In January 2016 we consulted on a number of London Fields Quietway report options to reduce the amount of traffic using Middleton Road, which is part of TfL's Quietway 2 route between Bloomsbury and Walthamstow.
The consultation was discussed at Cabinet, where it was agreed to:
- implement width restrictions to remove heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) from Middleton Road
- work with local residents and cycling groups to investigate and identify further options to address traffic and pollution issues
Width restrictions were installed on Middleton Road in November 2016.
We appointed independent consultants to review the consultation responses, analyse the concerns, score them in light of the our transport strategy and recommend actions. Issues raised include traffic volumes and speeds, air quality, safety and local schools.
We have met local resident groups and key stakeholders to discuss priorities for the area. The majority of people want to improve air quality (particularly around schools) and reduce the impacts of traffic through and around the London Fields area, but have different views on how to achieve it.
Current status of schemes
There are wide ranging issues within the area and the priority locations emerging from the report and discussions with groups of residents are shown on the map below. The schemes can't realistically be delivered at the same time and, as a first phase, we have decided to prioritise the issue of air quality outside schools.
- School streets
- Queensbridge Road junction with Middleton Road
- Queensbridge Road
- Richmond Road
- Scriven Street
- Restricted turnings
- Design of width restrictions in Middleton Road
- Broadway Market
London Fields School is supportive of a school street which would operate in Westgate Steert immediately outside the school and has asked the Council to consider including Sheep Lane to cover the entrance on this road. We have reviewed this but feel that this might have too much of an impact on the roads such as Bocking Street and Beck Road, but that it could be considered as part of a further review and extension in the future.
A "basic" school street scheme would just close Westgate Street outside the school between Broadway Market and Sheep Lane. It would remove motorised traffic, except buses, from this part of the road, but people would divert to roads like Duncan Road, Jackman Street, Ada Street and Broadway Market to get around the closure. This would therefore not discourage through traffic across the whole ward.
Therefore we propose to link the school street with a bus gate on Lansdowne Drive between Trederwen Road and Croston Street. The timings of operation of the bus gate will be subject to consultation, including school times, rush hours and 24 hours a day. This would also reduce traffic on Middleton Road and other roads.
To mitigate against the potential diversion of westbound vehicles onto Richmond Road, it is also proposed to ban the left turn into Richmond Road from Mare Street. Subject to consultation, a ban could operate part time or all of the time.
This consultation will launch in December 2017 and run until mid January 2018 to allow for the holiday period. The school street, bus gate and banned turn into Richmond Road could potentially be implemented from late February 2018.
Gayhurst School was supportive of a school street outside the school ie on London Fields West Side and Gayhurst Road. Consultation was completed in early 2017 with approximately 80% of respondents supporting the proposals. It should be implemented in early spring 2018.
Some residents have suggested that this scheme should be extended to include Richmond Road. We would like to work with residents to develop a scheme to include this road as part of an extension of the current proposal and hope that this can be discussed in more detail at future meetings.
Closing Richmond Road during the rush hour is much more complicated given the levels of traffic. We woule need to bring in other measures to protect the local adjacent roads from being subjected to diverted traffic. The roads that would be affected include Forest Road, Wilton Way, Parkholme Road, St Philips' Road, Elrington Road, Lansdowne Drive, Greenwood Road, Navarino Road, Royal Oak Road and Eleanor Road. We want to work with residents to develop proposals to take to consultation.
A school street for Queensbridge School would be difficult to implement as Queensbridge Road forms part of the designated road network (B108), which vehicles are encouraged to use in preference to local residential streets. To protect residential side roads it would probably be necessary to implement a wider scheme of road closures similar to that of Option 1 in the 2016 consultation and as a consequence this is unlikely to be considered unless other alternative routes for redirected traffic from the B108 can be found.
There remains an issue with traffic and pollution outside the school. It is a wide road carrying a large amount of traffic where speeding has been raised as an issue and the relatively wide road width encourages this.
We are consulting on proposals to change the nature and feel of this section of the road. It would reduce the effective width of the road to discourage speeding and make it safer to cross. The footpath outside the primary school would be widened and trees will be planted to help address concerns with air quality. There is evidence that pollution levels from major roads reduce quickly with distance from traffic, so the proposal seeks to increase the distance of vehicles from the school and create a planting / landscaped strip between the two.
In deciding what to do with this junction we have been looking at road safety, the difficulty of crossing this junction (including for children crossing to get to Queensbridge School), the need to slow traffic down on Queensbridge Road and potential impact on traffic flows on Middleton Road.
On balance, as 11 collisions have been recorded at this junction over the past 5 years, it has been decided to install signals. The layout is included in the consultation closing on 5 January 2018.
The signals should be installed around March 2018, subject to approvals and TfL's signal contractor's resources.
This signal junction scheme, although separate, will go hand in hand with the London Fields School Street / Bus Gate scheme, which (subject to approval) will reduce traffic volumes through the London Fields area and contribute to improving air quality and creating a better Liveable Neighbourhood.
Plans are being developed to improve the other sections of Queensbridge Road for cyclists and pedestrians. These are part of a funding bid to TfL and, should funding be approved, would be subject to the usual consultation and approval processes. Ideas being developed included protected space for cyclists and continuous footways for pedestrians, which will contribute to helping lower speeds along Queensbridge Road.
There is a need to reduce traffic and improve air quality and safety on Richmond Road. It is not a B road but is a busy, established through route. This should not prevent action being taken but does make a solution more complicated.
A proposal to amend the parking restrictions between Lansdowne Drive and Queensbridge Road to a previous layout has now been implemented. The aim of this change was to encourage lower vehicle speeds by changing the appearance away from a straight, clear 'run' for drivers.
Zebra crossing near Lansdowne Drive
Currently on hold pending further discussions with residents.
Darnley Road closures
Work has commenced to close a through traffic route at Elsdale Street. This could remove around 400 vehicles in the peak hour and is likely to reduce traffic on Richmond Road.
Once completed we will do traffic counts on Richmond Road to assess the impact.
Banned left turn from Mare Street
We are proposing to ban a left turn onto Richmond Road from Mare Street alongside the school street and bus gate proposals. This could be a timed or a permanent ban - residents will be able to feed back on the timings as part of the consultation.
It has been suggested that the school street schemes should be extended to include Richmond Road. We would like to work with residents to develop a scheme to include this road as part of an extension of the current proposal and hope that this can be discussed in more detail at future meetings.
We will also continue to investigate the other suggestions that have been made for managing and reducing traffic on this road.
We are not currently considering closing Scriven Street. We are considering restricting access for HGVs but have not decided on the way forward.
Residents have requested banned right turns from Middleton Road onto Kingsland Road and vice versa. A decision has not been made on the way forward at this junction, but it will be investigated further.
The width restrictions were installed as a trial scheme and we are finalising the report with the intention to retain them. We will meet with the Middleton Road Resident's Association and will discuss the permanent scheme.
The proposed London Fields School Street would also reduce traffic through Middleton Road.
Sustrans on behalf of the Council, conducted survey work to understand what the key issues are on Broadway Market and how the community would like to see these improved. The report was published earlier this year. However, there are no detailed plans at present.
The second phase of the engagement exercise will draw on the outcome of this initial exercise and we will engage with local stakeholders, including BMTRA and others, about possible interventions. The proposals for Broadway Market will also take into consideration the proposals coming forward from the London Fields school street proposal and the issues raised through the initial engagement work. At present, it is proposed that the second staged engagement exercise will take place early 2018.
The traffic flows around the Triangle Road area can be investigated again after the impacts of the London Fields school street are known.