CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

No room for Chelsea tractors on the congested Hampstead High Street

07 February, 2019

The High Street Oriel Place/Flask Walk zebra crossing

• I AGREE with Cllr Stephen Stark regarding the plan to make the High Street Oriel Place/Flask Walk zebra crossing into a Pelican crossing, (Should a Hampstead zebra crossing be removed? January 24).

It is a ridiculous idea and very anti-social. While the alleged reason is to help traffic flow and avoid delaying buses approaching the crossroads traffic lights it would mean two sets of traffic lights within about 100 yards of each other, hardly a help to keep traffic moving, and the end result would be that pedestrians frustrated with waiting would take a chance and cross between vehicles anyway.

At a time when the Mayor of London is trying to prioritise pedestrians and cycling over traffic, this is counterproductive as the crossing is a main “desire line” route between both sides of the High Street.

However, I support the removal of the parking bays below the Greenhill wall as this is a major source of problems for buses to pass other traffic, mainly due to the grossly oversized Chelsea tractors that seem to be the fashion, particularly on the school run. They don’t even fit within the marked lines of parking bays and cause problems everywhere, particularly in trying to park.

As regards the rat run on the higher road in front of Greenhill, the only way to make it safer for pedestrians is to abolish the parking bays here so that vehicles do not have to scrape the kerb to get by – again mainly caused by grossly oversized cars nearly hitting pedestrians with nearside mirrors.

The route has to be maintained as it is the only way for local traffic from Rosslyn Hill to gain the Fitzjohns Avenue area without causing more congestion in the High Street. Short of abolishing the pavement altogether there is no other solution.

It is very unreasonable for Cllr Stark to expect instant provision of electric buses on the 268 and 603 routes. Apart from the cost which must run into thousand each, they have to be built, acquired, and drivers trained, by an already cash-strapped Transport for London (TfL) – which as a Conservative councillor he should be well aware of.

And I think we should salute the 46 bus drivers, not to mention those on the 268, who have become highly skilled in manoeuvring these monsters in length and width through the awful congested streets of the village, often within literally an inch of an adjacent vehicle.

In this context I would support a width restriction for all vehicles other than buses and a ban on heavy vehicles. That would really make a difference.

JOHN STRATTON
Thurlow Road, NW3

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