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London Road pedestrian facilities

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Posted on Sunday, 30 March, 2003 - 03:37 pm:   

Does anyone else around either Taymount Rise or Honor Oak Road think that there should be a pedestrian's crossing on London Road? Crossing in order to get to the bus stop is dangerous for me and I imagine suicide for children, seniors and people with disabilities. If you think there should be a crossing, could you let Transport for London know on
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Posted on Monday, 31 March, 2003 - 10:33 am:   

Do you mean add a green man to the trafic light controlled junction next to tescos, or add a new crossing entirely? There's already one either side of this if I remember correctly (sainsburys and horniman). I live on Taymount Rise, but wouldn't been in favour of another crossing there, as I think the london road is badly congested as it is.
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Posted on Monday, 31 March, 2003 - 03:21 pm:   

There isn't actually any pedestrian crossing within 500 feet either side of the Honor Oak Road bus stop. I don't know if you use the buses, but crossing the road to get to the bus stop is incredibly dangerous. Anyway, the principal reason for congestion in Forest Hill (which is much worse than other parts of London with proper pedestrian facilities) is that motorists treat the SOuth Circular as their personal race track, causing a back up as soon as cars catch up to one another. If forest hill was a bit more like a normal inner London borough, not only would you have safer roads for pedestrians and a better chance for regeneration for the centre, but you'd also space out the traffic and reduce congestion where it currently is.
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Posted on Monday, 19 May, 2003 - 03:03 pm:   

Sorry Matt but Ihave too agree with S,I have 3 children at school we use buses every day .We walk down and cross at sainburys,I live on the london road and know just how much more worst the traffic would be.Maybe a crossing at the juntion with honor oak may not cause too many problems
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Posted on Friday, 23 May, 2003 - 01:39 pm:   

I agree with Sharon and S. There is an adequate, light controlled crossing outside Sainsbury's. The addition of another crossing facility in London Road would increase the level of congestion on the South Circular. I live in Honor Oak Road and the knock-on effect of that extra congestion would be to seriously increase the congestion in Honor Oak Road. This is due to the phasing of the lights at the junction with London Road, which only allows traffic in Honor Oak Road about 10 seconds of "green time". An additional crossing between Honor Oak Road and the lights at Sainsbury's would cause traffic to back up towards Hornimans museum and beyond, leaving cars in Honor Oak Road with nowhere to go. The addition of a box junction at the junction of Honor Oak Road would, in my experience, have little effect as car drivers frequently just ignore them. If anybody is in any doubt as to the effect such an additional crossing on London Road would have, they should cast their minds back to the situation that existed before the lights went in at both Sainsbury's and the junction of Honor Oak Road. My recollection is that traffic in those days ran far smoother than it does today.
Joined N/A
Posted on Sunday, 01 June, 2003 - 04:59 pm:   

I would like to say that the crossing at Sainsbury's is not adequate - in fact it is the most dangerous crossing that I have ever encountered - and I have written to Transport for London on this issue. If you are crossing from the Sainsbury's side, the traffic that is coming up from Forest Hill train station cannot see the Pedestrian crossing lights - because they are obstructed by leaves on trees. The traffic coming up the hill can see the queue of traffic on the Sainsbury's side - and believes that this is a queue of traffic - does not realise that traffic has stopped for the crossing. I have attempted to cross this crossing from Sainsbury's side when a lorry was on my left - so nobody coming up from the station could see me - I was nearly killed by a lorry coming from the station that clearly did not know there was a crossing there. I wrote to Transport for London - and their response was to paint the crossing route red. They also said that they had checked visibility of the lights - but admitted that they had done this in January - when the trees did not have leaves! Please be careful crossing at this crossing - it is not safe to assume that drivers will have seen the red light and know to stop.
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Posted on Monday, 02 June, 2003 - 06:24 pm:   

I don't understand patrick's logic: if he thinks that putting in a pedestrian crossing will cause such bad congestion, he must anticipate that the crossing will be well used by residents, which must mean that current pedestrian facilities are inadequate. Then again, if he's harking back to the days when there were no traffic lights, he must have fairly low standards for residents' safety.

The problem with congestion in forest hill is caused by the south circular road design which encourages drivers to speed and stop. Most London boroughs have better pedestrian facilities and lighter traffic.

However, the issue shouldn't simply be about reducing congestion for drivers. Residents who need to use busses and local shops should be able to get where we need to go without dodging speeding traffic or taking circuitous journeys, and we should at least have the same rights as motorists trying to get through the borough as quickly as possible
One Weary Foot Soldier
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Posted on Monday, 20 September, 2004 - 05:44 pm:   

Time to focus attention again on the needs of pedestrians. Nothing constructive has been achieved since 2003's posts, indeed the situation has got worse.

The potholed condition of the pedestrian crossing at Sainbury is a disgrace and the time interval allowed has been shortened; older and disabled people cannot get across in time allowed. South Circular pedestrian access at the Horniman is in even poorer condition; not easy to avoid uneven surfaces and wobbly tiles. If you want to cross the South Circular safely anywhere else,tough, you are out of luck. How can you be so silly as to expect pedestrian access convenient to and from the bus stops,the schools, the shops or your home?

As neither Transport for London or LB Lewisham seem interested in putting matters right, any cyber cleverclogs know a champion to present our case fo us?
Hilltop General
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Posted on Monday, 20 September, 2004 - 10:39 pm:   

On the other hand, the crossing E of Honor Oak Road has finally been commissioned.

In general though I think of a paraphrased version of that party political broadcast and pity those that grow old in London. It's tough.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 - 08:05 am:   

I think crossing London Road is not the main problem, which is crossing HOR. my the gas station.
There does not seem to be any break for pedestrians also because the lights are not visible you cannot see when the cars are about to start. They should have another light opposite for the benefit of pedestrians
One Weary Foot Soldier
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Posted on Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

Brian, I agree that crossing HOR is also tricky but you are misssing my points about London Road (South Circular) probably because you are more personally affected by HOR. London Road does not stop at the HOR junction, it carries on to Lordship Lane. There are a lot of people who live beside the main road in this area of Forest Hill too.
Hilltop General, I believe the authorities are having 2nd thoughts about the crossing E. of HOR on road safety grounds, it has been out of commission since the first day when a driver crashed into it. Also, the issues I raised are not just those of old people although I admit to being a wrinkly. Crossing this busy main road is difficult for all sorts of people including young families and disabled people.

