Motorists warned camera enforcement of rat run scheme to begin

Published: Friday, April 5, 2019

Motorists who ignore new traffic rules designed to deter rat run traffic in the West Hill area are being warned that camera enforcement will begin next week.

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The left turn from Wimbledon Park Side into Withycombe Road is no longer permitted between 7 to 10am

From Monday drivers who ignore traffic signs that ban them from turning left into both Withycombe Road and the northern stretch of Inner Park Road from Wimbledon Park Side face being sent penalty charge notices.

The restrictions came into force two weeks ago as part of a pilot scheme designed to deter morning rush-hour rat-run traffic from using residential streets in the West Hill area – especially Withycombe Road, Princes Way, Keevil Drive, Skeena Hill, Girdwood Road, Granville Road and Merton Road.

Until now the ban, which applies between 7am and 10am and covers the busiest time of day for commuter traffic, has not been formally enforced so that motorists can get used to the change and familiarise themselves with the new arrangements.

However this grace period is coming to an end and cameras will now be used to enforce the scheme.

The changes were requested by local residents concerned at traffic levels in their neighbourhoods.

This was backed up by traffic surveys which showed that many peak time motorists leave the A3 at Tibbet’s Corner and use nearby residential roads to avoid queues on West Hill. The surveys also showed that very little of this traffic is “local” and that the drivers accessing these cut-throughs are travelling through the borough to other destinations having started from further afield.

The aim of the current six month pilot scheme is to keep traffic on the main trunk road (West Hill) or encourage motorists to find alternative routes. The restrictions do not though apply to buses or bicycles.

Wandsworth’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “These changes have been introduced in response to pleas from people living in the area who have well-founded and legitimate concerns about traffic levels and vehicle speeds in their residential neighbourhoods.

“This part of the borough is also home to a number of schools, mostly primaries, so we want to also reduce the number of vehicles on walking routes to schools.

“The road signs have now been up for a fortnight so that has given drivers enough time to notice them and adjust their driving behaviour. From Monday we will be penalising those that ignore the signs and contravene the new rules.

“Hopefully by making this announcement ahead of enforcement action commencing, drivers will take notice, change their routes and avoid getting a fine in the post.”

Between now and the end of August people can register their views on the effectiveness of the scheme by submitting the West Hill Area Traffic Management Scheme survey.

During the six-month experiment it may be necessary to make additional changes to address driver behaviour and if this happens local residents will be notified in advance.