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Pedestrian crossing by Forest Hill Station (Perry Vale side)
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Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2011
Post: #1
25-10-2011 03:21 PM

I have recently contacted Lewisham Council explaining the need for a pedestrian crossing by Forest Hill Station entrance (from Perry Vale side).

This was my email:

I would like to request a new pedestrian crossing by the entrance to Forest Hill train station (from Perry Vale side).

Even though hundreds of people leave/come to this station every day there is no crossing on this road so at the moment people have to stand and wait until the road is clear.

I've seen myself loads of times people trying to cross the road in a dangerous manner because they were running late for a train. The cars don't stop and let people cross safely, so one day somebody will get injured. Also, there are many parents with small children coming up from the subway and crossing this road on their way to the nursery further down the road. They need a safer way to cross too.

I think a simple zebra crossing would significantly improve the safety of all those coming/leaving Forest Hill station as well as the those using the subway under the railway. It would also be convenient for people during the rush hours.

This was their reply:

Thank you for your email requesting formal crossing facilities in Perry Vale outside the station.

I am afraid the Council cannot introduce a pedestrian crossing at that location because the sight lines are not good enough. In other words pedestrians and vehicles approaching the crossing would not be able to see each other from a sufficient distance to allow vehicles to slow down and stop safely. However we recognise that this is the 'desire line' where people want to cross. That's why the engineers put a in flat top table as an informal crossing protected by speed cushions on either side of it to slow traffic down. A stretch of guard railing has been installed to encourage pedestrians to cross at the edge of the table where sightlines are best.

Sight lines around the bend in the road have been improved, as has pedestrian safety, by the recent widening of the footway and remodelling of the carriageway. Pedestrian improvements have been made along the length of road by the subway and these include a wider pavement, narrower carriageway, better crossing at the car park entrance and a flat topped speed reducing table by the subway where people want to cross. Prior to this work pedestrians crossed here unaided.

As I'm sure you appreciate, crossing on a bend can never be a safe option. What we have tried to do is to accommodate people's natural movement, as far as practicable. If residents are still worried we may look at extending the guard railing to prevent crossing at this point.

I'm afraid that other than extending the guardrailing to prevent people crossing too close to the bend there is little more we can do to improve the situation. Any design to install a formal crossing at this point would not pass a safety audit, and indeed would be likely to make the crossing less rather than more safe. This is because pedestrians tend to perceive formal crossings as safer and therefore take less care when crossing.

I understand you concerns but hope I've explained why a crossing is not a viable solution.

Imogen Payami
Customer Contact and Information Manager - Transport
Wearside Service Centre
Wearside Road
Lewisham SE13 7EZ
Tel: 020 8314 2235

Do you think the council has got a point or is this just an easy way to reject the requests and save some money?

500 metres further down Perry Vale (next to the primary school) the road is much more bendy but they have still managed to make a pedestrian refugee there, which is already an improvement in terms of safety.

What do you think - is it worth taking this matter further?

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #2
25-10-2011 03:31 PM

As I driver, I would have to say they are right. It is fine coming down Perry Vale - you can see pedestrians crossing at the subway. But when you are coming up, there is no sight line around that bend. Before they put in the guard rails, people thought the speed table was there for them to use as a crossing, and it was really dangerous - I came around the corner quite a few times to find a pedestrian in the middle of the road.

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Posts: 36
Joined: Aug 2010
Post: #3
25-10-2011 04:49 PM

Not sure - but on the same topic and quite close by - I always think that we need a crossing when leaving the station and walking the other way - e.g. when crossing from the station over to Dawes for busy! Then don't get me started on the fact the cycle path that runs over to the co-op doesn't leave much room for pedestrians at that crossing either! Boo hiss.

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Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
25-10-2011 05:10 PM

I seem to remember a pedestrian refuge in the middle of the road before the road was improved. Or am I imagining this?

Anyway such a refuge would be an improvement.

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Post: #5
25-10-2011 05:14 PM

Except that there is no room for a refuge now they have narrowed the carriageway so much for the sake of wider footpaths.

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Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #6
25-10-2011 06:31 PM

I'm with the council on this. Don't think it would improve matters at all. Ask me again in a month or so when I have moved over the other side of the tracks and am crossing that road every day, mind.

And yes, I'd say Dawes for Doors would be a better place to put it.

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Posts: 371
Joined: Dec 2005
Post: #7
25-10-2011 06:39 PM

I wouldn't waste your energy trying to pursue this further; people have been complaining about it for years. There was even a public traffic consultation a couple of years ago on behalf of the local Ward Assembly and the issue was raised then too, but the answer is always the same: the bend isn't suitable for a crossing.

I think you got a decently detailed reply from Lewisham. The fact is that the bend is such that drivers wouldn't be able to see the crossing in time to stop safely - although that begs the question how do drivers see pedestrians crossing there now, without a formal pedestrian crossing? Perhaps the experts think if there were a pelican or zebra crossing pedestrians would take less care judging the speed and distance of oncoming traffic and just step out onto the crossing, presuming that drivers would stop in time.

And another argument against a zebra crossing is that during the evening rush hour when people are coming off the trains via the platform 2 exit, there would be a steady stream of people crossing the road and this would hold up the traffic.

Although we perceive crossing the road there to be potentially dangerous for pedestrians, I haven't heard of anyone actually having an accident. Perhaps that's because we know it's a bad bend and take extra care when crossing!

