Consultation on the future of Brockley Cross


Rob: You gotta get on with your life. You gotta let go of the past. And Mikey, when you do, I'm telling you: the future is beautiful, alright? Look out the window. It's sunny every day here. It's like manifest destiny. Don't tell me we didn't make it. We made it! We are here. And everything that is past is prologued to this. All of the shit that didn't kill us is only - you know, all that shit. You're gonna get over it.
Mike: How did you get over it? I mean, how long did it take?
- Swingers

This is it. All our hopes and fears. All the struggle and pain. Everything has brought us to this moment. More than a year after the surveyors visited the site, the plans for the long-awaited Brockley Cross makeover are here.

Lewisham Council is holding a public consultation on its proposals for the area between Malpas Road and Endwell Road. The plans are modest - the stupid twin roundabout system remains - but still could be transformative. Lord help us, even a proper pavement would be a major step in the right direction.

If this proposal goes ahead, islands will be widened, trees planted, cobbled surfaces introduced, traffic calmed, ramps added and crossings improved. While it falls far short of the original ideas proposed by the Brockley Cross Action Group, we've known for a while that there would not be a lot of money to spend to improve matters, so this is actually slightly more ambitious a proposal than we expected.

We'll be canvassing opinion from the Brockley Cross Action Group in the coming days.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah shit. I don't like it. It's a cosmetic improvement but doesn't address the traffic clog that comes from negotiating two roundabouts at the same time. Please someone explain to me why one larger roundabout wouldn't work.

Brockley Nick said...

Make sure you reply to the consultation.

Personally, I'm less interested in solving congestion (which I don't think you'll ever do, because if the junction improves, more cars will start to use the route, back to square one) than I am in making it easier to cross, nicer to walk through and more attractive to legitimate businesses...

Anonymous said...

Yeah but i think that the congestion is the main reason that it's not nice to walk through. You have to negotiate cars sitting in queues with their engines turning over. I'm starting to think that maybe it can't be improved very much unless they completely redesign the entire '4 roads into one layout' - and that was never going to happen. My hope was that a large single roundabout would shift the traffic quicker. Maybe that's not possible either, dunno. Cosmetically we'll be back to square one within a few years - and putting those parking bays on there look like some kind of cruel joke. White van man - that's yours that is.

Nylon said...

my god can't we get rid of the roundabouts? And won't a tree make it harder to see what is going on?
Cynicism aside, it's great to see some redevelopment here. This will provide much better access to Sainsbury's!

Mr Almost Angry said...

They finished re paving part of Hither Green Lane 2 weeks ago,and I noticed yesterday the gas board are digging it up.Surely somebody must be held responsible for this comical planning.

Anonymous said...

The pavements look the same width etc but just made out of new paving. The islands are tiny, not much of an improvement, a few trees planted - they could have done that years ago without any design, planning or consultation. Can't really see much of an improvement at all. Where is the improvement that will make it a worthwhile exercise? Add a few cars to that drawing and it looks pretty much like it does today doesn't it?

Brockley Nick said...

Maybe. They did always warn us that they wouldn't do anything to affect traffic flows. If we must have traffic, I'd rather have it moving slow than fast. But I still think the double roundabout is needlessly dangerous.

I think perhaps you're being a little pessimistic about the long-term return to trend in terms of parking. This will make the chaotic parking we get at the moment less likely, I think.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I quite like to Owl's face in the middle but I don't think it will stop vans being parked on the pavements.

Anonymous said...

don't 'informal' crossing points encourage people to take risks? i.e. the pedestrian sees it as a potentail crossing point but the driver doesn't recognise it as such (in the same way as a zebra crossing)

Anonymous said...

my thoughts are that if we need two roundabouts then they should be actual roundabouts - raised, kerbed, grassed, and maybe flowered - and not just a tarmac circle that drivers can cross over the middle of if they're in a hurry.

Brockley Nick said...

Specifically, there will be trees where some of the illegal parking currently takes place. The widened island will also make parking in the middle of the road an even stupider and more reckless act than it already is.

@Anon16.13 I think you're right, the pavements aren't widened, they just look it in one of the images. I think the corner pavement outside Duke could be wider

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon (names please people!) informal crossing points can make drivers more cautious (if they think the only places people cross are zebra crossings they zoom up to zebra crossings and screech to a halt if they see someone coming - if they think someone might pop out at any moment, then they exercise more caution).

Blunderbuss said...

I don't give that tree in the middle much chance. Someone runs into the current sign a couple of times a year.

Anonymous said...

Nick - don't want to cause offence but is that true? Also part of the rubbish thing about those roundabouts IS the uncertainty - the 'will he won't he pull out' element, that encourages people to brake suddenly when they misread a situation. surely the last thing we need is the prospect of people dashing across in front of traffic from out of our peripheral vision.

