I’m not entirely sure what an ETO entails, but I have a hunch it’s bad news for anyone who relies on driving (or being driven)…
Lewisham planning to use Experimental Traffic Orders?
The following account just appeared on Twitter:
There’s no indication of who set it up, but the followers list (21 so far) is a “who’s who” of local councillors.
I wonder if they’ll use this and potentially other “grassroots-style” social media accounts (eg Vision Zero Lewisham) to get us all thinking about ETOs, until we’re convinced we came up with the idea ourselves…
Call me old fashioned but I believe council policy should be enacted in the following order:
- Public consultation
- Implementation (if, and only if, a majority of the public want the policy)
- Promotion of the policy
If councils follow these steps in reverse order, that would be dubious.
Forgive my cynicism. Obviously, we don’t know what’s coming, and Lewisham might come up with some decent ETO policies. An example of good policy being (from an admittedly biased PoV) a small number of roads closed to traffic except fully electric vehicles, encouraging the adoption of sustainable transport.
But given the zero-sum goals behind the Dartmouth Road narrowing, for example, I suspect Lewisham Council will continue its ideological war on car ownership.
Is this the system (Experimental Traffic Orders) that was used in Walthamstow to try out alternative traffic flows before finalising the Little Holland scheme?
"Every part of the Borough is covered, no one is left out" - it will be interesting to see how decisions are made about which streets are closed to thru traffic.
Even better if there are clear and detailed policies offered at election time which voters can be informed about, before they go to the ballot box.
[P.S. isn’t it time to re-open the General Politics discussion category?]
Are you volunteering to moderate it?
There is a General Politics group available on SE26.life by the way
Possibly. The councillors are being very coy at this stage.
The optimist in me hopes the councillors will choose an ETO like the one implemented in Beech Street:
I like road narrowing.
It’s a shame the narrow, raised pavement under the Forest Hill Bridge can’t benefit from this. At present that is the only route from Perry Vale to Dartmouth Road which doesn’t includes steps or crossing the south circular. That is a bit of pavement which could benefit from that type of temporary measure.
I agree. The current pavement is also very uneven. Trying to get from Sainsbury’s to Waldram Park Road with a full shopping trolley is impossible if you have any mobility issues.
Looks as though things may be moving on some tfl controlled roads soon. Those roads include the S circular.
And more excellent news for Londoners.
What a self-contradictory plan:
So, to summarise:
Will Norman acknowledges congestion issues on London roads affect public safety as emergency service vehicles (and many others) rely on those roads being free-flowing. He acknowledges the current reduction in traffic is only temporary.
The same Will Norman proposes narrowing roads and restricting to bikes only
He’s an ideologue with a narrow agenda, and he’s exploiting our distraction during the Covid crisis to implement plans that will hurt the interests of millions of Londoners, directly and indirectly. He’s not interested in making real environmental progress (eg electric vehicles). He just wants to take an axe to all road users aside from cyclists and pedestrians.
I suppose this was inevitable given his job title: “Mayor of London’s walking and cycling commissioner”.
Where is the “Mayor of London’s vehicle user commissioner”?
Where’s the balance in this policy making?
This is excellent news. There are so many touch points particularly on TfL operated roads where it impossible to maintain any significant distance. And are impossible to avoid. I wonder if they can do something with pedestrian islands.
Really hard to see why anyone would oppose more social distancing on our streets to save lives given the appalling loss of life that is going on in London.
Like many things at present, ideas are being forced through as their is a pressing need. It will be interesting to see some analysis of these changes and public sentiment once they are in place, and whether their is a clamor to go back or to leave them as is (perhaps with amendments).
“Modal filters” meaning removing access to certain modes of transport. It means car owners will still pay the same road tax but thanks to activists within the council, their access to the road will be reduced.
And all the vehicles we rely on for deliveries, tradesmen, carers, emergency services etc will be negatively affected too. Ambulances may be in “the minority” of road users but I think they have more right to use the roads than pedestrians, who already have footpaths!
Classic zero-sum policy-making, which will simply increase congestion elsewhere and force drivers to make longer journeys due to road closures.
This divisive policy wasn’t on the councillor’s manifesto so I hope the council will perform (and honour) a public consultation beforehand.
I think it sounds really good, less car use is in everyone’s interests, especially now.
Except for anyone that needs to use a car? Or those who rely on people driving to them? Or do those people not count?
We’re meant to be doing big shops infrequently. I can barely fit all my shopping into my car boot. I’d like to see how the council propose I carry it all on my bike.
Also, from a Covid point of view, in a car I am shielded, and shield the world. Not so much if I’m walking or cycling
Lots of people manage without cars, do you truly need one? They’re polluting, cause congestion, take up loads of space per person and the majority don’t have one so I think it’s right that policy should cater as much as possible to pedestrians and public transport users. If the result of this is a reduction in number of cars that’s a good thing, and I expect the council will account for people who genuinely rely on them.
Ah, the tyranny of the masses.
Sure, you could probably get by without electricity if you really set your mind to it. But if you want to cut my electricity supply off, you’d better have a more compelling argument than “well most people make different choices, so yours is going to have to change”
And by the way my car produces zero emissions, is parked on my drive, and congestion is really not a thing at the moment.
Not sure that analogy makes sense, everyone has electricity… Great that congestion isn’t a thing right now, if only we could keep it that way!
You won’t keep it that way by narrowing and blocking roads FFS!
Will do if it reduces non-essential personal car use.
When driving, I think my road use would be safer and more pleasant if all cyclists were banned from the road
And when I’m cycling, I think my road use would be safer and more pleasant if all cars were banned from the road
But I rise above these daft and selfish zero-sum attitudes and choose to share the road with my fellow citizens, without having the bare-faced cheek to tell them how they should and shouldn’t be transporting themselves. I wish our trusted councillors could do so.
Obviously I make an exception for quad bike nutters and the moped mafia. They can foxtrot oscar!
Right, except cars and other motor vehicles are objectively worse for other peoples health than cyclists or pedestrians are and private cars take up far more room per passenger than any other form of transport, so actually I think it’s pretty reasonable to take issue with them.
I’m not sure sure why you’re being so absolutist either, neither I nor anything above talks about banning or preventing all cars.
And are they your councillors? Your bio suggests you aren’t living here any more, which seems odd given level of interest in local traffic management…
Ah here we go. The “you’re not from round ‘ere” argument I always hear when other counter-arguments to my points have dwindled.
I lived in Lewisham for five years and I know it very well, thanks to my network there, and via this forum. You don’t lose your interest in an area the day after you’ve left it. And I don’t want other Lewisham residents to face the same issues that led me to leave. One of the reasons I moved out of Lewisham was its dreadful roads - made even more dreadful by councillors pursuing their ideological agendas against car ownership.
Turning the majority against a minority. How community spirited of them…
But I didn’t stop making other points, they’re right there in the same post. I think you’ve probably heard the argument before though because it is strange that you’re on a very specific local forum debating local issues and moaning about other people’s council. I’ll leave it there I think, it’s getting a bit weird now we’re talking about minorities as if motorists are some persecuted sect and not actually just people who like having cars in a place where most people really don’t need one.
It’s strange I’m on this forum? Perhaps it wasn’t clear, but I created this forum, funded it for the last four years, promoted it heavily on social media and continue to do so - for the benefit of the SE23 community that I am still connected to and still care about.
I have a natural aversion to divisive BS, which is why I’m arguing against the “moral hierarchy of road users” that you and others have put forward to support the selfish “reclaiming of the roads” by one group at the expense of another.
Thanks for the link Chris. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get involved with Lewisham’s efforts with this. I hope a lot of our local peeps will take the time to respond.
I’m all for cleaner air, less pollution and congestion and safer streets, but this initiative seems a bit muddled and a mix of agendas.
Things like temporary widening of pavements to help social distancing at pinch points are a no-brainer and should just be done automatically where practical and needed to help protect the population, just like in the photo used as an example on the site:
But once the dust settles on all this and we try to work out what the new normal needs to be, we may find we need some of the roads back to serve businesses and commuters and help get the economy back on it’s feet. What makes sense now, may not make sense for the future.
Looks as though the Government agrees with you, and that Lewisham is supporting a national policy aimed at supporting the post lockdown economy, air quality and public safety.
Creating a free-flowing road network is crucial to the economy.
Narrowing and blocking roads does not create a free-flowing road network.
Is this the same scheme referenced in earlier posts above?
The article relates to a UK-wide study so I don’t think that it is much relevant to London transport, for example it states: “almost 70 percent of the workforce commuted to work by car during peak times”.
Unsure but I had a look and couldn’t find any mention of “Experimental Traffic Orders” in any related coverage.
“Genuinely rely on them?” I
shudder at the thought that a local authority should determine whether my need to possess a car is genuine or not.
@BirdinHand yes exactly!
Sadly it seems there are plenty of armchair authoritarians ready to cheer the council on…
Sadly there are people so wrapped up in their own self interest they can’t see what is best for our community right now.
To be fair Starman, any community is made up of more than just one person. I know you feel strongly about this and have your own points but have you considered that others may feel differently. It doesn’t make them right it wrong, it just means they look at it differently. To say they are wrapped up in their own self interest is a slight generalisation.
If we re discussing the tone and balance of contributions what’s your view as a moderator on ‘armchair authoritarians’ to describe forum contributors with a view one does not like?
