I can appreciate your concern about the changes to the road layout in Hackbridge but I do think that, once the work is completed, these changes (which were worked up with an unprecedented level of community involvement) will improve what was a very dangerous junction for pedestrians, cyclists and even drivers (because of the very high speeds the traffic used to travel at, partly because the road was so wide).
One of the main purposes of the works at Hackbridge Corner is to slow traffic speeds and create a space where all road users have equal priority. This includes pedestrians.
On the 7th July work will begin to add white strips to the pedestrian crossings, additional rumble strips will also be added. Not only will this clearly mark the pedestrian crossings but it is also expected to slow the traffic travelling through the junction.
Once the work is completed I will be organising a meeting of local residents and parents to listen to any concerns they may have about the changes to the junction. I will then be asking your local Councillors, Council Officers and community representatives (who helped devise the scheme) to respond to any outstanding concerns.
If you would like details of when this meeting will take place please complete the following form http://www.tombrake.co.uk/hackbridge
These works are based upon evidence that demonstrates that these measures will improve safety for all road users and that zebra crossings are not that safe (because far too many motorists ignore them - very clearly demonstrated when the pedestrian crossings were monitored and a large number of near-misses witnessed). The changes have also been audited in two independent reports, which have backed these changes.
When completed there will be 6 informal crossings (where the road is narrowed, raised, coloured the same as the pavement and highly lit) but no zebras as such. A further independent safety audit will be carried out.
Below is a briefing I have been sent by Sutton Council.
“The works currently being undertaken at the centre of Hackbridge will bring about significant change to the quality of the area. Early in the design process the Council were given a clear message by residents and businesses of the issues which they wanted us to address. The key messages were that traffic dominated Hackbridge; traffic speeds made it difficult to cross London Road and made the area feel unsafe; that the quality of the public spaces/the shopping environment was really poor; and that there was the need for some parking controls to stop commuters ‘blocking’ access to stop and shop parking bays.
The design of the proposals has been through extensive consultation with highways experts; government bodies/organisations; local interest groups; residents and businesses. The proposals are partly funded by the Greater London Authority and the development of the scheme has been overseen by their design team and Transport for London.
The scheme has been prepared in line with the Department of Transport guidance documents called “Manual for Streets 1 & 2”. These documents make it clear that a reduced carriage way width, in association with a change to the whole look of the environment, will help to reduce traffic speeds. These technical documents also make it clear that road widths of 6.2m will allow large vehicles to pass one another. The scheme has been through a rigorous safety auditing processes, with independent auditors, in order to make sure that it meets safety requirements. Parsons Brinckerhoff undertook the safety audit and looked in detail into the issue of the width of the road. They noted that the proposals for a 6.2m wide carriage way only applied to three small sections at the entrances to the junction and thereafter the carriageway width widened out. They also noted that for the sections of the scheme where carriageway is planned to be 6.2m, the alignment is relatively straight and therefore opposing lorries should have little difficulty passing one another so long as they reduce speed. In summary they recommended that the scheme retain the 6.2m wide carriageways as proposed. The Parsons Brinckerhoff Safety Report can be made available on request.
In addition to this, London Buses ran a trial of the proposals on site. The road widths were marked out with road cones to the widths set out in the proposed scheme and officers then assessed the movements of opposing busses and opposing busses and hgvs through the route. London Buses is satisfied that the width of the scheme is acceptable and will not restrict its operations. In addition, on the completion of the scheme, London Buses will run another trial to ensure that they are satisfied with the final scheme.
Whilst the two pedestrian crossings have been removed, the new junction design allows for six informal crossings. The Council accepts that during the construction phase the need to suspend the existing crossings has caused some difficulty however the construction company has made every effort to use directional fencing to ensure people cross at the safest locations.
Cycling groups were involved at a very early stage in the design development of the scheme, including the London Cycling Campaign, Cyclists Touring Club and Living Streets. The reps who attended said that, on balance, they felt that the design would improve the safety of the junction by significantly reducing traffic speed and that this would be a benefit. For cyclists not content with cycling with the traffic the reps requested that Elm Road be made a contra flow for cyclists. The Council agreed to this suggestion which is being implemented as part of the proposals. In addition, the widened pavements mean that cycle stands can now be provided as part of the works.
The scheme is being implemented as sustainably as possible. Those paving slabs adjacent to Centrale which can be reused have been carefully lifted and have been given away on ‘Freecycle’. Those slabs which could not be re-used have been taken to the contractors local depot for crushing and using as hard core on other local projects. Street furniture and trees have been sourced as locally as possible. A number of ‘dumped’ granite slabs have been rescued from land north of BedZed and have been carved with heritage and way finding information. They will be inset into the footways to help enliven the scheme.
The scheme also involves making improvements to 14 shop fronts in the area and this work is progressing well.
Local contractors have been used for both the public realm works and the shop front improvement works therefore providing local employment.
The scheme will result in a significant change to the area. The works are scheduled to be substantially completed by the end of April and once unveiled the transformation will be apparent. As well as reducing traffic speeds through the ‘Heart ofHackbridge’, the scheme has been designed to achieve a number of other significant benefits. There is now step free access to all the shops along the Post Office parade; improved drainage; the increased footway space allows for benches, nine street trees and bicycle stands as well as providing space so that we can run events in the centre (Christmas carols/Farmers’ Markets and so on).
I hope this is helpful in setting out the purpose of the scheme and the associated safety audit.