Transport for London Streetspace changes to the A24 (Balham High Road, Upper Tooting Road, Tooting High Street)

Residents who live near the A24 should have received this letter (pdf) from Transport for London (“TfL”) today. Installation work is set to begin in mid-late July 2020, ie in the next couple of weeks.

The changes set out in the letter are part of TfL’s Streetspace for London programme, which will create more space for people to safely walk and cycle. As the letter says:

As London continues to emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown we will need to find new ways to travel. Enabling social distancing to happen on public transport as lockdown restrictions are eased will mean everyone who can do so will need to find alternative ways to travel. Public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary. However, if the number of trips taken by private vehicles increases, London will grind to a halt, with essential deliveries and emergency services stuck in gridlock. That’s why, together with London’s boroughs, we are developing the Streetspace programme to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle.

The programme will both help Londoners to walk and cycle more often, and enable them to safely social distance while they do so. It will also help improve our air quality, making London greener.

Our scheme between Balham and Colliers Wood is part of this wider programme. This is a strategic cycling corridor which follows the Northern Line from Colliers Wood to Elephant and Castle with connections onwards to City of London. Our plans will help to reduce pressure on the Northern Line and assist local buses by making it safer for people to walk and cycle through the area.

The changes are set out in the letter and on the maps. The changes will be made on a temporary basis, and include:

  • New lightly segregated cycle lanes using wands similar to the ones shown in the photo in the letter
  • Bus stop bypasses for cycles wherever possible which will also provide further footway for pedestrians
  • Existing bus lanes will be converted to 24/7, except for the bus lane between Totterdown Street to Mitcham Road southbound which will be 7am-7pm.
  • Bus lanes increased across the scheme by 190m. A section of bus lane is however being removed between southbound between Ritherdon Road and Tooting Bec Road to provide cycling facilities and a new 24hr bus lane created between 215 Balham High Road to Ritherdon Road southbound. Further small increases in bus lane length throughout the scheme.
  • Improved footway to allow social distancing along Balham High Road, Chestnut Grove and at the junction of Mitcham Road/Tooting High Street
  • No entry (except cycles) from A24 onto Balham Park Road, Dafforne Road, Noyna Road, Fircroft Road, Foulser Road, Topsham Road, Mandrake Road and Ansell Road
  • No right turn onto A24 (except cycles) from Trinity Crescent, Dafforne Road, Noyna Road, Fircroft Road, Foulser Road, Topsham Road, Mandrake Road, Brudenell Road, Lynwood Road, Gatton Road and Selkirk Road.
  • No left turn onto A24 (except cycles) from Trevelyan Road
  • No left turn (except cycles) from A24 onto Chestnut Grove, Brudenell Road, Lynwood Road, Derinton Road, Woodbury Street, Gilbey Road and Sellincourt Road
  • No left turn (except cycles and buses) from A24 onto Ritherdon Road and Balham Station Road
  • No right turn (except cycles) from A24 onto Totterdown Street
  • Multiple parking and loading bays will be removed from A24. Most loading and disabled bays will be relocated to nearby side roads. On side roads you will be able to load in marked bays between 10am-4pm Mon-Sun for a max time of 20 minutes.
  • Disabled bays will be in operation for max 3hrs.

For Bedford ward, the relevant changes are shown in this map (extracted from the letter):

The letter sets out the next steps and who you can contact about this:

Next steps

Although we are not undertaking a formal consultation on this scheme, we would like to know about your experiences of it once it is in place. We will be monitoring the effects of the Streetspace programme over the coming months and hope many of the schemes we are introducing could become permanent additions to London’s walking and cycling network.

We would need to undertake a consultation on any scheme we propose be made permanent, and we will use the outcome of any consultation to help decide which schemes we should take forward over the next 18 months.

If you have any comments about the effects of our scheme, or suggestions for changes or improvements we might make, please let us know at streetspacelondon@tfl.gov.uk

The associated public notice is on the Wandsworth Guardian website here: https://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/announcements/public_notices/notice/134603.ROAD_TRAFFIC_REGULATION_ACT_1984/

The A24 is a Greater London Authority road, which means that it is controlled by TfL, rather than by the various councils that the A24 passes through. Ultimately, TfL can make whatever changes it wants to this road (within legal boundaries). That said, we understand that TfL has consulted on these changes with the three London councils that Cycle Superhighway 7 passes through: Lambeth Council, Wandsworth Council, and Merton Council. As ward councillors, we were not involved in the development of these changes.

These changes are separate to the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) that Wandsworth Council is planning to install, but both are part of the Streetspace programme. See this post for further details on LTNs.

31 thoughts on “Transport for London Streetspace changes to the A24 (Balham High Road, Upper Tooting Road, Tooting High Street)

  1. timothy young

    I write as a cyclist who uses Balham High Road.and also as a driver who uses the same. I am appalled by the changes which are being proposed (without any or any proper consultation, I believe). They will make not only the main road but also all the residential roads in the whole area both congested and fume-laden. I have cycled for many years without problem by the simple expedient of a little care and attention – I am more terrorised by speeding (and selfish) cyclists than car drivers who in my experience are suitably respectful of cyclists.
    I can think of no sound reason for the proposed changes other than the desire to make excess money from fines.
    I have no idea who plans these things but they cannot be road users and must simply hate cars. They are unfit for employment in traffic management and should not withsdtand another election. .

