This week the council’s contractors have started on the long-planned changes to the layout of the Dulwich Village crossroads.
Many changes have been made to the junction over the years to try to accommodate the many pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists, lorries, vans, coaches, buses and cars which use it. The junction is on a popular road route in and out of the centre of London and for traffic going east/west across south London. By and large it is a manageable junction – until school term starts. Then thousands of schoolchildren and their cars, cycles and coaches converge and join in the morning and evening rush.
Changes made in the past to enable the mixed traffic to move more easily have included changing the phasing of the traffic lights, lengthening the time allowed for pedestrians to enter the junction, changing road traffic priorities (several times}, narrowing the entry to Calton Avenue, building a road platform on Court Lane entry, inserting bollards.
Under the previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, creating better roads for the fast increasing number of cyclists became a priority. Cycling Superhighways were developed elsewhere in London as well as ‘Quietways’. In Southwark, the Mayor encouraged the creation of a ‘Quietway’ between the Elephant & Castle and Crystal Palace. The route has been planned for over two years and has generally been welcomed north of Dulwich but has met fierce opposition here. Following extensive consultations and many meetings Southwark Council has resolved to proceed with the Quietway and in the Dulwich section has started with the new layout for the Village junction. The re-design of the junction is in the following link: Dulwich Village Junction changes 2017
Changes to Calton Avenue and Turney Road will follow in 2018.
Residents have received a letter through their doors saying works to install the Quietway will start next Monday 7 August. This came as a surprise as the Council has not yet decided to proceed with the Quietway.
Council officers have made their final proposals and it is expected that just a rubber-stamp formal decision will be made, as we were previously told, by 27 July by the relevant Councillor.
That decision has not been made, so maybe there are further thoughts being had at the Town Hall. Maybe Cllr Wingfield whose responsibility it is to make the final decision is having doubts. Or perhaps he has just been too busy on a host of other matters which have taken precedence.
It seems the letters to residents have come out too quickly and before the decision has been made. Village Councillor Jane Lyons tells us she expects a decision TOMORROW and that the works will NOT start on Monday!
We may think of kerbsides as just space on the public highway next to the pavement. But they are more than that. Kerbsides include footpaths by the kerb and which might be widened for tree planting and street seating. They include the white posts and green verges we love in Dulwich.
There is great competition for the kerbsides from vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, house occupants, push-chairs, etc. etc. We know only too well how busy our kerbsides are at times and how they are hazardous for the unwary, the reckless and those of us who are a unsteady because of age, youth or illness.
The Council makes some important points for us to think about. Among them are:
Demographic Pressure: The population is growing faster in Southwark than expected. At the last census in 2011 it was 288,000 and today is estimated to be 306,000. The government forecasts it will be 370,000 by 2031, an increase of 82,000 or 28% in 20 years!
Parking: 60% of Southwark households don’t own a vehicle, yet parking in the borough takes up an increasing amount of kerbside space. In our streets, however, many households own multiple cars and large ones at that. Parking is the issue which sparks greatest interest in our streets. There has to be an improvement in access to and usage of public transport.
Road Safety and the Environment: The Council wants to improve the lives of older residents and to enable them to live independently for longer. Older people typically drive less and favour public transport. There are increasing numbers of older people in Southwark. There is a demand for wider footpaths, more frequent and safer pedestrian crossings, accessible bus stops and uncluttered, pleasant neighbourhood centres to sit and relax in.
Traffic Collisions: More people walking or cycling in Southwark are killed or injured than in any other mode of transport. Road traffic accidents are increasing each year. In 2015 there were over 1,000 in Southwark with 90 fatal ones.
Air quality: According to the 2015 King’s College University report, up to 9,500 deaths in London each year can be linked to air pollution. Southwark’s road transport emissions are amongst the highest in London. There are a number of sites that exceed legal levels of NO2 (Southwark Air Quality Action Plan, 2013). At peak traffic periods, Dulwich Village experiences poor air quality, right by the primary schools.
There are many competing demands which we are making and are set out in the Council’s draft strategy. The council wants our views.
The consultation period on Southwark’s Kerbside Strategy has just started and closes on 28 April.
Front garden layouts are a bugbear of Turney Road – ugly with so many unsightly car parks standing brutally in front of our fine Edwardian houses.
However with the influx of new residents paying high prices for their homes and investing even more into them, there has been a welcome increased resident acknowledgement that frontages are detracting from their homes and from the street.
In response the Scheme of Management has provided an example front garden layout for the houses in Turney Road, that are unable to comply with the Scheme of Management Guidelines for Hardstandings due to the small size of the front garden. The example drawing is below and more information is on its website. They form the basis of the Manager’s approach to an application to redesign a front garden. Any queries should be referred to Nina Rees at the Scheme of Management office.
Where residents intend to park a car on a forecourt they will need to apply to Southwark Council for permission to create a new entry into the highway – from the forecourt into the road. The Council can give approval under planning and highways legislation to create a new kerb crossover onto the road. The crossover is recognised by its ‘dropped’ kerb edge.
At this week’s Dulwich Community Council (DCC) the meeting chair read out the following statement regarding Quietway 7.
“The cabinet member requested officers, following feedback at the last community council meeting, to reconsider various aspects of the design and related issues. In particular officers were asked to conclude the Foundation Schools Coach service study (working in partnership with the Foundation schools) and this work has now been completed and an action plan around the high priority issues has been developed. It is expected that this will lead to significant improvements in the impact of the service on the local community, including the removal of 10 of 11 coaches from Calton Avenue each morning and significantly less coach congestion on Townley Road in the afternoon.
He has also secured a commitment from Transport for London (TfL) to attend a stakeholder meeting in Dulwich in the coming weeks, and if the Quietway proposals are to proceed, the cabinet member is committed to continued working with TfL and the community on a holistic study of traffic issues in the Dulwich area over the next year.”
Sustrans spent several months meeting residents at workshops and meetings, and their conclusions regarding potential changes to Dulwich roads can be found in the report.
Most of the changes will be at the Dulwich Village junction.
What does this mean for Turney Road?
There are a number of potential changes proposed but nothing is yet set in stone, and there will be a formal consultation on potential changes in early 2016. In the meantime, this is what we have gleaned from the Sustrans report. There won’t be any painted or segregated cycle lanes but there could be:
closure of the Croxted Road end of Turney Road to non-resident motor traffic for a) some of each day, or b) all day;
removal of all or some of the pedestrian islands and their replacement by a smaller number of zebra crossings, without island refuges mid-way;
removal of white lines in the centre of the road;
reduction of ‘pinch points’ where they interrupt cyclists;
reduction of on-street parking;
a rule (or at least encouragement) that all cars should be backed into front drives.
What do you think? Please let us know via “Contact us”
Whether we like it or not, a cycling Quietway is proposed for Dulwich Village. The first Sustrans-led community engagement workshop is on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 6.30pm at the Dulwich Sports Ground (SCST) pavilion on Turney Road. More details on this PDF file HAVE YOUR SAY ON TURNEY QUIETWAY or below