Northfield Transport Walkabout

EFRA NOTE OF TRANSPORT WALKABOUT ON TUESDAY 20 JULY 2010
IN EALING FIELDS RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (EFRA) AREA

Present

Councillors: David Millican, Mark Reen

Officers: Nick O’Donnell (Assistant Director Strategic Transport), Tony Singh (Highways), Colin McKenzie (Transport)

EFRA: Andrew Dick, Roger Jarman, Carla Andrewes, David Ashforth, Duncan Cameron, James Guest

SITES VISITED / DISCUSSED

  1. Northfield Avenue Zebra Crossing between Windermere Road and Cranmer Avenue

The safety benefits of reconstructing this crossing on a raised table, along the lines of the zebra crossings further up Northfield Avenue, was explained by the EFRA representatives.

It was pointed out that this crossing is outside Lammas Park and is the primary means whereby residents, including children and the elderly, who live to the West of Northfield Avenue can cross the busy road and access the park in safety. The existence of the children’s play area just inside the park attracts a large number of young children, many of whom live in the residential roads on the far side of Northfield Avenue. The residents of Mayo Court sheltered housing in Northcroft Road also use this crossing to access the park.

Officer response

Officers advised that it was unlikely that the crossing could be raised in the current financial year 2010-11, but that this might be possible in the following financial year 2011-12. They also stated that TfL had allocated funds to Ealing for both financial years to carry out improvements in the Northfields area.

  1. Pedestrian Crossing outside Northfields Tube Station

The relatively short duration of the pedestrian phase was discussed with officers, as was the proximity of the crossing to the northward bound E2 and E3 bus stops. Pedestrians were allowed approximately 7 seconds to cross. Officers acknowledged that the phase should be increased to around 12 seconds given the width of the road.

Officers were advised of the pressures on the crossing in the evening rush-hour when a full commuter train empties at the Northfields Station. While the first commuters out of the station may be able to cross on the pedestrian phase, those immediately behind them are unable to and often resort to crossing regardless if north bound busses are waiting or approaching

Officer response

While alternative types of signaled crossings exist, officers suggested that the cheapest solution would be to investigate altering the timing of the different phases and modifying the sequence of light signals visible to motorists.

  1. Blondin and Niagara Avenues - Emergency Access

The problem with emergency access, especially by fire engines, was discussed.

The majority of those present were aware of the difficulties experienced when a house caught fire in Blondin Avenue in September 2009 and couldn’t be reached by fire engines because of the narrow road surface. There was considerable delay bringing the fire under control as a result.

Instances of the difficulties experienced by ambulances in both streets were also recounted.

It was noted that while both streets had narrow carriageways, they both had wider pavements than many of the nearby residential roads. If pavement parking was to be introduced, there was a general consensus that this should be on one side only – preferably on the side with the fewest trees, lampposts, etc. This would allow emergency vehicles to gain access while providing the maximum number of parking spaces in the new circumstances.

It was also noted that Blondin was due to be resurfaced later this year and that this might provide an opportunity to raise the surface of the carriageway and/or reduce the kerb height. It would also be an opportunity to remove stop and shop bays on one side.

In Niagara stop and shop bays have already been removed but one on each side. This needs to be corrected so they are on one side only (the south side).

Officer response

It was agreed that officers would investigate the possibility of permitting parking that straddles the pavement on one side, in order to provide adequate access for fire engines. Officers would choose the most appropriate side taking into account services beneath the pavement and minimizing loss of parking space.

It was noted that funding for this investigation might be available from the Ward Forum

Officers also advised that in the event that pavement parking appeared technically feasible, the residents would need to be consulted in order to obtain their agreement.

Officers noted the need for stop and shop bays to be on one side only and that action would be taken to ensure the bays would be re-located.

  1. Wellington, Julien and York ‘Rat Run’

The use by motorists of these roads as a shortcut from Windmill Road to south/central Ealing was explained.

This is a particular problem in the morning and evening rush hours, and is exacerbated by the incline in Wellington and Julien Roads, which can encourage westbound vehicles to speed up.

It was also noted that while Bramley Road had speed humps to slow down through traffic; neither Wellington nor Julien did, even though they were closer to the ‘Plough’ junction and therefore more attractive to through traffic.

It was explained that the residents of these roads were seeking some form of traffic calming.

Officer response

The officers advised that these residential roads were scheduled for inclusion in a wider improvement zone that would stretch southwards from Lammas Park down to the Hounslow boundary (the South Northfields area for transport planning purposes).

Officers also advised that there were a variety of methods for achieving traffic calming and that they would make suggestions as to which might be appropriate in these roads.

  1. Obscured Belisha Beacon at Plough Junction

The officers noted the obscured Belisha Beacon on the eastern side of Northfield Avenue outside the Bakers. EFRA reps stressed that they did not want the tree removed to enable motorists to see the beacon.

