Congestion in the Fresh Air Suburb

Congestion = Pollution. Supporters & opponents of the LTN agree.

So far, we have been looking at all the data and consequences of the domination of the car in our residential streets. All the evidence we have put forward can be verified, but now we are offering a discursive introduction to our new field of study – traffic on our main roads.

Here’s a snapshot of traffic on the roads around Crystal Palace at 17:30 on Monday 18 January 2021. It’s rush hour – everyone is going home. What can we learn?

Congestion (red) around Crystal Palace at 17:30 on Monday 18 January 2021

Traffic is congested:

  1. all along Dulwich Wood Park A2199 towards Crystal Palace Park (Southwark & Lambeth)
  2. up Crystal Palace Road A234 around Crystal Palace Park (Bromley)
  3. for a short stretch near the station going both south and north on Anerley Hill A214 (Bromley)
  4. approaching the traffic lights both north and south at Anerley station on Anerley Road A214 (Bromley)
  5. approaching the traffic lights at the junction of Anerley Road/Elmers End Road A214 and Croydon Road A213 (Bromley)
  6. approaching the traffic lights at the bottom of South Norwood Hill in all directions A215 & A213 – particularly southbound (Croydon)
  7. approaching the triangle on Church Road A212 but easing after the traffic lights (Croydon)
  8. on Central Hill A214 going both directions (Lambeth & Croydon)

What conclusions can we draw?

  • there is congestion at all major crossroads, whether it is close to the LTN or not, or whether it is in Bromley or Croydon or Lambeth or Southwark
  • congestion at points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 cannot be attributed to the LTN
  • congestion at points 6 & 7 maybe caused by:
    • traffic pushed back from the LTN towards main roads
    • too many car journeys
    • too many single occupants of five seater cars driving to work
    • more people using cars because public transport is unsafe due to Covid
  • anyone used to driving around Crystal Palace would know that there has been congestion at all these points for years

The overall problem is too many cars on main roads. That is going to be our new field of study.

2 thoughts on “Congestion in the Fresh Air Suburb

  1. Too many cars on the road are a symptom – the real problem is population density. The effects of covid 19 may be quite broad. People may find they can work from home – and hence move to areas further away with lower rents. I think we shall need to wait and see how this all pans out and then look at what can be done to alleviate traffic where this is needed. Traffic at the moment is serious in some places. We need to try to find out what the purpose of those journeys is – ie – delivery, school runs, work, – this will help us understand better what can be done to reduce the traffic. Chicanes are a good idea – they may be difficult to implement here – but there is scope for a bit of careful thought and ingenuity – we certainly need to reduce traffic speed – which would in itself make the roads less dangerous. The significant few who must storm past cyclists and even dangerously overtake cars driving more carefully to shave a few seconds off their journey time need to be focussed on much more and properly dealt with.


    1. Thanks for this Richard. I agree we need to do a lot more investigation into vehicle journeys and their effects.

      Re population density; London isn’t in the top ten of most dense European cities. Paris wins that hands down, so it is very interesting that the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, is making such efforts to promote active travel by excluding cars from large sways of the city:

      It also turns out that some of the cities with the greatest density in a square kilometre started to curb overuse of motor vehicles years ago – Geneva, Copenhagen or have such narrow streets it is impossible to drive anyway – Naples:


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