FOI request detail

Information regarding progress so far made in discussion with RBKC to return the Earls Court one-way system to two way working.

Request ID: FOI-2000-1617
Date published: 08 April 2017

You asked

The RBKC Core Strategy adopted in December 2010 contained the clear statement that "The one-way system with a high volume of traffic and poor pedestrian crossings makes for a poor pedestrian environment. The Council will work to returning the one-way system to two-way working." This objective has been repeated in what is now called the RBKC Consolidated Local Plan 2015. Q1 When did RBKC first follow up this formal 2010 statement of intent by approaching TfL? Q2 In what terms did RBKC make the case to TfL for returning to two-way working? Q3 When did TfL first meet with RBKC to discuss this proposal? Q4 When and in what terms did TfL reply in writing to RBKC's approach and what further analysis/ review was promised by TfL? Q5 What analysis has TfL conducted and/or commissioned in the last five years into the scale and composition of the traffic using the A3220 one-way system and the resultant impacts on the A3212 in Chelsea, particularly in peak hours and at week ends when extensive congestion and tail-backs occur on the Embankment/Cheyne Walk? Q6 What conclusions has TfL so far drawn from this analysis and its surveys of traffic growth trends in this area since 2010? Q7 What are TfL's latest estimate of the traffic growth to be expected in this area during the next ten years when a series of major construction projects will be underway at the Lots Road Power Station strategic development site, at Chelsea Football Club, at Earls Court, at the Fulham Gasworks site, at Cremorne Wharf (Tideway and Thames Water), on the Chelsea Embankment (Tideway) and by National Grid ?

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-2000-1617

Thank you for your email received by us on 16 January 2017 asking for information about progress made in the discussion with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to return the Earls Court one-way system to two-way.  Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.  I can confirm that we hold the information you require.

Q1  When did RBKC first follow up this formal 2010 statement of intent by approaching TfL?
We do not have a record of RBKC contacting TfL regarding these proposals.
 
Q2  In what terms did RBKC make the case to TfL for returning to two-way working?
Please see above.
 
Q3  When did TfL first meet with RBKC to discuss this proposal?
In September 2014, Former Assembly Member Murad Qureshi posed a question to the Mayor regarding the possible removal of the gyratory. The question and the Mayor’s response can be found at:  http://questions.london.gov.uk/QuestionSearch/searchclient/questions/question_277455. We liaised with RBKC officers in the development of the Mayor’s response, however we do not have a record via email or in relevant folders of this communication therefore it is possible this took place over the phone.
 
Although we have not met with RBKC Officers regarding this proposal, later in 2014 we were contacted by RBKC Councillor Coleridge who requested a meeting on a number of schemes/proposals that we were working on in Kensington and Chelsea. Although we do not hold any record of notes from that meeting, an internal briefing note was prepared in advance of the meeting which contains information on our  position on the Earl’s Court. The excerpt of the briefing note regarding the Earl’s Court scheme is below:

Earls Court One Way System
Recently (October 2014), Road Space Management (RSM) Sponsorship has received a Mayor’s Question from Assembly Member Murad Qureshi regarding if and when TfL will consider the removal of the Earls Court One Way System; TfL consulted with officers from RBKC on the response which was provided.
 
Since this request, TfL has discussed the aspiration for gyratory removal further with RBKC officers. Historically, it has been difficult for TfL to deliver large, transformational schemes as the funding required was not available. This position has changed somewhat following the emergence of the Roads Task Force and Roads Modernisation Plan.
 
The Roads Modernisation Plan (A3 portfolio) has now been publically launched, and TfL has funding in place for such transformational schemes to the tune of £500m in the current business planning period. As such, this funding is currently fully allocated against 52 schemes, and we have a ‘pipeline/shelf list’ of further schemes to come onto the portfolio dependent on any number of these projects dropping out.
 
Removal of the Earls Court One Way system is currently not something which we are investigating, or which forms part of the A3 portfolio, a case would therefore need to be made for this to be reconsidered and then it can be scored according to its priority relative to the rest of the A3 portfolio which will inform our decision as to next steps.
 
TfL, with input from RBKC officers would be willing to undertake a desktop study to revisit previous work looking into the impacts of removing the gyratory, and would be happy to provide a further briefing highlighting the main benefits, opportunities, risks and relative priority in removing the gyratory system to Councillor Coleridge following the conclusion of this work.
 
Q4  When and in what terms did TfL reply in writing to RBKC's approach and what further analysis/ review was promised by TfL?
As RBKC Officers did not contact us regarding the proposals, we did not issue a written response regarding the Earl’s Court scheme to the Borough. We did however conduct our own study into the possibility of converting Earl’s Court to two-way operation in 2004. The study investigated utilising the western (northbound) arm of the Earl’s Court One Way System as a two-way congestion charging boundary as part of the Western Extension of the Congestion Charging Zone.
 
Q5  What analysis has TfL conducted and/or commissioned in the last five years into the scale and composition of the traffic using the A3220 one-way system and the resultant impacts on the A3212 in Chelsea, particularly in peak hours and at week ends when extensive congestion and tail-backs occur on the Embankment/Cheyne Walk?
Q6  What conclusions has TfL so far drawn from this analysis and its surveys of traffic growth trends in this area since 2010?

We have not conducted and/or commissioned specific studies into the operation of the current one way system and its impact. If such studies exist, it is possible they have been conducted by RBKC. We have undertaken some limited measurement of traffic flow in this location. The data series starts in 2013. Please find attached the data collected since 2013.
 
The data collected shows trends in volumes that are in line with those that we have seen across London as a whole. Traffic volumes on average in 2016 are lower than levels seen in 2013, but are higher than the averages of 2014 and 2015.
 
We have recently installed automatic traffic counters at the following locations:
 
ATC 285 – Cheyne Walk Partial data in 2014 with more consistent flows recordings from 2015 onwards
ATC 292 & 293 Cromwell Road EB & WB data from 2014 onwards
ATC 325 – Chelsea Embankment data from late 2015 onwards
ATC 342 - Cheyne Walk West data from 2015
 
However data received from these are too recent to indicate long term trends in the traffic data or to inform us about the efficiency of the one way system.
 
To be able to compare the one way system to the prior 2 way system we need data further back in time and this is not available at any of our traffic recording locations.
 
Q7  What are TfL's latest estimate of the traffic growth to be expected in this area during the next ten years when a series of major construction projects will be underway at the Lots Road Power Station strategic development site, at Chelsea Football Club, at Earls Court, at the Fulham Gasworks site, at Cremorne Wharf (Tideway and Thames Water), on the Chelsea Embankment (Tideway) and by National Grid ?

Our strategic forecasting tools estimate that the morning peak volume of traffic (vehicle kilometres) in the RBKC will reduce by 2% and average traffic speed in the AM Peak will reduce by 7% in the period 2012 to 2026.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely

Paulina Tuffour
FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

 

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