    Reply
    1. Ian Freeman

      Well said Timothy. This is a shambles of a plan. How are people meant to get to and from home with no left/right turns between Balham station and Tooting Bec? What about delivery drivers, those transporting the elderly and people taking kids to/picking up from school? Increased traffic will chew up local side streets, increase pollution and inconvenience for residents and result in increased ‘road rage’. The plan is ill thought-out and utterly ridiculous – it probably looked great on paper, though!

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    2. Tim

      As the owner of a small business in the parade of shops between Marius rd and Du cane Ct we are deeply concerned that this will have a major detrimental impact upon us all.The Disabled bay and loading bay outside Porters the estate agents is being removed.This is used by numerous businesses and local people.There is constant drop off of patients to the Balham pk surgery,many drop dry cleaning to the dry cleaners ,the hairdressers has a number of clients with mobility problems dropped off,the chip shop has many deliveries including the transport of very heavy fat supplies ,the convenience store is a parcel drop off shop and has packages picked up/dropped off every day,the chemists has numerous deliveries.Deliveroo and Uber eats all park for a few moments for the Indian and Chinease restaurants that serve the local area.In a time when all small businesses are struggling i find these proposals amazing poorly considered.Narrowing the rd will make things considerably worse for all concerned.

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      1. S Bentine

        As a Balham resident I didnt receive the tfl letter. The scheme will be hugely detrimental to local businesses and residents alike. Plus it seems to be incompatible with the proposed traffic calming scheme for Elmbourne road and Heaver Estate and the closure of Bedford hill and oakmeadcroad which has already gridlock Balham increasing journey times mileage and pollution

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    3. Lauren

      It is an absolute shambles out there! My fear is that an elderly person or someone with mobility issues who relies on the buses will be getting off and get knocked over by a cyclist speeding through the new cycle lane/bus crossing nonsense!

      I don’t understand why some of these very busy roads used as a cut through and help the traffic to flow instead of backing up are now no entry/no left turn/no right turn. This will not encourage more cyclists and whilst the weather is nice yes the cycle lane will be extremely popular. However come winter when its wet and cold and dark we’re going to see some serious issues, injuries, accidents and nothing but traffic!

      Most definitely not a road user who has “planned” this, they must have been inebriated and upset at cars when they decided to create this… I hope TfL soon realises the error and reinstates the normal road rules we have been using for decades.

      This in conjunction with Wandsworth Council’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood has already caused more traffic than we have seen since March.

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  2. M

    Question re the A24. Driving from Balham to Tooting Broadway and wanting to turn right at Trinity Road. There is a “no right turn except buses” sign that seems to be lit at certain hours of the day. Does anyone know the hours? If that sign is lit, the next right turn will be Beechcroft which has no filter and very limited time for turning right…. Will these timings be checked before the “improvements” are put in place?

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  3. V. Gregory

    Given the Coronavirus situation and the dire impact it is having on work, increasing the costs for me to get through parts of south London is just another nail in the coffin. The longer it takes to get to customer sites the harder it is for me to work. Blocking off Before Hill down to Balham High Road is great idea on Saturdays and Sundays, the rest of the week it’s a nonsense. There also seems to be some kind of wide pavement island being built between Balham Park Road and Chestnut Grove. This narrows the the road down from 2 lanes to one lane for about 10 metres. Please would someone explain why money is being spent on this. It’s forcing buses into the right and is going to cause a bottleneck.

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  4. Sara Green

    Like others I am also appalled about the changes being made to the A24 and especially the stretch from Balham to Tooting Bec without any real democratic consultation planned.

    The reasons given in the TfL mailing dated 9th July 2020 suggest the ‘Streetspace programme is to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle. The programme will both help Londoners to walk and cycle more often, and enable them to safely social distance while they do so. It will also help improve our air quality, making London greener… the scheme between Balham and Colliers Wood is part of this wider programme.’ all in light of the guidance at this present time that asks that people don’t use public transport unless essential and to prevent a London grinding to a halt through increased vehicular usage.

    What is proposed however doesn’t seem to resolve this matter in the slightest. In a city the size of London it is not possible for everyone to walk or cycle everywhere and in this area in particular where pavements are already significantly wider than in others for pedestrians and there are cycle lanes already in place, it seems that all this new round of changes will result in is exactly what TfL suggests it is trying to avoid which is traffic grinding to a halt and increased air pollution as cars travelling up and down the A24 are stuck in long slow moving queues.

    I note that vehicular access to many of the roads on either side of Balham High Road will no longer be possible once TfL changes are implemented. I would like to know why these changes are being imposed and without any trial period given the extent to which they will impact on all the people who live and work in this area. I also consider that preventing vehicles from accessing some of the roads on either side of Balham High Road but not all roads will only lead to other roads being put under much greater pressure. I would like to know on what basis some roads have been selected rather than others. For example one road that has been identified for no left turn to vehicles travelling south towards Tooting Bec is the very widest road in this area, Ritherdon Road, which has the greatest capacity for local traffic. With other actual and planned road closures around Bedford Hill, Tooting Bec Common and the Heaver estate, of which Ritherdon Road is part, this does not make any sense not least because it will force people who live and work in this area into taking unnecessarily circuitous routes, finding other ways round and driving further to access their own homes and businesses each day. This is clearly environmentally unsound and not well thought out for the people who live, work and run businesses here.

    Sara Green

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  5. Wandsworth resident

    I do not know a single local resident who received any consultation document, link or information regarding this. It is a terrible plan, rushed and ill thought through. It is also deliberately confusing and none of the consultation website links work and work was due to start 2 weeks after they were allegedly issued? Not much of a consultation then is it really. What a joke.

