Report of the Corporate Director of Community.
The Panel received a report which provided members with an update on the on progress with the 2021/22 Traffic and Transportation programmes of works.
An officer gave a presentation in brief with the following being highlighted:
· The Parking Management programme had been progressing in accordance with the schedule, six of the schemes were at the statutory consultation stage and five schemes were at the public consultation stage.
· Funding for the Transportation programme had experienced some difficulties. An initial funding settlement was received in April/May of 2021, this had allowed for the development of projects. Transport for London (TFL) had received a settlement that was lower than expected which had a knock-on effect on London Boroughs, including the London Borough of Harrow (LBH). The implementation of LBH programmes had been paused because of this.
· Ideas from the Harrow Cyclist Group had been suggested that related to improvement of active travel in Harrow. There was an active project to review the North Harrow signals and comments from the Harrow Cyclist Group had been considered as well as the feedback from the recent public consultation on the High Street Fund proposals. Revised plans reflected the traffic and cyclist problems in this area, heightened by the recent tragedy where a cyclist had sadly lost their life at the North Harrow Signals.
· TfL required an active travel programme to be proposed for 2021/22 for consideration. This differed to the programme included in the report. The proposed active travel programme was presented and the schemes were explained to the Panel. It was noted that a proposal for a bus priority scheme for the A410 Uxbridge Road was included but was not a part of the LIP programme in Table 3, Appendix B but had been highlighted by TfL to be considered and would be a feasibility study.
The Chair thanked the officer for their presentation and opened the floor to questions from the Advisory Panel to which officers answered as followed:
· A Panel Member asked who had been consulted, regarding the North Harrow signals and what plans had been suggested. To which the Officer explained that there were two initiatives, one of which was a longstanding initiative which was the widening of Pinner Road that aimed to increase capacity and improve journeys for buses, however this was on hold due to lack of funding from the TFL. The second potential improvements to the junction for pedestrians connected to the High Street Fund where there was an extensive public consultation on proposals.
This was followed up by concern over the loss of cycle lanes with the widening of pavements, however, the Officer noted that the cycle lane would not be lost.
An Officer added that a petition was previously presented to the panel in February 2020 who asked for a control crossing point across the North Harrow Signals. This was to be reviewed by a transport consultant, however due to the Pandemic delays had resulted in developing the improvement of this junction.
· Had feedback been received from residents in surrounding roads to the proposed Copenhagen crossings? It was explained by an Officer that four centres were part of the High Street Fund Consultation. It was noted that Copenhagen crossing were one of a number of different measures that were proposed, it was highlighted that these crossings were more suited to improve the walking experience, particularly within a High Street setting.
This was followed up the Panel Member who had asked whether the Copenhagen crossings were decided by Ward Councillors or from feedback gathered. The Officer explained that the initiative was led by the Economic Development Team and there had been a full consultation and discussions had taken place with local Ward Members. All of which had been presented to the Programme Board.
· A Panel Member wanted to know what type of consultation had been planned in relation to cycle lanes. An Officer explained that full engagement was not required as it was subject to funding. Once funding had been confirmed then a full consultation would take place before these cycling projects could proceed. It would then be determined with the Portfolio Holder and the Communications Team what the appropriate type of consultation would be.
· Clarification was sought by a Panel Member as to whether the list of schemes was guaranteed. The Officer responded by noting that the list of schemes was a list of priorities that strategically matched the London Borough of Harrow’s (LBH) objectives, which had been requested by the Active Travel Oversight Group (ATOG). It was noted that a decision on LBH’s funding application for these schemes had not been indicated.
Should the funding application be unsuccessful, it was expected that schemes that had been consulted on would still be delivered, however no specific date was given.
· Raised if the Howeberry Road scheme covered the crossing as well as the double yellow lines, to which an Officer confirmed that these were to be included in that particular scheme.
· The Corporate Director of Communities noted that the schemes proposed were to support funding that LBH did not currently have for these schemes to be delivered, many of which were feasibilities.
It was highlighted that no other funding was available for these schemes which was why LBH and other Boroughs had been impacted by the full allocation of funding not received from TFL. There was a timeframe for funds from TFL to be allocated to these schemes and therefore would be important for the feasibility and consultations to be undertaken.
· It was highlighted that the traffic calming scheme for Royston Park Road, Hatch End was not included in the list of schemes to be presented to ATOG, the Panel Member noted that several accidents had occurred on this road and encouraged officers to make this scheme a priority.
· An Adviser raised the southwest arm of the North Harrow junction was being widened for bus priority but asked if it was possible for cycle priority to also be included. In addition, it was suggested Noah Hill should include similar safety measures applied to pedestrians. The Officer mentioned that the inclusion of cyclists into the Noah Hill Junction scheme would be looked into.
The Adviser raised that cycle safety improvements should be included for the Northolt junction and could include early release signals for cyclists. This was because of the junction being uphill.
The Officer explained that the safety of cyclists and all road users would be considered in all feasibility assessments that had been planned.
Asked by the Adviser why cycling safety provisions were not included in the Goodwill to All junction, to which the Officer responded by saying that though this was a challenging junction due to its limited capacity, they noted that pedestrians were the main focus of this particular scheme due to local shops, bus stops and amenities. The Officer also highlighted that that this junction had a ‘green link’ that allowed cyclists to bypass the junction.
· The Adviser highlighted that the electric car charging point scheme for Uxbridge Road could be a danger to cyclists. It also risked the Northern Cycle Route to become substandard and so therefore advised against this scheme. An Officer noted that car park spaces to be used for charging points on this road already existed and that he had not been made aware that these existing spaces had created any problems for cyclists that already had a dedicated cycle lane.
· An Adviser asked how many people were to be targeted for the cycle training scheme and if it had been planned to target less advantaged groups. An Officer explained that further details could be provided and that a choice of provider had not been decided but noted the comments made.
· The Adviser then commented that the Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) that cycling was a prominent mode of transport and asked that it be omitted the consideration of cycling for people with disabilities and for inclusive cycling to be included in all schemes.
· A Member raised concern over the junction on Northolt Road, meeting Roxeth Hill for pedestrians and cyclists and that there whilst bus priority was important it was highlighted that public safety should be taken as a priority. An Officer stated that a meeting was planned with a consultant working on the signal design for this junction to consider the possibility of incorporating a pedestrian crossing facility into the design.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.