I used this term to describe people who have publicly supported authoritarian council policy. It’s a factual description of behaviour.
The other commenter:
- reduced the whole debate to a “we’re right, you’re wrong” in tit-for-tat style
- claimed to know “what’s best for the community”
- further claimed that anyone who disagreed with him was motivated only by self interest (presumption of malice).
There’s a difference between challenging people’s behaviour and attacking people’s character.
I wasnt asking you.
This is a public part of the forum. If you wanted to have an exclusive convo with the mods about someone’s posts, you should PM them (in fact, the guidelines make clear you should have done so)
It was nice of you to explain your point of view about your remark thanks. The polite note from @Londondrz regarding balance about @starman s remarks led me to believe it would be fine to discuss it here.
I made no sweeping generalisations. As I’m sure other commentators haven’t either.
But I was not posting as a mod, merely as an interested party.
Which bit is not sweeping or are you only aware of one person who feels this way? Posts above leads me to believe there may be more.
But this is the whole point of an open forum, for everyone to express an opinion and long may it continue.
Great news https://www.pocket-lint.com/gadgets/news/152128-e-scooters-could-be-legal-in-the-uk-in-june.amphtml
Escooters could be legal in June.
Do you think they would be for the road or pavement? I’m not sure which would be best \ would be safest for all.
I think they would put the scooters on the road.
Surely not the pavement? If they must be legalised then they should be licensed and insured, the same as any other motorised vehicle, and keep to the roadways. They are far too dangerous to pedestrians to allow their use on pavements.
eScooters hard no from me. Unless you have to do basic training like for motorbikes and even then I think people should still have to do a theory. I get the stance for push bikes so there isn’t a barrier for adoption. But scooters are so dangerous on the road and need enhancing for road use. Definitely shouldn’t be allowed on pavements. It’s bad enough dodging the little kids on scooters…
Sorry I know they’re popular with some
People and good for environment. But infrastructure just isn’t there yet.
Very cool! We have a topic discussing e-scooters in the @geeks group if anyone’s interested: https://se23.life/t/would-you-buy-an-electric-scooter/11195
Hopefully scooters will be forced to use the roads not the pavements… and hopefully the council will attend to potholes. Hitting a ten inch pothole with eight inch wheels would be disastrous.
Obviously narrowing roads (per the council’s plans) will put scooter users, cyclists etc under increased risk of collision, so hopefully the council will rethink this daft policy.
It’s hard enough riding a normal scooter with this issue, I have gone head over heels after hitting a large pebble. Maybe the ones with pneumatic off-road tyres for me then.
I think many on this open forum have capably described the selfish behaviour of others during this crisis particulary @marymck who has capably provided a number of examples both in behaviour and action. So I suppose the simple answer to your question is there are many people in our community and even those outside it who I describe and I stand by the description. I cannot fathom why anyone could not agree that during this crisis pedestrians and cyclists should have access to additional space particularly in the face of vastly reduced road usage and that our governments at all level would wish to consider this. To further seek to critisize those who support those actions with ad hominems seems completely off the mark and certainly fails to take other opinions into play.
A good time to remind local residents to make their thoughts known, and to make recommendations for measures at this site.
Glad you think that way. Shame it permits some to make baseless strawman arguments, but hey… these are strange times we are in and hypocrisy is rife.
I’m not quite sure I’ve seen an e-scooter in use yet which either didn’t use the pavement, or look like a crash in waiting.
Escooters are amazing. Ofc there are many suitable needs for standard cars and trucks but we mostly don’t need tonne hulks of metal carrying around single passengers for the most part. How we get there I’ve no idea but hopeful the current situation gives an opportunity to try.
You shouldn’t put things in quotes if they’re not quotes, people might think you’re quoting someone instead of presenting your subjective views as something objective. Just like calling “authoritarian council policy” a “factual description” when it’s clearly your subjective view. (Note correct use of quotation marks).
Also, thinking people have self interest isn’t presumption of malice. Everyone has self interests, and some have a disproportionate impact on those around them and merit conversation. Referring to that as a presumption of malice is wrong and clearly not what I said.
Okay - we’re getting a bit off topic here again. Clearly it’s an issue that attracts strong opinions, but please can we all keep the discussion civilized and on topic, following all the community guidelines here: https://se23.life/faq#civilized
Also please if you see a problem, flag it rather than tarnish other positive discussion here.
I’m inclined to agree - e-scooters have such a high centre of gravity that it just looks crazy dangerous for them to be moving at anything more than a slightly brisk walking pace. I’m not sure what the breaks are like on them, but I’m guessing they can’t be as good as a bicycle.
e-bikes would be my preference, but these e-scooters would seem to fill a nice niche somewhere between bicycle and pedestrian, and perhaps not entirely safe on either the road or pavement. I guess you easily can carry them on all public transport though.
Hoverboards are perhaps even more portable again, but really start to blur the line with pedestrian use and may be unsuitable while social distancing, and even on a widened pavement. Hoverboards do however look really cool when ridden while wearing a cape, which might be of particular interest to you @Starman?
Sorry @starman but I’m a bit lost here. I don’t know what I’ve said that makes you think I’m in favour of what I actually consider a kneejerk blanket reaction that could in a number of cases just push the problem elsewhere. I just wanted to put the record straight on that purely for my own peace of mind.
As a close to home example of my fears, pre Covid-19 there had been a small group of Thorpewood Road residents working with @CllrLeoGibbons on parking/traffic in that street. I don’t know exactly what point they had reached before lock down, but I know one of the options they had been discussing was making Thorpewood a “School Street” and closing the road to people who didn’t live or work on it.
That would have a disastrous impact on surrounding streets, particularly upper Kirkdale which already has double parking during some school runs and is much more heavily used by through drivers since the changes to Dartmouth Road.
In normal times any changes like School Streets would have to go through a process of democratic consultation with the neighbouring streets. An online survey is not a democratic consultation. It’s a snapshot of a very small sector and disenfranchises those that aren’t part of the profile of people that use social media.
Yes small scale, very short term changes where the road conditions permit, we could maybe have a few cones out - as we do for events such as the Christmas tree switch on, where we were trying to prevent pavement parking. But this opens an easy way to a blanket narrowing of roads by an anti motorist lobby. I’m not suggesting any individuals on this forum are anti motorist, but those lobbyists do exist and we need to be alert to the fact that they could exploit our nation’s tragedy to push their own agenda.
It’s happening in Planning too btw.
Something we have to deal with though is the impact of private cars on our shared public space. Parking is an inefficient use of land and parking cars on streets in particular results negative externalities for pedestrians, it is motorists socialising the costs of their private transport choices. I am not saying ban it but i think motorists need to be aware of the true costs of their transport choices.
The roads were designed for vehicles. The pavements for pedestrians.
Well, yes. And pedestrians crossing the road cause negative externalities for drivers.
Yes, cars take a lot of space. But busses take even more space, and inconvenience all road users by frequently stopping.
Does that mean we need to make it harder for pedestrians and busses to use the roads? No.
This style of argument is circular and narrow minded, and we’re not going to get anywhere if we keep trying to imagine a moral hierarchy of road users where one group is bad and others are good.
We need to learn to share our public spaces and that means acknowledging that people have legitimate reasons for owning cars.
Motorists pay obscene amounts of tax in the form of fuel duty, road tax, congestion charges etc. Cyclists
pay nothing don’t pay these taxes, yet enjoy the use of the road network.
Regarding policy-making, I’m glad e-scooters have come up in this topic.
By liberalising e-scooter regulation, the government are increasing freedom and contributing to the mix of green transport options as opposed to crudely removing or redistributing freedoms, as Lewisham Council have been doing. We want positive, forward looking, open policy, not negative zero-sum divisive policy.
Apologies. I was not referring to your thoughts on this specific matter. They are very clear. But I was highlighting your many posts of other forms of selfish actions or behaviors including pavement cycling, park gatherings and some runners.
I don’t believe this to be knee-jerk reactions. The council has been clear these are emergency measures to help maintain social distancing in light of increased pedestrian and cycling flows against the backdrop of a significant reduction in vehicle movements. And hopefully this will help to address some of the very concerning issues you have already raised. In the last few days this has also been a topic of discussion in the mutual-aid group for my local area where proposals are under consideration by a group of residents reacting to concerns around social distancing as they are out and about helping residents in need. I take your point about the breadth of the consultation, but I don’t accept your point about its limit to social media. I have also received email communications from the Council and read about it in local media. I’d also suggest you discuss ongoing concerns with your local councillors.
In this matter I believe the council has the best interest of our whole community in mind. And with the PM’s vague announcements last night, the volume of pedestrian and cycling traffic is very likely to increase in response.
Of course I can’t speak to the specific circumstances of establishing a School Street on Thorpewood Avenue, but in principle I would be happy to support limiting vehicle access around my local schools during the morning and afternoon pinch points. I don’t consider this anti-motorists but simply improves access to schools and public health.
I’m not quite sure what you mean. If anything, I’ve seen more schemes refused in the last few months.
How about this for a radical suggestion? Roadways for vehicles (including parking); footpaths and pavements for pedestrians and wheelchair users.
The countryside also has bridleways. Where practicable, a system of segregated cycle/scooterways that don’t impinge on roadways, footpaths or pavements could be created and also designed into future housing schemes.
I have no issue with the use of e-scooters on roads. I only flinch when I seem them in use both for their users and for vehicle drivers. I always seemed to notice them going around Trafalgar Square where traffic is particularly chaotic and would almost always look away.