I repeat my question,does anyone know of a champion who could present our case to the relevant authorities for gettin improvement made?
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 - 10:25 am:   

Have to admit, I couldn't believe it when I saw pedestrain lights going up E of HOR. Any fool could see it was an accident waiting to happen. Traffic comes flying down the hill to make it through the lights and then have to slam on brakes at the crossing. Surely it would have made more sense to have incorporated the pedestrian crossing into the existing lights at the London Road HOR junction...
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 21 September, 2004 - 01:23 pm:   

Bosco - Transport for London traffic planners are brain dead and the pedestrian lights E of HOR have now been activated. Wonder how long before the next accident happens here.
Joined N/A
Posted on Wednesday, 22 September, 2004 - 07:01 am:   

I agree Transport for London are brain dead.
Increase the bus fares to GBP 1.20
While fare dodging bendy buses carry on increasing the lost revenue.
Years ago our fuehrer wanted to have free public transport now he jas found a way to implement by the back door , bendy buses.
Worried Pedestrian
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Posted on Sunday, 26 September, 2004 - 08:34 pm:   

While Sydenham Rise is closed to traffic, to get to the roundabout at the top of Sydenham Hill SE23, drivers coming from Forest Hill along London Road are now turning into Sydenham Hill by the foot of the Play Park,ignoring the no left turn sign and that fact that pedestrians are already crossing Sydenham Hill on the green man signal at this junction. Do we have to wait for an accident here before Lewisham’s Traffic Department / Police wake up to this dangerous situation and take action? One would have thought that contractors should have to notify the authorities and agree a safe alternative route before a road is closed for work to be carried out.
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Posted on Monday, 27 September, 2004 - 12:11 pm:   

I have yet to see anyone working there either on my way to work between 8.30am - 9am or on my way home at 5pm. I would have thought that as these roadworks are on a main road it would warrant working non stop and through the night if necessary. The roadworks in Kirkdale also seem to have come to a full stop. I wonder if they are all on holiday??
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Posted on Wednesday, 29 September, 2004 - 10:59 pm:   

I agree no apparent sense of urgency has been shown about sorting out the leaking water problems in London Road but they are working tonight - see main post on Water Pressure thread.
Joined 10-10-2006
Posted on Monday, 12 February, 2007 - 03:28 pm:   

Below is an email I have sent / CC'd to our 3 Foest Hill Councillors under the heading Pedestrian Dangers on London Road:

Dear Mr Peake

I wonder if you might be able to represent some concerns related to the above issue in a forum that might lead to changes being made. I have made two telephone calls to the council, neither of which have been responded to.

As you walk down the Sainsbury's side of London Road from the Horniman Museum to Forest Hill Station, there are three particularly hazardous junctions to cross. There appears to be little or no thought given to pedestrian safety at any of them and often you literally just have to take your chances when crossing.

The first, and probably least precarious of the junctions is the entrance to the Tesco garage. Cars can either stack up here, blocking pedestrians or swing in - particularly those turning across the oncoming traffic when they spot an opportunity. I see no obvious solution to this but others may.

The second and third - and significantly more dangerous - junctions are with Honour Oak and Waldenshaw Roads. I, and my wife with our baby, have nearly been hit by cars turning in from London Road on countless occasions when crossing these roads - often by cars illegally passing through red lights as they pass the Tesco garage or as they leave the garage to turn into Honour Oak Road. Many cars don't indicate as they turn in to these junctions which makes it even more dangerous. You have to cross Honour Oak Road in two stages - which can take 3 to 4 minutes sometimes - and the island is far too small for people and a pushchair. Even when the lights go red on London Road you can't cross the lane entering Honour Oak Road as the cars wanting to turn right from London Road are forced to use this oppotunity to do so.

In my view there should be pelican crossing with a raised pavement at the Honour Oak junction and at least a raised pavement at the Waldenshaw Road junction. The raised pavements appear to be effective because the driver is entering your territory and needs to show due respect rather than the other way around.

In addition, the time one has to wait for the green man to appear on all of the London Road pelican crossings between Honour Oak Road and the Station is unacceptably long.

I know we have a major arterial route through our community but this does not mean the power in Forest Hill should lie so absolutely on the side of drivers. Particularly on a route popularly used by new visitors to the area and their children this should not be the case.

I will post this email on as I may be alone in my views, but somehow I doubt it.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,
Joined 26-02-2006
Posted on Monday, 12 February, 2007 - 10:45 pm:   

I'd agree on the timing issues with regards to the pedestrian crossing outside Sainsburys.

It takes a full minute apparently regardless of traffic flow before it changes. Considering traffic is often slowing there because there's a queue at the main junction, it wouldn't be so hard to make the gap a little shorter.

And you can put me down for the HOR one too - whlle I agree that there isn't enough time for cars to get out of HOR on occasion - it is irritating to have the solution being to cross the road via a lengthy pedestrian crossing and then cross back against another one with a long wait.

Makes you wonder whether road planners actually do any 'usability' studies on where people are attempting to cross the roads rather than dropping them in at apparently random spots.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 13 February, 2007 - 10:36 am:   

There are only two types of pedestrian in Forest Hill - the quick and the dead!
Joined 10-10-2006
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 09:22 am:   

Just as a postscript, the councillor Phillip Peake visited last night and explained the following:

1. He has asked TfL to look at ways of stopping cars lying across the pavement at the entrance to the Tesco garage.

2. Computer modelling a year ago established that cars cannot be stopped from entering Honour Oak Road for pedestrians' sake as the traffic will stack up back to Dulwich.

3. The island in the middle of HOR cannot be widened due to the width of the road.

4. A pelican crossing will go in at the bottom of Westwood Park/Top of Manor Mount as part of the traffic calming on HOR. (This calming will cost £100,000 in total!).

5. He has requested a raised pavement for Waldenshaw Road as part of the CPZ introduction.

6. The time one waits for the green man on the Pelican Crossings across London Road depends on the sequencing of the lights at the junction with Dartmouth Road. It's all about "flow".

Apparently there have been no deaths crossing HOR or Waldenshaw Road and until then these issues will not be prioritised.

It seems the quick prevail.

A very impressive service from Mr Peake.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 09:56 am:   

The idea that someone has to die first seems like a rather extreme form of testing the requirement!
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 10:14 am:   

Another way of putting is that there are parts of our road system where people actually are being killed or seriously injured.

Unless either:

1. We can convince taxpayers that enough should be spent to at once redesign every road for greater safety (we have enough road engineers to do this?)


2. We should prioritise road works on something other than actual risk.

then I am afraid that it is inevitable that road planners and others will look at death and injury rates in deciding what to do. It is not a case either of work being done in response to a single case of death or serious injury. The Lewisham and TfL approaches look at what has happened over a period of (I think from recollection) about three years.

