Devonshire Road closed at junction with A205



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.


I thought i would also check on Waze as the traffic looked pretty heavy to me earlier.
Honor Oak Park is running at 5mph from the station to the lights.
Honor Oak Road is at 1-2mph back towards Tyson Road. I think it is reasonable to describe that as heavy traffic.


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.