But I do think that any form of transport which isn’t your own two feet should require some form of safety training before use of the roads is allowed. I recall on this thread, or elsewhere someone mentioned safety training for bicycles. When I was a youngster a few years ago at home in Canada, I had to complete a bicycle use course before being allowed to use roads. And my bike had a small metal license applied to it to show I had completed it.
Middle-aged men on kids toys never look good. Even with capes.
I’ve got nothing to say on the topic at hand, but I’ve noticed twice now that you’ve said Road Tax… Road Tax does not exist. It was abolished in 1937 Roads are paid for by local taxation, not exclusively car/motorised vehicle users.
Anyway, carry on!
In some cases that I know of, Planning Department is suggesting that neighbours who have made legitimate objections to quite impactful and/or high density developments “reconsider” their objections in light of Covid-19 and/or the risk of squatters moving in. If we’re not alert to these pressures we could find we lose even more pubs and business premises to developers than would otherwise be the case and when we eventually emerge from the current emergency, it could be to a very different landscape.
Vehicle Excise Duty. Potato, potato.
And it’s precisely this increasing urban density that is causing contention and congestion of the road network.
If that is the case then that is terrible. I hope you can share those examples here.
I mean, they both infer completely different things, so… potato apple in this case.
They both end up costing a lot of motorists a lot of money (and cyclists nothing), which was my original point, regardless of the finer semantics.
Semantics are important! “Road tax” infers that it is drivers that pay for the roads, as opposed to the reality that everyone pays for the roads. That’s not to say that some of the funds raised through VED don’t go towards the upkeep of the roads…
Anyway lets agree to disagree. I don’t care enough to get heated about it.
Whether or not the tax revenue is hypothecated, my point still stands. Motorists are paying levels of tax that cyclists and pedestrians are not, so the earlier suggestion that motorists are enjoying some kind of “socialised” windfall is inaccurate.
And don’t forget, VED is just one of the extra taxes that motorists pay. They pay £28.4 billion in fuel duty too.
So motorists aren’t just covering the entire cost of the road network, they’re also paying extra into the NHS and other public services.
Purely in terms of tax, motorists deserve our gratitude not our vilification.
One of them was the case of the Sydenham Road Coop/Gym application. Some people (not me) had made objections. There were sufficient objections that due process meant any decision (other than outright refusal by a Case Officer) had to be made by a Planning Committee. Planning Committees are made up of elected councillors. There are three such committees, one of which meets every fortnight. Before this could happen, squatters moved in.
Planning Department then made the suggestion that objectors should reconsider their objections in this and other commercial premises.
I fear we’re in danger of going off topic and was just trying to make the point that we need to be wary.
If you are referring to the application to change use of the building, that has not been decided yet. The presence of squatters should not influence that decision or process. Frankly I am wary of tales which suggest the Planning Department have asked objectors to reconsider.
Come on Chris that is nonsense! If you want a non divisive policy and discussion this sort of thinking needs to be done away with.
Roads are paid for out of general taxation to which cyclists contribute just as much as anyone. If I am a huge wage earner I might pay more in taxation than a low pay car owner does. It matters not - we are still entitled to use the roads - just like electric car owners!
Electric Car owners pay no fuel tax, pay no congestion charges and road tax (not that there is such a thing as Road tax and hasn’t been since 1936) and they get to enjoy the roads as much as anyone else - except of course they still pollute locally in the form of particulates from breaks and tires and of course unless charged 100% by renewables they still pollute globally.
For the most part, I don’t care where tax comes from, I’m just happy to be taxed. Anyone that pays tax deserves gratitude, not just those that pay more.
I’m not villifying anyone here, for clarification. Tax is an inevitable part of life, I don’t begrudge those that pay less tax than me, any more than I begrudge those that pay more tax than me (which I don’t) FWIW - I am a driver, btw.
You seem to be completely ignoring the reasons why (some) car users are required to pay tax and cyclists / pedestrians are not.
Given VED doesn’t pay directly for the roads we all use I’m not sure why motorists deserve gratitude?
But they emailed me and suggested just that! In two particular cases and the second time with reference to it as a general principle. I’m not suggesting they made the suggestion I’m saying they made the suggestion … in emails in which I was a recipient.
No the Coop hasn’t been settled. That’s just my point. It can’t be settled - other than by an outright refusal, which officers don’t want to do - without going to PC. The only way it can be approved at council level without the PC sitting is if objectors withdraw their objections. Whether I agree with those objections or not, I think it’s out of order for Planning Dept to ask.
Apologies that I edited my post while you were replying, but I added some stats.
I was shocked, myself. Motorists are paying staggering overall sums of VED and fuel duty, far in excess of the annual cost of the road network.
Now I am not trying to pit motorists against cyclists here - far from it. (I am a cyclist too BTW). But I wanted to address the point made about motorists enjoying the benefits of “socialised” road costs. The reality is the opposite - overall motorists are subsiding the wider public good, on top of covering the cost of the entire road network.
I think you’re missing the point I made. It doesn’t matter whether the revenue is hypothecated, that’s immaterial. The point is that motorists are paying a huge amount more than non-motorists, an additional amount which fully covers the cost of the road network - and then some.
Which is of course correct when viewed in a very binary manner, however it doesn’t acknowledge the true cost of the negative externalities of driving. It would be interesting to see how that compares with the receipts of £6.5bn raised through VED per annum.
I don’t think your figures include all or indeed any of the externalities that are associated with use of roads by cars but I think we have veered massively off topic! I did do some research back in the degree days of how costs were calculated and you can easily make the argument the other way round when you take pollution, delays, accidents, noise etc into account. If you add all these in then it is fairly easy to make it look like drivers are subsidised. However these costs are difficult to quantify to say the least…
ETA - that most of the calculations do not take into effect the positives input of cars to the economy either!
Okay let’s investigate.
Here’s an estimate for Europe overall:
Let’s assume they’re talking about the EU (as opposed to Europe) - so that’s €60 billion between approx 500 million people (the study was from Jan 2019). So we can assume the U.K. cost is roughly 12% of that. $7.2 billion, or £6.3bn.
- Road network costs £4.8bn. Health externalities cost roughly £6.3bn.
- Motorists pay £6.5bn in VED and £28.4bn in fuel duty, plus other taxes eg congestion charge.
It’s clear from the above that motorists are more than covering their network costs and health externalities.
But the real clincher was pointed out by @Foresthillnick. The above sums pale into insignificance compared to the massive benefit to the economy of vehicles using roads for commercial purposes. And the massive benefit to society of the emergency service vehicles using the roads. Both of which are harmed by measures taken to narrow and block roads.
Still doesn’t take into account a lot of externalities
This report can be summarised
The study, The True Costs of Automobility, accepts that such calculations necessarily have an element of approximation but give an important overall picture. In a national breakdown it says UK drivers accounted for £48bn of costs…
Even if motoring taxes were taken into account there remains a significant shortfall in the UK. Fuel duty and its associated VAT along with vehicle excise duty contribute around £38bn a year to the Treasury’s coffers, £10bn less than the estimated cost.
I think one of the good things about the current climate is that we all feel we are in this together but still recognise there are certain groups that are either high risk because of underlying conditions or come into more contact because of their job and we understand the need to have some measures to help these people.
The principle groups affected by a school street are the kids, parents, residents and teachers. Thorpewood has 2 schools so probably about 700 kids, we should be putting measures in place to help social distancing otherwise how can we safely open the schools and protect people. Unfortunately people will be inconvenienced by this, probably more the residents who live on school streets than surrounding streets.
Okay - let’s have a 30 min lunch break in this topic!
Grab something to eat, do some exercise, or whatever you fancy.
When the topic reopens, please try and keep the discussion locally relevant and on topic!
This topic was automatically opened after 32 minutes.
I think there is a degree of dicussing the proposed changes, in different terms.
There is the short \ medium term changes that may be required for social distancing.
There is then the longer term view of whether these and other changes are made.
The short-term ones would, in the current situation and in view of need to decide these things more rapidly, likely have less planning time, and therefore potentially be more prone to mistakes.
Objecting to these changes and having a different point of view does not make you some sort of devil anymore than supporting them makes you some sort of anti-car revolutionary.
I’ve not seen anything in this thread to suggest anyone wants anything other than to promote and improve people’s welfare, but that does not mean good spirited debate can’t happen - different views can be held without people being boxed into certain categories.
In the short-term, with less traffic and more pedestrian and cyclists around it would seem logical to make more allowances for the latter 2 groups, unless further to the government’s annoucement last night there is an expectation of much more car travel as some work places reopen.
In the longer-term we all want less pollution - how that is best achieved is a much broader conversation that should perhaps be a seperate topic at a later point.
There is a way that this can be solved that costs nothing. But it won’t be easy at all. In fact, it will be very difficult for a lot of people.
Treat other people with respect no matter what form of transport they use.
Go on, try it!
It’s a good point but I am dubious road traffic will increase much. For instance, the PM name checked both manufacturing and construction, both industries that have not been closed down during the lock down period. Last week, only 34% of construction sites remain closed and those were predominately due to safety consideration (inability for social distancing), reduction in available workforce (non UK predominately) or collapse of markets (no home buyers). Those able to go to work have been going to work and using what available transport they have.
