February 6: Strategic Planning & Transport Overview & Scrutiny Committee considered Important Projects

Important Projects the Strategic Planning & Transport Overview & Scrutiny Committee considered on Thursday, 6 Feb, 7.30pm

 Wandsworth Living Streets’s comments (drafted by our Chair, Susie Morrow)

Wandsworth Living Streets is trying to comment on every project or issue coming before the Strategic Planning and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC). We do this initially in order to help Councillors who are confronted often with a mountain of paper to get through, and who may find it helpful to have their attention drawn to particular issues, notably as to how they will affect residents when they choose to walk or cycle their short trips.

The OSC, as it is often referred to as a shorthand, meets 3 or 4 times a year. This time, it has a series of very important projects and proposals coming before it – particularly relating to the whole length of Garratt Lane from Wandsworth Town Centre to Tooting; also the whole length of Queenstown Road from Chelsea Bridge to Clapham Common; but a number of other schemes – Battersea Church Road, the Thessaly Road area, and Nine Elms Lane .

We thought that you might like to see the points our Chair, Susie Morrow, has made to all the Councillors on the OSC. In addition, she highlights the importance of the Council setting every Transport project and proposal in the context of the Wandsworth Environment and Sustainability Strategy, and its first Annual Action Plan, that the Council has adopted unanimously in response to its declaration last July of a Climate Emergency.

With best wishes.

Yours as ever,

Robert

(Robert Molteno, Secretary, Wandsworth Living Streets)

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Dear Councillors,

We make some comments from a Wandsworth Living Streets perspective on SP&T OSC Agenda items, below, for your consideration when scrutinising these papers in your capacity as a member of the Strategic Planning & Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  As ever, please do feel free to make use of these as you see fit and also to come back to us with any questions, comments or responses.

Firstly, may I say how pleased we are to see the inclusion in the OSC papers of a section indicating the impact on the Climate Emergency and Environment of any measures and policies for which approval is being sought.  We need as a matter of urgency to change the way we think about transport, and our streets – and this change in thinking must lead to rapid action.

From our own observations of policy change, it is especially crucial not to delay what may be ‘hard’ decisions – and this meeting of the Strategic Planning & Transportation Overview & Scrutiny Committee therefore represents, and will be widely seen as, an early test of Wandsworth Council’s commitment to tackling the Climate Emergency as well as the linked public health crises (air pollution, physical inactivity etc.) that we face.

The good news is that, in effectively addressing our Climate Emergency, there are numerous co-benefits, many of which are set out in WBC Paper 20-27 Appendix 1 (WESS Action Plan).  To that list we would add the local economic benefits of investing in walking and cycling, as thoroughly evidenced and collated by TfL at https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/economic-benefits-of-walking-and-cycling

We very much welcome the more open, collaborative approach to working that has been shown in recent times by Wandsworth Council and that is evidenced in the public reports pack for the OSC meeting.  We believe that this will lead to better outcomes and that it is entirely consistent with the spirit of openness and cooperation embodied in the Council’s approach to the Climate Emergency. We will be pleased to work together with Wandsworth Council and all relevant agencies, groups and representatives to ensure the best outcomes, consistent with Wandsworth’s Environment & Sustainability Strategy.
With best wishes,

Dr Susie Morrow

(Chair, Wandsworth Living Streets)

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Agenda item 6. Petition Response: Battersea Church Road (Paper No.20-056)

We have previously submitted jointly with Wandsworth Cycling Campaign our general support of this paper and in particular our strong support for the option of a bus gate for Battersea Church Road, which we believe will be of greatest benefit to residents and to people using active travel modes on a residential street which is currently a rat run.

Agenda item 7. Petition Response: Twilley Street Furmage Street Cycle [two-way] Flow, Earlsfield (Paper No. 20-049)

We strongly endorse the recommendations in the officers’ report and commend their careful and evidence-based approach to this scheme.  We highlight the safety benefits of the scheme, such as the use of double yellow lines (making it easier to cross the road as a result of improved sight lines) and the tightened junction of Twilley Street with Kimber Road, which makes it easier for families with young children to access nearby King George’s Park. We note the reduction in average traffic speeds resulting from this scheme, representing significant reductions in kinetic energy – and hence danger – of vehicles being driven through Twilley and Furmage Streets. Slower vehicles reduce both road danger and intimidation to residents and other users of the street.  We are pleased to see that the officers recognise that the scheme, and safety in the locality generally, could be enhanced by addressing rat running and by reducing road danger at Garratt Lane/Kimber Road/Swaffield Road crossroads, and this would greatly benefit local residents. We would further suggest that the removal of the Kimber Road/Twilley Street mini-roundabout be considered.

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SUDS landscaping scheme at entrance to Wandle Trail at Trewint Street just off Garratt Lane

Agenda item 10.  Garratt Lane Corridor Study, Wandsworth/Earlsfield/Tooting (Paper No. 20-050)

We welcome the officers’ report and the comprehensive consultants’ report setting out considerations and options clearly.  We also appreciate the opportunity we were given to take part in a walk-about along Garratt Lane at an early stage, in order to discuss issues and possible interventions.  We think that the paper represents a step-change in thinking of who, and what, our streets are for,  and is an excellent illustration of the practical meaning of the Wandsworth Environment and Sustainability Strategy.  We applaud the proposed development of the options presented and look forward to continued working with Wandsworth Council and local residents to help these come to fruition.