Officer response

One option that would be considered would be the use of an illuminated pole to denote that a zebra crossing was present. It would not be possible to have the beacon set on an arm extended across the roadway. This could potentially be hit by buses that use Northfield Avenue.

  1. Windmill Road / Swyncombe Avenue Junction

The difficulties and safety issues associated with vehicles, including buses, and pedestrians trying to negotiate this ‘T’ junction were explained.

It was also noted that these problems are best observed in the rush hour and in term time, due to the proximity of a large secondary school.

An additional concern is the ‘shared ownership’ of this junction with Hounslow Council, who have already made proposals for their portion.

Officer response

Officers advised that they were not convinced of the appropriateness of some of Hounslow Council’s proposals.

They also advised that this junction would be included in a strategic review of the major junctions on Ealing Council’s boundaries with other Boroughs and that a meeting had been scheduled with Hounslow in the early autumn to discuss options.

  1. King Fahad / St Anne’s Convent Site

The proposals to reopen this site as a ‘Free School’ were mentioned. Officers were asked to consider the transport implications of this proposal, especially in the context of their emerging strategies for transport corridors and neighbourhoods.

  1. Little Ealing Primary School Expansion

The expansion of Little Ealing Primary School from a two form to a three form entry will increase the number of pupils from around 500 to approaching 750.

The school has been oversubscribed for many years. This has meant due to the sibling rule that in some years, where an applicant lacks an elder sibling at the school, only those new pupils who live within a few streets of the school have been admitted.

Expansion will mean that the School will be able to recruit to the boundary of its catchment area, with a disproportionate number of the additional pupils being drawn from its periphery.

The elongated, north-south, nature of the catchment area means that the majority of the additional pupils who live north of the school will be ‘funnelled’ into Weymouth Avenue, which is the only north-south residential road that bridges the Piccadilly Line railway track.

The 2007 School Travel Plan, based on two form entry, identifies safety pressures at a number of the junctions on Weymouth Avenue. These concerns can be expected to be exacerbated by the expansion to three form entry

Road junctions that pose a safety threat to young children that can neither be seen behind parked cars, nor see over them, include:

  • Eastern end of Hereford where it enters Weymouth
  • Bramley / Weymouth / Airedale junction, for pupils crossing north-south
  • Dorset / Weymouth, for pupils crossing north-south

The stretch of Windermere between Weymouth and Gloucester, which has to be crossed by pupils who live in the roads to the north of Lammas Park

A further issue is the opening of an additional school entrance in Hereford Road. As well as giving consideration as to how the safety of children crossing this road can be enhanced, there’s also the issue of additional vehicle movements on the school run.

With many of the additional pupils being drawn from the periphery of the catchment area, it is inevitable that some will be ferried to school by car in the wet and dark winter months.

The unusual configuration of Hereford Road, with its ‘blind’ 90 degree turn opposite the additional entrance means that consideration needs to be given to the dangers posed by additional vehicles using this road to drop-off and collect pupils. A number of parent/carers of pupils at both Little Ealing and Mount Carmel already use Hereford Road for this purpose.

We have been advised that there are no funds in the School’s expansion budget to address the incremental street safety pressures that will result from the significant increase in pupil numbers.

Officer response

The officers acknowledged that there are no funds in the school expansion programme to fund pedestrian safety improvements in the surrounding roads.

This pressure had been identified by the Transport officers and they were documenting the safety issues associated with each expanded school.

Officers were asked to note the above concerns, include them in their review and identify sources of remedial funding.

  1. Paddy Power/Goddards Junction (South Ealing Road/Little Ealing Lane/Popes Lane)

There were concerns about the phasing of lights at this junction. It was observed that the phasing of the east west lights in particular varied according to the weight of traffic entering the junction. On one phase 17 vehicles crossed the junction from east to west and on the next phase just 5 vehicles were able to do so. The build up of traffic encouraged rat running with traffic using Olive Road to either go north or indeed east by using Durham and Temple Roads either side of South Ealing Road.

There is one phase which allows pedestrians to cross all four roads at the junction. It was noted that it takes a long time for the pedestrian phase to start. Officers stated that this was to allow right turning traffic at the junction to be completed. It was observed that there still seemed to be a long time before the pedestrian phase started – up to 15 seconds after the lights had turned red against the traffic.

Residents noted that the white stop line on the westbound approach is set quite a long way back to allow lorries etc to turn more easily. This can result in westbound traffic setting off on amber with the lights having turned red once the traffic enters the junction. Eastbound traffic turning right has to wait until these vehicles go through. By then north/south and south/north traffic has already set off. This is a potentially dangerous situation. The solution here would be a slightly longer gap between ending the green phase on the east west route before the green phase starts on the north south route.

Officer response

[to be completed by LBE officers]