Wandsworth Town Centre - public agree change is needed
Transport for London (TfL) and Wandsworth Council's major revamp of Wandsworth Town Centre, which will benefit all road users and encourage investment in the area, has been broadly supported by local residents and stakeholders.
The plans, which would involve re-routing the A3 and A205 South Circular to the north of the town centre along Armoury Way in both directions, were supported by around 61% of respondents to the initial public consultation. Furthermore, 70% of respondents agreed that the current traffic system performs poorly, with many commenting that is it unpleasant or difficult to use and navigate.
By re-routing the existing road network and restricting the central section of Wandsworth High Street between Garratt Lane and Buckhold Road to buses and cyclists only, the scheme would also free the main shopping area of the current high levels of congestion and take traffic away from the busy town centre. Removing congestion in the busy town centre would also provide a number of additional benefits:
- Space for buses, cyclists, local traffic and service vehicles only
- Improvements to pedestrian space and crossings
- Better positioning of bus stops in the town centre
- A cycle-friendly environment
Wandsworth Town is a designated regeneration zone close to the south bank of the Thames. The area is benefiting from more than £1billion in new investment - the vast majority from the private sector. The removal of the gyratory system will support this investment, helping to create new retail, leisure, residential, employment and educational opportunities and act as a magnet for further investment in the area.
As well as support for the scheme, the initial consultation also indicated a number of areas of concern to local residents, including journey times, rat running and problems around local access to the town centre all of which are being addressed. Detailed information about the two-way operation of the road network, surrounding public realm, and new cycling and pedestrian facilities along Wandsworth High Street will be the focus of a secondary public consultation at the end of 2015. Subject to the outcome of this consultation, work could begin as early as 2017 and be delivered during 2019 as one of a number of major gyratories that TfL and the London boroughs are looking at removing over the next ten years.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: `This car-clogged one-way system has made the area particularly hostile to pedestrians and cyclists. These major improvements will see the junction completely transformed and turned into a much more civilised place for everyone, encouraging more people to use the local high street and driving wider regeneration of the area.`
Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, said: `Wandsworth Town centre is now being transformed by a series of major regeneration projects but it cannot reach its full potential until we tame this road system. We're pleased there is strong support for the scheme and we will examine the local concerns raised in detail to see how our designs can be developed and improved. Wandsworth Council has been pursuing this vital project for more than a decade and we want to ensure the final proposal is right for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.`
Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer of Surface Transport at TfL, said: `As part of our continuing work to improve London's roads for everyone, we have been working with Wandsworth Council to develop this long-standing ambition to return the Wandsworth Gyratory to two way traffic. The results of this initial consultation show that local residents support our call for a simplified road network through the area and less through traffic along Wandsworth High Street. We will now work on the detailed designs that will help to create far better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as new open spaces benefiting shoppers and local residents.`
The radical transformation of Wandsworth Town Centre would be funded by TfL, Wandsworth Council and through the Mayor's Growth Fund. The council's contribution is being raised through a levy on development sites including the Ram Brewery Quarter, The Filaments and Southside Shopping Centre.
The proposed changes to Wandsworth Town Centre form part of the wider work being carried out across London as part of TfL's Road Modernisation Plan. With a budget of over £4 billion from now until 2020/21, this overarching plan represents the biggest investment in London's roads in a generation, including hundreds of transformational projects within the existing road network. Using radical ideas and innovative designs, the plan will make London's roads greener, safer and more attractive for the benefit of all road users.
Further information including images of how the improvements will radically improve Wandsworth Town Centre can be found here: www.tfl.gov.uk/wandsworth-town-centre
Find out more about Wandsworth Council's transport development priorities at: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/travelchoices
Notes to editors:
- The eastern section of Armoury Way, between Ram Street and Fairfield Street, will experience an increase in traffic at the busiest times. The proposals include designs for road and junction improvements to manage this change in traffic levels
- London's roads account for 80% of all journeys and 90% of all goods moved in the Capital. As the engine of the British economy, London's population is set to grow by almost 2 million to 10 million by 2031 - equivalent to absorbing the population of both Birmingham and Leeds.
- This is a continual challenge in a city with a road network that developed organically and was never designed for so much traffic. To meet the challenge, the Mayor and TfL are investing more than £4 billion in improving London's roads, streets and urban realm for all road users, residents and businesses during the next decade.
- To help deliver this wider programme of work, and to keep London's traffic moving, TfL has already begun to expand its innovative SCOOT technology, which can change traffic signal timings based on traffic levels second by second, from half of all signals to three quarters of all signals. Hundreds of staff are already working 24/7 to monitor the network.