I know personally some six families whose child has been killed in a traffic accident (one outside my house where I was the one who had to break the news to the mother), so this is a tragically real matter for me personally. However, I couldn't argue for any other way of approaching it than looking at actual accident levels and thereby deciding what to do first.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 10:24 am:   

More sophisticated risk assessment, allowing for a predictive rather than reactive approach? On the railways, there is the Value of Avoiding a Fatality (VAF) - which is around £1.4m(!) Risks are reduced "so far as is reasonably practicable", which is actually quite an onerous requirement.

Of course we tolerate much higher risks in relation to cars than trains.
Joined 07-12-2003
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 11:54 am:   

I don't remember the exact methodology used by Lewisham. It would be an interesting topic for an area forum or an FH Society public meeting, or an item in the newsletter.

You are quite right about the differences between perceived risk and actual risk, something which affects public service planning in many areas.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 12:21 pm:   

I find it curious if road improvements for pedestrians can only be considered after a death has occurred.
The Government has set updated National targets up to 2010 in an effort to continue the reduction of road crash casualties.
The number of deaths per annum in Lewisham should be reduced by 40% from 111 to 67 by 2010.
I think that to achieve this reduction and comply with the Government target, improvements need to be made before deaths occur.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 01:51 pm:   

When I lived in Vale Lodge, opposite Christchurch School in Perry Vale, which I did for 12 years, there were countless problems with speeding drivers misjudging the bend and demolishing the garden wall. On one famous occasion a car flipped over and landed in the front garden. Almost every week there was an accident of some sort, most of which seemed to result in minor impact but there were some serious whiplash injuries.We tried to get something done but no one listened. There were some serious injuries to passengers and still no one listened. It was only until someone was killed and the Council faced with litigation did something happen. The key prompt here for action was we felt the litigation, not the wish to reduce road death, or else why would so many injuries be ignored for so long.

Yesterday morning a few pedestrians including myself were nearly knocked down on the London Rd/Devonshire Rd junction outside the launderette, by a motorcyclist who went straight through a red light. This was too close for comfort. There must by now be more sophisticated tools for assessing road danger than waiting for some tragedy to occur. Surely the perceived risk of a large number of people must count for something. When does perceived become actual enough?
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 01:52 pm:   

FHS - I'm interested in your proposed "risk assessment" approach to justifying work on the junction.

Risk assessments rely on accident rates at input data. According to Vipes there have been no fatalities recorded at the location - so how will a risk assessment help?

Surely this will just confirm that other locations, where fatalities occur, better deserve the investment.
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 01:54 pm:   

p.s. I think the proposals for HOR and especially the hill up from Honor Oak Park station are excellent. Those roads have been everyone's favourite race track ever since I moved here, and I'm glad that something is being done about it. Phillip Peake deserves credit for this.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 02:17 pm:   

Les, since when did was there widespread reliance on accidents to inform decisions about risk? Do they "test" oil rigs and nuclear power stations by just building them and seeing what happens? Is it just assumed on the railway that all will be well until trains start going through signals, people start getting electrocuted etc?

I thought you had an engineering background? In many fields attempts are made to identify and eliminate contributory factors. Human error (e.g. going through a red light) is only factor. FMEA not ring any bells?
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 05:36 pm:   

I no longer live in Forest Hill, but until two years ago I did live on Westwood Park for over ten years, so feel entitled to comment.

Perhaps more relevantly, I work for national charity Living Streets, who have campaigned for better conditions for pedestrians since 1929. I undertake community consultation, working with local people to identify practical ways to improve conditions on foot.

I've just completed a consultation in Sydenham for Lewisham Council - see the Sydenham Society website, or for more info. I've also just done some work for Southwark on Lordship Lane - both schemes could have a major knock-on effect in Forest Hill.

Councils tend to prioritise traffic calming and road safety schemes based on KSI statistics - that's Killed or Seriously Injured to you and me and, yes, it is a pretty sick way to work - but there is a gruesome logic to it.

By contrast, councils and central government have policies aspiring to encourage walking and other sustainable modes of travel. If you want to get better walking conditions, you need to push Lewisham Council/TfL on these policies, not road safety, as you don't have to wait for bloodshed to justify change.

Please don't blast your council or your traffic engineers. As a nation we've been designing our public spaces for cars, not people, for decades - remember Maggie's "Great Car Economy", or her assertion that a man over 30 who travels by bus should consider himself a failure? Lewisham's traffic engineers did what they were told to, and gave us great roads for cars, and as a result we've now got tons of traffic and rubbish pedestrian provision. They're now trying to turn this around, and it won't happen overnight. They are your best allies, and they're up against it - you've heard about the 1 million signatures opposing road pricing; well every proposed pedestrian-friendly scheme brings these vocal people out of the woodwork. And you'll get a lot further by being kind to traffic engineers than by slagging them off - they're human too. Paul Sharpe is the Lewisham engineer responsible for the Honor Oak Road traffic calming scheme, and he's a good guy. Anyone written to thank him for designing the scheme yet? No, I thought not...

The Honor Oak Road calming scheme will make a radical difference to traffic patterns in Forest Hill, so once this is in place I'd be asking Lewisham to review the impact it has on the London Road junction - councils usually budget for works to tweak new schemes once they're in place, as they know that traffic movements are mysterious and difficult to predict with certainty. Just get your request in quick!

And don't assume the South Circular through Forest Hill can't be transformed - look up The Walworth Project on Southwark Council's website and you'll see an amazing scheme that TfL are piloting to give pedestrians much greater priority on an incredibly busy road.

Oh, and The Walworth Project got the go-ahead partly because of those KSI statistics - over 250 in three years...
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Thursday, 15 February, 2007 - 09:20 pm:   

I regularly walk via Honor Oak Road (with my 3 year old twins) to the nursery in Waldenshaw Road. I was really pleased to see the plans for the Honor Oak Road calming scheme as I feel intimidated by the speed of the traffic when I am making this journey. The pavements are narrow in places and lorries thunder past so close to the pedestrians.
I have for a long time felt that pedestrians seem to have so little say compared to the pro car lobby - so it was good to read the post above from the chap from Living Streets. The 1 million signatures opposing road pricing is getting loads of media coverage while pedestrian issues are ignored. So, I have signed the alternative (Friends of the Earth initiated) petition and would encourage anyone who cares for the long term future of pedestrian issues to do the same.

