Major traffic changes proposed for Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park Avenue
Transport for London (TfL) plans to totally refurbish Holland Park Avenue/Notting Hill Gate between the Holland Park Roundabout and Kensington Gardens, as part of a major plan to improve cycling, air quality and pedestrian road crossings between Notting Hill Gate and Imperial College on Wood Lane. The plans were published on 1 May, and there is an ongoing online public consultation until 16 June. The intentions are undoubtedly good, but the proposed changes will inconvenience some road users.
In the 1960s, Notting Hill Gate was widened drastically in order to cope with London’s expected traffic westward, but the building of Westway meant that most of the expected traffic increase never materialised. However, much of the more local car and lorry traffic between the northern part of central London and the western end of Kensington, Shepherds Bush, West Kensington, Acton and Ealing tend to use A40/A402 (Notting Hill Gate/Holland Park Avenue) instead of using Westway and the West Cross Route (A3320), which has lead to traffic being much more heavy along Notting Hill Gate/Holland Park Avenue than what was needed. One possible effect of the proposed changes is that some of these road users will finally realise that Westway is quicker and easier than going through Notting Hill Gate – especially as the consultation papers conclude that traffic will move a bit slower, especially westward, after the changes.
Plan in short
In short, the plan means that there will be a wide two-way segregated cycle lane on the southern side of the road between the Russian Embassy in Notting Hill Gate and Royal Crescent, where the cycle lane will cross Holland Park Avenue and continue on the north side on the current pavement, until it reaches the Holland Park Roundabout, where there will be a big bicycle crossing over to the actual roundabout, through which the cycle lane will run before continuing though Shepherd’s Bush Green. It will in principle occupy one of the current four lanes of traffic, and there will be a series of new reservation islands separating the cycle lanes from other traffic. Westward bus stops will be situated on such islands. For other road users (motorbikes, cars, buses and lorries) there will be one lane in each direction, which will widen to two lanes wherever traffic will turn or where there are bus stops. To solve this, some side roads will be entry or exit only, and some bus stops will be moved.
Along Notting Hill Gate there will actually be 28 pay and display bays instead of 20 today. There will, however, only be double yellow lines in Notting Hill Gate, so no free parking at any time. Some of these parking spaces will be lay-bys within the reservation islands
Along Holland Park Avenue and its junctions there will be 14 pay and display bays instead of 17 today, and only 2 resident bays compared to 7 today. And just as with Notting Hill Gate, there will no longer be any single yellow lines left. This, understandably, worries some retailers.
The existing central reservation islands will either be removed or narrowed, and as a consequence some of the trees on them will be removed, “with appropriate new trees planted nearby to replace those that are removed, subject to location surveys”, according to the consultation papers.
Slower westbound traffic
The consultation papers include a traffic impact analysis, which show that westbound traffic between Kensington Palace Gardens and Holland Park Roundabout is expected to take 3 to 5 minutes longer than today, while the difference for the eastbound traffic will be less.
Public drop-in sessions
TfL has held two public drop-in sessions in Kensington for those wishing to see the plans in more detail, at St George’s Church in Camden Hill (28 Aubrey Walk) on Monday 13 May 2019 (17:30 – 19:00) and Tuesday 28 May 2019 (13:00 – 17:00). Two more will be held in Shepherds Bush, at The Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, on Wednesday 5 June (17:00 – 19:00) and on Saturday 8 June (11:00 – 15:00).
NEW: Public meeting in Kensington Town Hall on 13 June
As very few had an opportunity to visit the two drop-in sessions at St George’s Church in May, and even less opportunity to talk to TfL planners, the Kensington Society is arranging a public meeting in Kensington Town Hall, the Great Hall, on Thursday 13 June, attended by staff from TfL (as well as council officers) and councillors, and where they have promised to answer questions and concerns. See more here.
This is what Notting Hill Gate is proposed to look like near the Coronet corner. The bicyclists get their own road, with lay-bys with bus stops and parking separating the cyclists from the rest of the traffic. Click for larger image.
These are the various proposed changes for Notting Hill Gate. Click for larger image.
This is the artists impression of the future for Holland Park Avenue at the junction with Clarendon Road. Click for larger image.
These are the proposed changes for Holland Park Avenue. Click for larger image.