Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Political row over 10 yards


We have been keeping an eye on the Clayhall Avenue U-turn saga for some time now. We, Barkingside 21, get a lot of feedback on this issue mostly from people complaining about the congestion, safety issues and U-Turns (both legal and illegal), in Clayhall Avenue in between the width restriction and Woodford Avenue. This goes way back before the CCTV camera was installed there and started fining drivers for legal U-Turns in March 2011. Something that the council had to back-track on.

Since then officers have been asked by Area Committee 4 to examine extending the Traffic Management Order so that U-Turns are also banned in the gap just before the width restriction, but they could not make this decision on their own because this part of Clayhall Avenue is split between Areas 3 and 4. Area 3 were asked for their view and duly agreed to the proposal.

Then we had a petition from Hill Farm residents opposing the proposed ban extension and a post on the Roding councillors site dealing with the issue followed by a report in the Ilford Recorder.

In the meantime it was revealed that Transport for London had agreed to look into the possibility of providing a roundabout at the Clayhall Avenue/ Woodford Avenue junction. However, we all know how long these things take – it has taken several years to get signalisation and pedestrian crossings at Charlie Brown’s roundabout back onto the agenda and before that there was a lengthy campaign before the issue was buried.

And so it came to pass that Area 2 was consulted on this issue yesterday evening at their committee meeting and I decided to go along and listen to what they had to say. Now, at a council meeting I attended back in 2002 (Cllrs Bond and O’Shea were there) I was told in no uncertain terms by (then Cllr) Morris Hickey “a consultation is not a mandate”. And if I read the officer’s report correctly (paras 4.8 and 4.9) Areas 3 & 4 can proceed with this proposal provided they follow the correct protocol, no matter what Area 2 say or decide. However, Cllr Bond did say that “if Areas 3 & 4 make the wrong [sic!] decision there are still ways that it can be challenged”.

In the end they decided to oppose the proposal by 7 votes to 4 with Cllr O’Shea voting with the 6 Liberal Democrats. I won’t bore you with the arguments put forward by Cllrs Deakins and Bond - they are documented quite well on their website linked to above.

What I want to draw attention to here is that the most critical and insightful comment of the evening was (it seemed) completely ignored by everybody except me, and came ironically from the one councillor who abstained on the vote – Cllr Turbefield.

What he pointed out, but not quite in this way, was this: if the U-Turn ban is extended up to the width restriction it does not prevent U-Turns the other side of the width restriction - a matter of about 10 yards. So all the talk of inconvenience, long detours and rat running traffic through Clayhall is nonsense.

The U-Turns will just carry on 10 yards up the road.

How much council time, effort and tax£s has all this activity cost?

20 comments:

  1. And the "Recorder" (the source of all knowledge geographic) tells us that Clayhall Avenue is in Goodmayes!

    So not only do at least two LidDem councillors admit to the offence of deliberately ignoring mandatory traffic signs, they then make a decision based on their own personal convenience.

    Outrageous hypocrisy.

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    1. Well spotted Morris. I missed that. But I have to say I spoke to the reporter and he is new, so it's up to us to ejucate him.
      As for the LibDems we have to recognise that U-Turns just before the width restriction are currently legal.

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    2. And perhaps we ought also to recognise that Lib Dems are becoming quite expert at U-turns.

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  2. my experience with this junction which I used every morning both approaches for many a year (some time ago now) was that the people u turning here was that they wanted to use roding lane and the industrial sites along that side of woodford avenue and not to get to south woodford as mentioned in the newspaper report.i used to go to hatton school and would travel from Charlie browns and go all the way up to the longwood gardens roundabout and back onto the woodford avenue west bound but I don't think people realise that they can do this or don't want to as the traffic is bad,i have noticed that several businesses are improving along this stretch so investment is a great idea and in my opinion a roundabout with traffic lights (like gants hill roundabout ) is a great idea.

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  3. I did hear Cllr Turbefield's comments but don't draw the same conclusions from them as the author. Whether or not U-turns up Clayhall Avenue would be allowed, in the event of an extended ban, would depend on the nature of the Traffic Order being proposed. It is quite possible that such a TMO could ban u-turns for some distance north east of the width restriction.

