BXAG responds to Brockley Cross plans

Following a public meeting on Wednesday evening, the Brockley Cross Action Group has submitted to Lewisham Council its response to the proposals to remodel Brockley Cross.

The response is very long, so what follows is an edited version of their specific feedback. It should also be noted that they have requested that the consultation period be extended, given the complexity of the project.

  1. We believe there should be proper pedestrian crossings on Shardeloes Road, Endwell Road, Malpas Road and possibly Geoffrey Road. These would provide safe crossing points across busy roads. We are very sceptical about your proposed “informal” crossing points.
  2. Brockley Cross’s only existing pedestrian crossing, at the north end of Brockley Road next to the railway bridge, needs to be moved. If you have talked to any local people who use the crossing the vast majority of them will tell you bluntly that it is extremely dangerous, due to its poor location on a blind corner and also its proximity close to the roundabout, from which drivers are prone to accelerate. We think the crossing should be relocated southwards to face Coulgate Street, which we hope will eventually become a pedestrian friendly shared surface. It should also be noted that there will in future there will be steps leading down from the north end of Brockley Common, creating a major pedestrian link to Brockley Station and the adjoining footbridge.
  3. Why is the project so limited in its scope, with the emphasis on getting vehicles through the junction as efficiently as possible? We are concerned that traffic should not be encouraged to move at greater speed through the junction, which is dangerous enough as it is, even with traffic in the main quite slow around the roundabouts.
  4. Why have you not widened any of the pavements? Brockley Cross desperately needs wider pedestrian friendly pavements and yet in 2 places you are actually proposing a width reduction. We strongly disagree with this approach and urge you to consider wider pavements wherever feasible.
  5. The existing large parking layby on the south side of the junction has been identified as a very unpopular existing feature. We propose that the layby be redesigned as an in line car parking area to match the one on the north side of Malpas Road, thus allowing the pavement to be significantly widened and providing opportunities for tree planting as well.
  6. We believe that any new car parking provided in the proposals should be e.g. 20 minute short stay parking (9.00am – 5.00pm) that would benefit the local shops and prevent people parking there all day. A new parking regime must be backed up by proper parking enforcement.
  7. What is the justification for retaining the existing double roundabout? This is a widely reviled feature in Brockley, which many people consider outdated and hazardous, particularly when turning right from Malpas Road into Shardeloes Road. It has been described as little more than a traffic “free for all”.
  8. Why has the Council not considered the use of traffic lights around Brockley Cross?
  9. What improvements are you proposing to include that will specifically benefit disabled, visually impaired and elderly residents? Steep dropped kerb crossings are dangerous for wheelchair users, as wheelchairs can shoot out into the roadway off a steep ramp.
  10. We welcome the upgrading of the pavements, which are in desperate need of new high quality paving. We like the idea of the yorkstone paving but only if it is part of wider strategy of pavement improvements that will be extended southwards into Brockley Road, outside the shops. However... could the money be better spent on other improvements?
  11. We support the proposed tree planting providing better consideration is given to their location and number – some appear to be blocking or narrowing pavements, others are on tiny islands and some appear to obstruct sight lines. We are bemused by the “feature tree” in the middle of the double roundabout.
  12. Could you please explain the rationale behind the apparent shared surface – the raised carriageway? Will this not be visually confusing to pedestrians, encouraging them to cross anywhere on the junction? Given the amount of traffic and the many directions from which vehicles come we think proper crossings would be far safer. We do however welcome any proposals that slow the traffic down.
We could not agree more with any of this. Most of the recommendations appear to be cost-neutral and should not impact on the ability of the junction to process traffic. The double-roundabout is not an efficient means of processing cars, but it is dangerous and ugly.

We hope to report the Council's response soon.

37 comments:

Nylon said...

Hear hear (here here?!?). Couldn't agree much more with this. My only comment would be that the tone appears to be quite confrontational. if BXAG are to work constructively with the council wouldn't a less confrontational (but no less passionate) tone work in their favour?
Having said that the current plans are not sufficient. THE DOUBLE ROUNDABOUT MUST GO.

Brockley Economist said...

I think everyone agrees on the double roundabout. Everyone but the council that is.

I don't agree that we should move the zebra south. If we do that, people will have to walk all the way from BX to Coulgate street to cross the road. Ultimately, they won't bother and we'll be left with people crossing at BX dangerously, without a zebra.

Brockley Nick said...

@Brockley Economist you make an excellent point. In light of that, I think moving the zebra closer to Brockley Cross makes more sense.

Anonymous said...

Those points are incredibly confrontational. If I were working for Lewisham CC I'd be tempted to send that to the "Deleted Items" folder!

Tamsin said...

Everyone but the council and me! (Head back below the parapet again.)
Placing of zebras is tricky. Speaking a few years back to the Lewisham traffic designers when there was lobbying for the zebra now in Vesta Road up by the doctors's surgery and they explained their reluctance by saying that such crossings actually increase the number of pedestrian accidents, presumably by injecting a false sense of security.