I'd prefer a much clearly defined junction that tells drivers exactly how to drive it (i like order) and that doesn't give license for the odd idiot to blast straight across, just because the white van they're driving isn't theirs.

Anonymous said...

Also - why the mixed paving? If they used the same paving throughout the junction it would give the design more coherence.

Brockley Nick said...

You'd have to ask a traffic expert, I'm not sure about roundabouts specifically, but the science says that on roads if you put up railings, force people to cross at specific points, it causes drivers to speed up.

That's why railings are coming down now, all over London, including in Brockley Road and Ladywell.

Don't know about roundabouts.

There are no informal crossings across the junction, only at the roads feeding in to it.

Brockley Nick said...

I'd like to see the road approaching the roundabouts from the east become single lane and the island widened even more. That would definitely put an end to the double parking. Don't need two lanes feeding the junction anyway.

patrick1971 said...

It's a good redevelopment given the limited parameters the Council has set itself; it could hardly get worse. But I really hate this idea that they won't do anything to affect the traffic. The Council should be actively taking steps to affect traffic downwards, which includes prioritising pedestrians, buses and cyclists. If that makes car traffic snarl up, so be it; fewer people will drive.

Anonymous said...

My problem isn't with the traffic per se. Lordship Lane in east dulwich is very busy but that doesn't stop people sitting outside pubs and bars and enjoying cafe culture. The problem with BX is that the traffic sits idle- pumping out fumes. My ideal solution would have seen the traffic move through BX much smoother, even if that meant more cars - like i said - it's less of a problem if they're moving on being distributed more quickly.
D

Anonymous said...

Well, if nothing else they've certainly made the road layout more complicated, and more prone to accidents, than it is now.

If this is improvement I'm afraid you've got rose-tinted spectacles on - the reason why this junction is bad (in every respect) is because of the Traffic - nothing complicate there - and the council have a responsibility to *maintain* the flow, not improve it (if that were possible).

That junction isn't going to improve - get used to it.

westsider said...

they haven't made the road layout more complicated, they haven't done anything to it

Anonymous said...

if think if this is it then it's very disappointing. Once it's done they'll not look at it again for years. They need to get it right this time.

Brockley Nick said...

I totally understand that point of view. The other way of looking at it is that if we wait for them to do something big, nothing will happen for many more years. As it is, this is probably just scraping through against a backdrop of spending cuts by national government, Lewisham and TfL...

My view is that everyone should feedback their comments via the consultation, push for the best deal possible, within the constraints we know about (budget and requirement that traffic flow not be materially altered) and we hope that this leads to some private sector-led improvements.

Tamsin said...

I've said it before on other threads so unless sorely tempted I will now say it only once (listen very carefully...)

Logic dictates that a double roundbout keeps the same volume of traffic moving through more steadily, and therefore overall more quickly. I think experience probably also shows that, otherwise Swindon's magic roundabout would not still be with us after more than 20 years.

@ Brockley Nick - you need two lanes coming from the east if you are turning right up Shardeloes, thereby not needing to clog up the western pimple of the double roundabout at all.

Brockley Nick said...

"@Brockley Nick - you need two lanes coming from the east if you are turning right up Shardeloes, thereby not needing to clog up the western pimple of the double roundabout at all."

No you don't - you need one lane where cars can choose to go left, right or straight on. You know, like most traffic systems in London.

Anonymous said...

One must think that the Council is really joking.

They could have built a motorway instead

Conjestion is not going away, but if one reduces the road size then less cars will try to get through

Marc said...

Already a complicated roundabout and they decide to add a tree in the middle to obstruct any line of sight.

Anonymous said...

But they back up more in the left lane than in the right one - so to keep things moving two is better.

Tamsin said...

Sorry - me. Hit the wrong button.

Nausea said...

It gives me nausea and dizziness just to look at it.

D said...

I can't add anything that loads of you haven't said already but need a rant anyway.That double roundabout is just about the most stupid piece of road planning I've ever seen. A junction of 4 roads needs one roundabout.

Remove the 2 roundabouts and put a single oval one in the middle instead of the poor car-target tree that they seem to be planning.

Anonymous said...

@Tamsin - what is the reason why traffick should continue with the same flow?

I thought the new London Plan is all about reducing traffic everywhere in London, it was also one of the reasons why the ELL was built.

Tamsin said...

Yes, reduce traffic everywhere - rack up petrol duty etc. but dealing with problems piecemeal just shifts them. The new Kender Road layout is a huge improvement for those living in the Kender Triangle and Greenshoots and the school in Bessom Street - but I imagine those who live on Pomeroy Street are less than happy about it.

