Shepherds Bush and Kensington Consultation Responses and TfL Budgets

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have published the results of their consultation on proposed changes to roads in Shepherds Bush and Kensington (Wood Lane, Notting Hill Gate, etc). The proposed changes will increase journey times for road users and hence also increase congestion – see https://tinyurl.com/yzxhb9m8 for our original report. As one person commented on that article: “Another example of the Mayor’s determination to punish the motorist under the misguided ploy of improving air quality. This latest proposal will in fact worsen air quality by delaying traffic flow”.

The TfL Consultation Report also correctly quotes our comments on the consultation where it says the ABD “Was very critical of the online consultation material, branding them a ‘disgrace”. There were no costs given for the scheme and the questions were biased to get the required answers.

There were 5,386 response to the consultation and many people agreed that it would encourage cycling, walking and use of public transport. That’s hardly surprising is it when they realised that private vehicles will be delayed.

The consultation was also biased because there were 58,539 emails sent out to people asking them to respond but it was only sent to “people who use public transport or cycle in the area”. In reality Oyster Card and Contactless customers, so private vehicle owners were excluded.

Even with all this manipulation, they still managed to get 2,151 people who argued that the proposals would cause traffic congestion or delays, and 1,565 people who said the proposals would worsen air quality. There were also particular concerns about the Holland Park area and the removal of trees.

The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham supported the proposals but Kensington & Chelsea borough have objected. TfL have developed revised proposals which include saving more trees and discussions are continuing. At least this shows how strong local opposition to a scheme can cause TfL to reconsider. But the whole process of TfL consultations is ethically flawed.

You can read the TfL Consultation Report here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/wood-lane-notting-hill/ 

Crossrail delays and TfL budget impact

Other news is that TfL have announced that Crossrail (the Elizabeth Line) opening date is to be delayed yet again and it not going to open until 2021. It was originally scheduled to open in 2018. Problems with signalling systems seem to be the cause, and costs are ramping up so it is now likely to come in at over £18 billion. This demonstrates how large rail projects are enormously expensive and are approved with over-optimistic budgets and projected timescales. This is why HS2 should be cancelled now before even more money is wasted on a scheme with a poor cost/benefit ratio.

The additional delay to Crossrail opening will result in another big hole in TfL’s budget because there were many millions of pounds of income expected from fare paying passengers on the new line.

But TfL have devised one way to improve their cash income. They are changing the auto top-up level for Oyster Card users from £10 to £20. This will mean that TfL will be holding much higher balances of customer money than before. The exact impact has not been disclosed but I hope to report more information on this at a later date.

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Shepherds Bush and Kensington Road Changes

Wood Lane.jpg

Transport for London (TfL) have launched a public consultation on extensive changes to roads in the Shepherds Bush and Kensington areas – more specifically covering Wood Lane, Shepherds Bush Green, Holland Park Avenue and Notting Hill Gate neighbourhoods.

The proposals are part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy guided by the “Healthy Streets Approach” and aim to encourage more walking and cycling specifically. So one of the key changes is more segregated cycle lanes and reduction in road space for other traffic.

The previous mooted proposal to have a cycle lane on the elevated section of the A40 Westway has been abandoned even though that route has more potential road capacity to accommodate a cycle lane, so the latest proposals might be seen as a partial replacement.

Now it is undoubtedly the case that the roads concerned could be improved for pedestrians and cyclists but the traffic modelling undertaken by TfL demonstrates that the proposed changes will substantially increase journey times for vehicles on these roads. For example, on the route Lancaster Gate to Du Cane Road Westbound in the morning it might take an additional 10 minutes for general traffic (a 25% increase approximately) with buses also significantly delayed.

Traffic lanes would be removed – for example Holland Park Avenue would have a lane removed, and roads made one-way or with banned entry and exits onto Holland Park Avenue.

The ABD has consistently opposed schemes that favour cyclists over other road users and result in the latter (even bus users) having increased journey times. We have already responded to the public consultation on this scheme but readers should please do the same which is very easy to do via an on-line consultation form available from here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/wood-lane-notting-hill/ . You need to respond a.s.a.p. and before the 16th June at the latest.

Above is an artist’s impression of how Wood Lane might look in future – as usual a very optimistic view of how traffic on the road might look as we always see in these consultations.

Note that the consultation web site does not tell you how much the scheme will cost or provide any cost/benefit analysis, but I can tell you it is estimated to be £42.2 million. Is it any wonder Mayor Sadiq Khan is short of money when he spends that amount on relatively minor improvements to these roads that will benefit very few people.

Roger Lawson

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