Maida Vale residents give verdict on C-charge proposals
Boris Johnson s consultation on the western extension of the congestion charge has been greeted with cautious optimism by people in St John's Wood and Maida Vale. The consultation, which began on Monday, will last five weeks and the Mayor is encouraging r
Boris Johnson's consultation on the western extension of the congestion charge has been greeted with cautious optimism by people in St John's Wood and Maida Vale.
The consultation, which began on Monday, will last five weeks and the Mayor is encouraging residents and traders to take part.
"For the last one we all went along and asked if it was going to be taken seriously, but the impression we got was that it wasn't," said Anne von Bennigsen, chairwoman of the Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society.
"We are very happy this consultation is going ahead. I think the people nearest to the congestion zone should be listened to."
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Residents were angered by the first phase of the C-charge as it increased traffic running up Edgware Road and into Maida Vale and St John's Wood, since Edgware Road is a free route and people rushed to connect to it. And traffic increases came without the bonus afforded to those living within the zone - a 90 per cent discount on the charge.
Castellain Road resident Joanna Lloyd-Davies welcomed the new consultation. "In Maida Vale we've been seriously restricted by the additional traffic on the free roads and by the fact we've had absolutely no financial help whatsoever," she said.
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"I hope the concerns of residents and businesses will be taken into account."
Traders have mixed views on the extension. Ibrahim El-Noor, chief executive of the Edgware Road Association, said: "The congestion charge has made it an easier life for traders on the section of the Edgware Road outside the congestion zone, because of increased traffic, but the charge has killed business inside.
"The consultation will be good for us. We were suffering from it. The charges added to the red route make it very difficult on the Edgware Road."
The current zone borders St John's Wood and Maida Vale at the Marylebone Road and the Westway A40. Any changes to the extension scheme, including its abolition, can be suggested by logging onto www.tfl.gov.uk/westernextension.
Specific ideas to be discussed include changes to payment methods, a charge-free period in the middle of the day and increasing residents' discounts to 100 per cent.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said whenever he has headed into West London he has met people with strong opinions on the Western extension.
He added: "I know that the residents of Maida Vale will be no exception. But when my predecessor held a consultation on this important issue he completely ignored its results.
"I have the utmost respect for the opinions of Londoners and I hope that thousands of them, including the readers of Wood&Vale, will take part in our consultation.
"I remain to be persuaded on exactly what should happen with the extension, so this is a superb opportunity for anyone with an opinion to get involved and help influence my final decision.
"I would be very keen to know what your readers think."
What do you think? Let the Wood&Vale Newsdesk know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org