Hounslow Council is set to make permanent the majority of its Streetspace schemes, designed to restrict motorised road traffic and increase “active travel”, despite responses to public consultations about them being overwhelmingly opposed to the measures being kept in place.
The west London borough announced last week its decision that 15 projects within its overall programme, launched at the start of the pandemic, are to be retained, along with 23 School Streets initiatives, which prevent cars entering streets around schools during times when children are arriving at and leaving them.
Consultation responses from parents, residents and school staff submitted in June and July were all strongly in favour of the School Streets arrangements staying, in contrast to responses to longer-term consultations of people affected by the various other kinds of Streetspace initiatives in Hounslow, which found strong opposition.
Among Streetspace schemes to be retained are a through-traffic access restriction on the residential Hartington Road, which was “strongly” opposed by 77 per cent of the 967 people who took part in the consultation between June 2020 and June 2021 and strongly supported by only nine percent. The postcode sector from which the highest number of responses came was the one containing Hartington Road.
There was also far more opposition than support in consultation responses for schemes affecting Strand on the Green (76 per cent strongly opposed compared with 11 per cent strongly supportive), Duke Road (88-7) and Teesdale Avenue (78-11), although there were large variations in the numbers of respondents to the individual schemes: 535, 137 and 37 respectively in the latter three examples.
There was a closer balance of opinion about the Stile Hall Gardens scheme, where 62 per cent of the 99 respondents strongly opposed it and 25 per cent strongly supported it. The Dan Mason Drive scheme had 57 per cent of the 200 respondents strongly opposed compared with 32 per cent strongly supportive. Reports on all the consultations, which informed the council’s review of Streetspace and its School Streets scheme, are available here.
Hounslow’s decision to move ahead with the schemes despite the consultation findings is in contrast to the approach of neighbouring Ealing, another Labour-run borough, which has so far decided to make permanent only two of its nine Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, a form of Streetspace scheme, as most consultation responses to the other seven were against them.
However, Hounslow has also announced the removal of three Streetspace schemes and reintroduced daytime traffic to one road in the borough. It also modifying one of its School Streets project. In a statement, Hanif Khan, Hounslow’s Cabinet Member for Transport said these moves follow “a major listening exercise and independent review” and believes the council has taken a “balanced approach” with some schemes abandoned or amended and others retained in keeping with “the pledges we made to the people of Hounslow when we stood as councillors in the 2018 election”.
The decision report of the Hounslow Environment, Culture and Services directorate’s chief officer says that, despite limited data being available, the council’s consultants had found a “broad spectrum of changes in the amount of traffic and how it moves around the borough” along with “an overall decrease in both vehicle trips and traffic volume”, although the consultants, Steer, did find “an association between Streetspace schemes and increased bus journey times at three locations” including on Chiswick High Road, which is thought “possibly attributable” to a temporary cycleway there.
Image from Hounslow Council.
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