Tuesday, 25 November 2014

East Dulwich Grove/Townley Rd/Green Dale Junction

We are delighted that Southwark Council wants to improve the junction of East Dulwich Grove/Townley Rd/Green Dale. The plans can be seen here and the consultation is open until 12th December.

The new design is a step forward for safe, active, independent journeys to school, making the roads more friendly and giving space and time to cross without feeling threatened. The thinking behind this sort of redesign is described in Southwark's draft Cycling Strategy"We have a vision that cycling will be for the many in Southwark, not just the few – the natural choice for getting from A to B - with attractive routes away from large vehicles or fast moving traffic. We want to prioritise cycling, and reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians."

This junction is particularly busy during the school run as it is immediately in between two large schools. Despite supervision from two lollipop people at school run times, getting between the two schools at opposite corners of the crossing is perilous and uninviting, with pedestrians having to wait several times including on the caged 'refuge' in the middle of the road. The situation for people on bikes is no better, with several lanes to clear while holding your nerve against cars trying to turn across your path. This junction is used by thousands of children and their families on their way to and from local schools, and has been under scrutiny for years.

We support the junction improvements for the following reasons:
  • The simultaneous straight-across and diagonal "green man" crossings will be shorter, quicker, safer and much more inviting for people on foot - particularly important for children walking to school.
  • The advanced traffic lights for cyclists are an improvement, allowing bikes to have a head start to clear the junction without having to compete with motor vehicles (and could allow for a completely separate ‘bike only’ light phase). 
  • Segregated feeder lanes offer a less intimidating experience for people on bikes filtering past queuing traffic. 
  • Banning the right turn for vehicles would allow bikes to get across safely from Green Dale to Townley Rd without cars turning across their path. Near misses are common here, as many drivers coming from Townley Road think they have priority, or do not notice cyclists coming from Green Dale (which is a no through road for motor traffic, but leads to a popular quiet walking/cycling route up to Denmark Hill/ Camberwell and beyond). 
These plans will deter or divert rat-running car journeys through the area, as well as some local car journeys. With more people friendly designs, the choice to walk, cycle and scoot should become more attractive. We hope that more people will choose to leave the car at home, especially at school run times.

It is clear that the detail of implementation will affect the scheme's success - for instance the method of segregation and the timing of the light phasing are key to making this work well for everyone. We hope to work with Southwark on the details and to ensure that the scheme really does provide an attractive choice of active travel even for those who do not let their children walk or cycle to school at the moment. For instance we would want to ensure that the width and capacity of any cycle tracks are maximised for family-friendly inclusive cycling for all types of people on all types of bike, and that the design avoids the problem of 'left hooks' where a bike going straight on is overtaken by a car turning left.

Please support improvements for active travel at this junction by emailing Chris.Mascord@Southwark.gov.uk, or responding to the consultation online.