It’s been great, much reduced traffic along Devonshire Road. What would it take to make this permanent?
Devonshire Road closed at junction with A205
It’s been terrible, conversely, at the far end near HOP station!
Close both ends permanently, the whole grid is residential. Commuters should stay on classified roads.
Wouldn’t that just make Honor Oak Road and Brockley Rise more unpleasant?
We’re not starting from a neutral point. Some roads have received considerable protection from traffic, and the traffic has been redistributed. The council has destroyed the survey data (if there was any) that was used to make the decisions, and I am trying to ascertain the decision process and criteria that has been used. The council has signed up to and committed to transparency and fairness. I will be holding them to those principles.
Im pretty sure that all roads running between the main roads make a grid or cluster of residential streets.
I am sure if it was made no through road from half way there would be complaints from those cut off from the other side.
I appreciate that it is a nasty rat run, not one I ever use I might add, but plenty of residential streets suffer to, if not with volume of traffic, but its speed.
With a road that provides a direct cut through from one side of the post code to the other, the likelihood of cutting it off would be very slim.
With regards of the redistribution of traffic, I am sure it was to someones detriment, and not just absorbed with no effect. Somewhere, someone loses.
Honor Oak Road is awful now, traffic (on the weekend!) heading south was backed up almost to Fairlawn during a lot of the day. Can’t imagine what it’ll be like this evening.
probably better without the railway replacement service (but still bad).
Completely agree with the sentiment and have requested variations of this for Devonshire Road on a number of occasions. The equivalent action on the other side of the tracks along Garthorne Road was not an issue seemingly. The standard response from the Highways team is that they keep it open for emergency services access. It is a long road but actually not wide compared to many with parking on both sides too (there used to be pavement parking but am glad that stopped as at least you can push a buggy along now). Problems are exacerbated at both ends (ignoring the short stretch that is South Circular) as it gets narrower still at these points and there have even been a number of accidents due to this but tempers flare, noisily, pretty much every weekday it seems.
The problem, as @anon64893700 intimated, is trying to find a solution that suits everyone. Would love to hear some ideas!
This is a good point, and to be fair to you, @DevonishForester, I benefit massively from the road closure of Garthorne so it wasn’t fair for me to challenge your earlier comment.
Does anyone know if any impact assessments were carried out? I mean before full implementation, was there a trial period of the road scheme on the East side of the railway between Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park? Traffic surveys - vehicle counts, views of residents etc - should be done for a trial period to assess impact on the roads directly affected, and routes elsewhere which are likely to be affected which in this case locally would be Devonshire Rd, Woodcombe Crescent, Ewelme Road, Benson Road, and Tyson Road.
I guess that Devonshire Road has been treated as a course of least resistance (politically) as it has been difficult to for residents to organize themselves because each end of the road is in a different ‘village’.
It would be nice if the south-circular corner shortcut of Devonshire Rd > Woodcombe Crescent > Ewelme Road and vice versa could be reduced, for example. Regarding surveys and the like, when they surveyed and reported on the wishes of that area for parking permits, the suggested that one side of Devonshire Road from the S. Circular to Woodcombe Crescent was made double yellow lines, which would have just sped up the residential shortcut.
Yes, we want a reduction of traffic, not a streamlining of thru traffic. If it is made easier to get through, then more traffic will be drawn in.
I am intrigued as to how you define “commuters” - I live in SE23 and might want to drive along Devonshire Road to get somewhere. Would I be allowed to do so in your notional future?
All commuter journeys start local…
How about this definition – people making journeys that do not begin or end in Lewisham, but pass through without stopping – e.g. Square Mile to Kent every working day. I reckon Lewisham provides a great deal of road for non-stopping commuters in transit. For reasons I do not yet understand, the Council does not have data on this and apparently no interest in acquiring such data.
I imagine the Council doesn’t see much value in such information as it would be difficult for them to monetise and, at worst, it could highlight an area of traffic management where work needs to be done.
Also, I doubt that they have the spare headcount or expertise to analyse the data, so would need to outsource any related work.
I think that City Hall might be a better bet for this. For instance, you may be able to drill into the data behind this:
I agree that traffic reduction on this planet is something we should all be working towards. However, I feel that Devonish Foresters comments are somewhat selfish and lack any reasonable suggestions that might be of use. Closing off Devonshire road will redirect traffic elsewhere, and is proposterous to be quite honest, what good will this achieve apart from keeping the traffic off of “your” road. Selfish, like I said.
We don’t know where that ‘elsewhere’ might be. It would be very useful if the Traffic Dept would take advantage of the current closure, to find out what alternative routes traffic is currently using. It may be that much of the traffic is not local at all (i.e. not starting or ending a journey in Forest Hill, or even in Lewisham) and might stay on the A2 through New Cross rather than cutting through Forest Hill and Catford.
Are you satisfied that previous Council decisions - which blocked certain roads, prevented thru traffic, No Right Turns, One-Way Systems etc. - were all made on grounds apart from ‘selfish’ reasons? Were Devonshire Road, Woodcombe Crescent, Ewelme Road, Benson Road, Tyson Road considered when Manor Mount was made No Entry from the Western end?
Was Devonshire Road considered when all the No Thru traffic systems were introduced on the East side of the rail tracks between Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park? If not, was this not equally ‘Preposterous’?
As someone who has to cross Honor Oak Road most days at rush hour, it’s pretty clear that the traffic that would ordinarily be travelling on Devonshire Road whilst it is temporarily closed has migrated to there. I see very long tailbacks at the moment, where usually it is pretty free flowing.
