Ugly new street lighting preventing residents getting to sleep

The Council has been “rolling out” ugly new street lights – rather in the style of floodlights used on football pitches. It is excellent that there is switch to LED lighting – they use only half the energy and thus save the Council money as well as helping the environment. But there is no reason why the design of street lighting for them has to be so hideous. LED lighting could being used in a traditional lamp post.

Another difficulty is that the new lighting has been too bright – in some cases (such as Rylett Road) making it harder for people to get to sleep. “We are able to address problems of light leakage into residents’ homes where this occurs, if residents notify us of this,” the Council tells me. But getting this achieved in practice is proving a slow job. Absurd as if excessive brightness is avoided this means the financial and environmental benefits would be greater.

All this has been done without consultation – yet again making a mockery of the Council’s mantra about doing things “with people not too people”. I have asked for a schedule of when the new lights are being brought in to each street.

I have written previously about the Council refusal to allow residents to switch form the ugly, modernist “tooth brush” lamp posts to the traditional lanterns. The was something that was allowed for Black Lion Lane and St Peter’s Square when the Council was Conservative-run but others are being prevented from following the example.

The toothbrush lamp posts are ugly enough. Not content with blocking residents from adopting a more attractive alternative the Council is imposing replacements that look even worse.

Let’s bring in LED lighting but at the same time let’s have lamp post designs that make the borough more beautiful rather than  more ugly.

H&F parking meters still won’t take the new pound coin

In just over a week’s time, on midnight Sunday October 15th, the old pound coin – the “round pound” – will cease to be legal tender. After that only the 12 sided new pound coin can be used. Except, that is, if you won’t to park your car in Hammersmith and Fulham. Our parking meters STILL don’t accept the new pound coin.

This will mean that few people will the relevant pound coins available. I suppose any of the old pound coins the Council does continue to collect will be accepted by its bank – at least for a while. But even so there would seem to be an entirely avoidable delay that will inconvenience residents and visitors to the borough, harm local businesses and deny the Council of revenue.

There was plenty of notice given of the replacement.

I have asked the Council for an explanation….

 

Homeowners in H&F renting out driveways as parking spaces for £12 a day

Justpark_LogoA guest post from Sam Mellor of JustPark

New stats show that Hammersmith & Fulham homeowners have now made over £575,000 by renting out their private driveways online.

A growing number of Hammersmith & Fulham residents are advertising their spare parking spaces on website JustPark, with over 40% more using the scheme to make extra income now as there were 12 months ago  taking the
total in the borough to over 200 rentable spaces.

Local homeowners are charging an average of £12 per day for drivers to park in their space, but those living closer to local amenities such as Stamford Bridge, Fulham Broadway and Imperial Wharf stations are making considerably more – charging up to £40 per day.

The number of driveway bookings in Hammersmith and Fulham has also grown considerably in the last 12 months – increasing by over 60%, as driveway rental becomes more and more popular as a cheaper alternative to overpriced public car parking.

From April 2017, homeowners will also pay no tax on earnings made through JustPark – up to £1,000 per year – thanks to the new ‘sharing economy’ tax breaks for property-related income announced in George Osborne’s most recent Budget in March.

JustPark founder Anthony Eskinazi said:

“It’s really encouraging to see the government supporting micro-entrepreneurs with this new legislation. These families and individuals are resourceful enough to be making a bit of extra money from their property, and are offering an important service at the same time – in this case, cheaper parking for drivers in Hammersmith and Fulham.”

“By unlocking these spaces that are otherwise underused – and allowing people to reserve them online, usually at a much reduced rate – JustPark is saving drivers money and putting it back into the pockets of local residents.”

It also eases congestion. According to IBM:

“In addition to the typical traffic congestion caused by daily commutes and gridlock from construction and accidents, reports have estimated that over 30 percent of traffic in a city is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot. Not only do inefficient parking systems result in congestion and increased carbon emissions, they also waste commuters’ time, lead to lost productivity and economic opportunities and can lead to inefficient city services.”

Homeowners and drivers in Hammersmith and Fulham can view the going rates for a local driveway space here:  And, to see how much your empty driveway could be worth, check out JustPark’s rental price guide here.

Brian Mooney: Hasty and faulty – the Council’s slower speed consultation

 A guest post from Brian Mooney of the Alliance of British Drivers. Brian is a management consultant and used to be a keen cyclist before his bike was vandalised. He also runs a personal website.

In my October article, I outlined reasons why LB Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) should not go ahead with its proposed borough wide 20mph scheme.

My objections are shared by many other concerned local people. When the public meeting kicking off the consultation was announced in May, there was quite a backlash. In roughly the first 24 hours after the webpage went up, those expressing a clear opinion divided 67%:33% against a borough-wide scheme, and 62%:38% against, if you strip out the responses that were specifically against 20mph limits on main roads.

