Regular readers will recall I ran a petition in the autumn of 2013 called, 'Let's make Mitcham Lane safe for all'. I've updated the visual to the one below:
If you haven't already supported it, you can add your name via this link.
A little time has passed, local elections have come and gone. So to re-cap what happened after the petition was handed in.
My petition for Mitcham Lane was noted along with another petition from the local Labour councillors also calling for improvements on safety to Mitcham Lane and to help local businesses.
You can read the paper here. Worth noting that the Labour team voted against me speaking, decisions details for point 11 on this link. So much for Labour councillors speaking up for all the community, bit difficult to do that if they aren't prepared to listen.
Fast forward to March 2015, where we now have sight of these proposals on how to spend the Community Infrastructure Levy in Wandsworth, termed the Wandsworth Local Fund.
Turns out that Mitcham Lane is going to benefit from £424,000 worth of investment (see the paper here point 25).
Sadly, from my perspective, our local Labour councillors have decided that these funds should go towards:
Streetscape, business and environmental improvements (from Blegborough Road to Eardley Road including parts of Thrale and Westcote Roads).
Improvements to include carriageway resurfacing, footway reconstruction, de-cluttering of street furniture and removal of guardrail where it is safe to do so. Drainage will be upgraded where necessary. The existing parking layouts and times will be investigated to see what scope there is for additional facilities or changes to the hours of operation for the benefit of shoppers/businesses. The existing traffic management layout and crossing facilities will be investigated to see what improvements can be made to assist vulnerable users, pedestrians and cyclists.
(I should add, this is pending June committee approval)
The beady eyed amongst you will have noticed that these funds will go towards carriageway resurfacing. If I'm not mistaken, it's been barely a month since Mitcham Lane has been resurfaced.
I don't deny the fact that the proposed work is needed, or won't be an improvement. However, I would have preferred that we could have had cycle lanes as per my petition above. It would also be great, if each time the roads were due to be resurfaced, that our engineers were able to use their skills and knowledge to improve the roads (removing the centre white line is a simple example that comes to mind). Another petition asking the council to be more pro-active on this front is here.
However, it is the will of both the Labour and Conservative councillors who represent Wandsworth residents that for the engineers to be able to act we should wait for 3 people to be killed or seriously injured, or we should wait for a significant petition. There's a catch, which you may have noticed. I have petitioned.
In fact, I did stand as a Lib Dem candidate in the local elections. Yet our Labour councillors take a different view on road safety. They, like the conservatives, choose to ignore that Upper Tooting Road collisions are caused by people rat-running, and objected to trialling ideas that are proven to work in other places.
It wouldn't be my choice, but then, I'd really like to see safer streets. I question if the Labour team's choice of spending priority will deliver the greatest improvement to road safety.
Often people will ask me, isn't this already happening?
What they don't realise is that the people who have been elected have other priorities. The actions of our councillors speak louder than their words.
Labour's claim that they can't do anything without running the whole council is patently untrue. For local people who would really like to see serious action on road safety, I'm afraid neither of the two parties who've been elected to represent us locally are likely to deliver significantly.
On the plus side, I'm optimistic that a number of my petitions will work their way through the system in the not too distant future. With the support of local people, we will improve our streets and our area.