No Decision Made on Acton Road Closure
TfL dismiss reports that High Street will remain open to traffic
A spokesman for Transport for London has denied recent press reports that a decision has been made to keep Acton High Street open when the West London Transit scheme starts operation.
He said, " We have not taken the final decision about the design of the tram route through Acton. 'Shared running', where traffic and trams share the same part of the road, was one of the options presented at the public consultation on the scheme in 2004, and is one we are still considering in conjunction with Ealing Council."
A single-track operation of the tram in the Acton area has been ruled out.TfL intend to submit an application for a Transport and Works Order towards the end of the year. This application would present the final design for the tramway, including the design in Acton town centre.
There had been speculation that Transport for London may be relenting on their insistence that Acton High Street will need to be closed to through traffic. A report in the Ealing Gazette quoted a Transport for London official saying that road closure in the Acton area is to be ditched.
The confusion comes just days before Ealing Council is due to make the final decision as to whether they will become the joint sponsor of the project along with Transport for London. Opposition councillors have opposed the move on the basis that it would reduce the Council's flexibility to propose changes to the scheme as it stands. The decision will be made on June 21st and it is widely expected the Council will go into partnership with Transport for London in the scheme. Other Councils in the project area are expected to decline the offer to become partners.
Ken Livingstone did assure listeners to the Jon Gaunt show on BBC Radio London recently that the plan was going to go ahead regardless. Whilst admitting that the Western Extension of the congestion charge was unpopular he claimed that the tram scheme had the overwhelming support of West Londoners. The poll commissioned by Transport for London showed that 59% of people were against the scheme but the results were dismissed as 'unscientific' by the Mayor. Transport for London have just published a more recent survey which they claim shows 48% support for the scheme in the project area against 37% opposition.
The Acton diversion was one of the most unpopular aspects of the scheme with the widespread fear that diverted traffic would end up on local residential streets. The consultation exercise showed a high level of oppostion to the scheme from Acton and Chiswick (68% and 72% against respectively which were the areas most likely to be hit by increased traffic. Most of the consultation responses would have been sent in before it was revealed that it was intended to divert traffic away from the Uxbridge Road towards the A4 down Askew Road and towards Chiswick.
June 17, 2005