 traffic signals across London, including eight in Wandsworth, which it alleged ‘could be causing unnecessary
delays’ and which it proposed to remove as part of its ‘smoothing traffic flow’ initiative. The Wandsworth crossings included three on the Avenue in Clapham Common, removal of which would have effectively cut off Clapham Common to many Wandsworth families. Also listed was the crossing on Kimber Road which links different parts of King George’s Park and which forms part of the Wandle Trail.
Following campaigning by local residents and groups including our newly formed Wandsworth Living Streets, as well as local councillors and Assembly Member Jenny Jones, Transport for London climbed down in late November and withdrew its proposals for Wandsworth.
Wandsworth Living Streets Group’s Secretary, Robert Molteno, said: “This is an early Christmas present for Wandsworth Living Streets, and all who care about making our borough a more liveable part of London. We’d especially like to thank London Assembly Member Jenny Jones, who raised the profile of this issue, and the local councillors who made time to get involved.”
The WLS Chair, Susie Morrow, said: “We were dismayed to learn that TfL hadn’t taken the trouble to carry out pedestrian movement surveys at these eight sites. Nor does there seem to have been any thought about why these crossings had, at considerable expense, been installed. It seems an odd set of priorities at a time of very limited public funds, and when the authorities should be encouraging people to walk and cycle. However, we’re delighted that sense has now prevailed and that we’ll be able to continue to use these facilities.”
A vigilant eye for the future: This victory over TfL’s ill-thought out proposals shows what we as residents, working with local councillors and the media, can do. Marshalling evidence, and showing persistence, are important in shifting mindsets that have got so accustomed to privileging motor vehicles over the interests of pedestrians and cyclists on our streets. But we need to keep an eye open and monitor Transport for London carefully in case they bring forward new sites in future where they wish to abolish traffic light controlled crossings.