Indeed and it has been dangerous at times. As I cyclist I have been avoiding the area for a while -
coming down the hill into HOP I have seen people doing three point turns or manoeuvring their cars out to get a better view. Fumes have also been pretty bad with the hot weather…
I am questioning the decisions previously take by the council which have clearly benefited some roads and redirected traffic to other roads. I would like to see survey data, transparent criteria for decisions and transparent decision-making processes.
It appears that the records have gone missing, and that the people who have benefited are working hard to make sure things stay that way.
Well at least traffic, even buses, can pass each other on most of Honor Oak Road. Along most of the length of Devonshire, this is not possible, not even for small cars. It is just not suitable for the volume of traffic it normally gets.
Personally I think you’re looking in the wrong direction. The roads over the hill towards SE22 are the ones which seem to me as a layman to be more easily suited (given their width) for more / larger vehicles.
Why doesn’t Wood Vale have a better Junction with the South Circ to allow traffic to join heading east or west? Honor Oak Road is narrow in places and bad at both ends, with the tricky junction outside St Francesca Cabrini and the long wait at the lights by the Esso garage.
Of you want to reduce traffic try to get more kids to school in other ways than cars. During half term and holidays there are very rarely any jams unless there has been a traffic issue or major road closure.
I’ve often thought that the most efficient way to undertake education would be to send the little ones to camps for about 12 years ensuring then of course that the roads will be free of school runs.
I will qualify this by admitting I have no kids.
I really know when it is half term - traffic volumes are much lower
I would say till they have finished an apprenticeship or have a good job following school/Uni. I will qualify this by admitting I have two kids!!!
We’ll need fruit pickers.
Wasnt aware there were large orchards or fruit farms in FH. All of that in just 3 months since I left. Impressive.
Is it possible there is less traffic at half term because people are taking time off to look after their kids? The trains are also quieter, but I rarely see a commuter train full of people taking their offspring to school.
Usually a train full of grandparents taking grandchildren.
I’ve always wondered why, with such small catchment areas for primary schools, the school car rush hour is so bad. I know some people will move further away but it must be a minority.
It came back in some stretches, near the nature reserve (and towards HOP from there), perhaps as a defensive measure against the huge heavy trucks involved in the construction work in Tyson Road.
Presumably because Southwark realized they could redirect thru traffic into Lewsisham.
For very local journeys there might not be much choice. People making longer commutes, however, would probably avoid Forest Hill altogether if the Devonshire Road/A205 junction remained closed permanently. But the truth is that we don’t know, and that is why the Council’s traffic department should be surveying the road usage while the junction is closed. They seem uninterested in data.
I don’t understand who needs to use Devonshire Road / Honor Oak Road as a rat run? In spite of the speed bumps on Devonshire Road, MASSES of people use it every day, as the Devonshire Road closure has caused Honor Oak Road to now be constantly backed up to Fairlawn school (heading towards the South Circular).
That map makes sense if there is no traffic backed up on the South Circular from Forest Hill to well back beyond the Horniman. At peaks times it often is. It does move quite well, but some people are congenitally incapable of sitting in traffic and will always take an alternative route that FEELS quicker because they are moving.
I have a feeling that people who regularly drive south along the South Circular have it firmly fixed in their heads that they must avoid the junction at Forest Hill at all costs. So if you’re coming from Peckham direction, up Forest Hill Road, taking either Woodvale or Honor Oak Road all the way down to the South Circular doesn’t seem to make sense. Psychologically, creeping and crawling down Devonshire Road seems like the correct choice, because you have avoided Forest Hill.
Personally, I’d always sit in a bit of slow moving traffic through FH rather than take that rat run. I don’t have the nerve for it, and I like my wing mirrors attached to my car. And I suspect it’s not much quicker. But in times past, when the sequencing of the lights at FH was much worse (I’m thinking about ten years ago) and there was less traffic on Devonshire in general, it did make sense. Once a rat run is established in driver folk lore, it’s hard to persuade people it’s actually slower than taking the main road.
For Devonshire Road, at least, Google maps would previously direct drivers heading along Honor Oak Road left down Ewelme Road, right down Woodland Mews, right down Devonshire Road and left on the the S. Circular rather than directing them to follow the S. Circular. As the algorithms are aware that Devonshire Road is now closed, it won’t reproduce the directions until the road is re-opened.
The reason that a large number of drivers use the rat runs is because the S. Circular FH junction is so slow and the rat runs are quicker at peak times.
Bearing in mind that I don’t drive to get to work, on the weekend or a weekday off, if I was coming home from Peckham direction to near the fire station on the South Circ, I would sometimes come up the hill past Watson’s General Telegraph, then along Honor Oak Road, down Ewelme and along Devonshire Road, to turn left at the end.
Genuine question - should that be blocked as a route? I’d say that for a car and in terms of pollution, it’s no worse than going along Honor Oak Road to the junction with the South Circ and turning left.
I would avoid Devonshire Road in the morning or evening rush.
Thank you both, that makes sense.
I am very surprised there hasn’t been a technological solution to this problem. Something like the congestion zone where if you are a local resident, you register your vehicles with the council, and then at the entrance to these areas you have cameras that either let you through (if your vehicle is registered as local), or you are fined. This would also work for Manor Mount (no access from Honor Oak Road) as well, where currently for me to go to Sainsburys I have to take a very environmentally unfriendly route (lots of sitting in the red bit, which gets very long these days) vs nipping straight down Manor Mount (which is understandably closed or people would use it to get to the South Circular via Davids Road).
The technical implementation of this would be simple, but wouldn’t make a lot of revenue once it was in place, which I suspect rules it out as a solution.
