Plans to prohibit right turns into Elmbourne Road in Tooting have been met with anger from residents who believe there will be a huge increase in traffic when it is coupled with the closure of Dr Johnson Avenue.

Wandsworth Guardian:

Last year, Wandsworth Council consulted on the closure of the avenue between the two commons, and 58 per cent of respondents were in favour of the proposal.

The council has now opened a consultation on closing Dr Johnson Avenue and stopping right-hand turns into Elmbourne Road from Tooting Bec Road and is asking people to respond to both parts together.

Emily Carey, who lives nearby and has been campaigning for changes to the road network for years amid safety and speed concerns, said: "Last year the residents of Elmbourne and Hillbury Roads organised a joint petition to ask the council to address the volume of traffic, in particular aggressive and speeding through traffic, which is unsuited to our narrow, residential roads.

"The petition received strong support, with more than half of households on both streets supporting it and this was presented to the council in October 2015. Underpinning our petition is the principle that through traffic should use appropriate main roads and not residential roads.

"We have highlighted this issue to Wandsworth Council and to Transport for London, which administers the main roads in the area, and we have asked them to consider the flow of northwards traffic on main roads and red routes in the area and to reinstate the right turn at the Tooting Bec crossroads."

The council’s proposals include "entry treatments" to discourage left-turn traffic onto Elmbourne Road, by giving priority to pedestrians on a continuous footway.

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting said: "Few issues have solicited the number of emails and letters that this has. 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 so."

A public meeting was held in Balham on March 27, with 120 residents of Wandsworth and Lambeth attending.


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Councillor Fleur Anderson, one of the organisers, said: "The proposals are not workable. The displacement of traffic would be too great, the impact on pollution too severe.

"It's a shame the proposals haven’t been better thought through, as the idea, in principle, of uniting the common is one I initially supported. However, this proposal is a pig’s ear."

A six-month trial of the proposal will take place, with traffic surveys carried out to assess the effect on the area.

The council’s environment and transport spokesman Councillor Jonathan Cook said: "We thought the idea of removing traffic from the middle of the common was worth closer examination because of the potential benefits and because 58 per cent of people who took part in last summer’s informal consultation supported the change.

"Removing the traffic would also result in a quieter and more tranquil open space, as well as providing new wildlife habitats.

"But I am also fully aware that a change like this could easily have knock-on effects on the wider area and cause traffic problems further afield and that is what we want to avoid.

"What we are saying therefore is that if the public supports the change, we would proceed only on a trial basis for six months.

"This would give us enough time to assess the closure’s impact on traffic conditions in the area and if these were found to be unreasonable, we could revert back to where we are now.

"This is certainly not a done deal."

The consultation is open until April 15.