TRAM: 1-0 TO THE ACTIVE COMMUNITY

Residents complained of not being properly consulted. Now, Mayor agrees to extend consultation period for West London Tram project and Tfl promises to meet every single business in Uxbridge Road.

PROS AND CONS

What SSBS says:

Permanent closure of the Uxbridge Road at six points between Uxbridge and Shepherd's Bush.

Re-routing 27,000 vehicles (cars, trucks and lorries) down residential streets would bring pollution, noise and danger.

Increased congestion will clog other main roads such as A4,the A40, Holland Park, Shepherd's Bush Road and Goldhawk Road caused by displaced vehicles trying to find an alternative route.

At least 50% of the road would be given over to public transport which would mean absolutely no stopping and/or parking anywhere along the Uxbridge Road.

Huge costs: the tramway was, three years ago, estimated at £200 million, then it rocketed to £425 million, and then a mathematical error was discovered and it is now estimated at £671 million and annual losses are expected to be £47 million.

There would be a period of more than three and a half years when we would have neither a road, nor a tramway.

Compulsory Purchase Order: WLT would relieve you of your property under a Compulsory Purchase Order if you are in their way.

What TfL says:

The continued growth in West London's population and traffic levels will require additional public transport.

Trams can carry in excess of 300 passengers in each vehicle (while the largest bus (the bendy-bus) can carry up to 140 passengers).

Trams also encourage people to use public transport - in Croydon approximately 18% of tram passengers previously made their journey by car.

Electrically powered trams have zero emissions in the street and are less noisy than other forms of public transport.

Trams are a cost effective way of meeting high passenger demand

Trams are easily accessible with no step or gap to the tram stop.









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There is no doubt about the need for improving the public transport in West London. Working on the existing bus system is one solution, but for the moment the tram is the first option. Only if the Mayor does not obtain the necessary powers to build a tram, he will go for the improvement of buses.

There are several pros and cons about the construction of the Tram. It could restrict at least 50% of Uxbridge Road, but it would supply additional public transport in West London. It would re-route 27,000 vehicles down to residential streets, bringing pollution and noise, but electrically powered trams have zero emissions in the street and are less noisy than other forms of public transport. It supposes huge costs (now estimated at £671 million), but it is said to be a cost effective way of meeting high passenger demand.

Considering the above, there is no doubt also that residents need to be thoroughly and properly consulted and informed about all what is involved during the three years of the construction of the Tram and the later consequences once it is built and working.

Not considering their position either pro or against the Tram, SSBS (Save Shepherd's Bush Streets), RAPA (Residents' Amenities Protection Association), The Ravenscourt Society, SBRA (Stamford Brook Residents' Association), GRAG (Greenside Residents'Action Group), H&F Cyclists and other active community groups and residents have won at least one round in favour of the community.

One important concern was about the quality of the consultation carried out by Transport for London. SSBS says in their Web site: "TfL are making much their 2001 Consultation questionnaire and the recent (February/March 2003) telephone survey but we question the integrity of the results. To start with the questionnaire did not point out the detrimental effects on the residents and the existing businesses. Because this extremely relevant and important information was missing from the badly distributed consultation document we believe that the results of this questionnaire are irrelevant."

Now, the Mayor announced at the Assembly Members, on 21 May, that he was extending the timetable for the West London Tram Project to allow more time for consultation on the scheme, including traffic modelling. The TfL Board and the Mayor will now consider whether or not to proceed with the tram scheme in early 2004 (it was initially set for September/October 2003). It means more time for residents to decide whether they want or not the Tram.

The Tfl's survey in March showed that 56% of West Londoners supported the Tram, while 30% are against. Although the integrity of this survey is in question, at least businesses are clearly divided about the issue. Hammersmith and Fulham Chamber of Commerce hosted last week a meeting about the Tram with local businesses and TfL.

About 20 local businesses attended the meeting and got the promise from Tim Jones, West London Tram Project Director, that every single establishment in Uxbridge Road would be heard. According to John Lawrence, HFCC manager, there are important concerns about the construction period: "How their customers will get there during the time the Tram is being built? How the delivery will be done? How important will be the disturbance for those business?"

But impact won't be the same depending of the type of the business. One wholesaler of electrical goods and building materials present to the meeting, for example, could risk of losing his customers, who would go somewhere else and probably won't came back after three years. "He is even thinking of moving to another borough, what would signify loses of jobs here", said Lawrence.

On the other hand, for Gordon Keenan, director of the Urban Partnership Group, also based in Uxbridge Road, what is important is "the long term prospect of improvement of the quality of transport available". But he admits that the construction period won't suppose an important impact for his business.