That makes sense, but yours is a local route. There’s no way the hundreds and hundreds of cars on Devonshire Road / Honor Oak Road are local.
What do you mean by local, though? If I use Devonshire Road as a rat run to get to my house off Perry Vale, am I any different from someone using it en route to Catford or beyond?
No, you’re equally as terrible a person.
Like Rachael, I don’t actually think that there is anything bad about using it as a thoroughfare (I don’t recognise being local as being very relevant). I feel like the cause of the woes is the slow movement of traffic though the centre of FH, rather than the result which is people bypassing the junction. Also, the short phase of lights allowing traffic onto the S Circular from Honor Oak Road adds to the problem.
The layout of the FH junction, the traffic lights outside the station; vehicles waiting to turn into the station car park blocking the flow of traffic down the hill (often having to wait until the uphill traffic moves); vehicles turning right from David’s Road into static uphill traffic; vehicles waiting to turn right into this alleyway; and vehicles queueing on the S Circular to enter Devonshire Road all contribute to the problem. The use of local roads as a thoroughfare is just a symptom of the problem.
I think this is true, beyond dispute actually, but what can be done about it? In the meantime, there is excessive traffic on a residential road which is not designed for it.
Am not so sure that it should be seen as a thoroughfare though. It is only so according to convention and if other comments re habitual use are accurate then it would not cause a big inconvenience to prevent rat running as has been done on the other side of the tracks.
I don’t know: in a dense and old a city as London is there really a distinction between local roads and thoroughfares? It’s not like we have a lot of extensive planned developments.
Devonshire Road is a direct and relatively wide road connecting HOP and FH. I’d argue that parking is as much (if not more) of an issue than volume of traffic in causing congestion, particularly at the Forest Hill end.
This probably tells us that the problem is political - a question of who is protected from thru traffic.
Yes, and there is a system of road classification: Red Route, A road, B road etc.
This is clearly BS as the road is currently closed for approx six weeks. Roads that must be kept open are kept open.
I am not sure how this is relevant to the question I asked. A thoroughfare is surely just a road open at both ends, and may be a main road, but may not.
Red routes are TfL designated as being important, but there is no link between that classification and the system of A or B roads.
The closure of Devonshire Road is causing widespread problems from HOP across to the South Circ. but it’s necessary for work to be done, just as the closure of the South Circ itself was a few years ago.
I still don’t understand the OP’s stated problem. Do they just want fewer vehicles to pass their home? What would be the general benefit from this?
I’m just joining this conversation, but I live in Devonshire Road and can say that having the end of the road closed has been transformational. I’ve seen children riding their bikes on the streets, and that isn’t usually possible due to the speed and volume of traffic. Not to mention noise levels, pollution levels, safety issues and also actually feeling that one lives in a neighbourhood, rather than a thoroughfare. Devonshire Road is a long road and the roads off it such as Ewelme and Benson and others are also significant – there must be 1000s of people now who are experiencing a better quality of life, more safety, peace, quiet, better air quality and incentives to ride bikes, walk or hang out. I would get my bike out and use it more often if streets were quieter, and it would also be possible to have street parties, etc. This affects a lot of people. How does one measure that as compared to the inconvenience of Devonshire not being available as a short-cut to avoid the South Circular. And isn’t the purpose of main roads such as the South Circular exactly to ensure that residential areas do not become overwhelmed by traffic and the fumes and noise produced. I am not a car owner and usually use public transport so perhaps have a hard time empathising with those who drive everywhere – but isn’t this the type of scheme (blocking roads) that we should be encouraging for environmental reasons as a way of reducing car use and enhancing quality of life for people who actually live in the area?
Issue is that your road is a nicer place to live on but the traffic that has to go somewhere then makes someone elses life even worse.
Yes, but Honor Oak Road is not as residential as Devonshire Road. It also has the advantage of mostly containing flats which are much further back from the road then the houses in Devonshire Road, and the road is wider. It is also used to buses and a certain volume of traffic.
Yep, making someone’s life better is just making someone else’s life worse. I’m one of the worse right now.
I don’t think that is the case. People park on Devonshire Road, and don’t on Honor Oak Road, but Honor Oak Road is a pretty narrow road (and the pavements at some points are just dangerously narrow).
I’m not sure how you conclude that Honor Oak Road is “not as residential”? There are nothing but residences (OK, there’s Fairlawn School). And the fact that people are “used to buses”, therefore let’s make the road even busier and make life even more horrible to those wretched souls unfortunate to live on it?
It’s a fascinating discussion, because it really highlights that there are no clear solutions to this problem, only compromises.
I remember a very heated (and very similar) discussion on the ED forum a couple of years ago when Camberwell Grove was shut due to issues with a weak bridge.
I think everyone agrees that their own street / road would be more pleasant without traffic. But most people contribute to that traffic at least some of the time (even those who aren’t drivers or don’t have a car, but have things delivered, for example) and while we can manage it, or reduce it, it’s a fact of life for now that in a city there will be cars.
I know in the past that we’ve considered houses (lovely houses) on Devonshire Road but decided that we didn’t want to live there precisely because it is a through road - I suspect the house price market reflects this.
What I am looking forward to is the electrification of the entire vehicle fleet. Hopefully in less than 20 years there won’t be a single petrol vehicle left. We’ll still have the congestion, but at least we won’t have the fumes and the particulate.
Without wanting to sound at all snarky, if you want your kids to be able to ride up and down the street, you need to live somewhere else. If you need to live in London, you live on London streets. A month without traffic is not a taste of how things could be living in London. It’s a taste of what it’s like living somewhere else.
