I have been asked a few questions about different things relating to our marketplace, so I thought I’d do a general round-up blog post and put as many as I could remember here.
The 308 bus stop
I knew that there was a good reason for moving the 308 bus stop, and I seem to recall it was explained to me about two years ago, but had to be reminded just today by an officer exactly what it was, after receiving more than one query about whether it would be coming back.
In a nutshell, the 308 bus turns right along Forest lane, and with the bus stop in its former position, the bus used to leave the stop and slew across to the right to get into the right turn lane – which blocked the straight ahead traffic at the junction causing queues and frustration back up Woodgrange Road. Drivers only rarely let the bus turn across before the signals changed, so southbound queues used to get quite long quite quickly and frequently blocked Sebert Road.
The 308 bus now stops at the stop about 120m up the road (which it never used to stop at) where the other buses serving Woodgrange Road also stop (they never stopped before at the removed stop, which was only for the 308).
So the lack of stop so close to the junction helps the traffic to flow better at the junction, and has been replaced by an extra stop further up the road by Wanstead Park station.
The ‘Market place’ stone
I tweeted a while back that the patch of tarmac blighting what would otherwise be a lovely circle of granite had been annoying me, but that I’d found out that it would be replaced by a stone with lettering saying ‘marketplace’ and I was delighted only a few days ago to notice that this stone had indeed been put in. I confess a personal weakness for lettering, especially a nice font with a serif, so am perhaps a little biased. But on a more professional note it’s also nice to have something to add to ‘placemaking’. Did you know that the Woodgrange dentist has plaster detailing at the top of the building saying ‘Market place’? Neither did I until I went on a walk about with Regeneration and we all spotted it. It’s all painted white and not very visible, so something down at ground level is to my mind most welcome.
Talking of the dentist, this brings me onto pavement parking. I have had several complaints about this, both in front of the dentist surgery and also people pulling up onto the marketplace itself and parking on our new pavement. Pavement parking is bad for all kinds of reasons: it physically blocks the pavement meaning that it’s harder to get by, especially if you have a buggy or use a wheelchair, or are visually impaired. It’s just plain dangerous to have cars driving on a space that should be for pedestrians to use safely. It also adds to a general and pervasive idea about our streets: that they are there for cars, which can go anywhere, and everyone else should take care to get out of their way. But on a practical level, it also damages the paving, which after our new stone has gone in at great expense (thanks to funding from TfL) and massive delays, is particularly frustrating.
So to look at the area outside the dentist first, part of this is a ‘forecourt’ which is actually owned by the surgery. We resurfaced this area as part of the works, which is slightly unusual but not outlandish in this kind of project. Effectively, leaving it as a piece of tatty concrete would have had a negative impact on the appearance of the whole marketplace. They have bollards in place, with space I think (checking out of the window of Familia as I write) for three vehicles. I have had regular reports from residents walking their children to school that the cars can be parked in a way that blocks the pavement. To help stop this happening, the parking ‘spaces’ in front of the dentist are going to be marked out with white paint, which should make it clearer both to officers and to drivers when they are parked correctly. I use that dentist, and need to take my girls in for a check up, so am going to discuss not blocking the pavement with them when we go in. I have also highlighted the spot to parking enforcement and asked them to keep an eye on it, and am waiting to hear back. The lamp post which currently sits in the middle of the pavement will also be replaced and moved, which will help to make space on the pavement, too.
Concerning parking on the main marketplace itself, readers of this blog won’t have failed to notice that the works are not yet complete, and we are expecting the installation of various bits of street furniture including the much-needed cycle parking. I am assured this will be positioned such that it physically blocks as much pavement parking as we can. (Further up the road, I got the planters installed outside Arabica / Bereket as a way of improving the area but also stopping the lorries that seemed to be permanently stopping there, and am even more proud of them now that a band of residents have planted them up so beautifully). I have also spoken to parking enforcement about visiting the marketplace, especially in the evening when cars seem to park up with impunity. I will keep asking and keep trying to protect this space.
Fly tipping and rubbish
Whilst I don’t have a specific update, this might be a good time to remind readers about some work Seyi (one of our previous councillors – as if you could forget her!) and I did on the marketplace to try to tackle the constant stream of rubbish left there. You can read my original blog post on that work here, and the update here.
Over running of works and impact on businesses
I did try but I can’t write this post without mentioning the huge local outpouring of support for Number 8, which launched some crowd funding along with an expression of distress at the impact that the local works have had on them. I unfortunately couldn’t attend the local meeting that our Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz set up, but an update from that meeting has been published and sent to those who attended and those who were interested but couldn’t make it, and you can read it here if you haven’t see it already:
Shape Forest Gate Newsletter_Final July 2019.
Apologies that this is a bit of a mishmash of information, but it’s all frequently asked enough that I thought it was worth including. As ever, any questions do ask me. I do my best to keep up with social media queries, but if you absolutely need a response please do send me an email: Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org It might take a while, but I will get back to you!