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  6. caspar mann

    As usual Tfl is imposing its doctrine of promoting walking and cycling without any thought to the impact on all who live, have business or pass through Balham.Unless the objective is to create gridlock just for the sake of it, this new street furniture, narrowing Balham high road, is a complete disaster.Surely the objective of Tfl should be to ensure free flow of traffic on the routes they want traffic to travel on .Cars, vans and trucks are, whether we like it or not, a part of the life we live.Creating chaos on the road just to force people to reconsider unnecessary car journeys is a hopelessly blunt and stupid approach with many unintended consequences.Many people are compelled to drive unfortunately, cycling 15 miles to work is not for everyone.
    Standstill traffic is good for no-one , worse still, it encourages people to look for alternatives down residential streets.If only we could implement changes that actually added real value rather than making what is in effect a pathetic gesture to promoting green credentials in name only while actually causing genuine harm in the process.

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  7. caspar mann

    As usual Tfl is imposing its doctrine of promoting walking and cycling without any thought to the impact on all who live, have business or pass through Balham.Unless the objective is to create gridlock just for the sake of it, this new street furniture, narrowing Balham high road, is a complete disaster.Surely the objective of Tfl should be to ensure free flow of traffic on the routes they want traffic to travel on .Cars, vans and trucks are, whether we like it or not, a part of the life we live.Creating chaos on the road just to force people to reconsider unnecessary car journeys is a hopelessly blunt and stupid approach with many unintended consequences.Many people are compelled to drive unfortunately, cycling 15 miles to work is not for everyone.
    Standstill traffic is good for no-one , worse still, it encourages people to look for alternatives down residential streets.If only we could implement changes that actually added real value rather than making what is in effect a pathetic gesture to promoting green credentials in name only while actually causing genuine harm in the process.

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  8. Hilary Jenks

    I agree with all the above comments. Balham High Road between Tooting Bec and Balham Station has become a permanent traffic jam. I am disabled and the Disabled Bay outside Balham Park surgery has been removed. This road has always been congestion free and it is now a nightmare, along with all the other changes proposed. I live on the Heaver Estate in Manville and it now feels totally locked in and I have to think how to get anywhere. Bedford Hill also closed. Balham High Road is a direct route to St Georges Hospital. There is now nowhere for cars to pull in to allow Ambulances to get to the hospital. As Mayor Khan lives in Tooting, he will know what we are all furious about. By the time letters showing the changes arrived all this stuff was already in construction. Do we want the economy to recover, and help small businesses to survive then whoever makes these decisions should be fired.

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  9. Ian McKay

    The cycle lane/LTN scheme appears to make no sense for Balham.

    I live just off Balham High Road and received no letter of notification of plans or leaflet suggesting where more info could be found. There has also clearly been no consultation period with the wider community.

    Further:
    1. There was already an observed cycle superhighway which appeared to be working broadly satisfactorily.
    2. Each bus stop has been pushed into the road meaning every time the bus stops, so does all the traffic. This, combined with the closing of side roads, rather than promoting transport use because cars will be slower than buses actually forces people into cars to sit in comfort in the same traffic jam as the bus – raising pollution levels. As stated elsewhere, gridlocked roads are also of no help to emergency services.
    3. Each bus stop forces passengers to cross the cycle lane which, if TfL are to be taken at their word, will be full of speeding cyclists. Accidents are more likely for older and less nimble bus passengers unable to leap aside from bikers.
    4. The ramps created to give step free access to bus passengers are too steep/abrupt for cyclists. The effective kerb they have to mount will cause accidents and annoyance resulting in more cyclists using the smoother pavements.
    5. Where bus stops previously had off-carriageway pull-ins, these have been by-passed so buses have to stop in the middle of the road. Again stopping traffic and raising pollution levels.
    6. The pavements between Tooting Bec and Balham stations were not confined and always offered plenty of space for pedestrians.
    7. A number of existing bus lanes have become cordoned-off cycle only lanes creating greater congestion.
    8. The scheme is a summer scheme and makes no allowance for the 9 months a year the sun is not shining – unless TfL intend erecting a roof over the capital’s whole cycle lane.
    9. Perhaps some work between TfL and Google Maps would stop the algorithms suggesting the rat runs as quicker alternate routes along with some steeper, more regular ‘sleeping policemen’.

    I applaud the idea of reducing car use and pollution levels but this scheme does nothing to improve the situation, with much of it already in place, it is clearly making things worse. Although Draconian, it is likely better to actually ban cars and provide better transport than expect this to do anything other than take us back to the jams 70s and 80s.

    Ian

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  10. Charlotte Hamilton

    This is a ridiculous and ill conceived plan. I am both a cyclist and road user. The no left turn into Ritherdon Road from the A24 is nonsensical. Especially as you can’t access Bedford Hill directly from the A24 now either. All this achieves is putting increased pressure on the high road, forces car users into much longer work around routes (more congestion, more pollution) and clogs up the smaller residential streets which (with parking) are simply not designed for two cars to pass adequately.
    The fact that you are sneaking this in under ‘no consultation due to COVID is very underhand’. And don’t get me started on the poor businesses on the high road that had short term parking spaces removed.