Many roads in Forest Hill have protection from thru traffic, I think the residents of Devonshire Road, Woodcombe Crescent, Ewelme Road, Benson Road, Tyson Road, Dunoon Road, Hengrave Road, would like similar consideration. Why is that too much to ask?
It’s too much to ask because you would just be making it someone else’s problem. The root cause is “too many cars”, and that is not an easy fix.
I note that you didn’t include Honor Oak Road in that list, which is currently bearing the brunt of Devonshire Road being closed.
Which is one of the reasons we moved.
It’s interesting to see these responses. First of all, I don’t have kids, so I was referring in general to the fact that it was nice to see children out and about on Devonshire. Second, I love living in London and appreciate that traffic, etc. is part of the deal. I’ve previously lived in places in London right next to night bus routes and even if Devonshire was closed all the time, I’m still next to a busy train line. It’s interesting to see people pushing back so much and treating the issue as zero-sum – ie if traffic is displaced from one road it will necessarily make another road worse. That might be the case, but it might not. It would be interesting to see if that is actually true. Is there any way to get actual data on the effects of the closure on other roads? I walked up to Honor Oak Road today to have a look at it and it wasn’t any busier than usual. Granted it is summer and so forth, but, still, I thought it would be much busier given the comments here. Devonshire Road still has local traffic but it is clearly not being used as a through-road. With the proliferation of apps like Waze, I’m guessing a lot of traffic on Devonshire is passing through and possibly the closure could be acting as a deterrent where people are avoiding routes via Forest Hill altogether. It would be interesting to know. On a broader point, I don’t think it is unrealistic to consider expanding green spaces and traffic-free zones in a large city. One of the things I love about Forest Hill is that it has a lot of green spaces, such as the Nature Reserve on Devonshire Road, and there is a good sense of community. The closure of the road made me think for the first time what it would be like if people could ride their bikes back and forth between the Honor Oak and Forest Hill high streets via Devonshire Road without fearing for their safety, having to navigate between traffic back-ups and parked cars, or having to breathe in car fumes. I would certainly frequent both areas more than I do now, one could even have “Boris bikes” at the two train stations to get between the two areas. Could it be done without adversely affecting others, and are there ways of tackling the traffic issues in Forest Hill in more comprehensive and creative ways?
That is not certain and in any case, at the risk of going round in circles here, roads around Garthorne have been blocked to through traffic, so perhaps the fairest thing to do would be to re-open those? That way it would be everyones’ problem - is that better? I don’t think so.
I agree re the root cause and if traffic could flow on the main roads better then I suspect that would help. It’s a tough one but I doubt insurmountable. Research is needed IMO.
Not quite as simple as that. The HOP end of Devonshire Road is even worse than normal at peak times, presumably because drivers are trying to cut through via Hengrave etc. And this probably to avoid being stationary in traffic on Honor Oak Park - they end up stationary anyway and leave their pollution outside the houses.
But hasn’t that already happened, as I said earlier, some roads appear to have benefited from traffic reduction schemes. What was the basis for that? What data was used and what was the decision-making process, and where are the records?
Are you saying that everything must be frozen as is, with no further changes? Are you against all changes, or just changes that might reduce traffic on Devonshire, Woodcombe, Ewelme, Benson, Tyson, Dunoon, Hengrave? Were you against the recent closure of Grierson Road at the junction with Honor Oak Park, or was that one OK with you? How do you evaluate what’s fair?
I think we sometimes forget we live by one of the busiest roads in the UK, the South Circular and it’s issues is not going to go away.
That’s actually the most difficult question to answer.
Can you please explain what you mean? How recent do you believe that change to be?
I’m not saying anything of the sort. In fact, I’ve stated that there’s no easy solution to this problem.
Grierson Road has been closed since I’ve lived in the area (since 2011), and makes perfect sense to me. It stops people from avoiding the traffic light at the bottom of Honor Oak Park and is completely logical in my opinion.
I don’t get this argument about “what’s fair”. Nobody forced you to move into your house or into this area. We live in London, it’s busy, there are rather a lot of cars, and we accept that as a price for living in zone 3 of the most amazing city in the whole world. Seems fair to me.
But, but, (deep breath, splutter), but, but… it is zero sum! We aren’t reducing the number of vehicles, so closing a road causes the traffic on some other road to increase! That is exactly how it works.
I live on Honor Oak Road, so I can categorically tell you that there is a lot more traffic than usual.
I don’t disagree for a second about how nice it is to have green spaces and traffic-free zones, but it all comes at a cost. If that cost is for someone else, then “yay for me!”, but it’s not very nice for that someone else, is it?
Honor oak road has a school, a Christian Centre opposite, and a former Nursing home on the road, all large buildings taking up large areas of the road. That is what I meant by ‘not as residential as Devonshire road’, which is totally residential with no commercial buildings present. The fact that there are so many purpose built flats in Honor oak road has meant that parking for these residents in flats was taken into account when they were built, so residential parking within the grounds of these flats has been catered for. For this reason HO Rd does not have the same amount of parked cars as Devonshire road, where most of those Victorian houses have been converted into flats of two or more.
As for the width of the road, Devonshire road is so busy that cars are parked either side 24/7, thanks to railway stations at either end of the road. Devonshire road can no longer have two way free flowing traffic from the junction of Dunoon road to Honor oak park, due to cars parked either side of Devonshire road.
This is not the case with HO Rd; where two way traffic runs freely at all times, even with buses present.
