Monday 26 February 2018 We were invited to an event at West London University organised by Future of London for their Future London Leaders. The candidates have been recognised by their various companies as future decision makers and they are taking part in this 6 month course.
Gareth James and Harris Vallianatos from Transport at Hounslow Council gave an overview of the M4/A4 with 10 lanes of traffic. The A4 has 40,000 vehicles/day and the M4 86,000 vehicles/day and this figure has been stable for 20 years. The A4 corridor has been designated as an Opportunity Area in the New London Plan with targets for approximately 7,500 new homes and 14,000 new jobs. They highlighted the issue of severance to do with origins and destinations reflected in the fact that Brentford has residents in the areas above and below the A4 and one of the largest concentrations of schools, 2 train stations, the Golden Mile, and Brentford High Street, so there were many reasons to cross this busy M4/A4 area. They mentioned that Caroline Russell identified this as one of the most striking examples of a hostile street in her recent GLA report. There are issues with speed of traffic, air pollution, and the design of crossings and significant health inequalities to those living on the A4 or nearby.
Faith Martin from TfL said that they are focussing on encouraging sustainable modes of transport, healthy streets and healthy people. They strive to create spaces where people feel safe, limiting noise and having clean air. The London Pedestrian Design Guidance sets out 31 actions to improve pedestrian safety in London including safety, comfort, legibility, and driver behaviour.
Paulo Anciaes from UCL Street Mobility project (2014-2017), which developed tools to measure and value the impacts of community severance caused by busy roads, carried out a study further west on the Great West Road in Hounslow. Using 6 tools he looked at severance in particular and people’s perception about certain aspects of using roads in comparison to the facts.
Following a walk up the A4 by two separate groups (above) to see for themselves what it felt like to be a pedestrian on this busy thoroughfare, Air Quality Brentford gave a short presentation on what we’ve been doing. We explained that we’d been campaigning to include Brentford in the ULEZ, raising awareness of the issue of air pollution in schools with mini-talks and banners, looking at ways to increase our green infrastructure, asking that the residential section of the A4 be changed from 40 to 30 mph and that no idling signs are used at traffic lights in such pollution hotspots as ours. We also highlighted the issue of planning housing in this compromised area without sufficient efforts to help mitigate the harmful effects of air pollution.