Poll: Clean Air and Choosing where to live in Forest Hill

Would congested traffic and parking and the resultant pollution put you off buying/renting on a residential road, all other factors being equal and of course assuming you had a choice?

  • No, it wouldn’t stop me, it is just part of living in London
  • Only if it was 5% cheaper than a comparable quiet road
  • Only if it was 10% cheaper than a comparable quiet road
  • Yes, it would stop me, I wouldn’t want to live on a residential road with congested traffic and parking.

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It’s an interesting poll, but I’m abstaining from voting since the options are very specific and there are so many other factors to consider when choosing somewhere to live. Everything is a compromise of one aspect or another in the end.

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Good point, I have added all other factors being equal to the question but I understand everything is a compromise and it always hard to compare things

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You’d be surprised at the decisions people make in real life.
I never thought I would move to Dartmouth Road after living on a quiet street but after getting used to the traffic and train noise over 7 days I was happy to stay for another 7 years.
Many years later, I was adamant that I couldn’t possibly live opposite a school but I did, and was happy there for 8 years (and would have stayed there indefinitely if I hadn’t found my wife’s dream house).

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I think there are a lot of ‘it depends’.

What do you mean by ‘residential road’? All roads in this area have housing, even the South Circular. Main road/side road? A road, B road, side road? There are parts of some roads I wouldn’t want to live on (eg next to the traffic lights at the bottom of Perry Rise at Bell Green, or on the South Circular next to the railway bridge at Catford) but I wouldn’t rule out living elsewhere on the same road.

Maybe a better question would be, would you be put off buy/renting a residential property in close proximity to heavy traffic that produces a lot of pollution? Although that still has parameters that can’t be precisely defined.

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But they never are. How would you define

Traffic congestion is different to heavy traffic although both can occur on the same road.

I think the poll is a fair (and interesting) question and for a lot of people traffic/parking issues would be a red line regardless of other factors.

I don’t think I have enough time to define all those other factors as they are too numerous, it is just a way to see what people think about how important clean air is.

It is a good point about heavy traffic and congestion on the same road but the causes can be different. The council has two working groups about roads regarding Devonshire Road and Thorpewood Avenue.

I would say the cause in Devonshire’s case, is more about heavy traffic whereas Thorpewood suffers more from congestion due to the road being an unregulated car park. Both are not designed for the purpose they are currently being used for.

Thorpewood is a good example of congestion, it narrows at the lower end and can only easily take one way traffic which works fine as long as people don’t park over driveways as these are the passing points. Once the passing points go, cars can’t pass or do very slowly and you have gridlock and congestion higher up and on neighbouring streets. Ambulances on emergency calls have to reverse out and turn around. There is a lot more pollution then as cars have to brake more releasing toxic brake dust and cars are idling generating more pollution.

I don’t need to tell you about Devonshire Road and the heavy traffic and congestion.

The top of Kirkdale has now got the cleanest air. It is really pleasant now to walk or cycle up it.

Perhaps we should have the equivalent of respite care for roads where we close them for a week every year so residents can remember how invigorating it is to breathe clean air.

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We moved to Forest Hill as few years ago and one of the attractions of the flat we bought is that it is at the top of a pretty quiet road. We don’t have a car so car parking is not really something we worry about, being within easy reach of a train station and local shops was more pressing.

However the presence of the South Circular was nearly a deal breaker. It is a really malevolent presence, sucking the life out of the centre of Forest Hill and making life more unpleasant and dangerous for residents.

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It should be in a tunnel.

It will be interesting to see how traffic patterns and pollution maps are changed by the ULEZ expansion in 2021, though I fear there will at least initially be as many ‘losers’ as there are ‘winners’ in respect to local transport bottlenecks and pollution.

Hopefully it will at least remove some of the more polluting vehicles from our roads.

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Yes, I think the winners are obvious.

Car pollution is expected to decrease by 30% in the zone which most people view as reasonable.

In the short term, it will probably move cars from north of the south circular to south of the south circular saving the owners £12.50 a day.

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Interesting poll but probably expresses more armchair views than active opinions. I see very few residents in polluted and congested roads doing anything about it.

Meandering slightly away from the poll topic, this short Guardian article has some interesting points on pollution control zones as Bristol looks to implement one for its city centre:

So hopefully all of Forest Hill gets cleaner air sooner due to the ULEZ expansion, regardless of parts being inside or outside the zone. The cited research doesn’t look at traffic patterns or congestion side-effects around boundaries however.

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More bad news for those living on polluted roads.

Living on Brockley Rise (the main road bit) I always have this at the back of my mind, especially with the kids at Dalmain also on the same road.

We have lots of green space behind us and a little wood, and lots of buses and traffic in front of us.

I’m not sure what to think. I went to a school on an even busier 3 lane main road and lived on a side road off another bust road, but like my kids was very active sport wise.

Anyway to answer the question, we bought before we had kids and purposefully wanted a main road for what we perceived as safety reasons walking home, so it was not an issue for us. With kids more in the balance.

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I guess a good follow up poll would be how many people have cars and why? I freely admit I have a car but that’s because I don’t spend all my time in London. Here I use public transport apart from a a rare big supermarket run. I visit friends and family in the country (until recently this included my disabled mother, who had no other means of transport). There are no buses. My friend’s village has a bus at 9 am on three days a week and that’s not some little out of the way place.

Where my brother lives - a “village” with a population of 2300 - the first bus to the nearest “town” (i.e. banks, job centre, bulk of non-seasonal employment opportunities) is 7.45 am and the last one arrives back at 7.45 pm. A day fare is £9.60 for an adult and £6 for a child. No free travel for children.

When we moved here 17 years ago one of our priorities was a house with a drive because at that pont my husband worked shifts and did call outs, often in remote locations at night, and he had a lot of expensive and heavy equipment to haul to and from the car. Our decision meant we couldn’t afford more expensive streets like Thorpewood Avenue and also ruled out streets that didn’t have drives, like Mount Ash Road or Halifax Street. But’s all about priorities and lifestyle at the end of the day.

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