I’d be more convinced by more objective evidence. Honor Oak Road is usually quite busy and it is designed to carry more traffic. I am looking at the Waze app now at 6:30pm on a weeknight which is still a commute time and Honor Oak is absolutely clear whereas other roads (including OHP end of Devonshire) are quite congested. Maybe it is not representative, but it would be interesting to see a study of these issues to have a basis of determining costs and benefits rather than just rely on individual perceptions. Not everything is zero-sum. For example, closing some roads might encourage more people to ride bikes which reduces traffic overall. I’m not saying that would happen, I’m just saying there are more holistic approaches and possibilities out there beyond street by street NIMBYing.
On my system OHP is indeed now at 5mph but nothing on Honor Oak Rd as far as I can see. Would be great to see a comprehensive study of the entire area however to see if current arrangements make the most sense. I love Forest Hill, but the traffic is pretty unpleasant and there must be ways to make improvements!
You know the line Jeff Goldblum has in Jurassic Park, when his character says that “life finds a way”? Well SE London traffic finds a way. I don’t think Waze works as a system of record, and I trust the perceptions of local residents a bit more.
FH would be better if the South Circ didn’t run through the middle of it. Devonshire Road would be better if it wasn’t a feeder road for the South Circ. Let’s be ambitious. Beyond saying that closing the junction between D’shire Road and the A205, how can we make traffic in FH better?
Bear in mind that the barriers on the south side of the tracks help a bit, but you still get people rat-running and speeding. They just have to go via Ackroyd Road, Brockley Rise and HOP briefly.
How about double-yellow lines along Devonshire Road? Just one side, but the full length. This would reduce the bottleneck.
I don’t think anyone on this thread has said anything close to NIMBY. It is simply a discussion about the effects that the Devonshire Road closure has had, and how that radiates outwards. It’s been a fascinating process to learn how different people experience it, and all the effects it has had.
Passive-aggressive anti-car actions (like Red Ken having all the traffic lights changed --at enormous cost, not only financial but environmental-- to eliminate the green wave) is a very socialist attitude that says “we know better than you, here, let me show you how you should be living your life”.
Until people can say that they don’t:
- Buy from Sainsbury’s (lorries that deliver goods)
- Buy online (packages being delivered to the house)
- Own or ever drive a car
- Order food delivered
- Take an Uber
…then I can’t see how anyone can say that traffic management is not zero-sum. I’m sure there are the odd saints out there, people that walk/cycle/tube/bus everywhere, never order online, grow all their own food… But this is London, and people live here because they have busy lives and want to enjoy the secondary benefits of living in a thriving metropolis, so they choose to make compromises.
I’m fairly sure that at morning and evening rush hours, the people in those cars are mostly doing it out of need, not desire. I personally would never accept a job that required me to drive to and from work, but I have the luxury of being picky about my employment; not everyone has that. It’s an extremely tough problem to solve.
Conversely, can’t see how you can say that it is zero sum. In any case, not a helpful argument as this is way too simplistic. There are many incentives and improvements that could be made to change the mode of travel people choose for any given scenario (e.g. better integrated bus routes). If, from a given intervention, behaviour can change, even for a subset, then it is no longer zero sum.
I hadn’t heard about Red Ken’s manipulation of traffic lights. Thanks @jrothlis for pointing this out - it’s characteristic of the negative and spiteful behaviour we see from the anti-car movement.
Rather than making public transport a better alternative, the anti-car movement is spending millions of pounds making car owners lives a misery, with counter-productive economic and environmental cost. Humps everywhere. 20mph limits. Road closures etc - none of this makes public transport a better or more practical option for existing car owners. These measures simply keep cars on the road for longer than necessary, and make life more unpleasant for drivers.
If councils are spending our money, it should be in a positive way, not in a way that spites one group of residents, no matter how utopian the agenda.
Intervention sounds suspiciously like “I know better than you”. =)
Better bus routes would be great, yes. Again, I suspect that 90%+ of those flooding our roads at rush hour don’t have the choice of taking the bus for whatever reason.
Only if it is evidence based and IIRC, this is @DevonishForester’s point. We are lacking this. TfL have great data for the city as a whole but the local data is what we need here. I know that Lewisham have recently been studying traffic but it is not clear what they are using this for. An open data policy from our councils would allow intelligent debate about what would help and what wouldn’t.
It would increase volume of traffic and speed of traffic. The ‘bottleneck’ is a problem for commuters which is not the primary concern of residents. Why should Forest Hill facilitate thru traffic at the expense of its own quality of life?
That have signed up to open data, but in my experience they are not implementing it or complying.
Of course people on Devonshire Rd would want it closed off or a “study done” because it would significantly increase the value of their property.
There seems to be no glaring need to change the traffic conditions in the area given the limited alternative options available. It’s like buying a cheap property next to a bus stop then asking for the bus stop to be moved 50m down the road.
There was a consultation done last year? To introduce parking permits to roads like Devonshire Rd (which surely would have reduced some of the madness) and I believe there was not enough interest from residents to proceed.
Really? If you are rich enough to be able to afford and run a car, is your life really a misery?
Car owners comprise less than half the population, yet contribute disproportionately to pollution. They of course do pay a little tax depending on the amount of pollution they cause, but they dish out that pollution to all other users of the roads (including themselves) as well as noise, and death, injury and damage through misuse.
According to the government, cars are responsible for 29,000 deaths a year (see http://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/fcb/cars-and-air-pollution.asp) so the less on the road, the better for everyone. The idea behind making it more difficult to travel through urban areas by car (like closing a junction on Devonshire Road) is to encourage people to seek other forms of transport. There are plenty of options in London.
If there is such a thing as this anti-car movement you speak of, they should be applauded for trying to save lives of young and old, and improve lives of others.
