Universal Traffic Lights

Southwark has many traffic lights. Across London 6,452 traffic signals and TfL is responsible for all of them. 1,390 of these crossings have ZERO pedestrian facilities. Legislation was passed 1995 that they all had to be safer for all residents especially those with disabilities. This has been interpreted as just the 5,049 with traffic lights. But after 22 years we still have some of those traffic signals not compliant with that legislation. Fortunately none in Southwark.


North Cross Road Market 3.0

After some time it was finally agreed earlier this year in principle to extend North Cross Road Market from its currently 30 pitches to 50. Hooray.

This has not deflected us from fixing the problems associated with the market setting up way too early, the amount of rubbish and getting it cleared away. Also the needless restricted car parking on Fridays when no market is present. All these issues and a number of others have largely been fixed. I’ve visited market set-up a couple of times to witness these problems but we must be super vigilant they don’t return. From November this year finally the Friday parking restrictions have been 90% fixed – five market pitches are still available on Fridays but that’s so much less than the previous 30.

North Cross Road is now closed to traffic from its junction with Lordship Lane to just before reaching Archdale Road. Eventually we’ll get electricity to all the 20 new pitches but for now they’ll be unpowered. We need the new pitches to face into the road to minimise the noise to immediate neighbours. This has not yet been agreed but Cllr Rosie Shimell and I are working on this.

My biggest concern is the current market where most customers are on the southern pavement with market stalls protecting them to customers being in the road. With the horrific Marseille, Berlin, Sweden and London truck, van and car attacks I am working with council officers and specialist Police to try and get physical protection for the market in the form of manually operated rising bollards designed to stop dead any such attack. I will be meeting them on site later today. While this is being researched and agreed market stall holders are placing their vehicles as protective barriers – not ideal.

What do you think is needed to make North Cross Road market even better?

Ticket Price Rises

The price of railway tickets is sky rocketing. The next ticket price hike in early January on average will be 3.4% higher and locally 3.3%.

East Dulwich -> London Bridge rail ticket alone rises from £728 to £752 for an annual season ticket or 3.3% higher.

East Dulwich -> London Bridge + zones 1 & 2 rises from £1,320 to £1,364 or 3.33% higher – weirdly the London Mayors promise of zero TfL price rises doesn’t include suburban commuters from SE22.

What is driving these prices rises?

Nationally the UK has the lowest proportion of electrification. Electric trains are lighter so cause much less wear and tear on the tracks. They accelerate and decelerate faster meaning you need proportionally fewer trains. And the maintenance of electric trains is significantly less. All these factors mean electrified train systems operating costs are significantly lower. But Network Rail has proven an inability to forecast the cost of electrification and stick to this price. The price keep ballooning. Hence the government back peddling on electrification.

Locally having drivers and guards operating trains means two sets of wages for every train. Many UK trains run safely without guards. This is the norm for much of the rest of the world. Solving this one issue in favour of passengers would avoid one of these above inflation price rises.


Mountainous New BT Phone Boxes

BT have applied for 48 x 2.9m(8’8″) high advertising hoardings dressed partially as phone kiosks across Southwark. Three of these are proposed in East Dulwich.

Southwark should charge rent as they do for similar 90 such installations by JCDecaux free standing advertising hoardings and Southwark taxpayers benefit.  But only where it is safe to do so.

Ironic that we’ve spent so much time reducing street clutter for BT to propose this. Clearly their phone kiosks aren’t being used hence proposal to replace them with advertising hoardings. The idea of free phone calls from phone outdoors next to main roads is at best fanciful.

17/AP/0805 157 Lordship Lane – outside Franklins.
The new Harris East Dulwich Primary Academy, with the support of the local Police inspector, have requested that the bus stop outside its front door on Lordship Lane be swapped with the Pelican crossing nearly outside Franklins.
So this applications assumptions about the pavement are wrong and the schools/Police proposal will require the current phone box be removed. This alone should be reason enough to refuse permission.
Additionally the idea of prominent advertising being so close to a bus stop or pelican crossing is contrary to TfL guidance about the placing of advertising where extra cognitive lading occurs (tfL guidance section 2.4-2.6).

17/AP/0882 junction East Dulwich Road on Lordship Lane
This junction is notorious to local residents for crashes and fear of crashes. The reported crash data for this junction is 10 crashes for 2012-16 inclusive. i.e. 2 crashes pa. The classification of slight crashes has included a lady with multiple fractures still undergoing re constructive surgery.
Placing prominent screen advertising at this junction would make the junction more dangerous from cognitive overloading.

17/AP/0883 junction Crawthew Road on Lordship Lane – outside Foxtons.
Half the pavement width is owned by freeholders of 29-35 Lordship Lane. The current and proposed phone kiosks are reliant upon this to work. If the building is redeveloped the pavement would be blocking the pavement.
Equally the more prominent advertising hoarding proposed will distract drivers who must turn right exiting from Matham Grove onto Lordship Lane.