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  11. Daniel Collar

    As a working London Black cab driver from Balhami am flabbergasted at the restrictions inposed upon us in the area of Balham station,it has become impossible to work this area,No left turn into Balham station Road from Balham High Road,No access to Rossiter and Sistova roads,No left turn into Balham Park Road and Chestnut Grove,who ever came up with these restrictions has caused incalcuble damage to Buisnesses and ordenary local people ,how am i able to pick up my dissabled passengers,how much moe expensive will it be because of the grid lock in Balham Station Road,Sainsburys car park in accesable from Balham High Road because of theno left turn into Balham staion Road,these draconian impositions are outrageous,highly damaging to everyone and created problems that did not exsist before,only someone with a malicious agender,or some group of incompetent individuals could have come up with these ridiculous plans,i just cant believe this has happend!

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  12. T Jan

    The new restrictions are utterly ridiculous especially when we’ve been encouraged not to use public transport. As much as I would like to walk everywhere, it’s just not always possible especially when wanting to do a large grocery shop. Accessing Sainsbury’s car park is a nightmare with the no left turn and single file traffic at the traffic junction with Balham High Rd and Station Approach. I don’t have time to do daily shopping trips on foot as can’t carry everything; I’m sure others would be in the same boat and not everyone will be able to cycle everywhere.
    The High Road/Bedford Hill were already busy at rush hour but manageable. However these measures will just bring the traffic to a standstill with more idling traffic polluting the air. The cycle lanes that were in place seemed to be efficient and the pavements are already wider than average in some parts allowing people to social distance. By removing the parking bays, local businesses will definitely suffer due to less footfall. All in a time where we’re meant to be helping support our local businesses- it just seems incredulous to impose such a scheme.
    That together with the LTN restrictions have made Balham a nightmare to navigate around and made journeys to all other destinations such as Streatham, Clapham, Furzedown, Wimbledon, Dulwich and further afield unnecessarily longer and stressful. Once schools return in Sept, it will cause more chaos. Drivers will find alternative routes down whatever side roads are available thus only really pushing the problem to these streets and angering their residents.
    And let’s not mention the amount of money already spent implementing traffic calming measures around Tooting Common and inconvenience to all residents this caused. The council could have at least waited a few months to see if these improved traffic before imposing the LTN.

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  13. Vincent Farrow

    These changes have created a traffic nightmare around Balham – and another complete over-reaction to Covid-19. Bedford Hill needs to be reopened immediately and the the majority of the new no left or right turns removed. Congestion is a awful and simply getting back to my own house in Fernlea Road now entails huge detours.

    I would question the authority of any of the anyone to make such wholesale changes without proper consultation. I am a law abiding middle aged Englishman – but this could be first time that I feel moved to take direct action and dismantle these road blocks myself.

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  14. Becki128

    I would agree with all the comments above

    I live in Tooting Bec and I am absolutely horrified by the mess that is being created on Balham High Road . The bollards denoting the bike lane are already bent and scuffed after only a week ..in parts the road will be so narrow once they have been added on the other side . Extending the bollards into the path of the road at turnings is frightening, cars are cutting corners and ignoring the bollards to make the turning , an accident waiting to happen .

    Traffic is constantly backed up the High Street creatibg Sar more pollution .

    Combined with the equally mad scheme from Wandsworth Council going on on the side streets which is being implemented in a similar way it is so depressing . As if life isn’t confusing and difficult enough at the moment .

    I have loved in Balham and Tooting Bec for 25 years and can honestly say this makes me feel like moving away .

    To add all of this with a consultation after the event In the name of Covid measures is insulting to local residents, it is both unacceptable and a total waste of money and effort

    Everyone agrees with encouraging bike use and walking more , and reducing pollution but this is no way to go about it .

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  15. MH Sammut

    Both the TfL scheme and the various WBC LTN schemes have blighted the local areas.

    1. Introducing both at the same time make it impossible to assess the impacts of either fairly and independently,
    2. they are not welcome by the local residents whose lives they puport to improve, indeed even cyclists have set up petitions against them.

    The opening banner of this message says “listening to local people”, seems to me you’re not listening at all. You may not have any responsiiblity for the TfL scheme but as ward councillors it is important that you report the views of the majority of your constituents/ I also note that you make very little mention of the disastrous LTNs which have been introduced by WBC. These are very much within your remit, its about time both the local Councillors and our MP started listening to local people.

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  16. Nancy pickett

    I am a big supporter of a greener London and a safe place for cyclists. However, this scheme which we certainly did not receive details of so we could comment prior to its implemtation is very poorly thought out. Rather than cut down traffic it has created a situation where drivers are in their cars longer trying to find routes where the traffic is moving. For small businesses you have removed their parking spaces which allow short term parking this will be detrimental to their success. You have created road blocks as you have kept open the roads in Balham which are already know to be gridlocked. Who on earth would make main artery roads going past the entrances to the main food shops namely Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. As for the emergency services getting to St. George’s hospital a patient would get there faster if they walked. Sadly I feel lives will be threatened With this new scheme. Nobody in their right mind can think anything positive exits with this obviously very rapidly thought out scheme by someone who clearly doesn’t go out much

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  17. Paul Willson

    TFL and Wandsworth seem to be indicating that opinions are mixed but so far I have only seen negative comments which I totally agree with. There has been no consultation and no letters received I live no more than a 100 yards from the A24 but no letter. We are supposed to be a democracy but we are more like a dictatorship TFL and Wandsworth Council have little or no regard for us perhaps it is time for a change of Mayor for London and Council for Wandsworth the Conservatives just do not seem to care.

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  18. Shoaib

    What an absolute waste of money! I am a cyclist and a driver. This just smells dirty! You cannot block the roads and force everyone to cycle and walk! I drop my wife and son to work and school respectively. It is extremely short sighted. Based on anecdotal evidence, it hasn’t made any impact on the amount of cyclist! In fact, it’s only made it worse for everyone as it’s causing huge traffic jams which is increasing the pollution! What an I’ll conceived plan!