Car owners might feel victimised but they have got to start thinking about the greater good and maybe getting their collective heads out of the sand.
Joined 10-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 16 February, 2007 - 09:40 am:   

Borough High Street is another excellent example of an area in which pedestrians have been prioritised. So too is Oxford Circus - where the sequencing means you can now even cross diagonally. If they can do it there and Walworth Road they can do it here.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 16 February, 2007 - 10:14 am:   

Paul, thank you for your post but you will I hope forgive us for waiting until the work gets done (or indeed judging its success) before we write to the borough's highways engineer.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Friday, 16 February, 2007 - 10:19 am:   

Go look at Balham, by the tube - they've got the first double diagonal crossing in the country - and it works! There's no guardrail, because people can CROSS WHERE THEY WANT TO CROSS! Radical, huh? If you see guardrail, you know the crossings are inadequate and/or in the wrong place.

New York City have started installing guardrail recently, but at least they're honest about it - they call it pedestrian fencing...
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Friday, 16 February, 2007 - 10:27 am:   

Oh dear, Mr Secretary, why not praise the good intention behind it? Why not thank him for trying?

Why does Les think Mr Peake deserves credit, and you don't think the poor fella who does the difficult job of trying to find a workable solution to everyone's conflicting needs doesn't (or at least, not yet)?

These guys (they're usually guys) get grief from the general public every single day of the year - most of it unwarranted. Once the scheme is in, they'll be blasted for sure - because it's impossible to please everyone all the time.

And if you thank him now for trying his best, he's MUCH more likely to listen to you if you ask him (nicely) to try tweaking it to advantage afterwards.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 16 February, 2007 - 06:24 pm:   

I think this Living Streets organisation sounds interesting and think we ought to find out more from Paul about its work and how we as a community can benefit. I am very interested in local traffic calming techiques and home zones etc so would be interested in seeing the examples mentioned in Pauls posts. As a member of the Forest Hill Society Transport Committee I am intending to look more into the available options ,and successful examples in the UK and worldwide , for traffic calming, road safety, reduction of rat running etc.
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Friday, 16 February, 2007 - 09:44 pm:   

FHS - what you describe with oil rigs and nuclear power is pretty well precisely what did happen. The current codes of practice for offshore installations are a result of years of experience in the Gulf of Mexico and Persian Gulf.

Despite this experience many of the 1960's oil platforms in the North Sea had major structural shortcomings that weren't fully understood until the mid 70's.

Similarly for the railways 'innovations' like continuous vacuum brakes and signals were triggered by often horrific accidents.

In new areas, you are faced with best judgement as your guide, and this is modified by experience, and eventually this is formalised by codes and standards.

My point is about FMEAs and risk assessments is that you require good input information in the form of experience, test data or regulations. In the case of your crossing, in fact the data rationally doesn't support action at the cost of other more deserving areas.

Incidentally, I guess the justification for the traffic calming on HOR is the speed data for the traffic using it that can be correlated to fatal accident rates. What is the figure - at 40mph 90% of pedestrians die in an impact, at 30mph 80% survive I remember reading.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Saturday, 17 February, 2007 - 12:32 am:   

Knew that would stimulate a good response!

Do you not think there might be some scope for identifying risk factors on roads and designing mitigating works accordingly?

PS sorry to hear about your incident
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Saturday, 17 February, 2007 - 11:05 am:   


Living Streets has just set up a group of local branches and affiliated community groups to create 'London Living Streets' (LLS). LLS aims to push Transport for London harder to improve walkability in London.

LLS is starting with three campaigns:

First, it is demanding that all traffic light controlled junctions in the Capital have Green Men installed on every arm - at present there are hundreds of junctions missing Green Men, often because the lights are set so that there is NEVER a safe time for pedestrians to cross.

Second, LLS wants pavements on London's bridges across the Thames to be widened to accommodate the huge numbers of pedestrians using them, and take advantage of the carriageway space freed-up by the Congestion Charge.

Third, it wants Ken to rewrite his London Walking Plan, because the current Plan misses lots of opportunities and has no hard targets.

If you want to be kept in the loop, I'd suggest the Forest Hill Society affiliates to Living Streets for £15pa. Contact to find out more.

And if you're worried that Living Streets is just another dodgy charity that's jumping on a bandwagon, we started in 1929 (as The Pedestrians Association for Road Safety), and lobbied successfully for 1930 and 1934 Road Traffic Acts that heralded the first driving tests and pedestrian crossings in this country.

And we're the ONLY national charity dedicated solely to improving conditions for people on foot -

"Revitalising Neighbourhoods - Reconnecting People".

- Advert ends -
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Saturday, 17 February, 2007 - 12:32 pm:   

All useful and interesting stuff, Paul - thanks.

There are certainly some issues in Forest Hill with the priority given to cars compared to that given to pedestrians. It is unfortunate that the South Circular goes straight through the middle of the area, but it is questionable whether the balance is right. One example that springs to mind is trying to cross by the station, where they seriously expect everyone to wait a while, all try and squeeze onto the island, wait again, and then finally cross.

It would be great if this could be improved, perhaps as part of a route to the Horniman that has been discussed over the years.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Saturday, 17 February, 2007 - 03:49 pm:   

I'd agree absolutely about the main junction outside the station, Fhssecretary. Most plans I've seen for Forest Hill seem to duck this issue, yet for me that junction is the key to unlocking shopping and social vitality in Forest Hill.

Until pedestrians can cross with ease there, Forest Hill shops are effectively split three ways. Good shopping environments REQUIRE ease of movement throughout to work effectively.

The other big problem Forest Hill centre has is that the South Circular there is on a steep hill. As a result, cars can't just coast through - there's constant clutch slipping, revving engines, and of course the downhill cars gather excess speed all too easily.

There was a plan many years ago to dig a tunnel through the hill - that might have sorted it. Otherwise, it won't be properly solved until we accept that, where strategic routes like the South Circular go through local centres, the community uses of the public realm should take precedence over the traffic uses.

Interestingly, The Walworth Project is wrestling with just this issue of rebalancing through traffic and local vitality. It really could be the start of a change in street design that accepts we should never have tried to accommodate mass private car ownership in inner London in the first place.

Oh, and there's a much simpler way to sort out that junction than digging a tunnel. You shrink the junction by removing all the islands, and make it a three-way stop for the traffic, permitting walkers to cross every which way (in the US they call this a "scramble zone", but that sounds a bit panic-inducing to me).
Joined 03-06-2005
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 03:44 pm:   

About two weeks ago I received a round-robin e mail urging me to sign the petition against road pricing. Looking back down the e mail chain to the list of previous “senders” who had forwarded the e mail, I was amazed to see the name of Peter Ireby, secretary of the Forest Hill Society Transport Committee, who was passing this onto others encouraging them to sign the petition.

What chance have we got to provide a sensible balance between car and pedestrian traffic when even the FHS leadership is promoting such nonsense?