Generic issues for all these applications:
– these applications are being made to replace phone kiosks placed under Telecoms Apparatus applications. For telecomms apparatus the bulk of income and primary use would need be telecoms. But the vast bulk of use and revenues will be from advertising. On this basis telecoms rules and strategies should be secondary to following advertising consent rules for planning applications.
– the locations of the existing kiosks was motivated by being prominent for people to spot. But that same prominence makes these locations dangerous for much greater advertising prominence causing cognitive overload for people driving past. These advertising hoardings would be significantly safer on straight sections of roads that are not close to junctions or crossings.
– national planning policing encouraging telecomms and IT are aimed at broadband roll out, mobile mast roll-out and deploying fibre optics. These application are clearly advertising hoarding dressed as phone kiosks and these national, regional and borough strategies for telecomms/IT should not be applied to promote this advertising.
– The specs states the screens can operate from 0 to 50 degrees C. Temperatures regularly fall in winter locally below this temperature range.
Are the screens safe below their safe operating temperatures?
– poor urban design with the proposed new free standing advertising/phone kiosks being much more dominant in the street scape at 2.9m high. This is significantly higher than the 2.2 and 2.4m phone kiosks they replace.
– Protection of amenity. The free phone call offer. The applications give no details about how to ensure unrestricted free phones in the public domain won’t be abused and used to make malicious calls and how these will be stopped.
– un enclosed phones replacing enclosed phone kiosks. At all three sites these proposed free phones are overlooked by victorian flats with single glazing. What measures will be made to avoid these phones ringing and being nuisance – will BT fund double glazing for these flats? Make them outgoing only – especially to avoid use by drug dealers? Have Southwark Police been consulted about potential issues of drug dealing?
– they will bring at best only a very negligible benefit to the area far outweighed by the advertising.
Why hasn’t the applicant stated how important these phone boxes are by stating current revenue per phone box to demonstrate their importance to remain occupying such valuable public highway?
– other advertising companies pay Southwark annual rental to place such advertising hoardings on Southwark pavements.
Why are BT not required to do so?
– no detailed policy of what restrictions and controls on what would be advertised are stated. All are very close to primary and imminently secondary schools for the protection of minors.

Denmark Hill Station Passenger Flows

I’ve just obtained a copy of a study undertaken by Network Rail at Denmark Hill station over two days in July 2015, approximately two weeks before the start of state school holidays. So the many local private schools would have already started their summer school holidays. Video cameras captured the tops of all stairs to the platforms and also the gateline. Counts were completed for the AM (07:00 – 10:00) and PM (16:00 – 19:00) peaks and were classified by person type (i.e. person with large luggage, bicycle etc).

Counts were provided in 5 minute intervals and showed that flows were slightly higher in the AM on Wednesday at 10,700 (10,400 on Tuesday) and in the PM on Tuesday at 9,200 (8,800 on Wednesday). On both days the AM peak was considerably busier than the PM peak.

The AM flows were very balanced with similar numbers of passengers entering and exiting the station (52/48 in favour of exits).

The Access for All footbridge is used by approximately 30% of passengers in the AM peak, the remaining 70% using the original overbridge. So the decision by Southwark Planners to block widening the original footbridge is causing much of the congestion problem. This resulted in a new ticket office entrance which already isn’t wide enough exacerbated by stairs to reach it

Platform 4 (towards Bromley) only accounts for 7% of flows in the AM peak but 26% of flows in the PM peak.

The PM peak has a more tidal flow with station entries making up 60% of gateline movements. The Access for All overbridge is used by 32% of passengers in the PM peak, slightly more (2%) than in the AM peak.

We need to find out when the extra Windsor Walk station entrance can happen. The congestions for passengers feels decidedly dangerous.

Annual footfall at Denmark Hill station

The latest ORR footfall figure for Denmark Hill station is shown below. As mentioned on Friday, some of the difference between the 2015-16 and 2014-15 figure “is due to changes to the methodology” associated with the London Travelcard. The leap in passenger numbers in 2013-14 reflected the first full year of operation of the south-western branch of the London Overground network.

Where Is 20MPH Not Working In Southwark?

Council officials after the latest batch of speed surveys and crash reports have come up with the 12 roads where 20mph is being exceeded the most across Southwark:


Sadly many of these roads in in East Dulwich.

They will now review what measures could be taken to bring vehicles down to the speed limit of 20mph. The most effective has been shown to be average speed cameras. Close to 100% adherence where installed. But camera enforcement is a cross London enforcement via the London Camera Partnership – so we need TfL to agree as well as the Met Police.

While we wait if you’d like to try enforcing the speed limit please join us on the local Community Speed Watch – contact me directly for more details.


