TfL accused of leaving Richmond traffic idling at ULEZ roadworks

Transport for London has been accused by residents of increasing traffic pollution in Richmond through poorly planned roadworks.

Cars were reported idling for 13 hours outside a nursery on a residential street last week as they tried to enter the A316, a busy dual lane road connecting the M3 and west London.

The works aim to make the Manor Circus roundabout safer, with structural reinforcements and aesthetic improvements. 

TfL, which is both the traffic authority and the deliverer of the project, has stressed the importance of the works.

Its spokesperson said: “We’re determined to eliminate death and serious injury on London’s roads, which is why we’re working at Manor Circus to make vital changes including new pedestrian and cyclist crossings and wider pavements. 

“We are also carrying out essential maintenance work to the bridge that the roundabout is situated on as part of this work.”

expect major delays sign until june 2024
CIRCUS: Queues for the roundabout

However, residents and councillors are frustrated that the Richmond roadworks were started during the busy school term and that measures were not taken to divert traffic from the road with short work hours on site.

Councillor Richard Pyne criticised TfL for poorly coordinating with the council over the roadworks and failing to not provide accurate information on its likely effects.

Cllr Pyne said: “I find TfL the most difficult organisation to deal with.”

He spoke to one mother concerned about bringing her newborn baby home due to the traffic fumes.

He said: “Endless traffic fumes belching away outside a nursery school are very concerning.”

Anna, 37, a parent at Windham Nursery on Windham Road, said: “It’s been making everything a nightmare.”

TfL predict the works will last until June 2024, causing fears about extended periods of pollution caused by congestion.

Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney said: “For commuters and residents who have to live with this mess, the only thing worse than being stuck for hours in roadworks, is then seeing no one working on the site. 

“TfL needs to be working night and day to get the roundabout working as soon as possible.”

Credit: Linda El-Hawary

Residents have complained on social media that the TfL’s lack of attempts to prevent congestion is contradictory to the recent Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion to cut down on pollution.

Beverly Bell, 67, a tutor who works in Kew, said: “It is ironic that TfL is now allowing thousands of idling cars to pollute the air around these roadworks. 

“It smacks of double standards.”

Olney, Richmond councillors and TfL met last Thursday to discuss improvements to the traffic.

That resulted in anti-idling officers and signs, as well as closing Sandycombe Road from 10am today. Those measures will be reviewed weekly.

A TfL spokesperson said: “This work has led to an increase in traffic in the area and we are sorry for the disruption caused to people in the local area. 

“We have made changes to the local bus network to respond to this and are also working closely with local partners and our contractor to see what further changes could be made to reduce disruption. 

“All road users in the area are advised to leave more time for journeys and to check our website for the latest travel information.”

A Richmond Council spokesperson said: “While the Council is supportive of the works, they are causing an unacceptable level of disruption which needs to be dealt with urgently if the current traffic management is expected to be in place for the rest of this year.

“We are also aware of the impact heavy traffic is having on air quality. If you must travel by car through this area, please consider turning your engine off while stationary and help us protect the health of those living in the area.”

A public meeting with TfL and councillors is planned for September 28.

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