Surely the FHS should be taking a lead in supporting pedestrian-friendly local solutions such as those suggested above, not lining up with the car lobby.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 04:34 pm:   

Depends whether one thinks road pricing is the solution, and also whether opposing it is mutually exclusive with "supporting pedestrian-friendly local solutions".

Additionally, Mr Irby is entitled to his own views.
Joined 29-09-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 05:10 pm:   

Perhaps we should create our own lobby group to petition the contrary. I think it is particuarly unfair that I rarely use my car, however I have to pay the same flat rate road tax as the guy who does 10,000 miles a year. Would those 'me, me' petitioners think it so fair if we were all charged a flat rate to shop in the supermarket or pub? Those with larger families and or more expensive tastes, would obviously be at an advantage. I noticed that Norwich Insurance are now insuring on usuage basis. They attach a meter of some sort to your car...perhaps this is fairer more even handed future? There'll always be Ludites, and they're usually pretty vocal.
Joined 21-12-2005
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 05:15 pm:   

Paul: thanks for the info on London Living Streets. The FHS transport committee are meeting this week so I’ll make sure it’s raised. Just out of interest, does Living Streets have a position on the changes that were made to pedestrian crossings a while ago, ie replacing a flashing green man with no lit man at all, and changing the location of the red/green men signs from the post on the other side of the road to the post on the same side as you (not sure if that last one makes sense but I’m sure you know what I mean!)? They’re both bugbears of mine, along with that stupid bus shelter near Sainsbury’s on London Road.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 06:01 pm:   

I've been looking at pedestrian crossings in Washington DC over the weekend, they have a rather nice system of a countdown for crossing the street (usually from 30 seconds). This lets pedestrians know how much time they have and it is also useful for cars to see how long before the lights change.

Additionally I found that if you are crossing a road at a junction cars actually let you cross rather than trying to mow you down. Perhaps it is because it is a much smaller town with significant traffic conjestion or perhaps everybody was being particularly nice given the icy conditions, but I think we might be able to learn something from American traffic/pedestrian systems!

And another thing, they have 'right-turn on red' in the US. This is a sensible idea and if implemented, in reverse in the UK, could reduce conjestion. In the Forest Hill context this would allow traffic to turn left on the south circular if there was nothing coming down Dartmouth Road and if there was not a pedestrian crossing the road. This encourages drivers to look around them and rewards them for their care by allowing them to jump the lights if it is safe.
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 06:03 pm:   

I doubt our nanny state would be too keen on anything quite so "liberal".
Joined 20-02-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 06:44 pm:   

Michael, they weren't just being nice; in the US pedestrians actually have the right of way if the car is required to stop, which is the case at all intersections of a smaller road with a larger one.

This was one of the things I had trouble coming to terms with when we moved to the UK. When American visitors come to visit us now, I cringe as they inevitably walk out in front of impatient cars at junctions.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 07:57 pm:   


The change you refer to is actually a different system entirely. The trad light controlled crossing is called a Pelican (PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled crossing), the new sort are called Puffins (Pedestrian User Friendly INtelligent) crossings.

Living Streets is working up a briefing paper on crossings at the moment, so I can't give you the official line.

But personally, I prefer the pelican mostly, and the puffin a bit! I find it easier to flick my gaze between the distant green man and the oncoming traffic, rather than refocussing between the button box at my elbow and the traffic (designers think we should just look at their stuff, of course, not the traffic - but I'm sure most of us cross on red if there's a gap, so we look at the traffic too.) Also, the box at your elbow is often obscured by other pedestrians, so you're even less certain if it's safe to cross.

But what I like about puffins is the little black boxes pointing down at you. These are sensors which cancel the Green Man phase if you cross on red or walk away, so traffic isn't tempted to jump lights at a deserted crossing on red. This hopefully means drivers 'respect' a red light at a crossing more, as it is always accompanied by people actually crossing!

The sensors also extend the green man phase if you're slow getting across the crossing, which isn't important for me yet, but might be soon!

BTW, if you put your hand under the button box you'll often find, amongst the lumps of dried up chewing gum, a knurled metal knob. This is a rotating cone, which should rotate when the green man comes on - it's for the deaf-blind, or the blind at noisy locations, or places where the bleep from one crossing can be confused with the bleep from another. Make sense?


The UK Highway Code used to give pedestrians crossing a side road priority over traffic entering or exiting the side road - they were supposed to give way to traffic on the main road - and pedestrians are traffic too! But the Highway Code has only ever been advice, and we seem to have lost that priority - a good reason for confident pedestrians to (safely!) assert their right of way over traffic at zebras, if we don't want to lose that too.


Transport for London recently touted the "left-turn on red" idea, and Living Streets is convinced it would be a BAD MOVE. To work well it would depend on cautious, courteous driving by everyone, with pedestrians quite sure that the traffic would give way to them. Not everyone drives like that now, and I don't expect them to start anytime soon. It would mean there was never a truly safe time to cross - an extra problem for people with visual impairment, children and some older people. It would make driving easier and walking more unpleasant, stressful and hazardous.

I don't think it'll happen over here - partly because we're one of the few developed countries where the burden of proof rests with the pedestrian when they get knocked down. Hit a pedestrian in the US and you're presumed to be in the wrong (there's a concomitant duty on pedestrians - jaywalking is illegal in the US, it isn't over here).

I've never tried it, but I've been told traffic screeches to a halt in New York if you even pretend to step off the kerb, for just this reason.

Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 10:40 pm:   

Having both driven and crossed roads in the US where this 'right turn' on red system operates, I still think it opens up a further area for misunderstanding and accidents and will require a real culture change to work effectively in the UK.

Incidentally, the' incident' Ive described elsewhere about the near miss between several people and a motor bike last week happened when the traffic lights were red and the man green. Seems some people are already pilotting the ' left turn on red' in Forest Hill.

Michael, I'm perturbed that you went all this way just to see pedestrian crossings. Not a FHS jolly , was it? If you have spoken to me before you left, I would have recommended a number of fun things to do in DC as an alternative - the Smithsonian, the Lincolm Memorial and a guided tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, followed by a nice sushi at Dupont Circus.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 10:51 pm:   

I guess everybody else is right about left turn on red not working in London. I stil think the countdown crossings are a good idea.

There are many parts of America where being a pedestrian is completely impossible (especially when the temperature drops below zero Fahrenheit) but I don't think we can learn anything about pedestrian access from Ohio.

