East Hillside Traffic Management Campaign

A. What is the East Hillside Traffic Management Campaign?
The Campaign was established in 2020 by seven residents of East Hillside with the sole purpose of campaigning for the introduction of an equitable scheme to restore our streets to local people. Before launching our Campaign our founding members consulted closely with Hillside Ward Councillors. They were supportive of an initiative to build a consensus, in East Hillside, for a  traffic management scheme (within the boundaries of the East Hillside area) which was:
  • developed from the grassroots and not imposed by the Council
  • does not advantage one local road to the detriment of other local roads
  • encourages all representative groups to engage with one another to achieve a consensus.
The East Hillside area also includes part of Village Ward. Hillside Ward Councillors consulted with Village Ward Councillors, and our MP Stephen Hammond, and subsequently informed us that: “All of the Village and Hillside Councillors (and Stephen Hammond) see the merits of working together to initiate a ‘whole community’ scheme to deal with ‘rat running traffic’. Following this consultation, and feedback from Hillside Ward Councillors, our founding members decided to launch the East Hillside Traffic Management Campaign with the purpose of engaging the East Hillside community in achieving a consensus on solutions to “rat-running” and other traffic problems in the East Hillside area.  
B. What has been the progress so far?
We are now about 150 members drawn from right across our community. We are also supported by two residents associations: NewBERA and CWARA (Community of Woodside). Following our own research we decided that the traffic scheme in south Fulham offered the best model for a solution. The project manager for that scheme conducted a webinar for our members which was very well-attended. Subsequently we conducted a survey of our membership, and received strong support for a scheme based on the principles used in south Fulham. As a result, we have now adopted that scheme as our proposed solution. We have made numerous representations to the Council (see the News section for details) and have had a very sympathetic hearing. As a result of our representations the Council has now agreed to install traffic sensors to undertake a detailed study of traffic flows and air quality in East Hillside. The sensors are due to be installed from the summer of 2022. We now need to build further support to demonstrate to the Council that local people want their streets to be used by local traffic and not by rat-runners.
C. Who can become a member?
Any adult resident of the East Hillside area who supports the Aims of the Campaign. We also welcome community organisations based in East Hillside to join our Campaign. And we welcome affiliations from organisations outside the area.
D. Who is funding the Campaign?
Two residents associations have both made contributions. A number of individual residents have also indicated that they wish to make a donation.
E. Why not leave this issue to the established residents associations?
The logical boundary for any traffic scheme in East Hillside is the distributor roads which surround ourf residential streets.  It is the function of distributor roads to carry through traffic, whether London-wide traffic (as is the case with Wimbledon High Street, Wimbledon Hill Road and Alexandra Road), or Merton-wide traffic (as is the case with Church Road, Arthur Road and Leopold Road). In the case of East Hillside, no residents’ association exactly covered this area (there are believed to be at least four residents’ associations in East Hillside). Our Campaign, therefore provides the unity of purpose needed to get results. We do not seek to replace the residents associations: instead we offer them a mechanism for coming together on this vital single issue.

The proposed SMART scheme

A. Don’t these schemes just block roads, and stop people getting to our properties?
No. There are no road closures or diversions, and certainly no planters dropped into the road as in other LTN schemes. The scheme is designed so that the whole area can be accessed without going past a camera. The focus is on removing through traffic, not obstructing local residents and deliveries.
B. Will parking be affected?
No. The scheme makes no changes to parking whatsoever.
C. How will my deliveries be affected?
Everyone will maintain the ability to have all deliveries, of any size, delivered in exactly the same way as present. Courier firms and other delivery companies may need to adapt their route slightly, but that initial change should become second nature in a very short period of time and as sat-navs are updated to reflect the new reality. Experience from south Fulham shows that Ocado and Amazon have quickly adapted.
D. Will emergency services still have access?
Access for emergency vehicles will be unchanged. The evidence from other similar schemes is that emergency services report a reduction in response times.  
E. What about access for people who need extra help e.g. wheelchairs etc.?
Nothing could be worse than the present situation where through traffic speeds through our neighbourhood. A resident of Woodside has written to us about an incident recently when she was assisting her elderly sick father from a taxi after a trip to hospital. Through traffic continued to come towards them at great speed, with one driver in particular refusing to stop or even slow down as she helped her father across the road. Her father was forced to jump to one side to escape injury. The car almost hit the side of the taxi door. She told us: “It was an absolutely frightening and extremely upsetting experience and could have had tragic consequences.” Our scheme will remove through traffic, so this could not happen in our proposed solution. Every property will continue to be accessible by vehicles so there will be no change to the present position where taxis, ambulances and any other support or emergency vehicle can get to any property
F. Doesn’t this just displace traffic onto surrounding streets?
No. The evidence from south Fulham shows that, while traffic on surrounding main roads increased initially, the volume of traffic declined over time, and is now 12% lower on main roads and 23% less than previously across the whole south Fulham area.
G. Do I have to pay for my visitors?
No. Your visitors would not even require a permit if they didn’t need to drive through our neighbourhood, although they may need to change their route slightly. Alternatively, any resident of East Hillside would be able to obtain a daily permit for a visitor, free of charge, using the RingGo app which we presently use for parking permits. The permit could be obtained up to midnight on the day of use so you don’t need to remember in advance.