I think the greater likelihood will be more pedestrian traffic and possibly cycling as the revised guidance is a bit unclear, though I haven’t seen the document released a 2pm yet.
The overground gave a boost to the area, and lots of people rely on it to get to work. Given the need for social distancing, public transport capacity must be severely cut back at best. Many people with a choice may not even wish to venture onto the train or bus network either - hopefully they can cycle or walk, but not everyone has that choice and some will undoubtedly end up in cars.
I think the PM may have been hinting at this in the 10 May statement last night:
And when you do go to work, if possible do so by car or even better by walking or bicycle. But just as with workplaces, public transport operators will also be following COVID-secure standards.
I’m not sure - there are a lot of unknowns at the moment, and I don’t possess the data to make accurate proposal myself, so from my part anyway it’s all guesswork.
If we assume the number one driver is people safety, and relate this to people travel (so excluding what happens when people get to work etc).
With most children effectively off school until September, how many parents \ guardians of those children will go back to work
Of those currently able to work from home, how many will now be asked to work from the office.
Of those who will now be asked to go back to work, how many can realistically:
a) walk to work b) cycle to work c) use public transport d) drive
I would assume a (walk to work) might be low, c there cannot be much further capacity, which leaves b and d (cycling and driving).
I would assume from a personal safety perspective, driving with windows up is safer than all other methods of transport for those driving, and those not. Not great for the environment, but that is not the short-term primary concern, as I understand it. There is also far less chance of contamination from touching surfaces.
I used to cycle to work and if that became popular social distances at traffic lights etc would be difficult.
I would however prefer that to public transport which in my view should be reserved for key workers. I have a friend in that category who says at times it’s extremely busy still as so many services have been cancelled and is quite worrying, so not sure how increases are going to work here, even with additional capacity.
I don’t think there are any easy answers if anything is to happen before a vaccine \ cure is found.
I’d personally like to some pavement widening at areas where people have to go eg near supermarkets, pharmacies, maybe entrances to popular spots like parks etc but review the roads in line with what needs to happen there - perhaps lots of extra buses could be the answer to move people around.
There are just top of my head ideas, but as I said I don’t think it’s easy. First step is to try and identify what we think the local changes might be to travel, otherwise we are all guessing. Hopefully the council are working on that.
I hear you. And the answer for London may be significantly different for the rest of the country based on a number of assumptions, one being the higher percentage of people engaged in the services sector. Its anecdotal at best, but I am now aware of three client firms - one engineering and two architectural - which have decided to not renew leases having found an expensive central London location unnecessary. So there is a chance an increase in road use by some sectors might be compensated by a reduction in road use by others. Those with sole access to cars may choose to drive, but in parts of Central London where are they most likely to find parking?
I could easily see a small increase as you suggest, but I also see evidence that those who cannot work from home such as construction have continued to go to work using private vehicles when they can. Despite the PM’s speech yesterday, neither of those sectors were on lock down. Any cessation of work is largely due to the inability to ensure social distancing in the work environment. That has not changed despite the Government’s desire to get the economy moving.
It’s anecdotal at best, but I’ve been helping my own organisation on their RTO/return to work plan (we love are TLAs). And while staff who rely on public transport is a factor, the over riding issues is our inability to ensure social distancing can be maintained AND concerns around indoor air quality due to poor ventilation, itself an major issue in UK work environments.
I think each area will be different. I heard an MP from Ealing I think yesterday ask about transport as he felt his borough had a high percentage of people involved in the construction trade.
I’ve no idea on SE23’s or Lewisham in general’s makeup. If most will continue to either work from home, or unfortunately not work, the council will need to look at those who will be travelling to work, how far they expect to travel and what modes of transport would be feasible and make allowances for that.
They then also need to look at where people will be going to exercise \ shop etc, where you would expect more journeys on foot and bike than public transport and car, and where to alter the road layouts. I suspect different approaches for both of these ‘groups’.
My old company relocated out of London last year partly for the reasons you mention. It will be interesting to see the affect on local transport once (if) things are back to normal, if far more home working becomes the norm=less commuting. As for safe working environments, I’m not sure how that can work for many companies - my previous company will I assume continue to have everyone working from home for a long-time, and perhaps they and other companies will just be used to it and decide to do it full-time which might have an effect on rents etc for commercial properties locally, and elsehwere. Anyway, I digress.
You describe some thoughts I had this morning on the matter, actually sparked by my recollection when you told me about that. Could this crisis encourage companies to consider moving when they have figured that a London location is not as critical to their operations as they think. Cities like Birmingham and Bristol are already offering back office services to many London finance firms. With tumbling travel times and vastly cheaper cost of living, could this become the new norm?
Digression perhaps but this crystal ball gazing will become important when temporary measures taken today are reviewed and considered for the longer term.
Lots more traffic on Kirkdale over the last few days and nights. Especially noticeable at night, even over the weekend. And I do mean at night. Like middle of the night. 5 am this morning sounded especially busy. I wonder if people are staggering their work times to that extent?
Or are roads already being closed/narrowed? As I’ve been typing this there hasn’t been a break in traffic sounds - but at least they’re moving.
I’m pretty sure road traffic increased immediately on Monday after the announcement from the previous week - if I had to guess about twice as many cars on the road. Certainly not back to normal levels though.
Lewishams plans for changes to help pedestrians and cyclists seems to be progressing a bit slowly. But the massive news today is about central areas of London where major changes are to be made to liberate use of public road space to enable safe walking, cycling, pandemic social distancing and improve air quality too.
So the disabled and less able will be forced onto buses, assuming they are physically able to get on them and that there are buses available? And how will pedestrians be protected from cyclists and other vehicle users? It seems to me this will make huge parts of the city no go areas for the less physically able.
Plus traffic will just be decanted elsewhere.
Haven’t seen much detail yet but saw this quote. ’ Access to emergency services and disabled people will be maintained, TfL said, but some deliveries might have to be made outside of congestion hours.’
It looks as though on the routes shown pedestrians will have widened pavement space to walk in allowing physical distancing for large numbers. Cyclists will be on roads, separate from pedestrians, sharing roads with public transport and authorised vehicles.
I’d be interested to see the detail.
How they plan to block and narrow roads, yet somehow unblock and widen them on an ad-hoc basis for emergency services and disabled people…
Were they… pretty sure cars have only been around for 100 years and roads were used for foot and animal traffic for a millennia leading up to their invention.
Lol at roads only bring for cars, pedestrian traffic has used roads long before cars were even thought of, they are the late entrants to road use. Pedestirans are certainly not only coralled on to pavements, they also have the right to walk on roads without pavements ( except for motorways).
But we don’t live in the stone age. We have the wheel and hard surfaced roads because of it. Our system is designed as roads for wheeled vehicles (whether pulled by horses or legs or a different form of horsepower) and pavements for pedestrians and those unable to rely on their legs alone for walking, ie for prams, wheelchairs and walkers for the less able.
Cycles and scooters on pavements put the latter groups at too much risk.
Of course in the stone age and in some communities until surprisingly recently no one had to accommodate the less able. Babies were carried and the elderly and others seen as non productive didn’t need to be accommodated. But thankfully we’ve moved on and don’t require others (and it’s always others isnt it?) to turn faces to the wall or wander off into the snow. Therefore the less able need to be accommodated - and I don’t just mean those with a badge or label to prove it. Don’t you think everyone wants to be nimble and strong enough to dodge in and out of bikes and scooters and walk for miles?
Was the general quality of life better back in those days?
That wasn’t my point and you know it. The point is your rather dogmatic “roads for cars and pedestrians for pavements” is a very recent development with motorised vehicles and then only because the speed and danger of cars drives pedestrians to separate spaces. Pedestrians are still perfectly entitled to walk along roads that do not have pavements (with the exception of motorways).
I know this because I grew up in the countryside on a sheep farm and we frequently had to stop traffic to drive sheep or walk animals across or along roads. Contrary to the views of a lot of irate motorists we had right of way and only needed the police to stop traffic when crossing a motorway.o
I didn’t say it was.
My point is that a lot of things were different in the era before cars, and if we want to take London back to that era we ought to acknowledge the negative consequences.
I’m sure ambulances will be pleased not to have to drive into central London.
But one day you might need one.
I live in the countryside and love it. There’s a healthy respect for motorists here, and fewer ideologues trying to push them off the roads.
I wish there were more pavements so pedestrians could be separated from cars. Transport works much better when different modes have spaces that are optimised for them.
Yes indeed, here’s a pic.
Sure, and the Victorian sewerage system was not designed for 21st century society either. What point are you trying to make?
Nor were our streets designed for the bicycle - which wasn’t invented until the 19th Century - yet we can clearly see in the photo which you shared the cyclist in the road and the pedestrians on the pavement. The only pedestrians on the roadway appear to be in the act of crossing it.
@HannahM I too have lived most of my life in the country. Where there are pavements people are daft if they choose to walk in the road instead. Obviously if there are no pavements people have to walk in the roadway. But it’s only something you do if there is no alternative and wherever possible you walk so that you are facing the oncoming traffic. Even so, it’s scary.
And of course, in the country if you can’t drive and you’re disabled you’re stuck at home unless you have family who can drive you or you can afford a taxi (or you’re “lucky” enough to have been registered as disabled under state pension age at a time when the mobility allowance part of disability living allowance could be claimed: thus ruling out an awful lot of older widows and single women - many of whom can’t drive - and who, under that system, couldn’t claim because they weren’t registered disabled till they’d reached state retirement age.)
