The A205 Pedestrian Crossing Problem at Forest Hill Station

The following tweet from FHSoc is relevant:

@SophieDavis responded:

The problem is that Commonplace is a terrible way to try to engage. There’s no assurance of who or how many times an individual is adding comments or votes, or what sections of the community are reached. Worst still is that there seems to be no published analysis of reasons as to why some suggestions move forward, some are ignored, and the unlucky ones seem to silently disappear from the map altogether.

If this were all being done as an emergency response I would fully support rapid action, if bounded with a guarantee of later review and public consultation. But 3 months after lockdown started this has missed that opportunity already, and since little of this was on the Labour manifesto or listed in Lewisham Council’s corporate strategy, I think it is more important than ever that correct process is used so all suggestions are given fair, reasoned and transparent consideration clear of prejudice.

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That crossing is a disgrace, as is that whole junction. However London Road is a red route and as I understand it Lewisham Council have little control or ability to do anything. It is TfL’s remit.

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So why are we being encouraged to “keep adding comments to the Commonplace page” regarding this junction I wonder.

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Going a bit off-topic, and my personal issue is really with the methods and not the results of this transport scheme…

The most obvious thing to do for the A205 junction would be to retime the lights to give pedestrians more time or more frequent crossing opportunities at little expense to road traffic while there are fewer vehicles.

Given TfL have a centralised Urban Traffic Control system, this may be possible without even visiting the site.

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I’ve had a bit of a dig through the forum to see if there were actually any suggestions on how to improve the crossing in front of the station. There have been a few threads about some other junctions so maybe I missed an obvious one but… what if any solutions have been proposed?

If you have one longer ‘pedestrians cross all in one go’ phase then the traffic is going to build up in all directions. Underpasses? Bigger island?

Ha you posted this 30 seconds before I asked if there were any suggestions. I feel like the traffic is already worse than it was before lockdown, extending the phases is only going to make it worse I fear.

Do we have any live web enabled air pollution monitors in the area?

Perhaps to help Lewisham build a case to take to TfL? I am not sure how it works but I do know red routes are not under council control and they are mostly designed and laid out in favour of keeping traffic moving rather than being pedestrian friendly.

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The A205 is a red route and runs through Clapham Common and there’s crossings every 10m and a 3-way zebra crossing which stops traffic every second for pedestrians. So this red route definitely favours pedestrians over vehicles.

So some sort of improvement for the poor residents of SE23 who have to put up with the south circular blighting their high street should definitely be considered by TFL. Clapham Common gives me hope… it’s also a shame that there aren’t more crossings along the south circular for people to cross over to Dulwich Park. A couple of zebra crossings would be great, traffic is slow along here anyway so wouldn’t interfere with traffic levels.

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The A1 in Islington is also a Red Route (much wider than A205). But check out the difference - there are single phase crossings with plenty of time to cross, serious enforcement of bus/cycle lanes, and the Holloway Road section of the A1 has been made 20 MPH because it is heavily used by pedestrians as a shopping area. Whether that was TFL or Islington Council or both, it should be happening in Forest Hill and the rest of Lewisham.

What for? My previous comments have been erased and ignored.

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They are supposed to be changing the traffic lights at The Grove to a pedestrian set at some point this year. There was a public consultation last year which means you’ll be able to cross at Cox’s Walk without taking your life in your hands. But that’s taken years to make happen; the previous recommended route was to walk from The Grove to the crossing at Overhill Road, then back along across Melford Road and Underhill Road to the crossing opposite the new flats and then back down to Cox’s Walk. So crossing 2 other roads to get to two crossings.

I’m pretty sure that last time there was a public response on the traffic island at the station we got a similarly convoluted answer - either to exit the station from platform 2, walk down Perry Lane, cross at the Co-op and then walk back up the hill - or to use the crossing outside the Dartmouth Arms as you should get across the road within a single traffic sequence. The argument that it doesn’t really help if you’re trying to get to the other side of the road didn’t seem to hold much weight.

The picture at the top is made worse by the girl on the bike at the front. If she’d got off her bike, and walked forward a little, there would be a lot more room on that island.

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The Grove Tavern junction issues are more complex than what could be resolved at the London Road T Junction by the station.

The island needs to go with a straight forward crossing. I’d feel more safer not having to stand on a tiny island in the middle of the South Circular than if people had to stand on London Road or Waldram Cresent.

Agreed. This stretch of the South Circular is either totally free flowing or completely jammed. Taking 30 seconds out of the sequence to allow pedestrians to cross more safely would feel entirely sensible.

