WLS’ comments on proposals for Tooting town centre

In December 2018, Wandsworth Living Streets responded to TfL’s consultation on proposals for Tooting town centre published in November 2018.  For more information on the scheme’s brief and what was proposed, see TfL’s consultation page at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/tooting-town-centre/

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This is the response that WLS submitted:

Dear TfL colleagues

As part of Wandsworth Living Streets’ ongoing contribution to the project, we are now providing our formal response to the public consultation on the proposals for improvements to Tooting town centre.  Our comments are made in the context the three key factors that are driving the scheme:

– The objectives of the project

– The constraints and opportunities of the project area

– The Mayor’s Transport Strategy


Our comments are as follows:

“The Mayor’s Transport Strategy recognises that improving the capital’s streets is an important part of the GLA’s, TfL’s and the boroughs’ work to improve Londoners’ health, create an appealing place for residents and businesses, and accommodate the movement needs of a growing population.  The Strategy sets out to change London’s transport mix so the city works better for everyone and puts the Healthy Streets Approach at the heart of that change.  The proposals for Tooting town centre can, and should, play a part in these wider efforts to alter the transport mix and change London’s streets for the better.

In our view, the proposals for Tooting town centre are comprehensive, well-considered, solid and in line with conventional ‘good practice’.  The revised junction at Tooting Broadway, continuous pedestrian crossings at side roads, revised loading arrangements and re-surfacing would improve conditions for people walking and cycling and increase the appeal of the area.  However, the space and convenience provided for private motor vehicles is not in line with the more significant intentions for change set out in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.  For the proposals to play their part in implementing the Strategy and the Healthy Streets approach, they would go further to create comfortable, protected space for walking and cycling.  And they would go further to reduce the volume of private motor vehicles along these streets.  Given the physical space available, in practice this would mean reducing the number of vehicle lanes, for example at junctions, and giving buses greater access rights than other motor vehicles.

This would enable the following conditions to be created:

  • On both sides of Tooting High Street, Upper Tooting Road and Mitcham Road, people being able to walk, use their wheelchair or be pushed in their buggy along footpaths which are generous and comfortable
  • People – young and old – being able get around by riding their bikes in protected cycle lanes in both directions along these streets
  • People who need to use private motor vehicles being able to do so but for most people using these streets it would be more convenient to walk, cycle or use public transport

img_20161021_121008Wandsworth Living Streets would like to see these conditions, which would support people’s health, local prosperity and better air quality, created in Tooting town centre.

We recognise that there are many barriers to achieving such significant change in the design of London’s streets, including the physical space available, funding arrangements, some of the existing guidance, custom and practice in transport planning and street design, and potential opposition.  We understand that overcoming these barriers can be very challenging and recognise our own role in showing that communities do wish to see significant improvements to London’s streets, in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the Healthy Streets approach.

For this project to deliver more for the users of the town centre, and contribute to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to a greater extent, a directive would be needed from the highest level.  This could be to undertake a wider and more ambitious movement strategy for the A24 TLRN or a street design pilot in anticipation of the potential Crossrail 2 station.  We would like Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, to consider these possibilities.”

Thank you again for enabling Wandsworth Living Streets to be involved in this project.  We would be keen to be involved in future schemes where there may be an opportunity to further improve streets in the borough.  We’d be very happy to discuss these comments or potential next steps.

Yours, on behalf of Wandsworth Living Streets,
Rachel
Rachel Toms
2019-01-13 17.38.57