It’s not that long ago that traffic - both pedestrian and wheeled - was a free for all, both in London and in the countryside. Then we had the rules of the road and by and large things have got a lot better. Yes some people are entitled to drive their flocks over London Bridge, but I’d be surprised if they do it.
In 1722 congestion [on London Bridge] was becoming so serious that the Lord Mayor decreed that “all carts, coaches and other carriages coming out of Southwark into this City do keep all along the west side of the said bridge: and all carts and coaches going out of the City do keep along the east side of the said bridge.” This has been suggested as one possible origin for the practice of traffic in Britain driving on the left.
Most of the people seem to be standing on a raised area away from the wider area! I wonder why?
I think we are getting off track here. Forget the past, this is about the present and the future. It’s not about the countryside, it’s about Lewisham. Whether you want it to be that way or not, in Lewisham, the roads are for cars, buses, motorised vehicles etc and bikes and the pavements are for pedestrians \ wheelchairs \ prams etc. I don’t think anyone can really argue against that as a general rule (accepting the odd exception).
The question is whether we change this, or change the % road \ pavement \ cycle lanes etc to suit differing short-term needs, and whehter these changes are in effect permanent or done with temporary structures.
I’m still not clear on the differing demands from Lewisham residents in the current pandemic, especially with the current government advice not to use public transport where possible and seemingly encouraging people to drive (though perhaps that is more aimed outside of Lewisham \ London). As per my previous both, I still believe you will need one approach for those travelling to work and one for non-wok travel to shops, parks etc.
One interesting thing they did where I used to work near Old Street, was remove all the raised pavements and road marking at a junction of roads which, anecdotally, seemed to actually work very well. Cars would slow down and in effect there was more room and more thought from both pedestrians and motorised vehicles.
That seems a risky approach to me.
Road markings make it clear who goes where. Yes. most sensible drivers would slow down if the road markings were removed or scrambled. But some drivers will just get confused, and surely that’s not a good thing to happen to any road user? Especially one in command of a 1 tonne fast-moving steel box?
This wasn’t a main road like the South Circular to be clear, more like commercial side roads.
I thought the same when they did it, but it seemed to work - didn’t make sense to me but like I say it appeared to work. I think it was based on something done in other countries, maybe the Netherlands, I can’t remember now.
The point is people were gently teasing Chris for his rather narrow view of what roads are for.
Of course Lewisham is not the countryside or the eighteenth century but we can all benefit from not seeing the complete prioritisation of motorised vehicles on the roads as an immovable shibboleth.
They’ve done it at a few locations around South Kensington too for similar reasons. It was the better part of a decade ago so there may now be data on how well it’s gone. I believe it’s supposed to act similarly to when the traffic lights at a junction go down; that everyone takes things a little more easily rather than push on through. The queues that tend to build up on those occasions are usually more because the timings for all the surrounding junctions are still in place so people going slower doesn’t thelp.
Chris - I think the point is that if you’re driving a 1-tonne steel box and you’re confused, you shouldn’t be fast-moving.
Ideally, yes - but the problem is that drivers are only human. They might be moving at speed before they realise they’ve entered a zone where all the road markings have been removed.
And different people will react differently.
That’s why we have road markings. So drivers can focus on the things that are most important (avoiding collisions with cars and pedestrians).
I thought they’d reversed a lot of that experiment? Certainly Exhibition Road was a complete mess, with no one knowing what to do, several accidents and numerous near misses. But maybe the consultants just moved on to their next contract?
I gave up going to Peckham Pulse having had one too many scary encounters with cycles, only to hear the same consultants that were responsible for Peckham pressing the same design for Kirkdale. Luckily that all went quiet.
As consultants tend to do… would love to see more long-term benefits tied to consulting contracts rather than the usual payment terms.
On a happy note, I’ve just been out for my daily run (before it got too warm) and discovered two lovely men from Southwark Council cutting back the ridiculously overgrown hedge on the South Circular near Cox’s Walk. The full width of the pavement is now accessible which should make a huge difference to those walking to Cox’s Walk or Dulwich Park.
Now there’s a council that’s thinking beyond zero-sum interventions. Great to hear.
Oh I don’t know Chris, judging by their designs for their part of Sydenham Hill:
No sooner will Southwark have finished on their section, than Lewisham will start on theirs. And then the OLEZ extension will decant even more traffic onto it. Then we will have construction traffic for the proposed houses on Crystal Palace Park (albeit that’s intended to be diverted down Westwood Hill, round Cobbs Corner and up Kirkdale - not that I forsee drivers sticking to that silly route) and the mega Mais House development. We do need a bit of joined up long term thinking from the various authorities.
Plus Southwark showed what they think of our environment with all that business with the Cox’s walk oak trees/footbridge.
But as @applespider says, it is great to see them dealing with overgrown hedges. Those sort of interventions can make such a huge difference and usually get so little publicity and thanks.
They lowered the kerbs on Dartmouth Rd for the same exactly the same reason.
Doesn’t everyone want to be able to afford a Chelsea tractor and drive their kids 500m to school. I was making a point about roads being solely designed for car use. It’s time to make radical changes and this is coming from someone who considers themselves a bit of a petrol head.
Er … no. It would be terrible if everyone thought like that.
We seem to forget at times the residents of roads. Many of our schools are on residential roads, it would be good to return these roads to being quiet roads for residents and school children and stop them from being polluted by Chelsea tractors
Schools need regular deliveries, eg food. Do you propose these deliveries are made by bicycle?
By the way, I’m with you on the noisy, bulky, ugly, polluting Chelsea tractors. I think school roads should be made EV/cyclist only.
I agree noise pollution also often gets overlooked. Hopefully when the schools reopen parents will be encouraged to walk, cycle or use electric.
I am not advocating stopping traffic as the residents will need deliveries as well but just a certain amount of nudging towards better behaviour which might mean some kind of barriers physical or changing traffic flow during school times. I think encouragement has been tried before with parents but it rarely works.
I think I can say this as a parent. Parents are probably the most selfish section of society especially when they have little kids, you are just thinking about protecting the little ones so you don’t care if you drive your polluting car anywhere as your kids are more important than anything else. Unfortunately this becomes a burden later on as they think they are more important than anything else, try getting them to fill the dishwasher.
I digress, perhaps there should be tailored ETOs round schools that are more flexible with less impact than formal school streets.
For me personally, it’s the mad dash between school drop-off and then trying to get to the office on time that pushes me towards the car though I’d say that 9/10 times I still walk with the kids to school/nursery. With the advent of working from home, I won’t need to drive into the office at all though - happy days!
When the schools re-open I gather pickup and drop-off times will also be staggered. That should in theory mean the streets with the schools see trickle of parents and pupils rather than a stampede at the start and end of the day. Hopefully that will be quieter and calmer for residents, but I’d bet in most cases the school was there long before the residents.
I don’t think people care who came first, the residents, the school or the parents.
I think people both residents and the majority of parents care what comes after the driving parents, pollution in the past and whether there will be space to social distance in the future around schools as most have an issue with parked cars and congestion at the start and end of the day.
I don’t currently drive my car very much but I do see that the roads are a lot less congested for those who do and this has led to speeding and overtaking on local roads such as Dartmouth Road. Our footpaths aren’t wide enough for social distancing in some cases so I see it as a win, win situation to reduce speeding and give a bit more of the road to pedestrians.
Well I was replying on @chamonix’s point about noise pollution (which he said is often overlooked ). If someone move’s into a house or flat on a school road, I think they should be prepared to tolerate a certain amount of noise and activity that already comes with the location. At the same time I don’t think that means the school and parents shouldn’t try their best to reduce disruption and annoyance for residents, but it’s going to happen.
On the plus side, living close to a school gets you firmly the catchment area and you can walk to the school! It’s all a trade…
Probably, though I know some parents which have improved and definitely become more concerned about the environment, lifestyle choices and the future since they’ve had kids. Maybe their motives are still trying to protect their own children, but at least some of it does benefit everyone.
I will be very interesting to see what changes may be bought to the streets, particularly as lockdown eases, and which changes are winners and which are losers. I just hope nothing too radical or rushed happens, since I think we need to tread carefully in these changing times.
Lewisham have posted an update on the 28th May on the scheme:
Thanks for sharing. It’s interesting how they phrase this plan as if it is “creating” something, as opposed to the obvious physical reality of what they’re proposing.
Let’s see if blocking and narrowing roads helps to reduce Lewisham’s serious road congestion problems …
I do fear commonsense is going to go out of the windows if some of the suggestions I’ve seen are implemented. Just in my immediate neighbourhood, I don’t see how making our three roads of upper Kirkdale/Thorpewood Avenue/Dartmouth Road closed or narrowed still further will help. Traffic has to find a way and if those three roads were closed to through traffic or further restricted (and obviously it needs to be a three in one deal) then Westwood Hill/Cobbs Corner/Sydenham Hill would be a nightmare, especially with all the already proposed roadworks on Sydenham Hill.
Sounds great, love to see it
This is, effectively, NIMBY traffic management.
The Council are using a tool called Commonplace to build consensus.
However, this tool is completely inappropriate.
People self-report on Commonplace. So anyone who’d like their road to have a modal filter can request one. Residents are able to push traffic onto neighbouring roads for selfish reasons, and there are no checks and balances (eg representative sampling) to prove that these road blocks are desired by a majority of residents.