    The average person will not be inclined to buy a bike or walk 10 miles into central London for work!

    Sort yourselves out! This is an absolute shambles and a grotesque spending of public funds! I do not pay taxes only to be told that I should abandon my car and and cycle 8 miles to make school runs with my 7 year old at the back when winter does finally come!

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  19. dawn

    Once again another ill thought out plan made by those sitting in offices and have no actual knowledge of the area or how it impacts people who live there. For instance if there is no left hand turn from Balham High Road into Station Road how on earth are people meant to get into Sainsburys car park to do their shopping. You cannot go down Bedford Hill from Balham High Road (if Bedford Hill is actually open) and then turn right into Station Road (as this is a prohibited right turn). Totally ill though out.

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  20. adrian

    Balham and Tooting are now gridlocked. Far from encouraging cyclists and use of public transport everything about this scheme achieves the opposite of the supposed benefits. The cycle lanes give a false sense of security – I’ve already witnessed several near misses as cars turn into side roads. When the inevitable accidents do happen survivability will be questionable since emergency service vehicles will be stuck in traffic. I have seen an ambulance stuck in traffic for over ten minutes – I assume the council and TFL are aware of response time for a heart attack?
    People won’t use buses because the bus lanes have been given over to cycles and buses are now stuck in the same congestion as everyone else. People won’t want to walk through highly polluted streets and the same applies to cycling which is a aerobic pursuit.
    Pollution must be significantly increased and it has been demonstrated that pollution is a significant contributor to the severity of Covid 19 symptoms. I can’t imagine any serious thought has been expended on these plans – goodness only know the costs involved.

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  21. Argos kev

    These changes may well impact people that live off the a24 but will be a nightmare for lgv drivers that have to drop to domestic properties we don’t take 30ft long 8ft wide lorry’s down side roads for fun we try to stay on main roads as long as possible ,now we are made to drive passed the road are delivery is on , then find a place to turn round and come back or take the next road on the same side and try to find a way through without taking wing mirrors off .

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  22. Lynne Mclaren

    This is outrageous – I am a balham resident and pay rates and taxes and I am speechless at this traffic mess and grid lock in Balham and Tooting. I am completely appalled at this shambolic mess and I am both a cyclist and driver. Remove these barriers and separated cycle lanes how dare you miss-spend my rates money on this plan. No community nurses,doctors,ambulances or fire trucks can make their way. The people who came up and implemented this plan should be completely toasted then fired – how you have miss read the public response is very short sighted. We need to become more like the French and Express how we feel about this new traffic plan.

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  23. Jonathan W.

    Dear Sirs,

    I write to you as a commuter, a resident, a cyclist, a pedestrian, and as someone who takes public transport.

    I write regarding the “Streetspace for London programme”, which works were recently carried out without consultation and “on a temporary basis”, with a view to becoming permanent. For this reason, I sincerely feel that I must write to you to provide feedback as part of your post-works consultation, so that you have a frank view and can legitimately and reasonably consider whether these works should become permanent, which I suggest for the reasons below they absolutely should not.

    I received a letter from TFL (but not the letter detailed on your site) days before the works were carried out. As you are fully aware, this letter came far too late in the day (clearly so that people could not object to it) and it was not possible for any resident or local business person to understand the consequences of your actions at the time.

    I have since had a look at your website ( http://www.becandbalhamlabour.org/2020/07/14/transport-for-london-streetspace-changes-to-the-a24-balham-high-road-upper-tooting-road-tooting-high-street/ ) to see all the local changes but you have made. At present there are only 14 comments on this site, which all state that the works you have carried out are ill-thought through and a mess. I have spent the last month as a resident living in the area and also working from home, and suffering the consequences of these works. As a resident, a commuter, a cyclist, a pedestrian and someone who takes public transport, I entirely agree that these works are ill-thought through, misconceived, unnecessary, a waste of public funds we have worked hard for (at a time when I thought the council has spent a lot / enough of money?). And it’s an insult to cyclists.

    According to your website “transport as lockdown restrictions are eased will mean everyone who can do so will need to find alternative ways to travel. Public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary. However, if the number of trips taken by private vehicles increases, London will grind to a halt, with essential deliveries and emergency services stuck in gridlock. That’s why, together with London’s boroughs, we are developing the Streetspace programme to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle.”

    Unfortunately, the very thing you intend to avoid, is what you have just made substantially worse. If you look at the junction between Balham High Road and Chestnut Grove, it is absolute gridlock. For the sake of cyclists, you have put all traffic, including buses, into a single lane. Firstly this puts pedestrians in the cyclists’ way. Have you ever cycled in London? Particularly in the autumn and winter, when it’s dark? The vast majority of pedestrians going on to bus stop islands (including this one) and coming off them do not look left and right for cyclists. They simply walk straight out on to the make-shift pedestrian crossing you have created. I have already witnessed several accidents there. All you have done is increase the chances of an accident with a cyclist, made substantially more likely on a dark rainy day in autumn / winter.

