Simon Sharich and Jon Irwin (left of pic) meet with Chris Apostolides and other Fishponds residents
Fishponds Road residents, pictured above, got in touch as a result of the consultation brought about by Jon Irwin’s petition from 3 years ago. Not only is the volume of motor traffic an issue for them and their neighbours, but also there are significant parking issues.
They’ve been round asking their neighbours for support, and found an overwhelming majority in favour. Chris Apostolides, Fishponds Road resident, shared with us some of the reasons why he thinks the trial should go ahead:
1. The volume of traffic using Fishponds Road as a cut-through has increased to unacceptable levels for a residential neighbourhood.
2. Although Private/Light Goods vehicles comprise the majority of traffic using Fishponds Road as a cut-through, there are also significant numbers of Heavy Goods Vehicles, Transit-sized commercial vehicles cement lorries and skip lorries also using these roads as a cut-through.
3. High levels of traffic noise and air pollution
4. Installing traffic reduction measures around Fishponds Road would encourage ‘non-essential’ vehicle users to consider other means of transport: walking, cycling and public transport. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road and cutting associated carbon emissions is a London-wide policy directive.
5. Danger to pedestrians: Fishponds Road has the volume of traffic associated with a main road but (apart from the speed humps) none of the pedestrian safety features that go with it. There are also six primary schools within a quarter-mile radius of Fishponds Road.
6. Fishponds Road is blighted by volume of traffic: trees are knocked over by vehicles parking on the pavement, parked vehicles are frequently damaged by passing traffic.
We completely agree with Chris and his neighbours, and can’t understand why the council has taken 3 years to get to the point of consulting on what are trial measures.
The local Tories seem to think that the trial would be an imposition on local residents who don’t want it, conveniently forgetting that it is only happening as a result of a petition signed by local residents, albeit 3 years ago. They claim they want the streets to be safer for all users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, yet the policies their party implements suggest otherwise. No pedestrian or cyclist counts have been done to get baseline data for the Fishponds trial, only counts of motor traffic. If you count what is important to you, then the Tories really don’t consider walking or cycling important.
The local Labour team, now faced with an opportunity to try something different and see if we can make our streets safer are sitting on the fence, not making a call either way.
It’s only the local Lib Dem team that are pushing for the trial. We think residents have nothing to lose with such a trial. If it works, then people are likely to overwhelmingly want to make the changes permanent. If it doesn’t work, then we will then know that this solution isn’t one which works on these streets.
Says Jon Irwin, “I think this scheme will make these streets pleasanter for local residents, and encourage people to walk and cycle – and without significant disruption to traffic on the major roads. But I am happy to put that view to the test. Why don’t the Conservatives have the courage of their convictions? Or Labour have any convictions at all?”