You might want your street to have a modal filter because it pushes traffic to a neighbouring road. You can record this on Commonplace. However, it’s harder to record disagreement with all the modal filters in surrounding areas that push traffic into your road.
So therefore, Commonplace is artificially promoting modal filters as a popular option.
The council need to think holistically and consider the road users that we all rely on (and who are not being canvassed by Commonplace) - ambulance drivers, police drivers, delivery drivers, carers, meals on wheels etc.
Commonplace is promoted by central government and probably costs Lewisham between £25k and £50k a year to run, so I guess they need to get good use out of it!
I don’t mind the council asking people for opinions - in fact that’s good in my book. But I do feel the results need careful consideration and not just used at face value because of reasons you mention.
Unreal. £50K of our money for a tool that’s inappropriate for the task in hand … but happens to promote the outcomes that councillors are personally campaigning for.
Damned if they do. Damned if they don’t.
I think you missed the nuance in what we discussed.
Canvassing opinion is a representative way and creating holistic policy is good. We all support that I’m sure.
Commonplace isn’t the right tool for this.
Then perhaps if concerns are real, those concerns should also be addressed to central government who appear to endorse and promote the tool. Notwithstanding the negotiated rates are probably attractive to local authorities regardless of their political persuasion. I can understand why a local authority would also rely on central government to make technology recommendations.
Commonplace only expresses the views of those who use the internet and is being viewed as a replacement for our local ward assemblies. It’s easier for Council officers. Much less work than organizing physical assemblies. Nothing to do with social distancing making those meetings harder to organize either: this shift to Commonlace was in motion long before Covid-19 was even a tickle in the throat of a Chinese wet market trader.
Local assemblies weren’t perfect, but this effectively disenfranchises even more people.
It’s already being used as a replacement for presentations and physical voting for the allocation of Assembly funding. It will be interesting to see how that pans out. It seems to me that those most skilled in organizing click voters will win out there too.
What we need is cross community initiatives, not street by street divisions.
On the otherhand Commonplace has helped empower people who did not engage with traditional consultation methods.
I think there needs to be a mix of methods to ensure as many voices are heard as possible.
As a Lewisham C/tax payer £50k for some government approved engagment software really isn’t that much of an expense to get bothered about.o
I’ve seen no evidence that local ward assemblies are to be replaced. Though having attended my ward assembly, I can see why a much wider consultative process for the community would be of benefit to all. Civil societies continue to consult on these measures as well. There is no reason why all of these cannot co-exist.
Though let us not forget that these are emergency measures. We may disagree on the long term implications, but there is also a need to act with some degree of speed and for now in person meetings are not possible.
ETA. Thought it would be interesting to see just what percentage of people are disenfranchised by using internet based consultation. While Wikipedia isn’t always the best source, it does suggest 94.62% of the UK population are internet users. That’s much much higher than I would’ve thought.
And of course, local assemblies can’t easily be gamed.
However, I can easily add comments on the Lewisham Commonplace with no checks on my physical location, or the number of accounts I’ve created.
Let’s say there was someone I didn’t like in SE23, and I knew which road they lived in. I could drop pins to suggest modal filters in all roads around them except theirs - pushing all the traffic their way.
You introduced to me logical fallacies. Thank you for that. This has always been one of my favourite.
This would presume the LA is doing a carte blanche approval of recommendations. And wouldn’t notice that a road that had all roads around it fitted with modal filters would have any traffic on it at all.
What’s the alternative? That councillors pick and choose the opinions of residents that the councillors personally like the look of?
Are you suggesting that the council has a mechanism to validate online submissions against home addresses? How does this work, and why is it not described on their website?
Are you suggesting they can prevent multiple accounts being used on Commonplace? Again - how does this work, and why is it not described on their website?
I don’t have the same concerns of misuse and fraud as you. So I’d encourage you to ask the council. Perhaps you can post the response from Lewisham when you hear back.
I gather this software has been used by a number of other agencies at both local and central government level. Have you seen any evidence to suggest wide-scale misuse and fraud?
I’ve seen evidence that comments can be added without any checks on physical location or identity.
I agree that a mix of methods needs to be employed before any changes are implemented/decisions made.
Apologies in advance that this is going to be a rather piecemeal post, but I can’t post more than one link at a time, not being very techie.
Here is link to download the Equal Opportunities Assessment link for the ward Assemblies.
I’ll now try to find one for Commonplace.
Edit: to add that I can’t find an Equal Opportunities Assessment for Commonplace or for Lewisham’s use of it. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one, just that I haven’t found it yet. I have emailed Commonplace to ask for a copy.
Lewisham’s (now closed) Commonplace consultation on NCIL funding is here …
This is a replacement for the nominations and voting that until last year took place at local assemblies. I’ll now try to find the information that I had that explains that and the further discussions re closing the Assemblies.
I’d be surprised if there was one as it would likely be Lewisham’s whole consultative process under review as opposed to individual elements of it. As it is only a tool, I would imagine that Lewisham Council would undertake the assessment rather than the software provider. It is not the tool itself, but how it is used certainly.
But yes… I’d love to see an assessment on the whole process too. Thanks for the link to the one on the Assemblies. From the assessment of age demographics, it’s clear they have some work to do.
It would be interesting to learn what happened with this scheme …
Assemblies weren’t perfect by any means. But they were cross community. I fear we’re heading down the route of ending up with more and more self contained little bubbles.
There was a democracy review going on at Lewisham Council. But I dont know what it involved and the last I heard of it was that it was reporting to the Labour Group, at least as a first step. Which seems a bit odd for a “democracy review”.
Perhaps @SophieDavis or @LeoGibbons could let us have an update please?
You speak in the past tense but I don’t think they have shut. The last Perry Vale meeting was in January. The NCIL process widens the scope of consultation but the decision and allocation of funds are still retained at the assembly level. I wasnt at the January one but I gather the assembly voted on and set the priorities.
Developing a place-based approach to public engagement
There were mixed views about our Local Assembly programme. Some respondents felt that they were useful, but others raised concerns about coordination, accessibility, community
representation, opportunities for open debate and ability to influence Council policy. Many
citizens and councillors who responded to the consultation had participated in Local
Assemblies commented that a relatively small and unrepresentative group of already
democratically engaged people attend and more should be done to increase participation
more widely. It is clear that we need to ensure that Local Assemblies evolve and better
reflect the local socio-economic and demographic profile of the area in terms of both
attendance, approach and involvement and projects supported.
We also need to recognise that, for many people, their ‘local area’ is smaller and more
focused than a ward. We need to explore how to engage on this basis with our local
communities within our wards as Kirklees Council have done. There are a range of tools,
models and approaches to building community involvement, capacity and cohesion and we
need to consider what the Council can and should do to harness and support engagement
and activity at a local neighbourhood level.
We did have a FH ward Assembly on 8th Feb, which I referred to here Forest Hill Pools  There are usually four per year but the one before that was in July last year and the scheduled ones for the remainder of 2019 were cancelled because of the elections. Commonplace must have been mothballed over that period for the same reason.
On 8th Feb we were talked through the NCIL priorities that had been set by Commonplace and given the opportunity to choose five (if memory serves) plus one of our own. These were general subject headings, rather than actual projects. Some of the suggestions of things like a lollipop warden wouldn’t have been possible because that’s not how NCIL works. It’s a pot of money that has been bid for by local groups (eg children’s football club, local charity bid) and is usually allocated by Assembly vote. So an initiative like a lollipop person would come out of Council budget, not NCIL.
The next stage is for people to bid for the money via some Internet system (maybe Commonplace?)
I’m not sure what stage that is at, because obviously our last planned Assembly was cancelled because of Covid-19.
I was sure there was talk of the Assemblies being replaced by Commonplace. But I can’t find any emails about it, so maybe it was just a conversation and I got the wrong end of the stick. I hope so. Sorry for misleading.
Edit to clarify: @starman I wrote this before I saw your last post.
No. Thanks for the feedback on what happened at the FH one.
I think the objective is to retain decisions at the local level but make the process work better and include more people. Sounds a good plan.
Let’s hope not - it seems the only schemes we’re allowed to suggest on Lewisham’s latest Commonplace are these:
There are then some other options:
However, all of the fields are leading questions. There is an “agree” button but no “disagree” button. And no way of commenting on suggestions.
Commonplace isn’t a forum for discussing policy. It’s a tool for the council to crudely demonstrate “community support” for the councillors’ own ideas.
It would be good if the groups bidding for funds came along to the Assemblies. That can result in just the sort of cross fertilisation and relationship building that you don’t get with online - and often private Facebook group only - bubbles.
Sydenham Assembly seems much more of a cross section of people than FH. But I wonder if that’s because in the Sydenham Centre they have a good, central venue that is easily accessible. We don’t have a social gathering space in FH. The Horniman charges an arm and a leg.
I might put down “Elevated Monorail”, just to see how many votes I can get.
I mean “quiet residential streets”? Last time I checked we lived in a city.
Post the link here if you do - let’s see if we can send it to #1 in the charts!
18 posts were split to a new topic: Posts moved from Lewisham planning to use Experimental Traffic Orders
Thanks for the update @ForestHull
Living on Brockley Rise it will be interesting how a cycle lane could work there - I’d love one if it could be done safely.
