Screenshot 2019-09-09 at 19.42.12

Here is the text of the WLS response to Wandsworth Borough Council’s consultation on their proposals for Thessaly Road:

Note: The text of wandsworth’s consultation is included below following WLS’s response. The consultation closed on September 8, 2019.

Thessaly Road, SW8 consultation on proposed access and environment enhancements

I am responding on behalf of Wandsworth Living Streets (WLS).  We are the local  group in the Borough of Wandsworth of the national charity, Living Streets, the national charity for everyday walking. Our primary purpose is to promote walking as a healthy, enjoyable everyday activity and to enable this by ensuring that the urban realm across the borough of Wandsworth is safe, pleasant and inviting for people – whatever their level of mobility.  We strongly support the London-wide ‘Healthy Streets’ approach and our comments are made bearing this framework in mind.

Broadly our views are supportive of these proposals; we welcome moves by Wandsworth Council to improve the physical environment for walking, cycling, and also to increase the ‘place’ function of this area of Battersea.  We agree that Thessaly Road is a strategically highly important corridor for active travel, and will become increasingly so for reasons outlined in the council’s briefing material.

Specific comments:

– We are unclear of the logic behind the overarching statement “As motorised vehicle movements are relatively low on Thessaly Road, the proposals aim to provide safer infrastructure for more vulnerable road users.”  This would imply that where motor vehicles movements are high, safer infrastructure would not be provided for ‘more vulnerable road users’ (noting also that people’s vulnerability arises directly from the presence of motor vehicles).  This statement seems perverse.  We look forward to renewed efforts to reduce road danger on the busiest Wandsworth roads, as well as roads such as Thessaly Road.

– We very much welcome the introduction of three raised controlled crossing points (two zebras and a signalised crossing) as a way to improve amenity for people walking, to reduce road danger for people cycling, and to signal to drivers that Thessaly Road is not simply a ‘road for driving along’.

– We welcome carefully designed and sited new seating and planting as practical ways to make Thessaly Road a nicer throroughfare and place to live on.

– We think that connections at either end of the scheme will be critical to ensuring its success.  It is not clear at present how it will work for people cycling. We support the redesign of the currently rather cluttered northern junction with Battersea Park Road, which needs to ensure easy inimpeded movement in all directions for people walking and cycling, including people collecting and returning Santander bicycles to the docking station here.  On the east side of the junction with the cycletrack, we highlight the need to locate the ‘proposed new seating’ well away from the cycle track in order to separate out the ‘movement’ and the ‘place’ zone.  We like the proposal for a new raised planter here and without knowing the design would emphasise the need to retain good sight lines for people entering, leaving and passing what may become quite a busy junction (with foot and cycle traffic).

– It isn’t clear what the proposed footway widths are, since these are not shown on the plans.  In general terms we would like to see generous space reallocation away from motor traffic and towards walking and cycling.

– We support the introduction of Copenhagen crossings on side roads off Thessaly Road.  These have the potential to reduce road danger to pedestrians (from drivers turning into and out of Thessaly Road) and for passing cyclists; however the plans do not seem to show such crossings (since they don’t show clear visual continuity across the mouth of the side road).  Can the design of those shown on the outline plans be revisited, e.g. to ensure that they don’t risk compromising the safe operation of the two-way cycle track on the east of Thessaly Road?

– We defer to experts in the Infrastructure group at London Cycling Campaign for advice on the detailed design of the cycle-way and its junctions with side roads along Thessaly Road and would urge Wandsworth Council to seek advice directly from LCC.  We note that there is no indication on the plans of the width of the cycletrack, even though this is critically important.

– We note the proposals for cycle parking in the new public space near the southern extent of the scheme.  These appear to be sheffield stands.  In addition to these, are there any proposals for cycle parking elsewhere in the scheme?  And for secure (long-stay) cycle parking e.g. bike hangars? We further suggest the inclusion of a marked out space on the carriageway for dockless cycles, as is done in the City of London.

– It is not clear from the scheme documentation what the proposed scheme is designed for in terms of motor traffic flows and motor vehicle parking, including future assumptions.  We encourage  reallocation of public space away from car parking and towards ‘active travel’ modes and placemaking, and note the reference to introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone and also the removal of car parking under the railway overbridge (both of which we support) .We suggest that reductions in public space currently allocated to motor vehicle parking, and the reasons for the desirability of achieving reductions, together with underpinning Wandsworth policies and strategies (such as the Wandsworth LIP and the recently published Wandsworth Environment and Sustainability Strategy) be spelled out more explicitly, to help build support for schemes such as these.

Here is the text of WBC request for comment:

Thessaly Road, SW8 consultation on proposed access and environment enhancements

Wandsworth Council would like to hear your views on proposed improvements for pedestrians and cyclists along Thessaly Road, enhancing access and the local environment.

As motorised vehicle movements are relatively low on Thessaly Road, the proposals aim to provide safer infrastructure for more vulnerable road users.

The proposed introduction of raised, controlled crossing points would benefit pedestrians, particularly school children visiting local community facilities and St George’s Primary School, whilst also slowing traffic speeds along Thessaly Road.

Within the scope of the scheme, Thessaly Road would also have new raised ‘Copenhagen style’ junctions with side roads, to create an improved pedestrian and cycle user experience and slow down traffic joining Thessaly Road. ‘Copenhagen style’ junctions allow cyclists and pedestrians to have priority over vehicles exiting the side roads. The scheme will also include installation of new high-quality paving materials and new cycle parking.

A segregated cycle track would provide a safe route for cyclists between Battersea Park Road at the north end (which is the subject of proposed improvements being developed in partnership with Transport for London) and Wandsworth Road and Lambeth to the south. It would also provide a safe route to the two new Northern Line Extension stations opening in 2021.

The proposals include improvements to the public realm at the junction of Condell Road, Deeley Road and Battersea Park Road, featuring new seating areas and new planting.

The scheme is part of a package of infrastructure improvements in the area which include proposals for a Controlled Parking Zone and a colourful ‘Happy Street’ redesign for the Thessaly Road rail bridge, all funded by contributions from developers in the area.

In line with strategic masterplans for the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area, Thessaly Road has been identified as a key strategic link for cycle and pedestrian movements from north to south through the opportunity area, and so the proposed improvements reflect the need to meet changing demands of this growing central London area.

It is important for the Council to know the views of local residents and businesses before progressing with any improvements.

Have your say

We urge you to respond to this consultation by reading the consultation material here, then completing the online survey below. If you require a paper copy of the consultation document or the questionnaire please contact us at consult@wandsworth.gov.uk.