One benefit of the incredibly disruptive waterworks on Eccles Road has been the closure of the road to traffic and some residents are keen that the closure becomes permanent. As I mentioned in my previous post on this doing something as seemingly simple as closing a road to through traffic is actually incredibly difficult.
First, we would not be able to consider Eccles Road in isolation. While we can stop people using Eccles Road we can’t stop them wanted to get from A to B, and that means they will need to use another road. In all likelihood the closure of Eccles Road would have a major impact on Altenburg Gardens and Lavender Gardens. But we’d also need to consider roads further afield.
And this raises the second point. There are a number of Transport for London (TfL) red routes nearby. The closest is Battersea Rise, which has a junction with Eccles Road. But there is also Elspeth Road which would be affected and depending on how access to Lavender Sweep changed TfL may also need be involved because some traffic would be diverted onto St John’s Road. Either way we would therefore have to engage in a lengthy consultation TfL before we could make any changes.
Third, and finally, at the last survey Eccles Road did not meet the criteria to be a priority for traffic management. The survey is a few years old (it took place in 2005) but showed in the morning peak 100-150 vehicles per hour were using Eccles Road and in the evening this rose 250-300 vehicles per hour. The average speed was 16.2mph. This might seem high, but the council looks for more than 300 vehicles per hour and a speed of over 31mph to make a road a priority for consideration. It doesn’t mean Eccles Road won’t be considered, but does mean it isn’t one of the worst roads that the council has to manage.
In short, this means a disappointing ‘no’ to residents who were hoping that once Thames Water left the street, cars would not return. However, the council have agreed to undertake another survey (which would be needed in any case) to see if there has been any change once Thames Water have left. Once the results of this have been compiled the road can be reassessed.