Campaigners ‘concerned’ and ‘disgusted’ as TfL reveals it needs more time to make ‘death trap’ A12 junction safer
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 June 2019
Transport for London has been accused of dragging its feet over making much needed safety improvements to a notoriously dangerous A12 junction in Newbury Park.
It has now been more than two years since Ilford South MP Mike Gapes presented TfL officers with a petition calling for urgent safety improvements at the Green Gate junction, where the A12 intersects with Ley Street and Horns Road.
Long-running issues include illegal right hand and U-turns, and people driving through red lights.
An interactive poll on the Recorder website saw readers name the fact that traffic merges from three lanes to two across the junction itself as their biggest safety concern.
Campaigners thought they were finally getting somewhere earlier this year, when a team from TfL made a site visit to inspect the accident blackspot in person on March 1.
The officers were met by dozens of residents, many of whom told them the "death trap" junction "wasn't fit for this century" and pleaded that unless improvements were made "more lives will be lost here".
At the end of that meeting residents were told that they would hear back within six weeks about plans for the junction going forward, but the capital's transport giant maintained radio silence for 13 weeks - more than double that time.
Last week, on Wednesday May 29 - after the MP sent a chase-up email on May 15 - Mr Gapes received a response from TfL's government relations officer Alex Peters-Day, who was one of TfL's representatives at the March meeting.
The email revealed that TfL is still in the process of carrying out surveys and gathering evidence at the junction, but that no concrete plans have yet been finalised.
It does however appear that the organisation is preparing to make pedestrian safety its number one priority.
The email to Mr Gapes read: "Following our meeting our highway design engineers have been developing a number of options including short term interventions (within this year), medium term (within the next one - two years), and longer term proposals to specifically improve safety here.
"These are being designed to incorporate the feedback we received from residents, and we will be making improvements to the pedestrian crossing facilities as our first priority to address here.
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"We are still in the process of carrying out surveys to provide data and evidence to inform these plans.
"We are also carrying out an Environmental Visual Audit from our Roads and Transport Enforcement team looking at specific road behaviours that have been reported to us.
"I hope that this is helpful and reassures you and your constituents that we continue to take these concerns seriously, and will be taking action.
"I will write to you again once the surveys have been completed and we have finalised proposals and more timings."
The news that no concrete solutions have been identified yet has not gone down well.
Mr Gapes told the Recorder: "I am concerned that this matter is taking so long.
"I hope the promised improvements to the pedestrian crossing of Eastern Avenue and the Green Gate junction will be started 'within this year' as promised.
"I will continue to press TfL on this matter."
And Carol Joseph, a Newbury Park resident who has been instrumental in campaigning to make the junction safer, was similarly disappointed by TfL's lack of movement on the issue.
She told the Recorder: "All we want is safety. It's not hard, there need to be cameras and yellow boxes on the junction to catch people that are driving dangerously.
"I'm afraid this is just how TfL work - that visit in March was essentially a photo opportunity and it was a huge waste of time, I'm disgusted.
"While [the TfL officers] were there, four cars ran red lights. Clearly that's a safety issue.
"We had another accident here last week, thankfully no one was hurt but there could easily have been a pedestrian walking past who could have been injured."
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