My main interest is the areas around schools where it says it footways are less than 3 metres, which I assume must be many areas outside schools, almost certainly my children’s school. I’d love to see expanded pavements outside the school where it does get very busy at pickup \ drop off, not helped by some of the cars parking \ waiting where they know they should not.
My only concern is that if the main increase of transport to get to work will be cars in the short-term (I don’t know this but have not seen evidence either way or analysis) with the restrictions on public transport, I’m not sure how this links to this, but maybe the council is reviewing that separately.
We all want less pollution, and the more people can walk, cycle etc the better, but short-term that may not be possible for many people and it’s important people can still get to work.
Short-version - I’m broadly in favour, with caveats for those for whom walking and cycling will not be an option for what they need to do.
I see some similar suggestions for Thorpewood Avenue which is used by the children going to Eliot Bank and Holy Trinity. https://lewishamcovidsuggestascheme.commonplace.is/comments/5eb86d53c21bed0010eccd13
I don’t see the need for this long term but probably short-term we should prioritise the majority of children who walk for a change.
Kilmorie, like many schools, put signs in the road near the entrances/exits to prevent cars parking there during pickup/drop off times. There are already yellow zig-zags, but I guess too many people ignore them. I think it would be feasible to expand the pavement 1m into the area where the zig-zag is, then put a railing at the edge and / or high kerb to protect the enlarged area.
That would help social distancing at least around the school gates, though human nature being what it is, I suspect it could also turn into an impromptu meeting space (which might be nice once lockdown is done anyway)! The narrowing would also naturally slow down traffic at the school gates where the lack of parked cars actually opens the road up a bit.
Looks like our neighbours are organising on Twitter @dulwichdrivers
I wish to echo @PV’s post. Really pleased with the update from the council and I look forward to more. Thanks @ForestHull. While any new initiative will breed some discord I’m confident that they will benefit the community as a whole. And I’m grateful to Lewisham Council for their efforts.
Making it easier for pedestrians to social distance has to be the priority at the moment.
Around half of Lewisham residents do not own a car and many like us will still be keen to avoid public transport when travelling locally.
The first few proposed “modal filters” (aka road blocks against vehicles) are listed here, and the council would like your feedback:
Are there any proposals at all for Forest Hill? The traffic has built back up, and may exceed previous levels as commuters stay off public transport.
Couldn’t see anything for Forest Hill so far (although one in Sydenham).
The blockages created in Sydenham are hopefully far enough away that they won’t worsen congestion in Forest Hill
Thanks for sharing this @ChrisBeach. I wouldn’t have known about it if you hadn’t done so.
The closure of Silverdale/Bishopsthorpe road will inevitably divert traffic up Mayow Road and through Forest Hill. It’s bonkers. Traffic became much heavier on Silverdale and Bishopsthorpe when Queensthorpe was sealed off. With a no right turn onto the high street on leaving the Girton Road car park, will traffic go all the way to the Cobbs Corner roundabout to turn around? I don’t think so. This will lead to even crazier u-turn manoeuvres and frayed tempers than we see already.
Do we really want to see the posher parts of our towns turned into gated communities?
The works are scheduled to start on 15th June and and it worries me that Commonplace appears to be the only method of consultation on this. There were only 20 responses on the Bishopsthorpe closure when I looked and interestingly the final question is “Would you like to see these changes become permanent?”
I think these are a good start. We shouldn’t assume that road closures will make neighbouring roads busier - often adding lanes to motorways means more people use them as traffic adapts to capacity and they end up as congested as they were before, I hope the reverse will be true here and that the combination of less capacity for cars and a more pleasant walking/cycling environment will mean some car use is replaced and the schemes won’t result in a net increase of road users on other roads.
Adding a lane to a motorway is done to ease traffic elsewhere. It makes the road network more efficient, reducing journey times.
So you’re making the presumption that more than 100% of the vehicle usage curtailed by road blocks will be replaced with journeys on foot or by bike? And the net effect will be less congestion? Do you really believe that?
If your comment is sincere, I presume you would advocate blocking all our roads, along the same reasoning?
I didn’t make any presumption, I said we shouldn’t assume congestion would go up, and that I hope it will go down. I doubt anyone here has the data or background knowledge required to actually predict this accurately in these specific cases. I do think the reading I’ve done on induced demand supports the idea that congestion won’t necessarily worsen though. There’s a good Wikipedia article on it that says:
Just as increasing road capacity reduces the cost of travel and thus increases demand, the reverse is also observed – decreasing road capacity increases the cost of travel, so demand is reduced. This observation, for which there is much empirical evidence, has been called disappearing traffic, also traffic evaporation or traffic suppression , or, more generally, dissuaded demand.
I would say as an aside I think the tone of your response is quite condescending in response to to such a benign comment.
And on your added point re motorway lanes, the exact point of many studies on induced demand is that this doesn’t actually happen and that the instinct that more capacity eases congestion elsewhere is flawed as easing congestion in general encourages more car use.
If that’s true, at what point would you stop reducing road capacity?
I’m thinking of starting a Wikipedia page proving that I’m actually the Queen of Sheba.
It is a useful site at times as a springboard to proper investigation of its sources. As long as those quoted sources/footnotes/links aren’t the only ones you look at and you bear in mind who was doing the research and who was funding them. It would be interesting if you could post the link please.
I do find the idea of pricing people off of our roads quite abhorrent. Posh gated areas for people with posh cars and influence. That’s never been Lewisham’s style. And what happens to the rest of us? Those who can’t walk far or cycle, those who rely on 15-min visits from carers, those who can only afford to live on a “main” road? And those who want to see our high streets survive?
We’ve seen what happened when Silverdale was closed to traffic in the past. But I wonder if the people at Commonplace and at Kafka Towers have.
How do you measure “proportionate”?
Seems to me, policy is currently being decided according to whomever shouts the loudest (and ideologues within the council are certainly not shy about adding their own voices to the supposed chorus).
I’d like the council to start properly measuring public opinion using representative sampling.
Here’s the link, there’s a lot of journal articles on Google scholar too if you would like to explore more https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand
On cost - I don’t think that primarily means financial cost. It also covers cost of time or convenience, by making other methods or routes quicker or easier.
I think proportionality is subjective. Personally I’m happy with the council’s approach, using a range of tools for consultation whilst also acting as our elected representatives and pursuing schemes they assess to be right for the community.
I don’t know what you’re referring to about ideologues. Councilors are political so aren’t they entitled to take their preferred stance on things like this, or are you referring to something else?
I consider them ideologues (councillors like Sophie McGeevor), because they show no appreciation for both sides of the argument. The way they’re talking, there’s no “balancing point” at which they’d stop closing roads. They’re just going to keep going, regardless of the many negative consequences of making our transport network less efficient.
I wouldn’t mind if this stuff was in the manifesto, and so local people were getting what they voted for. But it’s not in the manifesto.
I’m not surprised they didn’t cover transport contingency plans for a global pandemic in their manifesto, would be suspicious if they had! The manifesto does cover improving cycling and reducing traffic around schools - both of which are principles running through these proposals.
I don’t know anything about Sophie McGeevors previous work, or much about the council as a whole, but I don’t think the approach here has been particularly heavy handed - the measures proposed look like sensible things to at least consider and now they’re running a consultation.
Oddly, other councils haven’t closed roads. You’d think if road closures were a necessary response to the pandemic, all councils would be doing it?
While I’m sure this policy aligns with some parts of the Lewisham Labour’s manifesto, it should also be recognised that this is not policy in isolation. It fully aligns with the policy and guidance of Central Government which expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians… as a necessary response to the pandemic. This includes among other measures the use of modal filters.
I think a lot are doing similar things, just did 2 minutes of googling:
Good point, and again, an example of policy needing to be developed reactively to respond to events, by people we elect to do that.
I guess that kind of shenanigans should be expected when the councillors are putting the link out to their supporters on Twitter, which include campaigners and activists.
Unnerving that policy will be driven from the results on Commonplace.
A straw poll on this forum would be more reliable!
Or react in haste, repent at leisure.
I can see the community benefit to this proposal regarding Silverdale as it is a route to Mayow Park but I can’t see any community benefit to blocking off Bishopsthorpe except to the residents. We can label them as Posh but I think we have to remember that ex council estates have probably seen the most gating of their environments.
You can’t park in an ex-council estate but you can park on the posh road outside it which shows that Lewisham is not just responding to the posh point of view just to normal people who want a safer less polluted environment for themselves and their kids.
It is natural for all people to want something better for themselves and their families so we should applaud their community spirit to make their road residential again.
On a practical level, those of us on the Dartmouth Road side of the tracks tend to use the German bridge whether cycling or walking to avoid pollution and the south circular to cross the railway. It seems a shame that this scheme could not be extended to Dacres Road to give a walking/cycling route from the bridge to the park.
I drove to visit my mother-in-law in Twickenham today - it’s 14 miles - took me an hour and a half. If I cycle, it takes just under an hour. All in all I managed 28 miles in just over 3 hours. That’s 9mph. It really is daft to drive anywhere in town unless you need to schlepp heavy stuff, kids…
But how do they assess which schemes are “right for the community”?
So it begs the question, why did you drive today?
Heavy stuff and kids
Shame, lovely day for a bike ride today, if not a little warm.
Through consultation and their assessment - that’s what we elect local and central government to do, and why they employ town planners, social researchers, economists etc. I appreciate its important to be thorough and methodical, but it’s also important to be swift in times of need, particularly when there is already a central government recommendation to pursue a course of action as Starman points to earlier, and especially where that recommendation aligns with existing policies from their manifesto. So I’m happy with the approach. For forum members who aren’t happy with the council there’s always the opportunity to vote for alternatives in due course.
