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Village Diary

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We want our High Street back!

Friday 17th May 2019

We want our High Street back!

During the recent consultation on 20MPH the HWA argued for main roads (bus routes) to remain at 30MPH whilst setting a 20MPH limit on residential/side roads.

Our reasoning was based on pollution effects (on which the jury is out), journey speeds (including public transport) and the need to discriminate positively on behalf of residential roads, in particular with respect to rat-running caused by vehicle satnavs.

If main roads are 30MPH while side streets are 20MPH most satnavs will direct through-traffic along the main road where it belongs – it’s the differential that counts.

We’d prefer residential roads to be mainly for residents, pedestrians and cyclists, NOT rat-runners.

The council was pressing for a blanket 20MPH limit on all roads in the borough. Through the consultation process, we did succeed in winning a couple of concessions – Between the Walls/Hampton Court Road/A308 won’t be reduced to 20MPH but will be reduced to 30MPH only – a victory for common sense. Upper Teddington Road/Kingston Road/A310 has also had a reprieve (subject to a separate review) and will remain at 30MPH for the time being.

We thank the councillors for at least saving these roads from 20MPH.

But wait! Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater!

As many of you will remember, the HWA has long campaigned for 20MPH on our High Street – the stretch from the roundabout at Kingston Bridge to the railway underbridge near the station, all 400 metres of it. Our High Street has extremely narrow pavements with residential homes and shops alike being very close to speeding traffic, especially in the evenings and at night. Once under the railway bridge (travelling in the Teddington direction), the road opens out and the buildings, flats and houses are set back much further from the road.

Of course at peak times, the traffic on the High Street can be virtually stationary so looking at average speeds is irrelevant. At other times, cars and lorries hurtle along at dangerous speeds. Even 30MPH makes the High Street feel a threatening place because of the narrowness of both the road and the pavements.

Let’s look on the bright side – a 20MPH limit would benefit businesses, shops, residents and shoppers alike.

So we’ll continue our campaign for a 20MPH limit on the 400 metre stretch that is Hampton Wick High Street.

If you agree that our High Street would benefit from being a 20MPH zone, why not show your support by emailing us at info@hamptonwick.org.uk.

NB: the time difference between travelling for 400m at 30MPH and 20MPH is 15 seconds! All we’re asking for is drivers to sacrifice 15 seconds for a greatly improved shopping and residential environment for our High Street. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

Please see below from our partially successful campaign. With regard to the HWA proposed 20MPH limit, we were told at the time: “The High Street is a major route so our hands are tied” and other similar excuses (see below). Now that these are as dead as the Monty Python parrot, maybe we can have our High Street back, please.

2008/2009 HWA campaign to improve Hampton Wick High Street.
We did indeed win various improvements during this campaign. We gained two pedestrian refuges towards the roundabout end of the High Street. These make it safer to cross and do reduce traffic speeds. At the railway bridge end there were plans to put a raised red coloured platform over the pedestrian crossing outside the station but following the global economic crisis that was emerging at the time, these plans – along with other improvemts were shelved, not to be seen again. We didn’t of course reach the holy grail of a 20MPH limit for our High Street.

November 2008