Wednesday 25 January 2012 11.47am
There is a worryingly simplistic trend in traffic planning to make one way roads two way. Each situation should surely be looked at carefully before a policy is rolled out... that's how we ended up with so many one way roads in the 70s and 80s which were inappropriate.
In the case of St George's Road
and London Road
, I'm more in favour of the situation now than of the suggested changes... though I do think there's room for improvement to make the roads healthier and safer for all users. But the arguments I've heard in support of changes are very shaky. In one consultation meeting both a Garden Row
resident and rep from Southwark Living Streets
tried to suggest to Southwark's Planner that St George's Road
was barely residential - a really disappointing and outrageously ignorant claim?!
The key concerns as I see it for St George's Road
residents and users is the increase in the volume of traffic not the speed of it. Traffic on the road is already slowed by three sets of carefully phased lights at junctions between the Elephant roundabout and the junction with Westminster Bridge Road
. With improvements to the pavements this could become an even greener route - how about a southbound cycle path along the very wide pavements on the eastern side of this road so cyclists can avoid London Road
's southbound route - I know one of our councillors already uses the pavement as if it were a cycle path already? The configuration of St George's Circus
could also be changed to make better use of Lambeth Road
so traffic that moves from the circus westward need not use the Garden Row
loop - while residents on this stretch might well be disappointed, it is a rare stretch of road in SE1 where one side is entirely uninhabited because it's a tube depot.
The changes proposed by Southwark Council
would surely increase the speed of the buses on London Road
given the removal of all the private traffic? And yet supporters of the plans say London Road
would become safer? This flaw in the argument underlines the poor thinking in this plan and the misinformation circulating - at a consultation last week the council were even casually sharing A1 maps of TfL's plans for tweaks to the Elephant and Castle roads without clarifying these were not part of the SPD and the opposite of their proposals! And a Southwark Council
rep presenting the SPD at the Cathedrals and Chaucer Ward Community Council meeting the week before knew nothing of the proposals for traffic changes at St George's Road
- another worrying (but familiar) moment of council ineptness about the consultation.