    Also, how do you intend that we all commute to work? I work up town 6 miles away. The only way I can get into work is cycling or public transport. Most days I would cycle, however other days if I have a client meeting I take public transport. What is the point of having buses if they are stuck in a traffic jam? Due to covid, I will not be taking underground for the near future, months or years, therefore the outcome of what you have done is that I can not take public transport at all to work. Therefore, I’m left with cycling, which worked absolutely fine before with the “Cycle Super Highway” which as you’ll recall cost approximately £20 million and your / TFL’s contractors somehow unbelievably laid the wrong slippery blue paint !!! What kind of a nanny state do we live in where TFL and you can not trust cyclists to be able to cycle to and from their work? We already had tarmacked roads, we have traffic lights, we have a super highway, we have high vis cyclists clothing, but most importantly we also have common sense. Cyclists don’t need you creating some non-sensical road system to stop vehicles taking turns. We cycle all over the town and you have taken it upon yourselves to do this for us, because you supposedly don’t trust us to cycle with common sense. And because of you, vehicles can’t turn left or right across Balham, and people will blame it on the cyclists. How dare you. And have you seen the width of these pitiful bollarded cycle lanes you’ve built, they’re not even wide enough for us to overtake one another. It’s just a pathetic shambles that does nothing to improve the cyclists’ experience. But, based on the assumptions you’ve made, we have no common sense so what do we know?!?

    The money you have just wasted on doing these “temporary works … with a view to going permanent“ is just ridiculous, at a time when we are already at a record national debt level, this is not a time to be wasting money on superfluous works. How much did they cost? So Boris issues a bewildering “let’s get back to work” statement issued by his chief rule-maker and breaker, Cummings, and you take it upon yourselves to come up with this half-baked plan. It’s just embarrassing.

    Within the area of the works are schools, emergency services, churches, businesses, homes and recreational areas. What you have done in one fell swoop is single-handedly make it simply harder to commute to work, to take children to school, to go to church, for an ambulance to come through (they are stuck in the traffic, look for yourselves), black cabs to and from the Balham station taxi rank cannot get through, delivery vans have nowhere to stop, deliveries cannot take place, and traffic is stuck in the heavy congestion, which was not there before. Which means you have high levels of pollution. Can you not see that what you had done for the sake of the cyclists is just a mess, and counter-productive?

    Also, look at the road outside Gail’s on Balham High Road, you have taken away all of the delivery bays and, for some odd reason, you have put in a bend in the cycle lane. Do you had any idea how dangerous this is for the cyclists? You’re expecting cyclists to turn the bend at speed. Why? Have you ever cycled London streets and turned on such bend at speed? It is simply dangerous and ill-thought through. This will cause accidents and on your head be it.

    Even on a ‪Saturday morning‬, I’m now not able to drive my children to their swimming class because of the congestion that you have created in the backstreets, as traffic tries to circumvent the enormous gridlock you have created on Balham High Road. This therefore means that I now need to spend another hour walking to and from the swimming lesson on a ‪Saturday morning‬, which you’ll appreciate my family and I are not for grateful for, never mind the other residents and parents. I thought your works were to make things easier? Have a look for yourselves.

    I should also mention that, because of your works and the now-outlawed lefts and rights, I cannot even return by car from the GP practice at Balham Park Surgery. If and when I’m not well, what is the point of having a GP practice I cannot drive to? You have also taken away the car park spaces and the loading bays outside the nearby shops, why? So I have nowhere to park. Why? Again, all for the sake of cyclists, of which I am one.

    Look at the traffic at the junction between Balham High Road Chestnut Grove. It is totally congested, impossible drive through and a total misery. You already have a main junction, where the Underground intersects with the overground, it is a vital junction coming into London from the south. Balham was once called the “gateway to the south”. Now it’s more like the “gateway to the traffic jam“. Trying to get anywhere now, whether by car, bus or bicycle, in Balham is an absolute misery.

    Whilst I’m a resident of the local area and work up town, I can see that what you have done has also created impossible working conditions for local businesses. Where are the deliveries going to stop? Where can we or they park? There is nowhere in proximity to the businesses for delivery or parking. How can you replace these with a mediocre single-lane cycle route, when we already have the “cycle super highway”? Why? Look at the Co-op, Jefferson’s, Gail’s, and countless other businesses. These businesses have all suffered from covid and, with a view to supporting Boris’ misconceived idea of “returning to work” (when he has no commute at all) like we’re some kind of cattle, returning to work on virus-filled transport, you have made this even worse by making it impossible for local businesses to trade and earn a living. You have single-handedly hit the final nail in the coffin for the local business of Balham. Well done.

    What you have also done is to increase substantially the road rage in the area against us cyclists. If you were a cyclist, you would understand that cyclists cycle at different speeds and, therefore, overtake one another. This narrow cycle lane you have installed actually makes it impossible for cyclists to do this. This means that we are all stuck cycling behind the cyclist at the front, even if they are very slow. So, again, single-handedly, you have created arguments between the cyclists and also road rage coming from local vehicles and businesses, as they blame cyclists for your awful works programme. Why have you wasted money on this? Why do you have to sacrifice local businesses and residents for the sake of cyclists cycling faster than before? Why are you risking the lives of pedestrians crossing the cycle lanes to take the buses? Why can we not take left or right turns (we have common sense which TFL seemingly does not)? Why am I worried about a tax rise, when not only is the national situation the worst I have ever seen, but you decided to carry out a work programme in haste without consultation which was totally unnecessary and now you should be looking at budget to remove these works immediately. What budget have you set aside to improve these works or remove them in their entirety? I expect that you have no budget whatsoever. Therefore, for budgetary reasons, because you have wasted so much money, these ridiculous works will now become permanent, I’ll be unable to take public transport to work, and my cycle ride will be ever slower and more dangerous than before. I will need to sit in a slow cycle lane behind the slowest cyclist ahead of me with road rage from local businesses and vehicles coming from my side. You have just made my journey to work all the more difficult and miserable.

