Pilot scheme aims to tackle rat runners in West Hill

Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A trial scheme is about to get underway to tackle rush-hour rat-running across the West Hill area, in response to pleas from residents concerned at traffic using their residential streets as cut-throughs.

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Traffic studies have shown that many peak time motorists are leaving the A3 at Tibbet’s Corner and using nearby residential roads to avoid queues on West Hill.

The worst affected include Withycombe Road, Princes Way, Keevil Drive, Skeena Hill, Girdwood Road, Granville Road and Merton Road.

Studies have shown 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.

To tackle this problem trial measures will be introduced later this month to discourage traffic from using these quiet side streets.

For a minimum six-month period, early morning traffic will not be permitted to turn left from Wimbledon Park Side into Withycombe Road and the northern stretch of Inner Park Road.

These arrangements will apply between 7am and 10am and cover the busiest time of day for commuters. The restriction will not apply to buses and cyclists.

The aim is to keep traffic on the main trunk road (West Hill) or encourage motorists to find alternative routes into Wandsworth town centre. Further surveys will be carried out to enable “before and after” comparisons and the scheme will be actively monitored to ensure drivers comply with these changes – with camera enforcement used if appropriate.

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.

Wandsworth’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “People living along these commuter routes in West Hill have expressed very clear concerns to us about traffic levels and vehicle speeds in their neighbourhoods.

“The traffic studies we have carried out have shown these concerns to be fully justified, particularly in the early morning rush-hour when many motorists drive past their front doors to avoid the hold-ups on the A3 between Tibbet’s Corner and the south circular at the junction with the Upper Richmond Road.

“Residents have asked us to address this issue and we believe we have come up with an effective solution to tackle the problem. What we will do over the course of the trial period is closely monitor traffic flows to make sure this plan is working and if necessary make further changes.

“What is important is that local people tell us what they think and let us know if they judge whether or not the changes are having a positive or negative effect. The views of residents will play a key role in determining if this scheme is made permanent or abandoned.”

The changes are due to commence on or around March 25. From that date onwards until the end of August, people can submit their observations on the scheme’s effectiveness by visiting
https://haveyoursay.citizenspace.com/wandsworthecs/west-hill-19