With the original Brockley Cross plans produced by BXAG the most likely short-term result would be to either make Telegraph Hill virtually impossible to get out of towards the east or else encourage a lot of homeward bound commuting traffic to divert from Drakefell Road (designated as a district distributor since way back when) to Vesta Road - past two parks, a community centre, a school, the new cafe and a nursery.

That is probably one of the reasons why no steps are being taken that would affect traffic flow.

VAL said...

I think Brockley Nick is on to something. Single lane traffic from Geoffrey Road. But I would go a few steps further; lengthen the central pedestrian rest area so that it stretches west into the area of the first roundabout, then get rid of that roundabout. One roundabout, with increased flow of traffic. Yellow lines, with short-stop parking bays in the remaining areas.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - in a rational, reasonable world, perhaps you'd be right, although those two lanes are a bit too narrow anyway - they're almost redundant.

However, Brockley Cross is not at the moment a rational or reasonable place. Having two lanes encourages people to park in one of them, right next to the entrance to the roundabout. This makes the traffic flow worse, the crossings more dangerous and the area more ugly.

If there was only one lane, even the most pig-headed driver would not park there.

Matt-Z said...

Seems a bit deckchairs/Titanic. On my travels I've noticed that people are often in the wrong lane coming out of Shardeloes and Geofrrey Road, which holds up traffic as they try to get in the right place. This scheme does nothing to address that. The tree will make a good target for racers.

Tim said...

Key point I will be making to the council is that they need to have much better parking enforcement round there. There was a promise to give us this a few months ago, but doesn't seem to have happened. I also don't want that parking outside the shops.. it just gets blocked by massive white vans. I am a general fan of a CPZ round the station.

FoxberryMike said...

i would be interested in what Lewisham feel they are adressing with this scheme. Whilst a few trees are always welcome, the main issue for me has always been crossing here as a pedestrian and this proposal does nothing to make me feel that aspect is being improved. Endwell Road does not even warrant an 'informal' crossing point and is always nasty to cross.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a very bad design. A tree in the middle would be dangerous too.

Anonymous said...

The cross should have just one redesigned roundabout.


when it snows over night you see where people drive. People create one roundabout naturally. Next time there is loads of snow take a photo and that should be the shape of the new roundabout.

VAL said...

Agree with FoxberryMike, and forgot to add the importance of that myself.

Surely BrockleyNick another poll is needed to study the issues.

In my opinion:
pedestrian crossing(s)
confusing roundabouts
people double parking
abuse of parking by trader
non enforcement by council

Danja said...

It looks to me like they are going to put something more substantial in around the tree to stop people making it into one roundabout.


It looks OK to me, not ideal, but it could be a big improvement all the same.

Disgruntled Westsider said...

Why does Brockley Rd /Geoffrey Rd get better paving than the other roads? Seems like blatant discrimination against the better side of the tracks...

Otherwise it seems a bit timid - as has been said, most cars actually treat this as one oval roundabout so why can't it be laid out as one? It might smooth the traffic flow a bit, even if getting rid of congestion is too much to aim for (the bridge over the railway is a bottleneck).

angelofthewest said...

is there anything in the fine print about pigeon-proofing under the railway bridge? For me personally, as a pedestrian, that would be the single greatest improvement they could make. Followed by trees in front of the bagel store. i can't really make out what the plans are for that strange appendix there.

Anonymous said...

"they haven't made the road layout more complicated, they haven't done anything to it"


well, apart from putting a tree in the middle of the two roundabouts, no, no change, but what a change!

idiotic

hilly dogger said...

we sometimes perform the 'double on the roundabout' when weather permits

Anonymous said...

This sort of weather must present problems for you.

brockley Dogging Society said...

You can look up advice on the UK Doggers Advisory Service. Essentially it's much like driving, so sudden speeding up or slowing down. No sudden changes of direction. Warm up before starting and have your chains ready in case things turn really slippery.

Colin, BDS

hilly dogger said...

challenges, not problems

Anonymous said...

Thanks fo the info. Do you have snow balls?

Anonymous said...

This all seems a little cosmetic-real changes would be enforcement of parking restrictions- prevention of the dumping of commercial waste around high street litter bins which creates a greasy mess on the current pavement and would continue to do so on any 'new'one-not to mention the installation of some cctv cameras which were much talked about around the time of the recent shooting but now seem forgotten.

Anonymous said...

rubbish design...please don't let this get passed.

Anonymous said...

only one roundabout please and no tree in the middle.

Ed said...

Single roundabout with single lane access and egress.

New high visibility crossings (esp. N/S).