Who makes the assessment? Is it a private decision? How EXACTLY do they assess which schemes to support - which roads to close?
When a decision is made, do they (as part of the democratic process) publish their reasoning or methodology anywhere?
We all know that isn’t true. In FPTP voting with a two-party system no-one has any choice.
In reality, using a web tool such as CommonPlace to assess and choose which scheme to go forward will benefit the larger or more cohesive roads.
We all know that some roads have a very cohesive feel with a whatsapp group or someone who takes it upon themselves to organise the street. These streets can mobilise the clicks to get decisions. They may be helped by residents having connections social or political as a talked about issue will always seem more of an issue than one which is only articulated by the few.
In short, using a click engine to make decisions, will favour those who can get people to play/vote in the system and get favourable interaction whether likes or comments. At local level there is probably not a lot of scrutiny and our Councillors will often tend to play it safe letting the crowd make the decision and follow them rather than try to guide them towards beneficial but unpopular choices.
I don’t know! Council’s have to make decisions about the areas they manage all the time, I very much doubt they are waiting for commonplace to show them which projects get the most thumbs up and then cracking on and doing it without further analysis. If you’re interested in their methodology I would write to them and ask.
OK it sounds like we’re all in the same boat, that none of us knows how our council makes decisions regarding traffic schemes.
That’s kind of you, I gladly accept your offer, as my own attempts have been blocked.
In today’s Sydenham Society enewsletter there is a message from Damien Egan, which he appears to have written on Friday 12th June. He lists some of the streets the Council are making changes to this week, including Dartmouth Road and Wells Park Road. I believe the works all start tomorrow but have no idea what they are going to do other than those, other than those @anon5422159 alerted us to earlier this week. Perhaps they’ll make it up as they go along?
There’s a link in @DamienEgan’s message to click but no further detail. The schools appear to be next on the hitlist, but when Silverdale/Bishopsthorpe gets sealed off this week there will inevitably be dispaced traffic heading along Mayow Road and Dacres Road instead. Right past the school. If they do something similar on Dartmouth Road then traffic will head up Kirkdale and present increased danger to Kelvin Grove children.
Joined up thinking seems to have headed the same way as the consultative process:
It would be appreciated if they explained the criteria they have used for the decisions.
Are they really not going to do anything about the pedestrian crossings near Forest Hill Station?!
Out of interest, what do you mean by your attempts being blocked? I’ve had to contact councilors twice since moving here and had v prompt responses both times, interested to hear if they isn’t the same for others.
Hi PV, I’m glad you feel your concerns have been attended to.
I do have several experiences of being ignored or not receiving an answer to the question asked. Here are a couple of brief samples:
- On 2nd Aug 2018, I wrote to one councillor about three matters. By 23rd Jan 2019, after several reminders, one of the three issues had been minimally acknowledged and addressed. One of the items was time-sensitive, however, so by then was too late - I had asked whether the Council could make reference on its website to a public consultation regarding City Airport - I never got an answer to that (strange as I thought that was an easy request to deal with: either they can do it or they can’t)
The main point here for me is that the councillor took no personal interest, they apparently considered that forwarding emails was the full extent of their responsibilities.
- One Sunday morning early we were woken by noisy works (unlawful on Sunday) next to our house. There was an HGV (banned on Sundays in our street), which had a noisy winch-operated grabber arm.
I wrote to the address specified by the Council’s website for noise enforcement - no response. After three months I wrote to the council’s complaints department. They passed my email to the office responsible who claimed never to have received my email (no investigation of that). Did I have any photographic evidence? Yes, as it happened I did. After sending pictures, and after months of delays, I was told that the Council is not responsible for enforcement of HGV traffic violations as the traffic sign isn’t one of theirs, it belongs to an organisation called ‘London Councils’. They offered no contact name, or address or phone number and there was no offer to forward the matter to their contact there. Regarding the noise infringement, they were not interested if it wasn’t happening on a regular basis even though the work was being carried out as part of ongoing works for BT/Openreach who would of course be aware of the law.
The tone of the responses was a kind of triumphal insolence: we don’t deal with it and we don’t care. The response from the so-called complaints department was an email which had only the officer’s name - no job title, department, address, or directorate info. Just like a personal email, not professional.
- This is the short version of a protracted correspondence where I tried and failed to discover how decisions are made regarding local traffic schemes e.g. road closures, no-entries and one-way.
In the course of this failed enquiry, I was told (In a FOI response) that Highways had no traffic survey data for my road. Some time later, a colleague in a residents group 1/4 mile away was given this same data that I had asked for and told didn’t exist.
I mentioned this in the course of a conversation with one of our councillors. They simply went mute - zero response. What I hoped for was “that’s unacceptable, do you have the correspondence? I want to look into this” or at the very least “I’m sorry to hear that, hopefully we can do better moving forward”, but just nothing except a vacant look.
Things can be made to work - e.g. the Council Tax department seems to work well, and the rubbish collection (even during lockdown) has been exemplary and I’m very grateful. But on the whole local government in London is broken. I don’t think it’s just the cuts in grants from central government that’s the problem.
Looks like e-scooters (rentals only, not privately owned ones) will be legal on the road from this weekend - though I am not sure what schemes are setup for this, locally at least, and how someone could differentiate (and why there is a differentiation). Max speed 15mph, helmets like bikes optional.
I guess in reality a little while before we see them as the rental options become available.
sorry forgot to add link in here to BBC article.
That makes no sense to me. Am I missing something?
The power restrictions and min standards will be easier for the government to enforce if a rental company is held responsible for the fleet, as opposed to putting the responsibility on individuals who’ve bought random scooters online.
I’ve seen quite a few on the roads in the last week or so… I suppose, who is realistically going to stop anyone at the moment. They are surprisingly fast and pretty quiet - will be interesting sharing cycling lanes with them as a quick glance over the shoulder might not spot them as readily as another cyclist or louder vehicle.
My husband had a run in with two escooter users on the pavement when he was on his walk today. The first was a man who he didn’t hear was behind him till the man called out “excuse me”. My husband stepped into the road and said the scooter shouldn’t be on the pavement but the man said he’d checked and it was fine for him to be there because of the weight limits. If that’s true, I think that’s bad law. To be fair to the chap, he was polite and he did dismount and wheel it past a woman on the pavement further up the hill.
The second escooter my husband came across on the pavement on that same half hour walk was a woman in a crash helmet going hell for leather and taking no prisoners.
The Lewisham mayor has made his annual AGM speech which includes this inaccuracy
“We will continue to charge those who drive the most toxic vehicles more to do so.”
In fact he is not doing that, he is charging those who PARK vehicles. Lewisham has no charges for driving.
Are you talking about the new permit policy? - a £50 surcharge for old diesels? I think the implication that if you park a car you also drive it isn’t too far fetched.
I think there is a distinct difference between charging to drive and charging to park. Living on a free car park road you get a lot more of the most polluting cars both parking and encouraging those who drive in every day, those who travel a lot often have the most polluting cars as they want that journey from Kent to be comfortable and have the speed for motorway driving.
I think the mayor would be more accurate in saying we encourage those who drive the most toxic cars by providing free parking for non-residents.
Most people don’t want CPZs but I can see the modal filters as the poor man’s CPZ, You don’t have the money to pay a parking permit but you don’t want the pollution from commuters and other. Cyclists and walkers are always welcome. I do own a car and am against surcharges for parking permits although I don’t live in a CPZ. Why should I be penalised as a sitting target (resident) when Lewisham offers free parking for the toxic cars of non-residents.
I’m not sure if there’s a solution suggested in there… are you advocating all streets should have metered parking along with CPZ to ensure there is no free parking from people out of town?
I’m fine with CPZ, as a resident close to the station I think it’s a good idea, although I don’t think £120 is a fair ‘admin fee’ to run the schemes.
Meanwhile I did notice that up in town they charge 50% more at parking meters for ANY kind of diesel. Not that Harley St doctors’ 911’s have diesels anyway, so probably not an issue
I often bang-on about process and accountability, so in this case, I think it is only fair for me to link to the council’s agenda item where the parking permit diesel surcharge was considered (along with other things): Lewisham Council - Agenda item - Parking Policy update
From the public consultation report:
It’s close ran, so knowing the sample size is helpful, and that’s in the report too:
Also, if you consider penalties to be encouragement, the following is relevant too:
I’m curious how they get around this legally. I thought the law was that councils are only allowed to prevent/restrict parking to ease road use and they are only allowed to charge an admin fee. How do they justify an extra admin fee for diesels?
Considering half the roads around Forest Hill are used by commuters driving in from out of town to get on the tube this is pretty ridiculous - it is a tax on the locals, but not charging the actual polluters . It was very noticeable how few cars were parked in the so-called CPZ of Davids Road when people stopped going into the office
53/47 seems like a clear majority to me
But the question of whether we should charge people for driving through Lewisham was not asked. Residents are an easy target.
We already do, it’s called tax. It’s collected centrally and allocated back to the local councils. The more you drive the more tax you pay on your petrol or diesel consumption.
That’s one tax, but the congestion zone and ULEZ are others. Lewisham is free of local congestion and air taxes.
As we know from recent referendums a simple majority to change something will not be received well