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German Bridge
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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #1
12-08-2008 07:53 AM

On another thread someone said safety problems with the good old German Bridge.
I often use it and am unaware of any potential problems. Can anyone please advise

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #2
12-08-2008 02:10 PM

I'm afraid I don't know this German bridge. I did manage to find reference to it here: http://sydenham.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=17932

Would they be correct in assuming that it's the footbridge over the railway from Dacres Road to Sydenham Park?

Could you also post a link to the forum thread you referenced?

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #3
12-08-2008 03:17 PM

Hi Russ
Sorry I , like many who have been here since childhood , called it the German Bridge because of the church. Dietrich Bonnhoeffer Lutheren
Kirche.
But some one posted on this site that there were safety problems with the bridge. Seems quite sound to me but I am not an expert.

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admin
Administrator

Posts: 376
Joined: Dec 2002
Post: #4
12-08-2008 03:33 PM

From the Forest Hill Pool thread:

Perryman Wrote:
you would hope children from the schools in walking distance - 10-15mins - will walk.
(However the German bridge has safety issues at the moment).

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #5
13-08-2008 12:30 AM

Safety issue No 1:
4 missing hand rails - removed when the bridge was repaired a few years ago, and not replaced. There is literally nothing to hold on to for the first 4 steps at the very top and the stairs are very steep (45deg) and very high and I'm not getting any younger.

Safety issue 2:
This new cycle channel.
This is a metal rail that runs top to bottom 1' from (what is left of) the hand rail. The wooden planking for cycles on the other side is due to be removed (reluctantly), because as things stand, small children cannot comfortably reach either hand rail.

There is, as yet, no warning about this cycle channel and I think it is an unnecessary hazard. This rail is level with the very top step and if you did not notice it, I think it is likely you would die. It is like having a roller skate at the top of both sets of stairs. The rail should have ran a few yards onto the bridge and that side clearly marked as a cycle lane/hazard.

From a cycling point of view, I do not like the look of it and suggest unless you have a bike you can easily carry, this bridge really is not for you. Which is a shame because this is potentially an important route for cyclists connecting up to Crystal Palace and avoiding busy roads.

German bridge? The Germans would not put up with this if they were still here.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #6
13-08-2008 07:50 AM

Point taken about the cycle rails. I do not believe our cycling friends had great problems before , I had wondered why they were there.
This bridge is for pedestrians , no problem with cyclist using but priority should be for the main user. Afterall cyclist could get to other side via Sydenham Rd or Waldran Rd in about 5 mins max, pedestrians about 20 to 25 mins .
I know not so many German's about now but cannot get used to calling it anything else.

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AMFM


Posts: 306
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #7
15-08-2008 12:37 PM

presumably the issue with the new cycle channel causeing handrail isues is only temporary since the old wooden channel will be removed soon and the handrail can be used on that side quite easily. Equally, the channel does not envisage cyclists actually cycling down the channel - that would be suicide. It is to assist cyclists taking their bikes over the bridge rather than carrying them.

I have useed the bridge on many occasions on my bike, dismounting to take it over the bridge, and I have yet to meet another cyclist, and rarely other pedestrians - I don't think it's unreasonable that we all share the bridge and I hope that's not what perryman is suggesting.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #8
16-08-2008 01:25 AM

The bridge is currently unsafe for pedestrians for the reasons listed.
The work needs to be carried out urgently.
If the result is a handrail on one side of each stair case, the other side effectively being a cycle lane, then that is fine by me.

However, I think this bridge is an unreasonable obstacle for most cyclists, and very few use it. This rail/channel is not going to change that.

Also I think it questionable whether the rail is safer than the planks:
A dropped bike will be more of a hazard on the rail IMO.
Will the rail provide any grip for a (dismounted) bike in the wet? It looks very slippery.
Will kids be drawn to the rail to see who can skateboard/ride down it?

Has anyone come across these cycle channels before?
I am far from convinced.

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steveb


Posts: 113
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #9
16-08-2008 05:36 AM

One has recently been installed on a footbridge near Bell Green. That one is definitely not a hazard and seems like a good idea to me.

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michael


Posts: 3,199
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #10
16-08-2008 08:55 AM

Amsterdam has cycle channels on lots of stairs and, if installed correctly, it should not be a problem for pedestrians. This bridge is a natural route for pupils at two secondary schools and encouraging cycling to school is a great way to improve the fitness of local children and reduce carbon emissions by taking cars off the road and freeing up road space during the school run.
The route is ideal for cyclists as it avoids a lot of main roads.

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shelleypath


Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2008
Post: #11
12-11-2008 05:18 PM

I would agree that the lack of handrails at the steepest and topmost part of the bridge is the worst safety aspect, I have never come across that many cycles using the bridge when the ramps or now the channel were fitted.