This doesn’t mean we should stop buying things online (or at all), but that we should think about why we are driving to the park, the shops, or (bizarrely) the gym. Only two out of five short journeys (under 5 miles) are currently made by foot, bike or public transport.
If people can’t rationally come to the conclusion that they are killing others by getting in their car, then it should be more difficult for them to do so. Closing junctions is one way of achieving this.
And surely therefore local journeys would be much more pleasant (whether on bikes / cars / whatever)?
Surely emissions are responsible - the choices people make, rather than the things they buy. The issue Chris highlights is that in seeking to reduce car use, rather than offering better alternatives, we frequently see things to make car use more unpleasant - speed humps, light sequencing, charges. It’s all carrot and no stick, and in slowing journeys down you increase pollution (until you get to a critical point where car use reduces - which we haven’t seen yet in the UK).
This is nothing to do with property values. Frankly, if a high value was anyone’s objective, they are doing fine as they are!
The issue here is a considerable worsening condition re traffic over a number of years, so bus stop analogy is not applicable.
Consultation, of which there have been a couple but most recent applied to Forest Hill end of DR, was to do with parking and CPZ. This is of scant relevance to through traffic, except that if there was less parking there would likely be more traffic as there would be more places to pass.
Do you have any evidence for this? I lived on Devonshire Road from 2001-2004 and it didn’t seem any better then. The biggest difference was that there was more parking on the pavement at the HOP end of the road.
They are partly responsible, but even the particulates created from braking (so this includes electric cars) cause or increase respiratory illness.
This is not really true. It depends hugely on the driver and the car they are driving - however no car = no pollution, and as you seem to agree - the point is to slow journeys down so much that other forms of transport are more attractive. However attractive it may appear right now - for most people, riding a bike, walking or taking public transport is already faster than driving a car for short trips. Maybe the mythical anti-car millionaires should be telling people that, or maybe the drivers are not listening?
We should definitely get rid of the humps then!
What about people that depend on their own vehicles for carrying heavy loads (tools / goods / shopping etc)?
It’s great that some people like riding bikes / walking / bussing in London. Seems a bit arrogant for bike riders, walkers or bus users to tell everyone else how they’re allowed to travel
Blocking off both sides of Devonshire Road or making it a one-way route on both sides, would be ideal. We didn’t have much of a bottleneck when cars could park on the pavement, which we’d been able to do since time immemorial, but Lewisham Council had other ideas.
No “bike riders” are though are they Chris at least not here - bit of a straw man. I ride a bike (and drive, walk, bus, tube and train) and couldn’t give a monkeys how people travel. I think it is more Government, both local and national policy, to reduce car journeys. Even if bike riders were telling other people how to travel then are we not all grown up enough to ignore them?
This reduces the decision on whether to drive yourself or do something else down to time. It’s obviously more than that.
Have edited my comment - I wasn’t intentionally singling out bike riders - point applied equally to walkers or bus users.
I don’t think that is the case. Of course there is stick - no doubt about that and I applaud it. However there is some carrot.
For example there are tax benefits for electric or low polluting cars.
You can buy a bike on the cycle to work scheme and you don’t pay tax on most of the cost.
Increased infrastructure to make cycling safer and encourage more use.
Massive investment in things like cross rail and our very own East London line to give faster/alternative travel options.
Single price bus tickets anywhere and easy tap and go payments.
GPS enabled buses making them more attractive to get.
Smart Traffic control (albeit in its infancy)
I am sure there are others but extremely tired!
So I cycle to work - I got a decent bike on the ride to work scheme which saved me money. I ride in the bus lanes which keeps me a bit safe but I still drive to the shops. I’ll take that stick.
or indeed drivers - or as they are more commonly called - people!
The OP is complaining about cars passing his house - not emissions. I do take your point, though I think this is about traffic and congestion rather than the damage that causes.
And let’s remember (and this is a tangent) that the government has spent a long time promoting diesel cars with tax incentives, and that’s proved to be daft.
Last year my car was Road Tax Exempt, not this year as the goal posts have moved. My once bunny kissing tree hugging Volvo is now a kitten killer in the eyes of the DVLA.
Why is it obvious?
Many people don’t own cars, yet still manage to transport themselves to local amenities. Not all -but most- people can manage a mile or so under their own steam
Hi Yoms, I’m not sure I understand your proposal, please could you elaborate?
I’m sorry you think this is about money
Without addressing specific comments, I want to share some notes from a talk by Claire Sheffield from TfL given at a seminar on urban transportation at the Ecobuild conference in London in June.
Reducing road use by private vehicles has been an objective of all three Mayors of London and there has been significant success. Car mode share has from from 48% to 37% of all road journeys since 2000. So clearly efforts of which traffic calming have been successful as has the congestion charge, re-allocation of road space and investment in alternatives (Boris Bikes included). There has been some natural decline as there is also a national decline in drivers licences among young people particularly in London.
TfL recognise that 1/3rd of car journeys are completely unavoidable. It is the other 2/3rd that they want to encourage of the road, or onto the roads at different times. And it makes sense. Ms. Sheffield noted that cars, taxis and minicabs take up half of the road space but carry only 1/5th of the passengers. Sure a lot of people need to use a car. Many more do not, or could use alternative forms.
By the way, those on Devonshire Road should be delighted that the new Mayor is planning more and more road closures to through traffic.
