Improving Putney High Street

Feedback on last week's meeting from the Putney Society

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High Street Smashes Annual Limits By 10th Day of 2013

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The meeting started with a presentation by David Irwin, an Urban Planner and long time Putney resident on his vision of a radically transformed High Street, backed up by the results of a detailed user survey carried out earlier in January.

There followed brief statements by Cllr Jonathan Cook, Wandsworth Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, on measures already underway to improve air quality, such as persuading TfL to introduce hybrid and other low-emission buses on to local routes, enhanced pollution monitoring to identify the worst polluters by vehicle type, regulating delivery lorry times, and planting trees which will help absorb particulates in the air. Cllr Russell King (Transportation and Planning) explained how the Council is seeking to become more responsive to cyclists’ needs, to consider ways to reduce HGV usage of the High Street and highlight the latest research on the toxic effects of “black carbon” (particulates) emitted by all diesel engines.

A panel discussion followed which included the three speakers joined by Jon Irwin, Co-Chair of the Wandsworth Environmental Forum.

The meeting, which had started at 7.30pm and attracted an audience of over 120 people, lasted until well after 9pm. A wide range of issues were discussed including:
- A number of expressions of support for David Irwin’s proposals
- The relocation of the bus garage (if a suitable location could ever be found)
- Air pollution warnings in the High Street (not favoured by the Council as there is already an Airtext scheme (see
- Redesigning the “awful” road junctions at Putney Bridge and Putney Cross
- The quality and variety of shops
- The upcoming major constructions works by the High Street entrance to Putney Exchange
- How through journeys by car could be reduced
- How short local car journeys could be reduced
- The delivery lorry problem
- Cars stopping on pedestrian crossings
- Buses and delivery lorries leaving their engines idling (in contravention of the Mayor’s new regulations)
- Redesigning the traffic light system to favour longer pedestrian crossing times
- Moving the southbound bus stop from outside W H Smiths/Boots (not favoured by the Council despite its capacity to block both road and pedestrian traffic at busy times, due to the need to allow for mobility-impaired bus users)
- Introduce a congestion charge for use of Putney Bridge (not likely to be taken further, one suspects)

… and much more.

Jonathan Callaway

January 31, 2013

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