As autumn begins and we all wait anxiously for the effect of the clock change on our already hazardous journeys, this is an update of where we are now.
Please remember to keep checking the website and our Facebook group for more information. We will try to keep you updated with what we know when we know it.
Hammersmith Bridge now has a Task Force and you can find the details of its membership on this website. It was announced this week that Dana Skelley OBE has been appointed Project Director of the Task Force. Dana Skelley was involved in preparing road networks during the 2012 Olympics.
Will the Government now fund the repairs to Hammersmith Bridge? With Hammersmith and Fulham Council adamant that it cannot fund it, only the Government can fund the repairs, but we are yet to see a unconditional and firm commitment to do so. Indeed, they might decide not to repair the bridge but relocate it.
The Hammersmith Bridge SOS Steering Committee has written to the Task Force and all the relevant councils to ask for communication on any decisions which have been made but has so far received no reply. Consequently, we do not know if the Government has or is willing to commit to funding a permanent and/or temporary bridge. So, we await information about any government commitments to funding a permanent or temporary bridge. Whatever the permanent/temporary outcome is, it won’t be in the next 5 weeks before the time change.
Notwithstanding this uncertainty, we continue to lobby hard for an immediate stop gap solution for a safe river crossing in the form of a ferry, together with enhanced safety measures for those having to use Barnes, Chiswick and/or Putney Bridge.
Shaun Bailey, the Conservative London Mayoral candidate, in an article on the Conservative website appeared to confirm that the Government would provide funding. What we don’t know is: A) if this is definite; B) will the Government commit the entire amount? C) If so, when?
Ferries/ rigs across the Thames
There are still plans afoot for a stop gap solution for ferrying passengers across the Thames. The Harrods Wharf was offered as a landing stage on the Barnes side by local businessman Jamie Waller and Richmond and Hammersmith Councils as well as the Port of London Authority are considering this currently.
Hammersmith Bridge SOS has been in touch with all parties and is trying to get clarity on a timeline and early sight of any potential obstacles to getting a service up and running so they can be addressed quickly.
Making existing journeys safer
We have written to the four councils (Richmond,Hammersmith, Hounslow, Wandsworth) asking for better security and lighting on the East (towards Putney) and West (towards Chiswick) towpath journeys. There have been very worrying reports of children being mugged on the north side in Dukes Meadows and we are all naturally deeply concerned about this lack of security when the clocks go back. Despite some constructive and relatively open initial discussions with local stakeholder councils, it has recently gone quiet and we are getting little, if any, engagement from the local councils. Please do make your views known to the council about your concerns as we need to maintain pressure.
Sarah Olney has written to Hounslow Council.
The 533 bus is now running four times an hour from Castelnau. But this still does not provide sufficient capacity. People are regularly unable to get on because the buses are full. The buses can only take 14 passengers and therefore you stand little chance of being let on unless you get on at the first bus stop. Many people have reported inordinate delays to their journeys on account of waiting to be let on a bus. Pressure will only grow on bus journeys because fewer people will cycle during winter. Traffic across Chiswick Bridge is also delaying journeys and it can take an hour and a half to get round. As you can imagine, children are experiencing long and arduous journeys on buses trying to get to and from school. Conversion of the 533 to double deck operation is also being investigated but we are awaiting an update.
According to Sarah Olney.
‘We are looking at two ways in which to improve the route 485 – by running buses for longer hours and by running via East Putney Tube station. We are, however, also investigating the possibility of implementing an interim scheme to improve services for your constituents and are in discussions with London General Transport Services Ltd who run the route on our behalf.
This scheme is dependent on being able to achieve a turn that is currently prohibited at the junction between Putney High Street and Upper Richmond Road. This is a busy intersection, with multiple lanes of traffic approaching from four directions. We are therefore working to establish the impact of allowing buses to turn at this location on the safety of both road users and those using the crossings, and on general traffic flow that may result from any changes.’
Media and Social media
Hammersmith Bridge has continued to attract media coverage on the BBC, in the Evening Standard and in other media including Italian TV, Al-Jazeera and Russia Today. You can help to draw attention to our on-going problems by following the hashtag HammersmithBridge on Twitter, retweeting and posting your own tweets.
Please look at our contacts page for the names of the people, councils and government bodies initiatives you can tweet. It does work.
Remember, we have to keep drawing attention to our issues and stressing the urgency.
Without pressure, it is too easy for politicians to let things drift.