Roz, I think I shall respond on 'beyond'.
Joined 26-02-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 10:59 pm:   

While I approve of these new 'Puffin' crossings taking account of people actually crossing the road and ignoring if they walk away, I really don't like the green man being beside me. I'm sure it's easier to teach kids how to use since it's closer for them to focus on an immediate reaction but the few I've used were just odd.

Left-turn on red works wonderfully in the States but add me to the unconvinced it would work here brigade. I work in Chelsea - spiritual home of the zebra crossing - where drivers regularly ignore pedestrians on the zebras so expecting them to be aware around corners is asking for trouble.
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Monday, 19 February, 2007 - 11:51 pm:   

Paul - in response to your comment: "I've never tried it, but I've been told traffic screeches to a halt in New York if you even pretend to step off the kerb, for just this reason. "

I lived in New York for some months and that makes me laugh out loud. There is no WAY that is true and in fact the opposite applies.

The fastest way to tell a tourist from a local in Manhattan is to see where they stand when waiting to cross the road. Tourists are neatly on the pavement, whilst "New Yorkers" tried to out do each other by getting further and further from it, almost begging to have their feet run over by the yellow cabs who have absolutely NO compuction about cutting you up.

Now, you might have been referring to more genteel "up state New York" but I am guessing not.

With regard to pedestrian rights and courtesy you need only look at Canada (outside the biggest cities) and the whole of Switzerland.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 09:02 am:   

I obviously need to visit NY...

Oh, and I'd give the countdown timers a thumbs up, too.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 09:58 am:   

I have seen the "turn right on red" in operation in Italy. It seems to work the other way. Pedestrians have to wait for a break in the traffic to cross - unless they are wearing avery short skirt - when traffic does screech to a halt.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 10:00 am:   

I was puzzled about the pelican crossings. I always look at the traffic lights. And traffic does not alays stop at the red for a pedestrian light controlled crossing. You need to watch the traffic anyway.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 10:22 am:   

left hand turns as described above only work in America and Canada because they have enough room to have two lanes at the junctions so left turners can have their own lane. Otherwise it just doesn't work as first person going straight on blocks lane.

Is great for cars but less so for pedestrians - have first hand knowledge after years in Canada
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 10:29 am:   

Yup, I guess most people look at the traffic, the lights for the traffic, as well as the little man - in fact anything that gives us a clue as to when we might get over the road quickest.

The crunch issue with all of this is response time. I've seen a (very) few light controlled crossings that respond pretty-much instantly to pressing the button - these are the ONLY crossings where no-one bothers to try second-guessing the system. They're amazingly calming to use - you get a real feeling of power, that you're top dog. But even these have a reset delay - they won't respond instantly twice in quick succession.

Maybe I'm an eternal optimist, but one of the good things about light-controlled crossings is that, as the needs of pedestrians continue to become higher and higher political and social priorities, the lights can be adjusted more and more in our favour at zero cost - an engineer can stand at one of those anonymous grey boxes nearby and change the timings like THAT (snaps fingers).
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 06:15 pm:   


One set of traffic lights in the borough was adjusted in favour of pedestrians (at my request). Unfortunately, drivers now ignore the red light.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 21 February, 2007 - 01:56 pm:   

What, ALL of them?!
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 22 February, 2007 - 08:30 pm:   

I would like to raise the issue of the lights at the junction opposite WH Smiths. This morning cars and a Clarkes of London coach ran through a red light and green man again almost running down pedestrians. This is the second time this week I have personally had a ' near death' experience, for want of a better term. This is becoming a real problem here and I do think we should look more closely at this. This is a thread about increasing pedestrian crossings but to be honest, the traffic seems to ignore the red so much that we might be better taking our chances and traffic dodging a la Roma.
Joined 11-01-2007
Posted on Thursday, 22 February, 2007 - 11:29 pm:   

The lower of the zebra crossings outside HOP station is ignored by a large number of drivers - for whatever reason.

Have lost count of the number of times I have stepped onto the crossing only to have to stop short as someone barrels through.

Seems that some people only stop where there's a camera and a potential fine/set of points.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 09:51 am:   

TfL is adamant there is no problem with the lights outside WHSmith / the station - even though I've seen someone run over there. It is a couple of years back now - I kept on complaining (afetr seeing the accident and having had a close shave earlier myself) and eventually they got back to me, saying they had been down and done some sort of study, but still didn't believe there was a problem.

Perhaps time to try again?
Joined 12-11-2006
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 12:22 pm:   

I have also had a near-death experience at the lights by the junction opposite FH station, while crossing from by the launderette to the island in the middle of the road, on my way to FH station. Lights showed green man to cross - so I stepped out - just as a car passing the other side of the island did a u-turn and swerved straight towards me! I agree that this is a particularly nasty place to cross, and when it's busy (when a train has just emptied at FH station) not everyone can fit on the island when crossing the road, as you have to cross it in two parts. Only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured here. Surely one pedestrain crossing with a green man that lets you cross the whole width of the road in one go would be a lot safer?
Joined 10-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 12:38 pm:   

When people have such little capacity for consequential thinking in relation to their potential to kill people you have to appeal to more base consequences - i.e. hurting their bank accounts and their driving licence by sticking up a camera. Worth emailing the councillors in the first instance - and directing them to this thread if they doubt it's a widespread concern.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 01:10 pm:   

Some councillors read (and contribute to) this forum.
Joined 10-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 02:29 pm:   

On a few occasions I've been part of a mass of people at evening rush hour - crossing from the middle island to the laundrette side in between the time the London Road lights go red and the Dartmouth Road lights go green. Having jollied on through a green light, snarling drivers are stopped in their tracks by a wall of satisfied pedestrians. Hooray for little victories...
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 03:24 pm:   

I've dug out the message (see below), as it might be of interest to some of you. Perhaps some of those with better knowledge will be able to spot some errors and we can use it as the basis for a new approach?
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 03:25 pm:   

Dear [fhs],
> The video survey of the junction of the A205 Dartmouth Road/Devonshire
> Road has been undertaken. The surveys were carried out between 7-9am and
> 3-7pm on a Thursday in November, so they covered all the peak commuter
> times. On occasions the islands were busy, especially when the Route 185
> bus arrived at the same time as a train, however the islands adequately
> managed the flow of pedestrian traffic even during this busy time.
> Transport for London feel that this junction is working within capacity
> for pedestrians.
> Thank you again for bringing this to the attention of this office.
> Regards
> [TfL engineer]