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Posts: 179
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #8
25-10-2011 09:22 PM

Their reply has restored my faith in Lewisham Council. It was very Civil, appropriately detailed and logical. Well done them! I have to say that I love driving over the 'table top with speed cushions' or whatever they call it. It doesn't slow me down at all as my SUV suspension just glides over it. It's my favourite speed bump in the whole of London. My least favourite? the one at the bottom of Thorpewood Avenue, next to the Library. I have to drive over it at 45 degrees in order to prevent certain death - and usually scare the life out of anyone coming the other way. If you're at a loose end one day just drive over it and you'll see what I mean.

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Posts: 821
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #9
26-10-2011 12:57 PM

Zebra crossings, despite being well lit, are not that safe at night.

We seemingly await the first martyr to be murdered before we get the pelican crossing that is required here.

And perhaps they can build some stocks at the same time for Mick Hepworth, John Paschoud, and now Imogen Payami who are all responsible for this dangerous situation.

More pedestrian hatred on this old long thread:

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Post: #10
26-10-2011 01:09 PM

I see from the old thread that they reduced the bend. But, obviously, not enough for a crossing!

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Post: #11
26-10-2011 01:15 PM

Perryman - it's not safe to cross there. Cross somewhere else. Just because it is convenient to cross there, doesn't mean you should.

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Post: #12
26-10-2011 01:33 PM

I used to cross at Church Vale where there is a pedestrian refuge.

I use the bus and get off right outside the station now.

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Post: #13
26-10-2011 02:46 PM

That's tough. Having come out of the station after a long day at work people , not surprisingly , want to cross the road at the most convenient point.
I would suggest if the cars were doing 30 mph max you would be able to see them at this point.
Pedestrians should surely take precedence over cars on roads in places like Forest Hill.

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Post: #14
26-10-2011 02:55 PM

It's not tough, it's realistic. We are taught as children to look for a safe place to cross - does this not apply when we are adults as well? If you can't see the cars, and they can't see you, don't cross there. If you do, it's at your own risk. The fact that it is just by the station does not mean that road safety and common sense no longer apply.

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Posts: 25
Joined: Apr 2011
Post: #15
26-10-2011 03:06 PM

People generally drive WAY too fast around that bend and park/stop in really stupid places so cars have to swerve around each other. I often think it would be great to have a zebra crossing but having read Lewisham Council's response I can see their point of view.. Why not put the money toward doing up the underpass - dare I bring up that topic!

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Posts: 557
Joined: May 2010
Post: #16
26-10-2011 08:31 PM

One of my fave topics. I have been writing to the Highways Dept. about this crossing for years and always get the same kind of answers as Shara. My last suggestion to them was to add proper rumble strips either side of the crossing point to slow the traffic down. I have seen this done elsewhere to good effect but they did not respond to this suggestion. I have tried to involve local councilors but they seem not to be able to assist.
I may end up being the martyr as I now tend to grow impatient after around a minute or so and cross anyway .
When there were similar problems on Drakefell road in Nunhead a few years back (maybe quite a few) there was a local group who tried direct action and took to crossing slowly in large groups forcing the traffic to stop. If I remember correctly Lewisham gave in there as added refuges to assist pedestian crossing. Maybe we should have a FH version?

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Post: #17
27-10-2011 11:19 AM

rshdunlop, you miss the point.
They actively removed the crossing point, (with the pedestrian island) a little further along by Hindley's Place.

So now someone coming from the station wanting to catch a bus outside the foresters has to walk past the dangerous car park exit, cross by Church Vale, then walk back up PV again.

Or anyone wanting to take the short cut before Church Vale has been inconvenienced and is therefore also looking to cross the road earlier. That is a good percentage of people coming down PV.

If they did this on the other side of the station - closed the crossing outside WHSmiths, and forced pedestrians to walk to the Dartmouth Rd crossing to access London Rd, there would be such an uproar, even the FH Society/Motor club might be reluctantly forced object. Maybe.

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Post: #18
27-10-2011 01:19 PM

The Forest Hill Society has been highlighting the need for improved pedestrian crossing here, outside WHSmith, and at the Honor Oak junction with London Road. So far this is not an issue where we have seen any improvements despite quite a lot of effort.

On this particular crossing we all hoped that the 'improvements' which were implemented when Forest Hill Central was built, would improve the pedestrian situation. It has not. Wider pavements are not so important when what you actually want to do is cross the road.

Unfortunately the council have not been able to address this problem given the bend in the road and the now narrowed road width.

What I would be interested in is any workable schemes that we could put to the council. They aren't going to put traffic lights on this crossing, a zebra crossing might be more dangerous, and the road is currently too narrow for a pedestrian refuge. So what is the answer?

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Post: #19
27-10-2011 01:26 PM

That was the point I was trying to make. As the road is currently laid out, with that bend, there is no way to make a safe crossing. Of course I understand that people need to cross, and I'm not suggesting something cannot be done further up or down the road. My point is that there is no way to make it safe to cross at the underpass, no matter how convenient it is, and no matter how much we wish it to be otherwise. The pavement widening has made things worse, not better, as there is often illegal parking (Forest Hill Cars, I'm looking at you) effectively making the road a single carriage way near the bend. It's hard enough to avoid hitting other cars without adding pedestrians to the mix.

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Post: #20
27-10-2011 05:49 PM

I'm not sure what the objection is to a pelican crossing.

Remember motorists - this type of crossing is there to help you.
It is there to control pedestrians and stop them denting your bodywork.

It tries to keep them bunched and waiting on the pavement as long as possible or until there is a gap in the traffic, then it beeps them all across as quickly as possible.

This is not cutting edge technology (1969).

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