    If, on the other hand, U-turns beyond the width restriction were to be allowed, this would surely be worse than the current situation. The road layout in front of the restriction does at least enable a u-turn to be carried out safely in an area where there are rarely pedestrians and where oncoming traffic is in single file and speed-controlled owing to the width restriction itself. Replacing this with a free-for-all in Clayhall Avenue beyond the restriction would clearly be less safe, and do nothing to calm drivers travelling down that road. Furthermore it is likely some drivers would choose instead to drive into Claybury Broadway and turn round using the parking spaces there, which would create yet another problem.

    Ian

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    1. 1. Well, that's possible but it's not what is being proposed.
      2. U-Turns beyond the width restriction are allowed now, and always have been, and they do occur quite frequently.

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    2. And Claybury Broadway is already used in this way NOW.

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  4. A simpler, quicker and cheaper solution would be to install traffic lights linking Roding Lane North and South.

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    1. As it happens Cllr Bond did mention this as a possible solution at that meeting, But given TfLs track record I somehow doubt it will be quicker and cheaper. See post above on Charlie Brown's.
      Also back in about 2000 it was proposed to open up this junction for the 306 bus route which didn't materialise partly because TfL rejected the traffic lights as there would then be 3 sets too close together.
      A roundabout there instead of at the Clayhall Avenue junction might be an option though? ie addressing the problem rather than the sympton.

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    2. And the traffic lights at the "Greengate", King George Avenue, Newbury Park Station, Aldborough Road? All put in by TfL, so why not Roding Lane too?

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    3. Yes please. Naseem

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  5. Try getting out of claybury Broadwaywhen somebody decides to do a u turn to gain a time advantage. It's almost impossible, the cars doing this stop at angles blocking the road and if you want to turn right to go up clayhall avenue you get stuck until these vehicles finally move. There is a problem here and we need to rectify it. The argument put forward by cllr bond that it might take some of his residents longer is no reason to add pressure to those who are residents of the wards concerned, clayhall and Fulwell and who are forced to sit in traffic due to those undertaking u turns. This adds time to their journeys as well, but they apparently don't count as much ! One sided or what?

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    1. extract from Redbridge-i website

      When the Council introduces parking or moving traffic restrictions it does so because it has a responsibility to make its roads as safe as possible and to try to ensure the free movement of traffic. We have to try and balance the needs of motorists, local residents and businesses with a huge number of other local factors such as ensuring vehicles can move freely, bus journey times, the safety of children walking to school and the need to restrict blind turns and increase motorist’s visibility.

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  6. Just to confirm clayhall avenue is in clayhall in the wards of clayhall and fullwell. It is not in Goodmayes or Barkingside, and it definitely isn't in Roding . We have the argument of time saving by cllr bond for his residents as well as some who work nearby - not residents, what we don't have is consideration for those patiently queuing in clayhall avenue and having time added to their journey due to the effect of those undertaking u turns, especially those blocking the entrance to Claybury Broadway. Obviously the additional time spent by residents of Clayhall and Full well is not important! How thoughtful.

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    1. Nor, apparently, is the additional and totally unnecessary air pollution of any evident significance to Councillor Bond

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  7. been thinking about this and I have decided that if it were up to me I would buy up the pub (think its the cocked hat) as it is probably only a matter of time........ and would create an underpass as there is already one there, but would make it have a roundabout with access to roding lane north and south.. we must also remember that the gallows corner area of the a12 and a 127 is long over due for development with its scary flyover but also that the plough pub there has been kept undeveloped for years (wonder why) but I do think that with the Chinese buying up the dock area around the docklands airport the traffic is definitely going to increase ....however I am a housewife who knows nothing and certainly does not have a certificate to say otherwise nor a great education.....but as paul weller said you dont have to be a scientist to study the world....well kind of

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  8. And so it came to pass that Area 4 Committee reaffirmed their decision to proceed with the U-Turn ban in Clayhall Avenue at its meeting last night, 29th January 2014. See Agenda item here
    As it says this decision is subject to the requisitioning procedure. This means that if the Roding cllrs requisition the decision it will go to Full Council, probably in March.
    There are 17 cllrs on Areas 3&4 and only 7 LibDems ...

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    1. There are 18 councillors on Areas 3 and 4 (3 wards each with 3 councillors on each area committee) and no Lob Dims on either committee. I do agree, however, that Area 3 has effectively only 8 councillors.

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    2. Morris is teaching me new tricks: how to unsettle nine people with the innocuous statement that one of them is not effective. I go to Area 3 meetings and I cannot work out which one Morris is talking about!

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