Work is underway to widen the pavement along a stretch of the Goldhawk Road. It is being funded by Transport for London as a cost of £3.8 million. Of course just because a large amount of taxpayers money is spent on something does not mean it is an improvement.
I have my doubts about the changes. (This is not a party political point incidentally as he work was approved in 2013 when the Conservatives ran the Council.)
There will clearly be some benefits. There will be decluttering – removal of more of the barriers along the pavements following on from earlier work.
There will also be more street trees. This will assist with the Sustainable Drainage Systems scheme “to help better manage the rate of flow and the amount of rainwater that enters the sewers, helping to reduce the risk of flooding.”
George Warren, the Council’s Flood Risk Manager, tells me:
“I can advise that the SuDS features are designed to reduce the rate at which surface water runoff from these roads enters the sewer system. This will be achieved through the installation of specially designed new tree pits along the side of the road, stretches of permeable paving and an offline retention basin. Surface water flooding is known to occur within this area during heavy downpours so this will help reduce localised flooding issues. However, this project will also importantly reduce the potential flooding elsewhere by reducing the rate at which rainwater enters the sewer, freeing up capacity within the sewer for areas further downstream.”
The problem is that widening the pavement will mean narrowing the road. The bus lanes will go – slowing down bus journeys. But it will mean journey for motorists will take longer. The present traffic speed is 25/27 mph. The changes are expected to cause it to fall to 23mph.
What about the impact on pollution of having the traffic crawling along?
£3.8 million is a lot to spend to make traffic jams worse.