Update: We understand that responses will be accepted until 19th December (as reported by Cllr James Barber to the East Dulwich Forum). We hope Southwark will consider carefully and share publicly the comments, research, ideas and suggestions which have been put forward as part of the consultation, in order to ensure the best possible scheme for children walking and cycling to the many schools in the area.
The new design is a step forward for safe, active, independent journeys to school, making the roads more friendly and giving space and time to cross without feeling threatened. The thinking behind this sort of redesign is described in Southwark's draft Cycling Strategy: "We have a vision that cycling will be for the many in Southwark, not just the few – the natural choice for getting from A to B - with attractive routes away from large vehicles or fast moving traffic. We want to prioritise cycling, and reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians."
We support junction improvements for the following reasons:
- The simultaneous straight-across and diagonal "green man" crossings will be shorter, quicker, safer and much more inviting for people on foot - particularly important for children walking to school.
- The advanced traffic lights for cyclists are an improvement, allowing bikes to have a head start to clear the junction without having to compete with motor vehicles (and could allow for a completely separate ‘bike only’ light phase).
- Segregated feeder lanes offer a less intimidating experience for people on bikes filtering past queuing traffic.
- Banning the right turn for vehicles would allow bikes to get across safely from Green Dale to Townley Rd without cars turning across their path. Near misses are common here, as many drivers coming from Townley Road think they have priority, or do not notice cyclists coming from Green Dale (which is a no through road for motor traffic, but leads to a popular quiet walking/cycling route up to Denmark Hill/ Camberwell and beyond).
It is clear that the detail of implementation will affect the scheme's success - for instance the method of segregation and the timing of the light phasing are key to making this work well for everyone. We hope that Southwark will consider carefully all responses to the consultation and work with local stakeholders on the details to ensure that the scheme really does provide an attractive choice of active travel even for those who do not let their children walk or cycle to school at the moment. For instance we would want to ensure that the width and capacity of any cycle tracks are maximised for family-friendly inclusive cycling for all types of people on all types of bike, and that the design avoids the problem of 'left hooks' where a bike going straight on is overtaken by a car turning left.
Please support improvements for active travel at this junction by emailing Chris.Mascord@Southwark.gov.uk, or responding to the consultation online.