Report of the Acting Corporate Director of Community.
The Panel received a report which provided members with an update on the current programme of transport schemes and initiatives funded in 2021/22. This included the Transportation Programme funded by an external grant from Transport for London (TfL) and the Parking Management programme funded from the Harrow capital programme.
An officer gave a presentation in brief with the following being highlighted:
· That 8 parking schemes were carried over from 2019/20 to this year which was a result of delays caused by the pandemic.
· The transportation programme had experienced funding complication as Transport for London faced financial difficulties during the pandemic. Although some funding had been received, this was for initial development of projects only, during April and May.
· Taking these projects forward between June and December 2021 would not be possible until confirmation of funding from TFL had been given.
The Chair thanked the officer for their presentation and opened the floor to questions from the Advisory Panel to which officers answered as followed:
· Concern was raised regarding the school streets consultation as it was felt that the scheme was in relation to the pandemic, and it was noted that the schemes appeared to have inconsistencies. It was also questioned why a consultation would start when schools had not yet been fully opened. The Officer explained that appendix G of the report explained that the consultation had taken place earlier in the year in April / May when the schools had been open, and the results of the consultation had more negative than positive responses during the consultation and the schemes were therefore abandoned.
· A member raised if there were details regarding times for when bus lanes would be operating, particularly in highly congested areas which would only add to pollution and air quality, in particular the Wealdstone area was mentioned. The Officer explained that the Wealdstone project was currently at phase 2 of 8, and it was expected to be completed by early 2022. It was noted that the completed project would improve bus journey times and improve air quality and reduce congestion. An Adviser confirmed that the bus lane would operate 24-hours a day.
Questioned if a 24-hour bus lane would be necessary, it was raised by a Member of Panel that preference should be given to motorists and emphasised that feasibility studies needed to be done to ensure that the best possible services could be delivered. The Officer explained that extensive modelling had been carried out and the scheme and it would have significant benefits for the local highway network.
· An Adviser to the Panel raised that in order to gain particular funding Harrow would need to adhere to the local transport note 120 and wanted to know if Harrow Council included this in the schemes. The officer explained that all guidance that had been issued by Government’s Department for Transport had been considered. The Officer noted that when a project has been developed all stakeholders would be consulted and would be mindful of the Council’s wider objectives within the transport local implementation plan.
The Adviser then commented on the feasibility of pedestrian crossings around the Nower Hill junction, to which they added that consideration of a cycling facility was being reviewed as a part of the feasibility study as well as the link to the North Harrow cycle path.
The Adviser mentioned that education should be given to drivers on how to safely drive alongside other road users such as cyclists and other vulnerable road users.
The Adviser also raised concern on the lack of risk assessments done regarding cyclists and the development of an electric vehicle charging point scheme.
In addition, the Adviser highlighted that speed cushions were an ineffective method for mitigating speeding and that an equality impact assessment should be done as the Adviser noted that speed cushions were known to be dangerous for disabled cyclists who used adaptive bikes.
Finally, the Adviser emphasised that cyclist safety provision should be included in the review of the Goodwill to All Junction as many residents in that development would be dependent on cycling to get around.
The points raised by the Adviser were noted by the officer.
· A Member of the Panel welcomed the Adviser’s comments but also added that though the second tranche of the school streets programme was no longer going ahead, it should be made aware that the consultation of a scheme should be clear to understand.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.