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Motorist damage to street furniture on Garratt Lane in Tooting

Agenda item 11.  Queenstown Road Corridor Study, Battersea (Paper No. 20-051)

We welcome the officers’ report and the comprehensive consultants’ report setting out options.  As with Garratt Lane, we appreciate the opportunity we were given to take part in a walk-about along Queenstown Road at an early stage, in order to discuss issues and possible interventions.  We are impressed with the clearly presented option appraisal set out in the consultants’ report (see Appendix 1 to Paper 20-051).  We think that the officers’ paper is however weaker in terms of its alignment with the prinicples of Wandsworth’s Environment & Sustainability Strategy, as set out in page 46 of the WSP report.  We note that the most southerly segment (Silverthorne Road to Wandsworth Road junctions) is mostly residential but would gain little benefit from the Council’s preferred proposal. We are also surprised at the lack of focus on Queen’s Circus, where two people (Shane Hammond, in July 2018 and Emily Hartridge, in July 2019) have died in road traffic crashes within the space of the last 18 months.  We ask Wandsworth Council and TfL urgently to bring forward work on this key junction, as part of the junction review work, and would very much also hope that further discussions with TfL and Lambeth Council will be held with a view to adopting fully the consultants’ proposals.

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Queenstown Road (Chelsea bridge approach) looking north

Agenda item 12.  Thessaly Road Area, Battersea (Paper No. 20-052)

We welcome the implementation of this scheme including the introduction of a CPZ.  We note that the majority of Queenstown ward households (59.3%, from 2011 Census) are car-free and we welcome interventions such as those set out in this paper which support this aspect of sustainable living. This statistic is also relevant to the Queenstown Road Corridor Study, Paper 20-051, above.

Agenda item 13. Battersea Park Road/Nine Elms Corridor Scheme (Paper No. 20-053)

We welcome the implementation of this scheme, and are pleased to see the prospect of meaningful change to this road and the surrounding area.  We accept the logic of a staged approach to this vital east-west corridor and will be pleased to work with all involved to bring forward much-needed proposals for the western section of Battersea Park Road.

Agenda item 14. Car Club Update (Paper No. 20-057)

We support car clubs as a practical way to help reduce car dependence and potentially open up options (other than car parking) for the use of public kerbside space.  We recognise and welcome the fact that Wandsworth has been an early adopter of car clubs.  We have little sense of how LB Wandsworth use of car clubs compares with neighbouring boroughs, and would be interested to know more on this.  The officers’ report notes that national surveys consistently show that car clubs reduce overall car use and vehicle emissions, including CO2, which is of course welcome, and we would be interested to know how these national statistics translate into borough-level statistics.  For instance, what % of private car journeys in the borough are undertaken using car clubs; and what is the overall mode share of car club journeys?

Agenda item 15. Battersea Park Station (Paper No. 20-058)

We welcome measures to improve the accessibility of Battersea Park Station, and the public realm around it, Queenstown Road and the new London Underground station at Battersea Power Station.  Seamless and easy interchange between modes is critical if the mode shift, for London as a whole, to 80% active and sustainable travel (by 2041) set out in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is to be achieved, and the more stretching targets for the borough of Wandsworth.

Agenda item 16. West Putney (Paper No. 20-059)

We welcome the ambition to make what is quite a large residential area safer and more pleasant for residents and for people walking and cycling. We note from paragraph 18 of the officers’ report that all three of the collision clusters within the WPSA were at mini-roundabouts.  We therefore ask that these features be considered for removal, especially given the known safety issues they present for people cycling and walking.  Whilst the interventions mentioned will help achieve the Council’s ambition (we strongly support the bus gate option for Doverhouse Road), we wonder whether a more radical approach could be taken.  Given the nature of the Study Area, it would seem to lend itself well to the creation of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood.

Agenda item 17. Wandsworth Bridge Refurbishment (Paper No. 20-062)

We understand the need for substantial public monies to be spent on repair and maintenance of a bridge which was built in 1939 – a time when motor vehicle volumes and weights were much lower than today – and that it currently carries in excess of 40,000 vehicles/day.  We note that the officers’ paper refers to public transport use of the bridge as making the case for meeting the WESS objectives.  However, we emphasise that Wandsworth bridge is also used by pedestrians (although no numbers are presented in the report) and forms part of a formal cycle route.  We would therefore ask that the ‘active travel’ function of this bridge be maximised as part of the bridge refurbishment, ensuring that provision for walking and cycling is made in accordance with best design practice.  The tone of the report suggests a rather passive acceptance of current levels of motor traffic using the bridge; this seems inconsistent both with Wandsworth’s Environment & Sustainability Strategy and with the assumption of mode shift as outlined in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and Wandsworth’s LIP 3.
Wandsworth Living Streets, 5 February 2020

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Decorative flowers on house in central Wandsworth – things you only see when walking

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