To clarify, @comoed said “… for most people, riding a bike, walking or taking public transport is already faster than driving a car for short trips…” and my reply was trying to say that whether to use a car or not isn’t just about what’s going to be fastest. Personally, when I use a car I know in London that it’s generally going to take longer than the public transport alternative but other factors are at play (perhaps I want to transport something large or heavy, or don’t want to take two kids on the bus, or try to walk a mile with a pre-schooler).
I was trying to make it clear that speed isn’t the only decision factor.
My point addresses both sides of the argument. We have major congestion at the Honor Oak end of Devonshire Road. This is partially because the council decided to ticket all the cars parked on the pavement, and now the road is not wide enough to fit two vehicles. Blocking off the other end of Devonshire hasn’t made things any easier.
The congestion has led to an increase in air pollution (I’m asthmatic and my attacks have increased as a result), noise pollution as tempers flare and drivers start blasting car horn, we even have the occasional fight.
Blocking off the road at either end or turning either side into a one way system could help reduce traffic, and give residents a better quality of life.
Talking about control parking zones, etc is missing the point. It is the amount of traffic using the road that’s the main issue, and NOT parked cars!
Yoms I’m still not entirely clear about what you propose. I understand blocking at both ends, But I’m not sure what you have in mind with this:
Please could you elaborate?
People who don’t live on the road may not realise how congested it is EVERY DAY under normal circumstances. It is literally at a stand-still for significant periods during the day. The road is in no way designed to take the level of traffic it does and houses are quite close to the road. Traffic levels really need to be looked at – if there is evidence that asthmatic attacks are increasing due to the level of fumes current arrangements are clearly not just unpleasant, but actually constituting a health and safety issue for some residents.
I sympathise with the people who live on the road. However, I am not sure whether there’s any consensus on what the problem is.
Some people on this thread just want fewer vehicles to pass them. Some want less congestion. Some want both. If you want less congestion, parking restrictions would be likely to help. If you want less traffic, there are different things to be done to achieve that (arguably in preventing pavement parking the council may have been pursuing a plan to make the road less attractive to drivers - I know that I’d never use it in expected busy times).
As someone who used to live on the road, I am aware of how busy it has always got at different times, but also what a crucial link it provides between the two significant high streets in SE23 and therefore how many other local people are stakeholders (before we get into the considerations of those who use the road but may not live so locally).
Dave, is it really a “crucial link”? Has someone gone out of business in the last month because Devonshire Road has been blocked? It may be the most convenient route for some. But that argument also applies to other roads which are now blocked or have a No Entry. It is curious that the complaints (in this thread) of heavy traffic and lengthy queues on Honor Oak Park waiting to get past the traffic lights, express outrage at the possibility of Devonshire Road being blocked, but no questions about why the vehicles waiting to turn left at the lights, are prohibited from simply turning left down Manor Mount.
Have people signed up to the notion that the traffic arrangements in place now, are the only possible arrangements?
Fine for people to disagree with suggested changes, but I feel there is something different going on here. Other discussions don’t seem to produce suggestions that anyone like me who thinks that things should or could be different should just leave the area, and that my motives must be about property prices.
Devonshire Road (and Woodcombe, Ewelme, Benson etc) is not intrinsically or naturally a ‘feeder road’ for the A205, it is primarily a residential road, but the Council has apparently at some point decided to use Devonshire Road for thru traffic. My investigations are continuing as to how this has come about.
@DevonishForester, it’s a straight line between the two high streets - “crucial” is probably the wrong word for it, but it’s certainly very useful.
Anyway, what would you propose? Let’s start with closing the A205 junction permanently. Who do you think would be adversely affected, and what would you propose in mitigation?
And look at the properties on Devonshire Rd itself. It’s not exactly a small leafy suburban street that you’d have a reasonable expectation to have less traffic on. Its a very high density street with purpose built estates / flats as well as massive mansion blocks mostly converted to flats.
And I agree that just like the CPZ proposals (which residents completely rejected) my thoughts are the same residents would reject blocking the road because they find it useful.
The problem is always going to be displaced traffic. Residents around Honor Oak Road suffer from a queue of traffic, just as residents do at each end of Devonshire Road.
So here’s my proposed solution:
- Close Devonshire Road junction with South Circular
- Prevent people turning right out of Devonshire Road onto Honor Oak Park
- Close the junctions between Forest Hill Road and Canonbie and Netherby
- Make Langton Rise one-way (from Westwood to Wood Vale)
- Make Honor Oak Road one-way between Tyson and Dunoon (heading towards Honor Oak Park) and with the exception of buses.
- Make Devonshire Road one-way between Tyson and Dunoon (heading towards Honor Oak Park).
The only way out of the ‘Devonshire/Horniman Hill’ would be at each end of Honor Oak Road or Langton Rise
The only way into the ‘Devonshire/Horniman Hill’ would be at the south end of Honor Oak Road
This will make a few journeys a bit longer:
- Residents from Dunoon Road wanting to get to Forest Hill town centre would need to go via Honor Oak Park or Wood Vale (extra 10 minutes)
- Everybody living on the hill (south of Dunoon) would find there journeys home from the north will take an extra 10 minutes
This will lead to extra northbound traffic on Honor Oak Road and extra southbound traffic on Wood Vale and Brockley Rise. Brockley Rise can just about handle it, and Wood Vale additional traffic is likely to be shared with Barry Road, Underhill Road, Dunstan’s Road (especially as sat navs would guide users away from the queues).
This scheme would do away with the traffic queues on Honor Oak Road and Devonshire Road, but if you leave out any of the six changes you will have serious impact on the road you leave out.
I’ve drawn up the proposal here:
But I doubt this will gain much support from residents or from the council.
I’m impressed @Michael. I think that would work.
I like the fact that we have a proposal to think about. Thanks @Michael.
