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A plan for a scheme to encourage active travel in the West Ealing area looks set to be revived following an announcement by Transport for London (TfL).

Having secured funding deal with the government it now says it is exploring the relaunch of its Liveable Neighbourhoods Programme including renewed funding for a bid made by Ealing Council.

The original plan was drawn up in 2017 but was paused during the pandemic. TfL says it will be only progressing on existing schemes and not accepting new bids and the Ealing scheme was in progress when a halt was caused.

This appears to suggest a change of policy at TfL, which reportedly was not favouring projects in Ealing at the insistence of board director Andrew Gilligan, who was unhappy about the removal of most of the experimental Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes introduced during lockdown.

TfL now says that grants of between £1million to £10 million may be provided for local schemes including the West Ealing one. The cost of the original bid was over £8 million and it is likely that it would be significantly more expensive to implement now due to inflation. It is not known whether the original scheme will be adopted as is or amended significantly to take account of changed circumstances. Some measures in the plan have already been implemented such as a 20mph speed limit on The Broadway.

The programme aims to supports the Mayor's Transport Strategy to encourage walking and cycling and discourage rat-running through residential areas. The original plan did envisage road closures and restrictions in West Ealing and it is understood that these measures were partly introduced during the earlier LTN closures. However, most of the measures in the Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan are concentrated in the area around the Broadway.

Unlike the earlier schemes, the plan will be introduced by permanent traffic orders on a long-term basis and will not be subject to the same trial introduction used for the LTNs.

The original West Ealing scheme will aim to improve conditions for cyclists on the Broadway and provide quieter parallel routes. This was to be achieved by measures to cut rat-running including local road closures and banning of some turns onto The Broadway although these are not specified.

There was also to be additional parking controls in the area and new walking and cycling routes along the Broadway and in surrounding residential areas, including links to the new Elizabeth line station.

The scheme included physical measures such as public realm enhancements and junction redesign to facilitate better pedestrian and cycle movement and accessibility. Back in 2018 Ealing Council said that many of these measures were “shovel-ready”, awaiting funding opportunities to be realised.

In its bid to TfL for funding the council said, “Currently the public realm is not of the standard required to encourage this modal shift; it is tired and vehicle dominated. It is also an area of high crime levels and perceptions and has pockets of poor air quality caused by congestion. A suite of holistically
developed interventions are needed to make this step change and enable West Ealing to live up to its potential.”

The report highlighted how congestion on the east-west A4020 (The Broadway) was leading to rat-running through the local residential street network and the lack of easy or well-positioned crossing points. It pointed out that improved side entry treatments were needed at junctions to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

A particular problem was identified at the junctions with Drayton Green Road and Northfield Avenue which both join the Broadway at a junction known as the Lido junction. This junction was seen as the source of much of the congestion in the area and is described as a threatening proposition for all but the most confident cyclists, even though two separate designated cycle routes converge there. When this junction is congested, local drivers know to avoid it and can then take the quieter residential back routes that are more suited to cyclists

The council believed that a redressing of the balance of between the carriageway and footway was needed with ultimately the reduction of the road to one lane each way from the current total of three lanes being considered which would allow more space for pedestrians, the planting of trees and raised cycle tracks on each side of the road.

Other aspects of the plan included removing ‘unnecessary’ street furniture such as pedestrian guard rails and replacing other street furniture with a ‘new coordinating palette’. More cycle parking space was envisaged including areas for the now defunct Mobike scheme.

The location of pedestrian crossing was to be adjusted and footways were to be laid with natural stone paving. It was also intended to introduce road closures with filtered permeability for cycles in selected surrounding residential roads.

The plan also included a significant redesign of the area around Dean Gardens with enhancements to the park and the pedestrian permeability of the area.

The area around Singapore Road and Witham Road was seen as ripe for improvements to encourage its use as a quiet link parallel to The Broadway for cyclists and pedestrians

The problem of crossing at the Northfield Avenue/Mattock Lane junction was also highlighted with the aim of encourage greater use of local Quietways.

Consideration was also given to how Green Man Passage could be improved and shared access for cyclists introduced.

Canberra Road was described as an unattractive service road to the rear of the shops which was mainly used for parking and deliveries. The council was looking to redesign it as a pedestrian priority area.

The plan also envisaged improvements to the Jacob’s Ladder footbridge including better lighting and cycle wheeling ramps with a better link provided by the removal of some parking bays.

An Ealing Council spokesperson told us that various options are being considered and nothing has been decided as yet.

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October 11, 2022

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