What changes are being made to the Village Junction?

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.

Quietway – delayed??

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!

Parking – Crowds -Safety -Pollution

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.

Southwark Council recognises the need for a sensible management of kerbsides and is consulting on a ‘Kerbside Strategy’.  Southwark’s Kerbside strategy_Feb’17

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.

Number 3 Bus route is changing

Transport for London is making changes to a number of bus routes in order to cut the air pollution in Oxford Street.  Many bus routes go through the centre of London and are creating hazardous conditions for shoppers and shop staff.

With the support of retailers and others in the West End, buses are being re-routed away from Oxford Circus.  Our own No3 bus running from crystal palace is one of these.

TfL proposes to reroute the No 3 service to Russell Square serving Charing Cross Road and Great Russell Street. Buses would no longer run between Regent Street and Trafalgar Square.

The proposals would create new passenger links between Millbank, the British Museum and the Russell Square area on route 3.

They would also create new links between Millbank and Tottenham Court Road station for easy access to Tube and Elizabeth line services.

There would be no change to frequencies. At the moment buses run between Crystal Palace bus station and Regent Street (Conduit Street) serving West Dulwich, Herne Hill, Brixton, Kennington and Westminster. Buses run every eight minutes during the day Monday to Saturday, and every ten minutes during the day on Sundays.

A linear map showing current and proposed route 3

TfL is consulting on this and other bus route changes and you can contribute at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/bus-routes-3-137-and-n3/

High air pollution in Dulwich Village

London Air has issued the following urgent health warning for HIGH levels of pollution along main roads and locations such as Dulwich Village:

An area of high pressure over the UK is resulting in calm, settled and cold conditions and poor dispersal of local pollutants.

Thursday is forecast to be slightly less cold with winds picking up a little which should lead to the currently elevated pollution levels clearing during the day. However, another cold night tonight with light winds is likely to result in further ‘moderate’ nitrogen dioxide at busy London roadsides on Thursday morning before conditions start to improve. There is also a chance of further ‘high’ and ‘moderate’ PM10 and PM2.5 if pollution is slow to clear.

Friday, early mist and fog will slowly clear to leave a mainly cloudy day with the possibility of patchy light rain in the east later. Even lighter winds than of late, and the early mist will likely cause another day of pollution build-up, escalated by the already elevated pollution levels.  Consequently, ‘Moderate’ levels of nitrogen dioxide are expected to occur close to busy road locations.

Furthermore, air will begin to arrive from the North-East later in the day and may import some polluted air as it passes near to industrialized areas of Western Europe. This incoming air will add to London’s local pollution burden and is likely to result in ‘Moderate’ levels of PM10 and PM2.5 particulates.

Quietway – breaking news!

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.”