I went back to find a link to the announcement about the Grove Tavern consultation and exactly how long these things take. I found the promise of a consultation in 2013, a question to the Mayor of London in 2014 with a promise they’d look at it. A consultation in September 2018, an acceptance in May 2019 that they’d do something in early 2020 and, to date, no action. Interestingly, the proposal there was for a staggered crossing but so many people wrote back requesting a single one, they have gone back to see if it’s possible.

So I wonder how we’d go about actually getting it back on the radar again?

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Thank you for the info on Grove Tavern. It seems rather odd that on such a long strip of road (from Grove Tavern to the Dulwich college crossroads) that there is only one pedestrian crossing!

Aside from the cyclists on the FH island this crossing is absolutely ridiculous at rush hour and weekends. You have to wait a stupidly long time to get to the middle island and then wait again for the next set of lights to change so you can cross. On top of this the island isn’t big enough. A single crossing with all traffic halted at one point would be much beneficial. Pedestrians must come first in a high street. Expecting pedestrians to walk 30m+ in an opposite direction to cross at the co-op is ridiculous at a time when we are trying to put pedestrians first over cars. Surely it is long overdue for the council to step up and sort out the FH crossing!

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…whilst you watch your train pull into the station and then depart.

I think I timed it: it’s 3 maybe 4 minutes if you get to the crossing just as the left filter light goes green and you have to wait a full cycle.

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I hadn’t noticed that, as I can only see the photos if I click through to Twitter.

Maybe as a quick measure we could request “cyclists must dismount” signs? She’s breaking Rule 79 of the Highway Code.

Rule 79

Do not ride across equestrian crossings, as they are for horse riders only. Do not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing. Dismount and wheel your cycle across.

She’s not only putting the people around and behind her in danger, she’s going to be a hazard for those people she’s going to be cycling through as they try to cross the road from the opposite side.

It’s virtually impossible to cross there using a walker or pushing a wheelchair. Do the barriers actually achieve anything? The barriers at Mayow Road/Sydenham Road went years ago and it’s much easier to cross there now.

Like many pedestrian crossings, the timings are too short to allow time for the less able to cross.

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Personally I’m not a fan of the trend to remove barriers around crossings for busy roads. It feels a lot less safe when you are trying to wrangle small children and/or a pram and are made by the traffic light timings to wait in the middle of the road.

The changes made to the Stanstead/Cranston junction are another example of this, and quite poorly thought out for pedestrians, in my opinion.

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We used to have that issue with trying to catch the 356 bus when arriving by train of an evening. The frustration of trying to get to the bus stop at the Capitol before your half hourly bus arrived and left without you. Especially as there was already a bus stop outside Leaders for the 185. Eventually - I’d like to think TFL took notice of all the complaints - we got the bus added to the list of those that stop there too.

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I agree she shouldn’t be on her bike, but I have to admit I’ve never seen anyone cycle across here before - it makes little sense. Is she going to try to cycle up the pavement.

I don’t think a sign is worth it for something that shouldn’t be happening in the 1st place. Otherwise I’d petition to get a sign that says ‘Cars should not stop in the ASL box’ which is also obvious and probably happens a lot more frequently.

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I’ve been stuck in a box when drivers in front of me faffed about and I got caught out by the lights changing. I and others who get caught like this aren’t breaking the law, according to Ask the Police, but it is really embarrassing because of course people arriving at the junction afterwards think you’ve done it deliberately.

I think it’s worth considering signage for both though as you’ve already got the street furniture (ie the light stands) to pin it to.

You’d think in the case of the photo it would have been easier for the woman to push her bike across like the chap behind her is doing, rather than riding across, so it seems a strange decision.

If the traffic lights are on red, drivers (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) must not cross the first stop line - if they do they could liable to a £100 fixed penalty and three penalty points on their driving license.

If the lights change from green to amber as a driver (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) approaches but they cannot safely stop before the first stop line, they can cross the first line but must stop before the second stop line. In these circumstances it is not an offence to stop in the marked area.

Drivers (including motorcyclists and scooter riders) should avoid blocking/encroaching onto the marked area at other times e.g. when the junction is blocked.

Note that just because there’s a car in the ASL box does not mean to say the driver has committed an offence. The offence is only committed when the vehicle enters the ASL box when the light is red. If the vehicle enters the box and the light changes to red, no offence is committed.

Cyclists must not cross the second stop line while the traffic signal is red. Contravening a traffic signal is against the law, and could result in a £50 fine.

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Yes you’re correct about the law and getting stuck in the ASL box. Unfortunately some people like to stop in them on purpose as a mini protest against their existence because they get frustrated about bikes being out in front. They’re almost impossible to enforce because of the ‘cannot safely stop’ thing.

My point about signage is more that you shouldn’t have to remind people about basic traffic laws with signs everywhere. Cyclists should know not to ride on pavement and motorists should know not to stop in the ASL boxes.

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