I’d thought it would be good to think about preventing right turns out of Devonshire Road onto the South Circ but doing that at the other end does make some sense. How would people from Devonshire Road get to Honor Oak Park? Would you expect people travelling from inside D’shire Road to go up to the junction with FH Road and then come down the hill?
Are you closing Hengrave etc?
It would seem so except up Hengrave onto HOP.
I did wonder about Hengrave Road too and I suspect people there might object depending on how much through traffic they get now. The no right turn on DR into HOP would prevent a rat run down Hengrave but, apart from the local residents using this route there could be some trying to go up that way to avoid traffic on Honor Oak Park going up the hill.
My suggestion would allow northbound traffic on Honor Oak Park and Devonshire Road as well as Hengrave, so it would make little sense to use Hengrave.
The problem for people on Devonshire Road (and all the way to the top of the hill) would be getting home. That would only be possible by the A205 and Honor Oak Road (except by bus).
You London folk and your traffic. We had 3 combine harvesters go past our house yesterday. That was it vehicle wise.
Used to live in a Cambridgeshire village we thought 5 cars meeting at the end of the lane was grid lock
Thank you for taking the time to produce the plan Michael, I very much appreciate it.
That seems like a very small price to pay.
The plan overall is quite similar to how I had been thinking. Some differences in my draft plan were:
Closing Devonshire Road at both ends.
Possibly a NO ENTRY - for East-bound traffic up Forest Hill Road beyond Camberwell Old Cemetery, forcing all traffic to turn right from the traffic lights into Wood Vale. (Have to confess I hadn’t considered Langton Rise) Alternatively a NO ENTRY at Canonbie, Netherby, and Honor Oak Road (except buses and cycles) at the nasty junction with Forest Hill Road / Honor Oak Park.
Are able to say why you think the Council would not support your plan or a similar scheme?
I have to say that I don’t recognize that as an accurate description. Most properties on DR are Victorian houses. It’s definitely not ‘high density’. Not sure how you work out what a “reasonable expectation” would be based on? The Council has included the Forest Hill end of DR in the FH Conservation Area and I think that could lead to hope if not expectation.
My original post was a plea for help, and I am very grateful for all the contributions people have made.
Michael: thanks so much for coming up with this impressive plan. It looks really good to me. For it to go anywhere, what would be the first step we could take to move it forward? A formal proposal to the Council? Or canvassing local residents? The plan could significantly improve the quality of life for many folks living in Forest Hill.
I would suggestion one first step would be to get the support, or at least not active opposition, from Tewkesbury Lodge Estate Residents Association as these streets will be some of the most adversely impacted (although many will welcome a reduction in traffic around Canonbie and Honor Oak Road).
It may be worth speaking to local councillors or even bringing the proposal to the ward assembly to see if there is general support. If there is general support then i could also imagine it could form part of the Forest Hill Society ans SEE3 proposals to improve cycling and walking in the local area. It might be worth considering whether a cycle route could be developed on some of the roads - although just making the roads quieter would be an advantage.
But there may still be concerns from Southwark council and TfL and it occurs to me that it might be possible to change the road layout at the Wood Vale junction with the south circular to make it less scary turning out of Wood Vale and prevent people from Wood Vale going up Sydenham Hill (crossing the south circular traffic flow). It is a complicated set of changes with the potential fot unintended consequences and to upset plenty of people.
Can you explain how this would affect the residents of Hengrave and Boveney? Already it’s a rat run at peak times so I don’t think there would be much support for a plan that would lead to more cars using the roads to access Honor Oak Park.
Also how would elderly residents there drive to Forest Hill if Honor Oak Road and Devonshire Road are both one way at certain points?
To get to Forest Hill from Hengrave and Boveney you would need to go down Wood Vale or Brockley Rise.
However, non-residents hopefully wouldn’t want to use these roads as they would be quicker to stick to Honor Oak Road. A few local residents (Devonshire Road or even Dunoon) might be tempted to turn right out of Hengrave rather than crossing the Honor Oak Road / Honor Oak Park (Cabrini) junction, but this is likely to be less than the number of existing users.
It would be possible to make Hengrave Road no right turn into Honor Oak Road, just to make sure that nobody uses it as a shortcut, I had thought it wasn’t necessary given the other restrictions, and it would make it much harder for Hengrave/Boveney residents to go East, South, or North. So I would not recommend restricting this.
If traffic at the Cabrini junction was too bad then a set of traffic lights might be helpful, for people turning right out of Honor Oak Road. However, one of the advantages of this system is that far fewer cars would be turning into Honor Oak Road from Forest Hill Road, as it won’t really lead anywhere.
But I don’t claim that this proposal solves all the problems, I’ve just tried to suggest a solution that doesn’t just push additional traffic onto other residential roads by closing off one or other end of Devonshire Road. As I said when I outlined the proposal, I don’t really think most residents will want this, as it will be a bit inconvenient for many local residents.
13 posts were split to a new topic: Parking on Devonshire Road
Can I re-title this thread as Devonshire Road is no longer closed? Any objections, @DevonishForester?
Agree with Rachael that this mega-topic has changed in theme a little bit since the road re-opened.
I’d also propose closing this topic to new replies, as the road has re-opened. Don’t forget, newcomers to this topic will enter at post #1.
With this topic closed, members would still be able to reply as a new linked topic in order to continue the conversations brought up here.
- Split and close this topic
- Leave as-is
- Other (please comment)
- Don’t mind
Topic closed as the road is now open again.
With this topic closed, members are still be able to reply as a new linked topic in order to continue the conversations brought up here.