Barnes wants to make it easier for your car.

A major junction in Barnes is getting a consultation aimed at ‘reducing traffic queues‘.

The junction in question is the five-way one at the left of this image from Google Maps:


You can see the consultation, here, and there’s a response link at the bottom, to a two question survey.

If you do decide to respond – and I and Richmond LCC would urge you to do so – you might want to consider any of the following. (And I’m not a traffic engineer, so I bet there are lots of other angles they’ve missed…)

  1. There’s no mention of how the changes will affect cycling or walking.
  2. There’s no obvious data to suggest levels of traffic at particular arms or particular times, so it’s not really clear how they’re sure the changes will make a difference
  3. If the council want to stop ‘rat running’ down Elm Grove Road, why not just make it useful for residents only, by putting bollards half way down? Residents will be able to enter at any time, no-one else will bother, and you might even have an outside chance of making a space children can play in!
  4. Given that this is the main point of access to the Wetland Centre, would it not make complete sense to make pedestrian and cycle access easier? What better way to take traffic out of the junction?
  5. If nothing is being done to encourage other transport options, then this is just displacement activity: moving queueing traffic from this junction is surely going to push it out elsewhere.
  6. Elm Road is a good option for people who don’t want to cycle on the A306. Making it one way removes that option.
  7. The proposal is to extend the green signal time on one arm of the junction, but the junction needs all the light sequences evaluated for non-motorised vehicle use, so pedestrians have the opportunity to cross as well.
  8. Even, at the most basic, why not take the opportunity to paint some proper advance stop lines for cyclists at each arm of the junction?

Whilst the claim that ‘rat-running’ will reduced (see this) is obviously welcome, it’s hard to see how this isn’t going to be a bit more lipsticking of the proverbial pig by the traffic department. With no substantive change to layout, no attempt to adjust transport behaviour, and no recognition of other modes of transport, this is going to be an exercise in wasted money.

Perhaps worst of all, the junction will be simplified, and experience across the UK suggests that travel moves through less complex junctions at higher speeds, resulting in greater risk to vulnerable road user groups like pedestrians and cyclists. (Swindon’s magic roundabout is an object lesson in complexity leading to safety.)


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