Guest blog by Jay of Kensal Triangle Residents' Association about a long persistent campaign that now looks as if it will yield results.
|Crossing photographs from Father David Ackerman|
Positive movement on the Harow Road/Ladbroke Grove Junction! A solution may well be in sight.
On Friday 7th February
representatives from Transport for London, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea
and Brent councils, West One ( the infrastructure management company employed
by Westminster Council to manage its traffic planning) and Kensal Triangle
Residents Association joined in a meeting kindly organised and hosted by Fr David Ackerman for a
meeting at St John's Vicarage to discuss the Harrow Road /Ladbroke Grove
This brought together
professionals and locals to address the need for immediate action. The campaign
for the provision of safe pedestrian crossing facility has been going for
nearly eight years now, and the meeting was arranged to give updates on plans
formulated by West One as a result of the last round of surveys.
The meeting proved to be
positive on all counts. It was agreed
by all that the attempt to improve the situation by providing wider refuges in
the middle of each arm of the junction had not worked at all. West One, in conjunction with TfL are now
recommending to all parties that a system be installed with a phase where all
vehicle traffic is stopped at the junction to allow a pedestrian crossing phase
with the traditional ‘green man’light.
This will allow pedestrians enough time to cross any one arm of the
junction. (it was not proposed to
encourage crossing diagonally over the junction as is the case at Oxford
There will also be
consideration of lane confusion, signage and the hold-ups on Kilburn Lane.
West One needs to consult with
the two other councils to ensure that this solution us agreed by all parties,
and further modelling needs to be done to ensure that congestion will not be
increased by the new scheme, but the overall message was that positive and
effective action is being taken to make
the junction safer for pedestrians and drivers.
West One could not give a
precise timetable for implementation for the plan, but hoped to finish the
modelling by the end of March, and installation of the new lights by the end of
meeting was also notable for its focus on a solution, and Fr David was glad to
host a meeting that brought together the most important people who can affect
change. It was extremely helpful and
positive to have a meeting so close to the junction concerned, where everyone
could see the scale of the problem.
The Background to a Long Campaign
The Harrow Road/Ladbroke Grove Junction
KTRA have been campaigning to get ‘green man’ lights at this
junction for 8 years.
It took a long time to find out which Borough took
responsibility for the junction as it is on the boundary of three
boroughs. Westminster is the lead
borough, as it has the south east and north east corners. R B K and C has the south west corner and
Brent the North West. This is one of
the difficulties, as funding is complicated due to shared responsibility
between the three boroughs.
Further, as it is a main road, Transport for London is
involved, and has to survey the junction to determine what difference a change
in phasing would make. This also has
implications on funding any changes.
Almost everyone who lives in the area agrees that the
junction is dangerous. It is particularly hazardous for anyone with impaired
mobility or eyesight, and it is a nightmare for parents with children, or
teachers with school groups trying to cross. It is a huge barrier in the way of
any attempts to get more children walking to school
Over the years we have delivered a petition of over 1000
signatures (the previous incumbent at the church collected some of them from
the congregation) two long scrolls of wallpaper covered with drawings and
comments, many form children, asking for the junction to be made safe, and
attended two meetings at Portcullis House arranged by Glenda Jackson with
representatives from all t he boroughs to try and find a way forward. Martin Low from Westminster Council has said
in one of these meetings that he is not averse to the idea of a pedestrian
phase at the lights, but it depends on TfL and price.
Our position is
1). Even though
there have not been any fatalities or major injuries the junction is
dangerous. There are people who get the
bus one stop to Sainsbury’s rather than cross the road there. There is no time when it is safe for
pedestrians to cross any arm of the junction
2) It can only get worse. The junction is used by several
different groups of school children as well as
anyone getting off the number 18 to get a bus going down Ladbroke Grove. In the morning and evening rush hours it is
particularly bad. As the area is
developed more and more there will be more pressure on the junction –
especially as Sainsbury’s remains the only large supermarket in the area.
3) Widening the refuges in the centre of each arm has not
made a difference - most of them did not last a week. They did not tackle the central problem; that it is unsafe to
cross the road.
4) Every junction on the Harrow Road from Harlesden clock to
the Edgeware Road has a pedestrian phase, except this one. There are also numerous pedestrian crossings
along the Harrow Road.
Every Junction on Chamberlaine Road from Kensal Rise Station
down to the Harrow Road has a pedestrian phase.
There are no traffic lights
on Ladbroke Grove until you get to Ladbroke Grove Station, where there
is a separate pedestrian crossing controlled by lights. It is obviously generally accepted that on
all of these roads pedestrian safety needs to be ensured by the provision of
light controlled crossings.
5) We consider that putting a pedestrian phase into the
Crossing will not cause more traffic queues.
Coming down Chaimberlaine Road from Kensal Rise the traffic
is held up by the lights at Harvist Road and Bannister Road: it is more often
than not fairly clear after both of these junctions until cars reach the bend
by Ilbert Street: congestion is caused there by the narrowness of the road and
parked cars at any time of day or night.
Crossing the Harrow Road is relatively straightforward, except for right
Coming up Ladbroke Grove, congestion is caused by the two
roundabouts at Barlby road and the entrance to Sainsbury’s. This can cause tailbacks to Ladbroke Grove
Station. Once over the roundabout at
Sainsbury’s cars move freely to join a short queue at the Harrow Road lights
There is congestion all along the Harrow Road from
Harlesden: it can take seven minutes to get from the Scrubs Lane Junction to the
lights at Kensal Green Station. There
is then usually some clear road before the tailback at the Ladbroke Grove
Junction. This tailback is caused by
the poor layout of the junction and the bus lane. The road essentially becomes single lane, with space for only
four or five cars to pull into the left hand lane at the junction in front of
the number 18 bus stop. Consequently, most of the cars wishing to continue east
along the Harrow Road are stuck behind cars attempting to turn right into
Ladbroke Grove – and only about four of these make it across the junction in
any given phase of the lights. Moving
the bus stop back a few yard would help – it is still set up for the now
defunct bendy buses, and does not need
to be anything like as long as it is.
There is much less problem for traffic coming out of Central
London on the Harrow Road: there are two lanes and a left filter lane at eh
junction, and although it is still nerve-racking for vehicles turning right up
Kilburn Lane, cars going straight on or turning left are not impeded.
A light system with a pedestrian phase, and with right turn
filters on the traffic phases would be of benefit to pedestrians and drivers