This evening I joined representatives of TfL and Redbridge Council at a meeting with Clayhall Ward residents and their councillor, Gurdial Bhamra.
Arriving early I carried out a quick inspection of the subways, following up on my visit with Cranbrook Ward councillors several weeks ago. The subway flooding has been fixed, with repairs to the water pump. All the lighting is now working. Even the litter has been cleaned up, although it is still far from spotless and unlikely to remain clean for as long as thoughtless people dump their rubbish here.
So far so good - now onto the meat of the evening. We gathered in the Red House pub on the north side of the roundabout to watch a very clear presentation outlining the traffic problems on the roundabout. The situation is particularly difficult and dangerous for cars entering the roundabout from Redbridge Lane East, the only road not regulated by traffic signals.
The lack of signals is aggravated by a poorly sited pedestrian crossing, a mini roundabout and buses entering the queue from Redbridge Station - some turning right across the traffic.
Throughout the day the situation is dire, with a delay of up to thirty minutes for vehicles approaching the roundabout. This was dramatically illustrated in a video produced by residents and available to view on their website http://www.redrag.info/ .
Ideally traffic signals were needed at the junction with the roundabout, but this would be expensive and cause delays in the rest of the roundabout. A cheaper and less disruptive approach would be to lengthen the red phase on the lights controlling access from the A406, to the right of Redbridge Lane East. TfL staff agreed to examine this option.
Meanwhile another option would be to reroute the buses to stop outside the underground station on the A12. TfL were reluctant to make such a change which would make the interchange with the tube more difficult.
Moving the pedestrian crossing further from the roundabout would also smooth traffic flow. TfL and the council were examining proposals to remove the mini roundabout junction immediately before the crossing, replacing it with traffic lights. A crossing could be incorporated into the new junction. Further study - and money - was needed.
Speeding up the traffic flow would reduce emissions in Redbridge Lane East, a very laudable aim. However the proximity of the A406, A12 and the roundabout itself is likely to be so harmful to air quality that minor changes to traffic speed would make little difference. Cleaner engines and less polluting fuels are the only long term solution in this location.
The infamous Olympic Route Network, already a bone of contention between myself and the Mayor, will mean changes here during the games. At least we will be spared the orange painted 'zil lanes', but there are plans to clear traffic on the roundabout by preventing access to Redbridge Lane East from noon to midnight during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
We agreed that we couldn't see how such a change would actually improve speeds for traffic heading to Stratford, which would be on the inside of the roundabout at this point. TfL representatives agreed to consider the proposals in the light of local objections.
We concluded on this high note. Residents were pleased by TfL's constructive and sympathetic approach, and for their part, I felt the residents had done a good job of demonstrating the problems and devising realistic solutions. We will all be in contact for an update in a few weeks.