CCTV.

CPZ and enforcement.

Trees.

Who's with me?

The other Brockley Nick said...

Agree with much of what Brockley Nick says. We have to accept the limited resources. With enough people responding to the consultation, I don't see why they couldn't make the roads single width as Nick suggests.

However, the number one priority, which isn't addressed in the new design has to be improving pedestrian safety, which this does not do in any way.

I can't believe that a main pedestrian route on the way into a zone two station with two modes of transport doesn't have pedestrian crossings. I had a long debate with a council officer about this, who told me it wasn't possible because they had done a study, and pedestrian crossings wouldn't fit with the 'desire lines'. What a load of bull!

Anonymous said...

It should now be renamed the Brockley Owl.

patrick1971 said...

@Tamsin: "the most likely short-term result would be to either make Telegraph Hill virtually impossible to get out of towards the east or else encourage a lot of homeward bound commuting traffic to divert from Drakefell Road to Vesta Road - past two parks, a community centre, a school, the new cafe and a nursery."

To this I say, "so what if it does"? The residents of Telegraph Hill will then lobby for greater traffic restrictions in their area, and fewer of them will use their own cars.

Telegraph Hill won't be impossible to leave; it will be easy to leave it via a short walk to Nunhead, New Cross Gate or Brockley stations.

The situation needs to be made worse for cards in London, not maintained or made better.

Anonymous said...

It does look a bit like an owl...

VAL said...

The Brockley Owl - love it!

Patrick said...

Driver uncertainty had not been addressed. I believe traffic smoothing is why is needed. Currently, when approaching BX from the south there is the notion of a two lane approach but it's so narrow it's ignored by many. Then the business of people in the iffy lane going straight on. This sort of thing is happening at all points of this interchange. I believe that if you make all approaches single lane, the slowing effect of this would be ofset by less nervous dithering by drivers who can't read or fail to cominacte each others intent. There would be no overall change in traffic flow and pedestrians would be safer as the cross would be more predictable with drivers having more time for them. The tree is a terrible idea.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Cross should be one way into upper brockley road. Could also turn upper brockley and the end of Geoffrey road into a one way circular.

The one way in brockley cross would make the single roundabout more secure and less chaotic. It would be a nicer place for pedestrian as long as parking is not allowed

Tamsin said...

@ Patrick. I concede you might have something about driver uncertainty - and the two lanes are certainly very narrow and losing them would give more pedestrian friendly pavement space.

On the tree - I hope it is a conifer - the owl needs a beak. But otherwise terrible. You need to maximise visibility and sight lines.

bumbags said...

Ok, the only good thing I can see about this is that it looks a bit like an owl. This roundabout system is awful- and with buses and the busy pedestrian crossing by the bridge the roundabouts are often gridlocked.
The tree on the island is totally stupid- this is a dangerous enough junction now (I drive and cycle it very regularly- many people don't understand one roundabout, let alone two!). The tree is probably intended to make visibility awful, so we all have to be super-careful.
And MORE bloody 'calming' bumps in the road? WHY?? There is no problem with speeding at these points- it's right next to a busy junction.
I've always wondered why we can't just have a crossroads with traffic lights. A LOT safer, lanes can be clearly marked, and with right turn filters east/west this should be viable, and you could allow pedestrians a safe time to cross.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely, this proposal is totally cosmetic!!! I have been in touch with the Council about the safety issue for pedestrians for some time now.

The point I am trying to get across is can a wheelchair user, an old person, parents with pushchairs or children cross Brockley Cross safely at the moment and would the modifications change the current situation positively?

The answer is 'no' in my opinion - without FORMAL ways to cross the roads, pedestrians and particularly those with mobility issues will always be in great danger as without clear and visible signs, drivers will always feel that they have the priority on pedestrians!

I am now heavily pregnant and get hooted at regularly when I cross but hey as the Council said to me several times few pedestrians only get hurt or killed at Brockley Cross and that in any case everyone in this country is responsible for their own health and safety!

From my conversations with Council staff, it seems to me that providing safe routes for pedestrians to cross 'one of the borough’s busiest intersections' is not a priority. In fact, their consultation document is very clear on this and states that 'when complete, these modifications should make this busy junction safer for drivers and reduce traffic delays' so do we need more injured and dead pedestrians for the Council to finally consider this matter seriously and if so how many??? What are our Councillors and MPs doing on this serious matter!?

Sorry to be so cynical but I am really annoyed and don't see why I should financed some cosmetic changes before the safety issues for pedestrians is addressed and resolved!

Brockley Nick said...

Totally agree about how dangerous this junction is for pedestrians and that more should be done here. Particularly for wheelchair / pushchair users.

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