Devonshire, Tyson, Ewelme Traffic Volume

Hi All

I lived here for about 4 years. Due to lockdown, working from home etc. i’ve barely been going outside, and i have become really aware of the amount of traffic on Tyson, Ewelme and Devonshire Road etc.

I notice that other local streets (Garthorne, Stansted Road, Manor Mount etc.) have had initiatives implemented to reduce traffic. None of which i remember being implemented.

I appreciate closing roads etc. is a very divisive subject so dont want to get into that :slight_smile:

But i wondered if anyone knows the history regarding this, has there ever been any measures introduced and removed, or any consultations etc. Were the residents on the other streets just lucky or was there community action to get the council to do something about it etc?



Important questions. I have tried to find out what surveys there were, impact assessments etc. but I’ve been pushed back or ignored by councillors and Highways Dept. I’ve also tried to find committee records of discussions and decisions, without success.

I’ve currently got an overdue FOI regarding the criteria used to make recent closures. If you look at the thread on Bishopthorpe Rd, Councillor Gibbons pretty much concedes that decisions have been made on the basis of lobbying by well-organised homogenous owner-occupier enclaves.


I would really support a one-way system being put in place on Devonshire Road. It’s far too populated for a two-way road which causes congestion. The one-way system will also prevent people cutting through to get to Sydenham instead of following Honor Oak Road or Honor Oak Park. It’s about time the noise and air pollution in our road was reviewed by the council. Too many of our cars are being damaged by reckless drivers zooming through.

The recent pavement upgrade hasn’t helped matters and on top of that the new proposed development at Ewelme/Devonshire Road is only going to add further traffic congestion.


Not more road blocks! Just adds to the congestion in surrounding roads and make it much harder to drive to and from my home!

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We’re now at a point where if we did close Devonshire or make it one-way etc. it’d be chaos, so it’s tough s**t if you live on one of those roads.

Meanwhile if you live on the next street where there are measures implemented, you’re alright Jack, and you dont care as long as all your cut-throughs remain open, and you can do the school run and get to pilates on time.

It seems that the measures have been implemented piecemeal without consultation, or the consideration of the impact on the neighbouring streets.

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Residential streets were supposed to be just that - for residents to get to their residences. They’re not designed for through traffic. Sat Nav algorithms seem to be pushing more and more people onto these residential roads. We should find a way to push back on these algorithms.

Re Devonshire, I actually think a one way would just mean people speeding down the road faster as they won’t expect to encounter any oncoming traffic. The right turn onto Devonshire is a nightmare as it’s almost on a blind corner - so may times I’ve cycled down the hill and a car has turned across me into Devonshire.

Instead of one way, why not simply ban turns into the road from the circular coming up the hill, and ditto ban right hand turns from Devonshire exiting onto the circular. That would cut out a lot of traffic and make the entire junction a lot safer.

  • Are these rules written down somewhere?
  • Seems all roads in London (certainly in SE23) are residential roads, so it’s not so easy to justify pushing traffic from one road to another on the basis that some roads are residential and others aren’t

Putting traffic restrictions on Devonshire would result in people taking longer journeys and more congestion in neighbouring roads.

As far as i can tell it’s already been pushed from one road to another and now all that’s left is Devonshire, Tyson, Ewelme, Benson etc.


Just as a side note, the bottom left ‘enclosed area’ is one of the more famous rat runs in town. The Waldenshaw Rd racetrack around to David’s Rd lets you cut off the Circular through the main part of town. Unfortunately it is also the access road to Sainsburys so little can be done about it.

Manor Mount was cut off at the top with a ‘no entry’ and made one way up the hill to prevent people cutting the whole corner from Honor Oak Rd through to David’s Road connecting back to the Circular however people still use it to cut through. You have to be very careful turning out of Waldenshaw onto Manor Mount as people frequently come down the hill at speed against the one way. The HOR light on the circular is too short - maybe a 10 second cycle versus over a minute for the main road.

The whole section is a high value cut through, it’s just a different problem to the whole HOR, Devonshire Borckley Rise direction.

It seems these problems have remained unsolved for years, I’m not sure if there’s a real solution except to reduce overall traffic volumes.

Seems when i walk down Manor Mount the traffic is quite quiet in comparison to Ewelme, Tyson etc. So seems it has some effect.

I had a random conversation with a plumber a while ago and he said he knew Ewelme because it was the “Forest Hill Bypass” him and his mates use. Saves 2/3 minutes, and is “f’ing no-brainer” as he put it. I was quite surprised but it’s very effective.

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The only solution is fewer cars, but getting to that point will cause a good deal of discomfort for many car drivers. I guess many people will make arguments why their situation is particular and not part of the problem.

I was recalling that as a kid I used to know all the back doubles in south east London, but over the last, say 40 years, these have gradually been closed off. The current throughway closures are part of a much longer process.

The issue is there are too many cars for the road space in London. Roads nowadays are lined with parked cars not doing anything but blocking the road and quite often the pavement too. As Cllr Leo Gibbons said a while ago, if you are sitting in traffic not going anywhere, then you are part of the problem.

