Triumph of imagination 1: Ladywell Village


The increasingly effective Ladywell Village Improvement Group has launched a petition in support of full implementation of the streetscape improvements recommended by consultants Shape.
The plans are an attempt to rejuvenate the high street by improving the environment and encouraging footfall. It can be done here, it has been done elsewhere, it should be done to parts of Brockley Road too. It would be the most effective single investment the Council could make to improve the local community, expand access to local services and repair some of the damage done to the borough through bad planning decisions in the past.
They say:
The proposals comply with best practice and current guidance on street design and have been developed in discussion with the Council’s highway engineers who are now doing more detailed feasibility work on their implementation.

The road through Ladywell is at present wider than it needs to be and could be reduced without jeopardising traffic flows but resulting in a much improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

28 comments:

John said...

This is exactly the type of scheme that should be culled as part of the cuts. It's not a priority and it's very worrying that this sort of scheme is going ahead when the Council is looking to close down libraries.

Brockley Nick said...

Why John?

Anonymous said...

"The road is wider than it needs to be..." This proves the axiom that traffic planners do it blindfold.

Ed said...

Didn't many of us agree that trees would be a cheap and effective way to improve Brockley's environment and image?

It's really quite obvious.

I was hoping they'd put two in outside the tea factory but the cantilever might be a problem.

I think the council regards BX as an industrial area.

lb said...

"The road through Ladywell is at present wider than it needs to be and could be reduced without jeopardising traffic flows but resulting in a much improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists"

No it couldn't. LVIG should go and look at the turning in question and then look at one of the existing 484 buses using it (the clearances are minimal), or perhaps try driving along that stretch during any reasonably busy part of the day. Reducing it would not only impair traffic flows, but create a serious risk to cyclists.

There are already large traffic queues stretching back towards Crofton Park in one direction and Lewisham in the other at peak times.

Brockley Nick said...

I'd be happy with a scheme half as ambitious, that didn't need to widen the pavements in so many places.

However, perhaps the planners may know what they're talking about?

lb said...

They can easily plant some strategically-placed trees and tidy the place up a bit, but reducing the road width is going a bit far. It'll be expensive too; roadworks are a serious business.

I know they've got a "consultants report", but I doubt the consultants would have told them their ideas were unworkable. In particular, the little model cars and the like don't really give any idea of how jammed up this area gets. I did check this when walking past recently, just to verify I wasn't visualising it wrongly.

The best solution would be to route traffic away from the area altogether, but unfortunately that's not possible.

Ed said...

If it is not possible then it is not a solution; if it were possible this 'solution' would just transfer the problems elsewhere.

You would hope that cyclist safety was considered by the consultants; probably best to confirm before using visualisation to reach a conclusion.

Peter Tooke said...

Those of us who live here and walk these streets every day - and see buses, bikes and pedestrians moving about - consider these are excellent proposals which simply rebalance things so as to create something much better for the non-motorised members of the community. We look forward to their early implementation. This isn't about competing with libraries, by the way - the Ladywell scheme is a capital project which will be funded by TfL.

lb said...

"Those of us who live here and walk these streets every day - and see buses, bikes and pedestrians moving about - consider these are excellent proposals which simply rebalance things so as to create something much better for the non-motorised members of the community"

I live in the area and walk that street every day, and consider the proposals far from "excellent".

Reduce space, and pedestrians and cyclists can suffer as well as road users. In fact, one of the main reasons cyclists get squashed is that there's insufficient space between them and traffic - particularly turning traffic. These proposals reduce the space available.

Incidentally Ed, I am quite capable of checking, by simply looking, how much clearance is afforded to large vehicles on that turning. Very little, as it turns out. I don't need a consultant to tell me that.

DJ said...

There still looks like plenty of space to me.
The lack of clearance on that turning is made worse by the traffic island - which has been removed in the proposal - and people illegally parking outside the betting shop.
I also walk that street everyday and agree the new scheme looks excellent. I hope it happens.

lb said...

"There still looks like plenty of space to me"

Go on, watch a 484 turning up there during a busy period. Or imagine what might happen if cars were no longer able to filter past traffic turning right into Vicar's Hill. I'm not raising this just to be difficult, y'know.

DJ said...

I have - many times. The only time I've witnessed a major problem was when a parked car made the turn impossible.
Also, as I said, the traffic island currently makes the turning tighter. It isn't there in the proposal which would mean more room.

Pete said...

I think the consultant probably did take cyclists into account given that she is a cyclist.

I also think that being an expert in road planning etc she's probably got a bit of a grip on what would work and what wouldn't.

