Hounslow Cycling members report anecdotally that the trial measures have successfully discouraged drivers from diverting around Burlington Lane to avoid the Staveley Road / Park Road barrier. Assuming that traffic counts confirm this then the measures should be made permanent.
We suggest that two further pieces of work are undertaken, subject to funding, and comment on lessons to be learnt from the use of ANPR filters.
Effect on traffic flows
The South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood measures have, in the round, significantly reduced traffic flows in the area and thus made it cleaner, greener and safer for residents. Our members who live locally are very pleased with the results. They find the personal inconvenience modest and the environmental and safety benefits significant. The decision to temporarily re-open these residential roads as a bypass for the A4 while a bridge is repaired is, as Councillors presumably expected, unpopular.
The route through Burlington Lane and Sutton Court Road had suffered from extra traffic as drivers diverted through the gap in the various barriers and ANPR filters. Our members report that the additional measures have successfully addressed this snag despite the many exemptions that were sought by local councillors and accepted by Traffic. If, as we expect, actual traffic counts confirm this then the measures (and the exemptions) should be made permanent.
Desirable follow-up work
School crossing of Burlington Lane
The crossing from Chiswick House to Chiswick Community School has been somewhat problematic for years. The desire line for pedestrians runs directly between the two vehicle gates so that the traffic island and pedestrian ramps serve no useful purpose. Teenagers attending the school are not always careful when making the crossing. Our local members believe that northbound traffic along Burlington Lane has slightly increased and also become more aggressive, frequently passing on the right hand side of the traffic island. This is unsatisfactory and should be addressed if/when funding can be found.
Landscaping of the new barrier
The red and white “lego brick” barrier at the Burlington Lane / Chertsey Road junction is unattractive. It does not visually reinforce the priority of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the junction on the west pavement of the Chertsey Road. It appears temporary so that drivers are inclined to defer any change in their travel habits. It should be properly landscaped with appropriate planting if/when funding can be found.
Use of ANPR cameras
ANPR cameras have been used in different ways around the South Chiswick Liveable Neighbourhood to filter traffic instead of erecting hard barriers that physically prevent access. This has not been a conspicuous success, to put it mildly. The signage permitted by DfT (and readable in practice by drivers) seems inadequate to cope with such complexity. The enforceability of access restrictions by inference from transit times is questionable. Residents and their visitors have found the situation confusing. Some residents have even claimed that taxi drivers and tradesmen will not visit the area, though our local members dispute this.
Hounslow Cycling accepts that the signage used to warn drivers of ANPR restrictions meets DfT regulations but we believe that many drivers are on “autopilot” and simply do not see signage. If a road does not look different then drivers don’t look for further information. We believe enforcement would be improved if changes were made to the road layout at each ANPR filter to force drivers to slow down or stop and read the sign before making a decision. Each time a driver passes a sign and is fined is a failure of the measures.
Hounslow Cycling does not agree with the residents’ groups that oppose any change in their members’ driving habits: a key objective of a liveable neighbourhood is to encourage greater use of active travel and public transport instead of driving. Some of our members believe that the use of ANPR cameras is fundamentally flawed, at least as current DfT regulations stand. The majority accept that it is politically expedient to allow exemptions but would prefer a simpler and more coherent approach. The Council should carefully consider the lessons learnt from ANPR use in South Chiswick before rolling out further schemes.
Hounslow Cycling is the borough group of the London Cycle Campaign with several hundred local members. We campaign for better cycling facilities in Hounslow. We offer training and rides for cyclists who are inexperienced or less confident. We provide a focus for those interested in cycling locally through meetings (usually over a drink but currently on Zoom) and social media.