Broc resident said...

Tamsin as someone who lives in Telegraph Hill, you are very involved in Brockley matters, but in terms of how it benefits Telegraph Hill. Brockley has to what is right for Brockley.

Anonymous said...

i think there's enough of an overlap between brockley and telegraph hill for tamsin to have her say BR.

Brockley Nick said...

Of course, but Tamsin you have never explained how on earth changing a double roundabout to a crossroads or even a single mini-roundabout would lead to more people driving up Telegraph Hill.

david s. said...

Perhaps a bit confrontational and perhaps doomed to fail in the current climate of cuts but it is true that the 'solution' proposed by the council does nothing to help the significant problems of Brockley Cross and will just be an excuse for them to ignore the problem for another five years by saying effectively, 'we made some changes recently... let's see how those work out before doing anything else'. It's a wasted opportunity (if an opportunity at all). It's a shame if this thread degenerates into arguments over whether a crossing moves a few metres one way or another.

We will never be entirely united on our approach (as Tamsin's continued opposition to anything but the existing double roundabout testifies), but my feeling from talking to people generally in Brockley is that the double roundabout is a real blight on the landscape. In fact, when we moved here and said I'd moved to Brockley even people from further afield would often say, "Oh, yes I know, there's that tricky double roundabout there, isn't there!".

So, in short, I absolutely agree with BXAG's response. Plus putting a tree in the middle of the double roundabout is just madness.

Tamsin said...

@Nick: No, it was BXAG's original and much more radical plans that could have had an adverse effect on Telegraph Hill - either making it very hard indeed to get out to the South East or pushing more traffic through the Kitto-Vesta route (as when Drakefell was being totally dug up a while back).

@Anon 11.16: Agreed Brockley has a right to lobby for what is right for Brockley - but equally your neighbours, in Telegraph Hill, Crofton Park, Honor Oak and Ladywell have a right to voice an opinion if either they use and visit the Brockley facilities in question or if their own backyards will be affected by proposed changes.

On Zebras - there are crossings right next the roundabout by Goose Green in East Dulwich, aren't there. Might be worth having a good long look at how things work in that location - although it is a three way junction rather than four as we have here (or five if you count Geoffrey Road separately to Malpas).

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - OK, so you're not a fan of the double-roundabout per se. Might be worth clarifying that.

Tamsin said...

Announcement. I will abandon my championship of the double roundabout! It only works properly with two lanes of traffic on most access points to the junction. This is not compatible with wider pavements which I agree are fundamental to making the place more pedestrian friendly (the narrow, guanao bespatterd dark pavement under the railway bridge is particularly horrible). The original scheme also clearly dates from when most cars were narrower than they are now (things have been getting wider over the decades).

(But in return for this huge concession I want your book donations...)

Brockley Nick said...

There we go! consensus! thanks ;)

Now the path to progress is clear. The Council will surely listen!

Monkeyboy said...

Whether or not you agree with the points raised, it's not confrontational. Passive language is much more likly to go in the bin. They're grown ups, I'm sure they can deal with some robust challanges from the users -or 'stakeholders' to use the term loved by planners.

Anonymous said...

I do not think is confrontational. It addresses a number of valid points without false political politness.

Would like to see if the Council talks about overwhelming support this time

Nylon said...

I presume someone on the team that makes decisions at the council reads this blog and these threads. Least I bloody hope so.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading this excellent blog for a number of years & not until now have I felt the need to make a comment. For the last 4 years I've rented an office on the top floor of the building overlooking the Double roundabout at Brockley X (lucky lucky me) & possibly have a unique birds eye perspective on the problem. You all make excellent & valid points, the roundabouts are without question dangerous (We see at least 1 low impact accident from up here EVERY week & crossing any of the roads is a life in the hands job - I too have been actually run down twice on the zebra crossing - & i'm 6' 2")! but the problem is this; in my humble opinion the current format is the only one that actually works & can actually work. Trafic lights, not matter how carefully phased I believe with lead once again to peak south to north tailbacks back to Crofton Park, & west to east back to Nunhead as they did in the summer some may remember, when the new gas main went in. The phasing then was first run automatically, then manually in effort to keep traffic moving. The traffic management company appointed tried all sorts & even after the roads were fully re-opened, the lights remained for a bit with traffic still backed up to the Esso garage on Brockley Road before 8 each morning. Volume of traffic is just far too high here & there's currently nowhere to re-direct to. An east west underpass is the only answer, but there's no way they'll go for that.

Anonymous said...

really like the double roundabout but not sure how its gonna work with a tree in the middle. This will obscure an all round view of the two roundabouts which is essential on a double r/about. Tamsin beat me to the point about the goose green roundabout and its crossings. As a driver it strikes me that the crossings should be closer not further away from the junction so the cars and pedestrians "work" together. Also think we should be reluctant to slow traffic through junction as effect on environment will be soon evident especially under that bridge.
twopence ha'penny done

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a confrontational response at all! Ultimately, the response was clear, concise and to the point. I also thought iy was professional and polite. Ultimately, this is business after all! Listen to the house of commons and the patronising jokes, digs, pokes and banter that go in in there... Good response BXAG. I agree with all of it. Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

wether you agree with BXAG or not literary criticism is not the point here

Anonymous said...