Cyclists Green Wave

In Copenhagen they have timed coordinated traffic lights to give cyclists a green flow at a sensible cycling speed along main roads. It gets rid of stop start for cyclists – helps reduce cyclist/vehicle conflicts and generally makes cycling more attractive. It also standardises cycle speed. From a vehicle drivers perspective it’s ideal as it largely keeps cyclists out of the way from them. Fewer stationary cyclists. http://www.copenhagenize.com/2014/08/the-green-waves-of-copenhagen.html

How could we get this trialled ideally in Southwark?

The Walworth Road from Camberwell to Waterloo would be a great place to start.

Most Notorious East Dulwich Junction

Our most notorious road junction in East Dulwich is where East Dulwich Grove (EDG) meets Lordship Lane. It feels dangerous and you have be razor sharp crossing with confidence. Over the last 5 years 10 crashes have occurred.

Putting full traffic lights would significantly reduce the capacity of Lordship Lane there and result in lots more rat running. It would also see significant parking removed to make it happen – both along Lordship Lane and East Dulwich Grove – which is predicted to speed traffic up countering any safety.

On a site visit with council officials we noted the following potential improvements:

1. Tactile pavement indicated where to cross is set back along EDG away from the sightlines of cars turing from Lordsihp lane in EDG. Propose move this towards Lordship Lane.
2. Move the Bell Bollard so it actually protects pedestrians.
3. Why was the coloured raised treatment replaced with black tarmac. REnew in different colour to inidcate a pedestrian crossing.
4. Place anti skid surface to allow better braking.
5. Resurface Lordship Lane.
6. Place hatching on whole junction after resurfacing
It was agreed at the site meeting and post meeting review that drivers could be mentally or cogniticely overloaded with so many different visual ques. To reduce this we could:
1. Remove yellow hatching,
2. Mark the correct turning circle, as they do on some roundabouts, to reduce incidence of drivers cutting the corner.
Further thoughts:
1. What would it cost to raise the whole junction up to slow all vehicles?
2. Could we install average speed cameras around this junction to ensure no speeding?
What do you think – how can we make this junction safe?

Getting The Station Hump

By 2020 all public places and transport must be fully accessible. No excuses. That includes our whole train network.

Locally work has been done to make some of our local train stations more accessible from the public highway to the platform. Canada Water, Denmark Hill station, Herne Hill, Peckham Queens Road, Peckham Rye. London Bridge is being redeveloped and will be accessible form the pavement to platform – although most of the new shiny lifts are for staff only curiously.

But this leaves, East Dulwich, Elephant & Castle, Nunhead, Rotherhithe, South Bermondsey, Sydenham Hill, West Dulwich without this type of access.

But once on those platforms you have a step toad from the train. This ia a major obstacle for many. It also slows down passengers getting on or of from trains. To make matters worse local station platforms don’t meet the UK platform standard of being 915mm +0mm/-25mm above the top of the rail. Our platforms are lower making that step even bigger.

On the London Underground they’ve copied the Harrington Hump idea of an area of the platform raised to meet the train platform. So either we need to raise all our station platforms to the height of trains or we need to install Harrington Humps on all our platforms. The former typically costs £250,000 and latter costs £25,000 per platform. So across Southwark’s 40 platforms deploying Harrington Humps would cost.

PS When they rebuilt London Bridge station they could make their minds up whether to rebuild exactly as before – sub standard, meet the national UK standard, or higher to align with trains. After lots of dithering they rebuilt like for like.


GLA Transport Committee- BUS Feedback

I’ve responded to the Greater London authority request for inputs about their bus deliberations. Based on receive resident feedback and my own experiences using bus services:
1. Countdown.
I often don’t feel safe getting my smart phone out to check when buses are due. I find countdown really helpful. With modern technology I find it remarkable that Countdown displays are so antiquated and not universal.
Do you have research about how they or if they increase or change bus usage?
If you don’t then you should seek such research being initiated by TfL.
I would imagine mass producing such displays and using 4G data services would result in £500/bus stop for a 5 year period total cost of ownership – my day job is estimating and procuring telecoms and devices.
2. Changing Drivers.
Why does this occur in the middle of bus routes and take so very long?
I despair when it happens and I’ve never seen it take less than 3-5 minutes and often longer. This can mean the end to end journey time has large variability beyond traffic congestion and makes buses less attractive.
Could buses have a light if this is going to occur – I would often choose not to get on a bus indicating a change of driver was going to occur.
3. Bus Announcements.
We hear so many I’m now finding I’m tuning out from hearing them.
Can the announcements have different voices at different times or randomly. Something so they ‘re harder to tune out please. They’re also rather dull. A bit of variety would be welcome and could be fun.
4. Noise and Pollution
Great the bus fleet is gradually improving. But this need to accelerate. Night buses especially are often way too noisy for very quiet residential routes.
What changes and improvements do you think TfL buses need to make?