Dr Johnson Avenue & Elmbourne Road: Where will the traffic go?

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The right turn into Elmbourne Road from Tooting Bec Road

Public meeting on proposed road closures affecting Tooting Common

In response to serious concerns expressed by residents at proposals to close or restrict roads on and around Tooting Common, the Labour councillors in two affected wards; Bedford and Furzedown, have called a public meeting.

The Council’s current plan is to close Dr Johnson Avenue, which crosses Tooting Common, and restrict entry into Elmbourne Road, which borders the Common. The meeting is on March 22 at Balham Seventh Day Adventist Church, 83 Elmfield Road, SW17 8AD from 7-8pm. 

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said “Residents are right to be concerned that they have not been properly consulted up to now and that the traffic implications of these proposals have not been properly thought through. Residents are worried that quiet residential roads will become rat runs and already congested roads will become even more congested”.

The proposal to close Dr Johnson Avenue has already been subject to public consultation, with 58 per cent of respondents backing the proposal. After this consultation was carried out, however, the Council added a proposal to restrict access to Elmbourne Road.

Sadiq Khan said: “It is this addition, which residents were not consulted on, and the displacement of traffic that it is likely to cause, that has worried so many people. Many of my constituents who were in favour of the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue are now asking why Elmbourne Road will be protected at the potential expense of other residential roads.”

The Labour Group in Wandsworth first raised their concerns when the paper was discussed at Committee. Since then the Labour councillors have written several letters to the Council repeating these concerns and suggesting alternative solutions.

The concerns include poor consultation, a lack of consultation for residents in Heritage Park and Streatham who may be impacted, inadequate traffic modelling and the absence of a mechanism by which residents can object to the proposals after the six month trial period should they wish to.

Solutions should include better consultation, traffic modelling over a much wider area, a traffic plan to avoid displacing traffic onto residential roads, improvements on Elmbourne Road -which has no pedestrian crossings – and altering the restrictions at the junction at Tooting Bec.”

Labour councillors in Furzedown and Bedford wards have written to Ravi Govindia, the Leader of Wandsworth Council, to reiterate the need for better consultation and traffic modelling.

Fleur Anderson, Labour councillor for Bedford ward, said: “Many people, myself included, are in favour of closing Dr Johnson Avenue, but without proper planning to deal with displaced traffic from Elmbourne Road, they feel anxious that these proposals will make the Common more people friendly at the expense of the surrounding roads where air quality could suffer. The thinking at present is just not joined up.”

The purpose of the meeting is to allow residents the opportunity to discuss these proposals and raise any concerns they have directly with their councillors.

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