The consultation deadline if I remember well was today. So whether you are against or in favour you can still let John.Bishop""levisham.gov.uk know.

I am sure deadlines are flexible

pip said...

I agree it's not confrontational language - just clear and businesslike.

Having read all the responses it seems as though there is no ideal solution, and from anon@13.36's post it looks as though the dreaded double roundabout may be the least of the various possible evils.

Anonymous said...

I actually like the double roundabout...

Broc Resident said...

I am neutral about the roundabout. I've seen lots of 'near misses' but thats down to drivers not following normal roundabout rules. So maybe the issue is some camera enforcement? Nothing like a fine to focus the mind on how to drive.

I am not neutral about crossings, it is way too difficult to get across the road from Shardeloes road (opp the poem side) to where the old florists was.

D said...

There's just something about it that's so nonsensical it makes it hard to use 'normal roundabout' rules. Whenever I drive around there (admittedly not very often) it always feels like I'm waiting for someone to crash into me from somewhere, so I end up rushing to avoid them and as a result probably become more dangerous myself.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Just don't install traffic lights.
We are all supposed to be saving energy not using more.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, I can see that traffic lights would probably not be a good idea. What i can't understand is why two roundabouts are necessary. It's a simple enough crossroads, albeit with a slightly funny layout. But one roundabout could surely do the same job in a simpler way.

Running Nutter said...

I think traffic lights were mooted some years ago. There was a period of gas or water works for which traffic lighrs were used on the main four arteries and the traffic was carnage for miles around as a result. Thankfully the council canned the lights as a result.

The double round about as it stands is a free for all but one that works very well. i don't think i have ever seen an accident on it. I have sympathy for the pedestrian crossing issue but any real change would just mess up the traffic, and that horrible little car park does need remodelling.

Running Nutter said...

What do BXAG propose to repalce the double roundabout with? There is not much room for much else.

Anonymous said...

Well then chenge the layout and the need for two round bouts is gone.

Not sure why Upper brockley road has to split into two carriage ways making the cross a 5 access points cross rather a normal 4.

I think however that guessing the traffic impact, even if from an office above the cross, is not really what the cross needs.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the suggestion above thread that cameras would be a good idea. I'm a pedestrian and have several times almost been run over by drivers going too fast over the zebra crossing and simply refusing to stop. Often I've been in the middle of the crossing and seen drivers have to brake very quickly to avoid hitting me, or I've simply had to wait ages to be 'allowed' onto the crossing. Obviously the fear that they might kill someone isn't a deterrent to their speeding so perhaps a hefty fine might motivate them to slow down.

As an aside the thing that really makes me furious is almost being run over by reckless drivers then seeing them get angry at me!

Lou Baker said...

The double roundabout is awful.

But if you think traffic lights would be better you're a berk.

That'd create a permanent traffic jam - so pedestrians could choke on fumes while walking along the extra wide pavements.

The only long term solution is to close off at least one of the roads - to create a 'straight' main route with a single junction.

Or alternately we could publicly flog and chop the arms off any driver who gets in the wrong lane at Brockley X. That'd reduce the traffic to virtually nil in no time but would significantly increase Lewisham's amputee population.

Foxberry Mike said...

This is a busy junction for cars, cycles and pedestrians and the various needs should be balanced. At the moment only cars are catered for and the absolute essential improvement must be to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Any pedestrian crossing needs to be on the natural routes people will take, which means putting them right at the junction. Zebra crossings would cause gridlock on the roundabout everytime someone crosses, so i think traffic lights with a pedestrian phase must be looked at in more detail, despite Lou's view that i am a 'berk' for holding this view.

KennyTinsel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KennyTinsel said...

20 minute parking is a good idea BUT it should only be in force for one hour a day - say 2pm to 3pm. This means that residents (or visitors) using local businesses can spend a little more time than 20 minutes - they could even have lunch say - BUT all day parking for commuters wanting to use a zone 2 station would be made impossible...

KennyTinsel said...

(it would also be cheaper to enforce as it only requires enforcement for an hour a day...)

Ed said...

My response to the council broadly matches up with the (perfectly reasonable) statements and questions from BXAG.

I agree with Brockley Economist, put the zebra at the roundabout.

I am beginning to wonder whether the double may be the best solution but it obviously needs improving, particulalry visibility or mrking, signs, crossing etc.

I actually saw a woman run over on the existing zebra in front of me last year.

Lastly, a minor point, but apparently there's money for york stone outside a takeaway shop but not for the station that thousands a day use (that yellow stuff is aleady starting to turn).

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