Previous message

> > Dear [fhs]
> Thank you for your further email regarding the existing pedestrian
> facilities at Forest Hill station. [Other TfL engineer] was correct in
> advising you that there were no current plans for a review of these
> traffic signals. The current signals were reviewed as part of the
> introduction of the Red Route controls on the A205 South Circular in 1998.
> A full review was then undertaken which included full traffic and
> pedestrian surveys and accident analysis. At that time there was an all
> round pedestrian facility where all the traffic was stopped and
> pedestrians were able to cross the road in one movement. However they
> were only able to cross one road of the junction at a time and if they
> needed to cross two arms they had to put in another push button demand and
> wait for the signals to go through a full change before the pedestrian
> crossing appeared. Also the time that this all round facility took caused
> severe delays to the traffic at this junction leading to many cars seeking
> alternative routes through local side roads.
> The current operation allows the pedestrians to cross each arm of the road
> in two stages when traffic is stationary with the normal traffic
> operation. This was only possible by providing the staggered pedestrian
> islands in each of the roads at the junction. This revised layout was
> monitored following implementation as was found to be operating more
> efficiently and safely than the previous method of control.
> However there were concerns at the time whether the physical size of the
> pedestrian islands would be able to accommodate the number of pedestrians
> that would need to use them. As you have quite correctly pointed out
> Forest Hill is a very busy public transport interchange with large numbers
> of commuters and school passengers, particularly during the am and pm
> peaks that arrive at the crossing points in platoon movements. I.e. a
> train will arrive with a large number of passengers getting off and then
> need to cross the A205 to continue their journey by foot or bus. This was
> given a great deal of attention at the time with the number of pedestrians
> being monitored throughout the day to ensure that the design was able to
> accommodate them. In order for this revised layout to work it was
> necessary to make the islands as large as they could be without affecting
> the turning movements which are made by large lorries and buses.
> The problem that you have highlighted is that the number of pedestrians
> has now increased and these islands are now no longer able to accommodate
> them. This could be a serious problem and I will have it examined. I will
> arrange for a video survey of the existing use, probably by the end of
> September when pedestrian and traffic levels are back to normal, and then
> review the options based on this survey. I will also review the last three
> years accident data at this junction.
> The change back to an all round pedestrian facility would not be a simple
> change to the current signal timings as the crossing length has been
> extended by the provision of the extended islands. If the original method
> of control were to be reintroduced, because the islands are now too small,
> they would need to be removed in order to provide as shorter distance as
> possible for the pedestrian crossing movements.
> Thank you again for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention
> and I will ensure that you are advised of the out come of the survey and
> what changes may be made.
> Borough Manager
Joined 21-12-2005
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 04:05 pm:   

This bit is complete rubbish:

“… [pedestrians] were only able to cross one road of the junction at a time and if they needed to cross two arms they had to put in another push button demand and wait for the signals …”

The junction is a T-junction not a crossroads so there’s no need to use two crossings to make a diagonal journey. If you want to go from, say, the station to Barclays Bank, you’d walk past WHSmith and use the crossing between the bookmakers and Barclays. You wouldn’t cross from the station to the launderette and then from the launderette to Barclays. I suspect the sole reason for the change was the “severe delays to the traffic”.

Also, their survey appears to concentrate on the pedestrian crossings rather than the traffic lights, so if vehicles are jumping red lights then we should ask them (or whoever responsible for such things) to install cameras on the traffic lights.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 05:09 pm:   

They could enlarge the pedestrian islands as they have done elsewhere.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 05:22 pm:   

Might it be worth requesting the video footage under freedom of information (not sure if this would be allowed as it would contain personal movements, but then if we were any of those people we can request those sections under data protection). We could then point out times when cars jump lights, pedestrians are in danger, or queues of traffic prevent people crossing the road. Of course we might see the best driving ever witnessed in Forest Hill, on the other hand, we might be able to point to specific concerns and help identify ways that this might be addressed.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 06:05 pm:   

Perhaps traffic light cameras should be put on the lights to catch those who jump the red lights.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 23 February, 2007 - 11:14 pm:   

The other way to do it perhaps is for people to record their own experiences on their mobile phones or some other video device. Is it worth the FH Society purchasing something like this to hire out to people. This can then be downloaded for public dissemination. Theres nothing like local people doing their own video diaries.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Sunday, 25 February, 2007 - 07:49 pm:   

The TfL response posted by fhssecretary seems only to address whether the crossings can accommodate the numbers of pedestrians using them, not whether they are delivering quick, convenient and appropriate crossing arrangements at a location where pedestrians can be expected to be time-pressured (i.e. hurrying for trains).

A much better measure of how the junction functions might be the numbers of pedestrians who use the crossings "correctly", i.e. starting to cross only on a green man, and the numbers crossing "incorrectly" i.e. starting to cross other than on a green man, and/or walking around the outside of the sheep-pens. I'd guess that lots of people cross "incorrectly", in spite of the associated risk, and this shows the current arrangement does not work properly or safely for pedestrians.

The retort might be that red light jumping shows that a junction doesn't work for motorists, either; and that to delay traffic further in order to ease pedestrian movement would cause more red light jumping, which is very dangerous.

However, TfL/LB Lewisham have very clear policies to encourage walking, and to discourage inappropriate car use - if the junction doesn't work for peds it's failing them in their pursuit of their own policies. And red-light jumping could be addressed with cameras, fines and points on licences.

And if the islands and sheep-pens were removed and the junction compressed, the pavements could be widened to create more social space and make the centre of Forest Hill feel much less traffic doiminated.
Joined 12-12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 12:47 am:   

Unfortunately, the traffic planners, having caused this problem with the mistimed pedestrian lights, might now just close this crossing altogether, for "safety reasons", and put up lots of barriers to keep us pesky pedestrians in our place.

Want to cross Devonshire road outside the station?
Cross Dartmouth Rd (X 2) then London Rd (X 2)!
Alternatively, use the underpass to Perry Vale and cross the south circular via Waldram Pk Rd and walk round!

A nice wide raised red brick pavement crossing with no central reservation is what's needed. Scrap the left filter, as often cars do not even notice the filter light.
OK, so cars will get slightly delayed at this point, but they are only racing to join the rock solid traffic in Stansted Rd anyway.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 09:20 am:   

Right on, Perryman! Until we accept that it's not pedestrians and their crossing points that cause congestion, but the volume of traffic itself, we'll carry on trying to accommodate cars and limit walkability. Surely we should decide that, if you choose to walk to the station to catch a train in the morning, you get REWARDED with great walking provision, but if you drive in the rush hour, you get PENALISED?

I used to cross at the pelican outside Horniman Gardens in the rush hour, and it made me mad that the lights held me up MORE in the rush hour than at off-peak times. I'd often stand there like a lemon in the driving rain, waiting for traffic to crawl by at 1-2 mph. Response to button-pushing should be QUICKEST in the rush hour!

