Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Don't close our community off at the weekends, please

Okay - I featured the building of the West Hampstead Thameslink rail-bridge the other day and that progresses along quite visibly.

However, whilst the massive investment in the transport network in London continues (much of it driven by a desire to get the service up to scratch ready for the 2012 Olympics) there is a series of knock-on effects.

One of these has been to cut off transport access to the North London Overground Line and also the Jubilee Line virtually every weekend in this part of north west London.

It has become something of a regular feature with vast legions of rail replacement buses being laid on and no station services. The consequence has been that for where I live in West hampstead and Kilburn we have been increasingly cut off. Well, there has been a lot of unhappiness and chuntering and last night local traders decided to act. They called a meeting and resolved to try and get some attention for the effect these sustained closures are having.

Now I can't help but think there are a range of issues here:
- the communications from TfL about what is happening is dreadful: up goes the notice and across come the gates.
- the staff placed there at weekend and the bus drivers included often don't have a full brief in quite difficult circumstances
- more and more the extent to which West hampstead and Kilburn in particular have been hit businesses and shops are seeing a very real drop in trade and they are very very worried for their livelihood.

So here's the petition

And I thought I would start the conversation on here:

  1. could some of the closures move into the week rather than being all forced to the weekend?It's having the effect of cutting us off from the rest of London.
  2. Do we as Oyster Card holders have rights as shareholders to quiz and questions and get some answers to our concerns and make sure our voices are heard. Does TfL have the capacity to hear what we are saying?
  3. Are the closure entirely necessary? More and more we are all hearing stories that in fact the whole of the line is being shut when in fact work is only happening on a small stretch and that semi-permanent closure at weekend has become the operational norm. This was part illustrated by the fact that the Jubilee was miraculously opened for the U2 concert last weekend...
  4. is there another way of this work being handled, are the councillors and Council fully in the loop, and what is the consequence for all of the other developments - Iverson Road, West End Lane and the constant talk of development and housing...

Last year I brought Lib Dem campaigner and MP, Transport Spokesman, Norman Baker to West Hampstead and we had a very good meeting with the incredibly constructive Peter Field from TfL - picture above right - Norman, myself and Peter). Now we hope to turn to Peter again for some help, answers and movement... watch this space.


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