She's got a vested interest in improving the area too given she lives in Ladywell.

lb - what are your qualifications for saying this scheme put forward by a professional wouldn't work?

John, I can see where you're coming from and you're not necessarily wrong. Although as a non-user of libraries I see this as more of a priority from my personal point of view.

John said...

Peter, Nick and Peter- It doesn't really matter whether it's TfL or Lewisham that are paying for the scheme; it still costs us as tax payers. My reference to the libraries issue was used more as an example than anything else. I don't really use them that much myself. My point is that Ladywell is working pretty well (not perfectly) at the moment. This type of scheme is all very good and I would support it if public sector funds were flush but the expenditure just can't be justified. Are the works 'essential'?

I know this ultimately comes down to opinion but I should say that it's my job to design these type of schemes. It would benefit me if there were more of them as I might not be facing redundancy. But trust me, they're a luxury.

oryx said...

I am in full agreement with John at the start of this thread.

I am actually thinking abut writing to the Mayor to ask how £10k of council tax payers' money got spent on the feasibilty for this.

I am all for improving areas with better streetscaping and as pointed out in the thread about Brockley, Honor Oak & Crofton Park are a good example of mixed, independent retailers and a bit of public money spent on bins/a cycle shelter/signage/floral displays. Ladywell looks like it is attracting new businesses and will probably follow this example without the need for road-narrowing.

I'm astonished by the road-narrowing suggestion. I drive through there quite a lot and most certainly wouldn't say the road was wider than needed.

Marc said...

I would encourage this gentrification. I cherish our high street and would encourage further investment even if it's cosmetic or improved planning. Less then a couple of years we have seen shops open like Geddes, Oscars, new management at ladywell tavern and now El's Kitchen which I feel it has brought a real sense of community, identity and appeal back to the vicinity.

Mb said...

Oryx, a study of this type requires time and expertise. It's not like getting a quote on a loft conversion where you would not expect to be charged. NOT paying would mean that the people doing the study would either not resource it properly or look to recover the money by recommending a full design...by them. Paying for advice means you stand a chance of getting a realistic assessment, well hopefully! There will be a proper study somewhere, the render is just the thing you stick on the front page.

oryx said...

I know why it costs a large amount of money to draw up a feasibility study.

My concern is not so much the cost itself, but that it came from council tax payers' money, either at or just before the council announce some extremely drastic cuts.

lb said...

"I think the consultant probably did take cyclists into account given that she is a cyclist.

I also think that being an expert in road planning etc she's probably got a bit of a grip on what would work and what wouldn't.

She's got a vested interest in improving the area too given she lives in Ladywell"

Perhaps, but as I said above, if she's commissioned (and paid handsomely) to do a study supporting a certain outcome desired by LVIG, she's hardly likely to say the thing's not feasible, is she? If she lives in Ladywell does she have any links to LVIG, for that matter?

My qualifications are ample, thanks. And I'm not saying it won't work, rather that it has a great potential for impacting both on safety and on traffic flow in an area where it is already very poor; the road is blighted by queues at many times. This should be properly considered, in addition to the fact it'll be rather expensive and result in a fair amount of disruption (as did the Walworth Road scheme mentioned by LVIG in a previous post).

Anonymous said...

I hear there may be a By-election in Ladywell.

Back to you in the Studio, Chris said...

Your comments tonight have been described variously as "rabid", "pig-ignorant" and "stultifying ill-informed". Thanks... for those.

Anonymous said...

So the consultant is a cyclist and she lives in Ladywell. How objective.

Pete said...

So if she was a driver she wouldn't be objective either then?

What mode of transport would be acceptable to you?

Pete said...

Lb have you actually read the report?

Have you seen the response from LCC and the Council's cycling officer in the consulation section?

Brockley Nick said...

@Pete - for some people, "cyclist" is a code word meaning "wierdo leftie, vegetarian, probably a lesbian" - hence if you own a bicycle, you are have an entire political bias. "Normal people" drive cars and like Meat Loaf - for tea and on the car stereo.

Anonymous said...

Since we're dealing in broad generalisations, cyclists are foul-mouthed aggressive law-breaking lycra-wearing and (for a pedestrian) down right dangerous. Making 'more space for pedestrians and cyclists' means the cyclists ride on the widened pavements doesn't it? Or can a bike lane be squeezed into the scheme somewhere?

Meatloaf, not for a skateboarder.

Name said...

This sort of thing is happening in New Cross. Where, cars are being rerouted onto narrower roads, with more road furniture. It will happen everywhere its the evolution of streetscapes. I don't know whether New Cross locals lobbied for this or what, but appears if BXAG is anything to go by the more groups as for things the less things happen.

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