I know it's harsh on those motorists who really have no choice, but with 25% of journeys of less than a mile being made by car (and rising), we've got to do something.

The anti-roads lobby spent years fighting to get general acceptance that if you plan bigger, better roads you generate more traffic. Why are we so slow to accept that, if you plan better walking conditions, you can generate more walking?
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 11:37 pm:   

Paul, I'm not sure I agree with you. I've lived with the A205 for years and I agree its irritating, but it is a strategic route, and I imagine a good proportion of the traffic is long distance without many other options.

The only times I use it in a car is to escape this madness to go to the West Country and there aren't other sensible options, for the most part.

The shocking thing is that it is engineered as a series of loosely linked high streets as though we are living in the 1940's. The best solution would be to stick it in a tunnel in Dulwich and have the other portal in Catford. Something similar was planned in the 70's along with the ringways. See for details.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 09:53 am:   

No, and I'm sure I don't agree with you, Les!

It would be good to know how good a proportion of South Circular traffic is long distance. I'd be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of traffic on the South Circular is local, doing journeys of, say, less than five miles, with a good proportion of it being people driving even shorter distances.

Of course, I don't know. But 25% of all journeys under one mile are being made by car, so a good lot of those will be on the South Circular, won't they?

I was working with local communities in Brent last year, trying to mitigate the worst effects of their ringway, the North Circular, which slices their community in two. Its adverse impacts were horrendous, with much worse local air pollution, much higher local incidence of respiratory disease, housing blighted, neighbourhoods shattered - I wouldn't wish that on any community.

Forest Hill would be incomparably damaged by an urban motorway, even if it did go through our bit in a tunnel.

The argument for building our way out of traffic blight was lost long ago.

Am I the only SE23er who thinks Les is living in the past, or do you want to see the destruction of those precious "loosely linked high streets" Les talks about?
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 10:08 am:   

Well, I think Les was well intentioned, but I agree that more roads is not the answer.

If all the traffic were to suddenly disappear we would also (eventually) complain that there was no business, no passing trade, "nobody knows about us", etc.

The solution to this Forest Hill problem does not lie in Forest Hill, it is a national/global issue of reliance on individual means of transport.

I think that Paul's ideas about redressing the balance towards walking and public transport are a good start. Of course, in the interim we will all suffer as the paths are not yet improved and the public transport infrastructure is not yet able to cope.

What annoys me most is the non-sensical "privatisation" of public transport. I am not against the free market, but this one was simply stupid. How can we encourage people off the road and into public transport when that public transport thinks only of short term benefits/profits and sees the way to maximise its profits as increasing prices to "balance" the supply and demand of this transport?

What are the rail companies doing at the moment when more of us are encouraged to take the train? Increasing ticket prices to try and lessen the congestion, thus shoving us back in our cars.

And while they reap millions in public funds, they also post massive profits for shareholders.

Who added the value here?

Rant over.
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 08:00 pm:   

Hi Paul,

I'm not arguing for ringways, because I agree they are potentially a disaster for local communities (taking the Westway for example), but a properly funded mix of transport infrastructure - road, tram, trolleybus, rail, you name it. Most German cities manage it (with the benefit of a blank sheet and high levels of funding). What I can't stand is the do-nothing approach dressed up as a green policy from the current administration.

And another thing Rob you are bang on. I used to travel to the West Country by train, but now am sick of the overcrowded, inflexible, and expensive option this now is, despite £5bn public subsidy pa. 4 times BRs subsidy level. Outrageous.
Joined 28-01-2004
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 08:19 pm:   

The DfT considers the A205 a strategic road even if that doesn't equate to funding... programme/tpi/coll_england/mapoflondon

This is supported by the number of trucks on it, although you're right the fact that it chokes up during school run time sort of supports your local traffic argument.
Joined 13-12-2006
Posted on Saturday, 03 March, 2007 - 08:12 pm:   

Last Thursday and this afternoon I was in on a couple of public forums to discuss with local people how the main shopping part of Sydenham could be enhanced (I'm sure there'll be an update on the Sydenham Society and the Sydenham Town websites very soon).

Lewisham Council made a bid for funding from Transport for London to make improvements as part of TfL's "Streets for People" initiative. It turns out they have a very good chance of winning £2million for Sydenham Road improvements - and that's just the main shopping bit, from Cobb's Corner to just past Mayow Road (i.e. the Dolphin).

Sydenham's going up in the world!
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Monday, 05 March, 2007 - 08:18 am:   

Let us hope the money is not wasted on PC schemes.
I am glad Sydenham is possibly getting some money
Joined 09-04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 06 March, 2007 - 02:09 pm:   

Are we there yet? tonight on BBC2 at 7.30pm

John Ware shows how road building can never keep pace with traffic growth...

Sounds essential viewing for those interested in this thread.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 15 June, 2007 - 03:03 pm:   

Sydenham Road has already had an improvement scheme within the last few years.
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Friday, 15 June, 2007 - 05:33 pm:   

But did the improvements work?

Look at the wibbly-wobbly roundabout (described by ex-Deputy Mayor, Gavin Moore, as something reminiscent as being left over from the Berlin Wall). The roundabout took two years to install and was completely rebuilt at one stage after it was seen to be being demolished by traffic as quickly as it was being built. On behalf of members of the Sydenham Society I made a formal complaint to the Local Ombudsman about the council "signing off" the work on the roundabout. The complaint was not upheld as I was unable to prove that I had been more inconvenienced than anyone else in Sydenham!

What about the zebra crossing on the railway bridge and the other "sheep pen" crossings which were designed? to improve the pedestrian crossing of Sydenham Road. Has anyone come up with an idea about how to deal with traffic at the junction of Newlands Park with Sydenham Road? No they haven't. We hold our breath about what will come forth following the recent consultation about pedestrian improvements in Sydenham Road

Sydenham's road system is a Lewisham responsibility. Local councillors and the Sydenham Society are able to deal directly with Lewisham oficers about road porblems. We sympathise with residents in Forest Hill who have to deal directly with Transport for London.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 16 June, 2007 - 02:14 pm:   

My understanding is that it achieved its objective assuming that its objective was to slow down traffic!
Joined 04-05-2005
Posted on Sunday, 17 June, 2007 - 03:03 pm:   

The 2005 scheme was entitled the Pedestrian Accident Reduction Scheme and it didn't achieve its objective as pedestrians continue to jay walk across the road in preference to using all but one of the prescribed crossing points. This is why we in Sydenham are holding our breath about what plans will be presented to us later this year which are intended to not only enhance the high street but also to improve pedestrian movement

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