It would be interesting to discover who persuaded LBL to install that cycle channel, and how much it cost, because general maintenance on the bridge is now overdue. No doubt now LBL have no funds available to do it.

The current problem is fallen leaves tend to congregate and make the stair treads even more slippery. Also some of the metal treads are becoming loose.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, I presume LBL even have to plan at some point for a complete replacement of the bridge with one with wheelchair ramps, or even a subway?

I have a theory looking at Sydenham Park and the lane/footpath from the Inglemere Road junction with Dacres Road, that many, many years ago there may have even been a level crossing here? I've never found a map or photograph to prove it.

Could there even have been a canal crossing bridge here when the railway was a canal.?

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #12
12-11-2008 05:29 PM

If bridge closed this is very bad news. Only crossing for half a mile in either direction , it is an essential connection between both sides of FH.

Are they saying unsafe because no rails. This is stupid. No reason to close bridge . They need to put up a sign both sides pointing this out.

Please do not bring in the red herring of disabled access. Places like this has grandfather rights , leglislation refers to new facilities , I think.

I they have to make the bridge disabled friendly will never re open.

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bigbadwolf


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #13
12-11-2008 06:29 PM

I think in all honesty with the state of the economy and cuts in council funding that Lewisham council should take an adult approach to the footbridge and install a rope swing a.s.a.p.Thumbsup

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shelleypath


Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2008
Post: #14
13-11-2008 12:03 AM

Quote:
If bridge closed this is very bad news. Only crossing for half a mile in either direction , it is an essential connection between both sides of FH.

Yes, agreed. I don't believe there is any suggestion from any source of a permanent closure. Previously a temporary closure of 2 or 3 days for maintenance was sufficient.

Quote:
Are they saying unsafe because no rails. This is stupid. No reason to close bridge . They need to put up a sign both sides pointing this out.

I and others are saying its safety could be improved by maintenance and replacing the handrails at the top of the stairs. Local authorities are bound to maintain public structures to reasonable safety standards. I am fortunately at present steady enough on my feet to not require handrails, others may not be, especially when ice or snow or wet leaves are present.

Quote:
Please do not bring in the red herring of disabled access. Places like this has grandfather rights , leglislation refers to new facilities , I think.

I am not a lawyer but I believe it applies to all feasible access especially in public areas, in due course. Maybe we can leave that part to the lawyers

Quote:
I they have to make the bridge disabled friendly will never re open.

As we agreed in the first paragraph, whatever the access situation, public pressure would not permit a permanent closure. Other right-of-way legislation would also apply.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #15
13-11-2008 01:38 AM

This is an extract from an email I received in August:

Quote:
One of our structural engineers and our Cycling Officer have both visited the site.
There are hand rails all the way up the bridge on both sides and on both legs of the bridge.

The cycle channel is flush and painted yellow to ensure that it is clearly visible. It is aiding cyclists on the crystal palace cycle route.

Our Cycling Officer will also arrange for a sign to be put up to bring the presence of the cycle channel to peoples' attention.

Regards
Imogen Payami
Customer Contact and Information Manager - Transport
imogen.payami@lewisham.gov.uk


I had some success in having the planks removed so small children can reach one set of handrails (as far as they go), but it is hard work when structural engineers, cycle officers and transport information managers conspire to deny reality - the pair of hand rails are not there at the top of the stairs at both ends. They need replacing.

Also can one of SE23's cyclists have a look at these channels and report back whether they think this is a safe and usable structure, for what is meant to be a significant cycle route? Would they use it or avoid it?

I visited the pedestrian bridge at bell green (end of Winsford Rd), and I totally agree that the channel installed there is safe for cyclists and pedestrians alike. But the staircase there is half the gradient.

I agree with shellypath - this bridge desperately needs maintenance, and a separate cycle and disabled access provided.

And yes, I've seen on maps on the sydenham site, that this is the site of a crossing on the canal - presumably a pedestrian swing bridge, so this is an old and important right of way. I do not know the age of the bridge tho.

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shzl400


Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #16
13-11-2008 10:28 AM

Quote:
I agree with shellypath - this bridge desperately needs maintenance, and a separate cycle and disabled access provided.



If there is a funding issue, could this not be suggested as a candidate for next year's Localities Fund - the ?10k or so that each ward assembly gets to spend?

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #17
13-11-2008 01:21 PM

I am all for helping disabled access to as many places as possible but please do not push this for the good old German Bridge. You say GBP 10k available , I am far from expert but would imagine making the bridge wheel chair friendly would cost many times that.

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PaulR


Posts: 14
Joined: Nov 2008
Post: #18
20-11-2008 06:30 PM

As a cyclist I'd like to chip in and say that it's quite a useful route, aprticularly when out cycling with children, as it avoids the A205 under the railway at FH. It's a bot of a pain having to push/carry our bikes but the channel does make it easier.

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