    This is a joke. You are a joke. Please remove these works immediately and return Balham to the way it was before, happy, efficient and working.

    Kind regards,

    Jonathan W.

    Reply
  24. Veronica Towers

    I live on Mantilla Road and did not receive any letter about these changes. I wrote to three councillors before getting a reply. The online map is too small to read and not downloadable. Mantilla Road has always been used as a rat run and some of us were thinking about asking for it to be made a one way street. Our cars are often scraped as there is not enough space for two cars to pass each other. With the latest road closures it is even worse. I keep finding myself trapped as yet another road is now no entry, or there is a barrier. Forcing us to go back to the same main roads has added hugely to the build up of traffic. I recognise the need to reduce the use of cars but feel that I have not been consulted and that the plans are a nightmare in many cases, especially as we now can not turn into Elmbourne, Ritherdon or by Balham Station.

    Reply
  25. Terry faulkner

    Apart from these road closures your putting people s life in danger with more pollution and this covd it don’t go down well also what about the fire service that could not get through to a fire the other week and the ambulance service a struggling to get through these roads so ever thought of this Idea needs string up I hope it is one of his family want one of these services and they can’t get to them we how they like it so get to grips and open the roads back up

    Reply
  26. Jonathan W

    Dear Sirs,

    I write to you as a commuter, a resident, a cyclist, a pedestrian, and as someone who takes public transport.

    I write regarding the “Streetspace for London programme”, which works were recently carried out without consultation and “on a temporary basis”, with a view to becoming permanent. For this reason, I sincerely feel that I must write to you to provide feedback as part of your post-works consultation, so that you have a frank view and can legitimately and reasonably consider whether these works should become permanent, which I suggest for the reasons below they absolutely should not.

    I received a letter from TFL (but not the letter detailed on your site) days before the works were carried out. As you are fully aware, this letter came far too late in the day (clearly so that people could not object to it) and it was not possible for any resident or local business person to understand the consequences of your actions at the time.

    I have since had a look at your website ( http://www.becandbalhamlabour.org/2020/07/14/transport-for-london-streetspace-changes-to-the-a24-balham-high-road-upper-tooting-road-tooting-high-street/ ) to see all the local changes but you have made. At present there are only 14 comments on this site, which all state that the works you have carried out are ill-thought through and a mess. I have spent the last month as a resident living in the area and also working from home, and suffering the consequences of these works. As a resident, a commuter, a cyclist, a pedestrian and someone who takes public transport, I entirely agree that these works are ill-thought through, misconceived, unnecessary, a waste of public funds we have worked hard for (at a time when I thought the council has spent a lot / enough of money?). And it’s an insult to cyclists.

    According to your website “transport as lockdown restrictions are eased will mean everyone who can do so will need to find alternative ways to travel. Public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary. However, if the number of trips taken by private vehicles increases, London will grind to a halt, with essential deliveries and emergency services stuck in gridlock. That’s why, together with London’s boroughs, we are developing the Streetspace programme to create more space for people to safely walk and cycle.”

    Unfortunately, the very thing you intend to avoid, is what you have just made substantially worse. If you look at the junction between Balham High Road and Chestnut Grove, it is absolute gridlock. For the sake of cyclists, you have put all traffic, including buses, into a single lane. Firstly this puts pedestrians in the cyclists’ way. Have you ever cycled in London? Particularly in the autumn and winter, when it’s dark? The vast majority of pedestrians going on to bus stop islands (including this one) and coming off them do not look left and right for cyclists. They simply walk straight out on to the make-shift pedestrian crossing you have created. I have already witnessed several accidents there. All you have done is increase the chances of an accident with a cyclist, made substantially more likely on a dark rainy day in autumn / winter.

    Also, how do you intend that we all commute to work? I work up town 6 miles away. The only way I can get into work is cycling or public transport. Most days I would cycle, however other days if I have a client meeting I take public transport. What is the point of having buses if they are stuck in a traffic jam? Due to covid, I will not be taking underground for the near future, months or years, therefore the outcome of what you have done is that I can not take public transport at all to work. Therefore, I’m left with cycling, which worked absolutely fine before with the “Cycle Super Highway” which as you’ll recall cost approximately £20 million and your / TFL’s contractors somehow unbelievably laid the wrong slippery blue paint !!! What kind of a nanny state do we live in where TFL and you can not trust cyclists to be able to cycle to and from their work? We already had tarmacked roads, we have traffic lights, we have a super highway, we have high vis cyclists clothing, but most importantly we also have common sense. Cyclists don’t need you creating some non-sensical road system to stop vehicles taking turns. We cycle all over the town and you have taken it upon yourselves to do this for us, because you supposedly don’t trust us to cycle with common sense. And because of you, vehicles can’t turn left or right across Balham, and people will blame it on the cyclists. How dare you. And have you seen the width of these pitiful bollarded cycle lanes you’ve built, they’re not even wide enough for us to overtake one another. It’s just a pathetic shambles that does nothing to improve the cyclists’ experience. But, based on the assumptions you’ve made, we have no common sense so what do we know?!?

    The money you have just wasted on doing these “temporary works … with a view to going permanent“ is just ridiculous, at a time when we are already at a record national debt level, this is not a time to be wasting money on superfluous works. How much did they cost? So Boris issues a bewildering “let’s get back to work” statement issued by his chief rule-maker and breaker, Cummings, and you take it upon yourselves to come up with this half-baked plan. It’s just embarrassing.