A fair number expressed concerns about speed camera enforcement. The Council responded in a very one-sided consultation booklet that I understand is being posted out to all homes. It says it is not proposing more speed cameras – but that doesn’t rule it out.

Of course, if borough-wide 20mph limits went ahead, existing cameras such as the ones on Fulham Palace Road and Shepherds Bush Green would not be left at 30mph.

We would then have the farce whereby the law was changed to make life easier for those who couldn’t be bothered to respect road safety laws and senselessly step out in front of traffic, but safe drivers could be prosecuted for doing a speed that is legal in most of London and the UK.

It makes a mockery of the current administration’s manifesto pledge of being “fairer to drivers

The scrutiny committee meeting open to the public on 9 June was also farcical. In one of the rambling floor speeches, a supporter of the scheme defended it as “You can’t stop children dashing out”.

Hang on a minute. Dashing out can be dangerous to other road users, too – particularly if it causes a pile-up when a driver has to slam on the brakes, or if a driver swerves to avoid the culprit and collides with an innocent person.

It should not be encouraged – rather children (and some adults) should be educated in proper road safety, particularly in using designated crossing places. This will prevent them being hit at any speed, with all the grief to their loved ones.

The Highway Code is quite clear on this – especially the need for parental responsibility. (Think – it would be equally unacceptable for parents to claim that they “can’t stop children playing truant” for instance.)

The entire thrust of the “argument” is wrong. Nobody suggests that, say, the mains voltage should be reduced to make life easier for children who stick their fingers into power sockets. If a public figure got up and said that trains should be slowed right down to make life easier for trespassers on the track, they would rightly be considered daft.

The consultation form (inside the booklet and online) is equally lacking. It reminds me of the episode of Fawlty Towers where all that is on the menu is duck, duck with lemon, or duck with orange. The only alternative for guests is a cricketing duck – i.e. nothing at all.

To me, it is questionable whether the consultation meets expectations that residents are offered fair alternatives and a means of intelligently selecting a course of action.

While being high on imagery and suggestive language, there is no real discussion on the causes of accidents.

Police accident reports aren’t an exact science, but they comprise the best available information. I’ve studied a deep cross-section from the last three years, and am amazed at how infrequently (excessive) speed is a factor.

Far more prevalent are misjudgement of turns, lane changes or overtaking; car users opening doors unthinkingly, pedestrians and cyclists not taking due care….

Labour’s national Shadow Roads Spokesman is Richard Burden MP. As holder of a track licence, he knows much about driving safely and speed. Responding to his own local authority consultation (in Birmingham), he called for proper safety assessments in context to determine how best to make roads safer. He felt 20mph zones were not a ‘silver bullet’ for improving road safety, rather “The goal… should be to build and manage safer roads and save lives, not to reduce speeds as an end point in itself.”

Unfortunately, the “arguments” in LBHF’s consultation booklet are so weak, that a colleague has the suspicion that the proposal’s main focus is speed reduction rather than road safety (no other approaches mentioned), and by sending out such a biased booklet out in bulk, it will soft-soap enough residents to tick boxes and thus claim “support”.

There is not even any ‘white space’ for general comment on the form, only what duck, sorry, “speed restricted roads” and “traffic calming features” respondents would like!

The sloppy booklet is not even consistent with other LBHF documents. For instance, it claims pollution reduction as a “benefit” although elsewhere this is decided to be “negligible”.

To promote a more balanced debate, the Alliance of British Drivers has been giving out leaflets and talking to residents and cab drivers. A webpage provides more information about the proposal, how to object, and some proper alternatives for road safety!

Woman swallowed as pavement collapses in North End Road

pavementnorthendAn alarming incident of the pavement collapsing outside the Marrakech Cafe in the North End Road near Fulham Broadway.

A woman was swallowed as the pavement collapsed and was rushed to Charing Cross Hospital. I am pleased that according to reports she was not seriously hurt.

I have written to Mahmood Siddiqi, Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Director for Transport and Highways, asking for his comments.

UPDATE

Mahmood responds:

Dear Cllr Phibbs
Officers are still investigating the matter which is clearly very serious. However the information that we have is:-

– the hole in the footway was caused by the basement roof at 352 North End Road (the Marrakesh Express Restaurant) collapsing,.
– the incident involved a woman pushing a trolley (no push chair)
– apparently the hole appeared a few minutes earlier and the restaurant owners were trying to protect the area with a table
– when the Council were informed we sent out an emergency response team to secure the site
–  whilst the pavement is public highway and maintained by the Council, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the underlying basement structure underlying structure is the responsible
– we will serve a notice on the owner to carry out repairs to our satisfaction before reopening the footway

Mahmood Siddiqi
Director for Transport and Highways