A Bridge Too Far

Pedestrian crossing finished months ago but remains closed

A pedestrian crossing that was supposed to link Shepherd's Bush town centre with W11 is still closed months after it was built because of “outstanding safety concerns”.

The crossing over the A3220 was built to connect the Edward Woods Estate and Hunt Close on the W11 side with Westfield and Ariel Way on the W12 side of the road and allow pedestrians to avoid having to make lengthy detours.

Work on the crossing was completed in early spring and included the building of a staircase leading up onto the A3220, two lifts and distinctive red panelling with the 'Westfield' logo on it. But anyone attempting to use the crossing now can only get up as far as the top of the staircase before being confronted with a very busy carriageway, a covered-up pedestrian crossing and some hoarding on the other side of the road, blocking the way to W11.

Edward Woods resident Irene Roberts said people were baffled as to why the crossing remained closed: "The bridge opened months ago but we've not been able to use it and no one can understand why. It seems ridiculous that we have to walk miles or wait for a bus when there is a perfectly good bridge ready and waiting," she said.

On the W11 side, the crossing is accessed from a staircase in Hunt Close. John Griffiths of the Hammersmith and Fulham branch of the London Cycling Campaign said he thought the arrangement was problematic for cyclists: “The chicane descent on the W11 side is not very suitable for a main cycle route, or any cycle route, especially if crowded with pedestrians. So perhaps not very useful for cyclists, unless that can be changed. Where it is a short cut for people living very close on the Latimer Road side it will be useful,” he said.

He said the delay in opening the crossing had a knock-on effect on other issues that needed to be resolved: “There are problems with the cycle routes on Ariel way, Eastern Access road. LBHF do not want to tackle these until there is evidence of how people will use the route when it is opened, and any cyclist / pedestrian problems. The delay in opening the route means a delay in dealing with these problems,” Griffiths added.

According to Transport for London, the crossing is unsafe because of sight line obstructions – obstacles that prevent motorists from having an unimpeded view around an intersection. “We are working with Westfield to resolve an outstanding issue with the layout of the pedestrian crossing that will provide access to the shopping centre from the eastern side of the A3320 carriageway. We will continue to work together to get this resolved as quickly as possible,” said a TfL spokesperson.

Westfield have also been involved in the building of the crossing: "Westfield and Transport for London have been working together to deliver the crossing to link the eastern side of the A3220 dual carriageway to Westfield London and Wood Lane. Throughout the planning and design process, we have been continually reviewing the scheme and there are some outstanding safety issues which need to be resolved before the project can be completed. The completion of the crossing is important to both us and our shoppers and we are working together to resolve any issues as soon as possible," a spokesperson said.

The Council reportedly said the crossing would open in "September 2009 at the earliest" but TfL later gave October 2009 as a possible opening date.

H&F Homes and Councillor Lucy Ivimy, Cabinet Member for Housing, say they are calling on TfL and Westfield to resolve the outstanding issues as quickly as possible: "Safety is obviously the priority, but I'm absolutely baffled that a bridge could be finished for so long and yet residents cannot use it. I will be doing everything in my power to find out what has happened and get it open as soon as possible," said Cllr Ivimy.

20 June 2009

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The newly-built staircase and lifts that lead up onto the bridge.

The view from the top of the bridge, looking eastwards towards W11.

The view from the W11 side with steps leading up to the crossing.

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H&F London Cycling Campaign