Like it or not, there will have to be a significant reduction in the number of privately owned cars, some of the side effects of which will be less pollution, a fitter populace, and … quicker movement around London. Ironic, but I think it is an arguable case.

I agree - I think we’re on the cusp of a driverless electric car shuttle revolution - when I can use an app to get a clean ride to Sainsbury’s then get another one home to cart a load of heavy bags then I would concede I wouldn’t need a car. One of my kids can’t even be bothered to learn to drive - he cycles everywhere anyway and gets an Uber when he needs to. The culture shift is starting but will take a generation.

Sorry, probably wandering off topic here regarding solutions for the Devonshire area! My bad.

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Are you in Devonshire yourself? I think one-way would simply increase traffic speeds, and probably increase volume of traffic. Volume of traffic is the primary problem, not congestion.

Michael - the former chair of the Forest Hill Society drew up a plan for reorganising the traffic in the area, whiich I feel has potential. I gather that Michael himself subsequently had doubts about some aspects of it.

Although TFL has received a bailout, it’s only for six months. If the ULEZ extension goes ahead, I would guess that the Congestion Zone extension may also be back on the agenda at some point. Unless Lewisham organises its own congestion zone (I mean charging commuters for driving through, not residents for parking), I would support it.

Yes. And from walking along the road every morning to work and evening from work and I can see that the main issue is congestion. Congestion every day that backs up halfway up the road.

At the Devonshire Road/South circular junction. From people cutting through. If the road was made one-way system in the opposite direction it would get rid of this congestion every evening. Stopping the right-hand turn onto the south circular won’t do much improvement either as it’s mostly congestion from people waiting for a break to turn left onto the south circular and also backs up cars entering Devonshire road from the south circular. So it’s the congestion at the south circular end that causes most of the problems.

Speed is another matter as cars speed along here all the time regardless.

And this is caused by? Excessive volume of vehicles in narrow 100% residential streets. If the volume was reduced, there would be no congestion, and more importantly there would be a very different environment and quality of life. If you have traffic flowing anywhere is the area, Waze will direct more traffic there and congestion will build up. Some streets are having measures to reduce volume of traffic or prevent thru traffic, our street should have similar consideration. But the Council refuses even doing a traffic survey.

I completely agree, there comes a point where the volume of traffic just overwhelms the roads. That happens every evening on Devenshire Road when the traffic backs up 100s of meters.

On Ewelme the Road often gets to the point where there’s too many cars to filter through the parked cars and there’s a chaos for 5 minutes while cars reverse etc. I have witnessed a fist fight where drivers have got so angry.

I have counted traffic and about 220-230 vehicles pass through Ewelme an hour at peak times, so let’s say 500 over morning and 500 evening rush hours. Thats car after car 4 hours a day. Ewelme / Woodcombe is only one of the routes that lead to and from end of Devonshire Road, so must double or triple that there.

These roads are just too convenient to cut-through, ironically and the only thing that act as a deterrent is other cars when they block the roads. Apart from a few ineffective speed bumps there arent any measures to disrupt the traffic flow, no chicanes, one-way streets, no entries etc. Woodcoombe even has pavement parking down both sides, so cars can pass more freely.

Making the streets to handle the volume of traffic is exactly the opposite of what’s needed, we need measures to close the rat-runs or add 2/3 minutes to any journey through which might disincentivise their use.

Actually what needed is that a full consultation and investigation into all the streets around Forest Hill to make a hositic cohesive plan to manage traffic through Forest Hill and Honor Oak.


And there’s the catch 22. Everyone wants less traffic on their residential street, nobody else wants it displaced to theirs. Close a few roads and encourage people to walk to cycle and people get rapidly militant about their right to drive.

I know there was a study a few years ago - I think @Michael can comment. Also maybe ping @LeoGibbons re kicking off another consultation (Leo does this fit in FH ward - if not who could we talk to). People will always have diametrically opposed opinions about these sorts of things.

But not militant enough to ignore existing measures or lobby to get them removed.

What I proposed for discussion was effectively a low traffic neighbourhood before the term was so wide-spread. Perhaps with the ‘popularity’ of LTNs it is worth reviving the idea, at least to see if it has any merit.

A version is available at,-0.056572,15.25z/data=!4m2!6m1!1s1NB2tBCJj6FKXDJ2cO7emBvavpkE

Cameras could be used to prevent southbound traffic on Honor Oak Road and Devonshire Road, and northbound on Wood Vale (Honor Oak is a bus route so buses would be exempt). They could even be used to prevent people who don’t live in SE23 from using certain roads rather than shutting them completely (I’m thinking particularly of Langton Rise which is a handy exit for residents in the Horniman Heights but not a suitable rat-run).

By making three roads partially one way, it shares the traffic burden between the different roads stretching from Barry Road to Brockley Rise, as these north-south roads are used to avoid east-west traffic that is forced through three pinch points at Sydenham, Forest Hill and Honor Oak railway stations.

The map also appears to have options for a tunnel to bypass Forest Hill Town Centre, a second road through Catford, and a tunnel under Wandsworth. The aim is to remove three major pinch points on the South Circular.


4 posts were merged into an existing topic: Tunnelling the A205 South Circ through Forest Hill