    Within the area of the works are schools, emergency services, churches, businesses, homes and recreational areas. What you have done in one fell swoop is single-handedly make it simply harder to commute to work, to take children to school, to go to church, for an ambulance to come through (they are stuck in the traffic, look for yourselves), black cabs to and from the Balham station taxi rank cannot get through, delivery vans have nowhere to stop, deliveries cannot take place, and traffic is stuck in the heavy congestion, which was not there before. Which means you have high levels of pollution. Can you not see that what you had done for the sake of the cyclists is just a mess, and counter-productive?

    Also, look at the road outside Gail’s on Balham High Road, you have taken away all of the delivery bays and, for some odd reason, you have put in a bend in the cycle lane. Do you had any idea how dangerous this is for the cyclists? You’re expecting cyclists to turn the bend at speed. Why? Have you ever cycled London streets and turned on such bend at speed? It is simply dangerous and ill-thought through. This will cause accidents and on your head be it.

    Even on a Saturday morning, I’m now not able to drive my children to their swimming class because of the congestion that you have created in the backstreets, as traffic tries to circumvent the enormous gridlock you have created on Balham High Road. This therefore means that I now need to spend another hour walking to and from the swimming lesson on a Saturday morning, which you’ll appreciate my family and I are not for grateful for, never mind the other residents and parents. I thought your works were to make things easier? Have a look for yourselves.

    I should also mention that, because of your works and the now-outlawed lefts and rights, I cannot even return by car from the GP practice at Balham Park Surgery. If and when I’m not well, what is the point of having a GP practice I cannot drive to? You have also taken away the car park spaces and the loading bays outside the nearby shops, why? So I have nowhere to park. Why? Again, all for the sake of cyclists, of which I am one.

    Look at the traffic at the junction between Balham High Road Chestnut Grove. It is totally congested, impossible drive through and a total misery. You already have a main junction, where the Underground intersects with the overground, it is a vital junction coming into London from the south. Balham was once called the “gateway to the south”. Now it’s more like the “gateway to the traffic jam“. Trying to get anywhere now, whether by car, bus or bicycle, in Balham is an absolute misery.

    Whilst I’m a resident of the local area and work up town, I can see that what you have done has also created impossible working conditions for local businesses. Where are the deliveries going to stop? Where can we or they park? There is nowhere in proximity to the businesses for delivery or parking. How can you replace these with a mediocre single-lane cycle route, when we already have the “cycle super highway”? Why? Look at the Co-op, Jefferson’s, Gail’s, and countless other businesses. These businesses have all suffered from covid and, with a view to supporting Boris’ misconceived idea of “returning to work” (when he has no commute at all) like we’re some kind of cattle, returning to work on virus-filled transport, you have made this even worse by making it impossible for local businesses to trade and earn a living. You have single-handedly hit the final nail in the coffin for the local business of Balham. Well done.

    What you have also done is to increase substantially the road rage in the area against us cyclists. If you were a cyclist, you would understand that cyclists cycle at different speeds and, therefore, overtake one another. This narrow cycle lane you have installed actually makes it impossible for cyclists to do this. This means that we are all stuck cycling behind the cyclist at the front, even if they are very slow. So, again, single-handedly, you have created arguments between the cyclists and also road rage coming from local vehicles and businesses, as they blame cyclists for your awful works programme. Why have you wasted money on this? Why do you have to sacrifice local businesses and residents for the sake of cyclists cycling faster than before? Why are you risking the lives of pedestrians crossing the cycle lanes to take the buses? Why can we not take left or right turns (we have common sense which TFL seemingly does not)? Why am I worried about a tax rise, when not only is the national situation the worst I have ever seen, but you decided to carry out a work programme in haste without consultation which was totally unnecessary and now you should be looking at budget to remove these works immediately. What budget have you set aside to improve these works or remove them in their entirety? I expect that you have no budget whatsoever. Therefore, for budgetary reasons, because you have wasted so much money, these ridiculous works will now become permanent, I’ll be unable to take public transport to work, and my cycle ride will be ever slower and more dangerous than before. I will need to sit in a slow cycle lane behind the slowest cyclist ahead of me with road rage from local businesses and vehicles coming from my side. You have just made my journey to work all the more difficult and miserable.

    This is a joke. You are a joke. Please remove these works immediately and return Balham to the way it was before, happy, efficient and working.

    Kind regards,

    Jonathan W.

    Reply
  27. Veronica Olszowska

    It seems to me that rather than improving public transport both time and money are being spent on making the roads in the area come to a standstill. To restrict the flow of traffic which until now has been good is creating problems, not solving them. It is also ensuring more pollution in the area as traffic which once flowed now builds up – this is not good for anyone,’s health, let alone the environment. Cycle lanes are an excellent idea and should be on all major thorough fares but blocking off large areas/roads to cars is not. Have the less mobile/disabled been considered in this? There also seems to be an attitude that the cyclist is king of the road now and yet cyclists need to use the lanes as they would the road. ie a cyclist cannot go straight across a junction if the car in front is indicating to turn – however these new cycle lanes have already led to this and aggressive behaviour has also begun. Please reconsider the access to roads and the rules cyclists and car must observe when crossing the new cycle lanes. I think that those who create these lanes and road closures are not road users, there is no other explanation for the huge lack of understanding of the traffic flow. How can local businesses keep afloat without passing trade and in light of Covid-19 it seems that to politicise these changes, in the name of social distancing on public transport, is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.

    Reply

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