Bromley residents are now crying out for more safety on their streets. But will the car-loving Tory Bromley Council listen to their pleas?
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are a policy initiative of the Tory government, yet backwoods Bromley Tories oppose them, championing the ‘rights’ of motorists to drive everywhere.
But are constraints to driving totally alien in Bromley? In fact, Bromley Council deploy most available methods of controlling traffic: chicanes, reducing lane width, one-way streets, 20mph speed limits, speed bumps, and dare we say LTNs, though no doubt they call them something else. Back in August 2020, our active travel correspondent Katie Crowe took a cycle tour of the area and identified many LTNs that have been around for decades (What we talk about when we talk about filtering).
The Bromley enclave bordered by Anerley Hill, Church Road, Belvedere Road, Hamlet Road could well be considered a long standing LTN. The combination of no-through and one-way roads prevent through traffic. The one road that does not benefit is Hamlet Road which has long suffered extreme rat-run traffic and is the scene of the highest incidence of vehicle collisions in the area. Ironically, Hamlet Road benefited enormously from Croydon council’s Auckland Road LTN.
The problem of through traffic being routed from Anerley Hill through Belvedere, Cintra, Patterson & Milestone (BCPM) could easily be addressed by Bromley Council introducing a filter, thus upgrading this existing LTN to take account of the new conditions (navigation software sending traffic through residential streets, plus the likelihood of Auckland Road LTN being re-instated).
It is worth pointing out that Croydon council intend to extend the right to pass through the Auckland Road LTN to all Bromley residents in the ‘Cintra LTN’.
Cintra LTN demographics
Bromley LSOA 005E which roughly equates to the ‘Cintra LTN’ area has 47% of households without a car.
In the 2021 Bromley Crystal Palace ward by-election the Tories came a poor third (783 votes), after the Greens (820 votes) and Labour (Ryan Thomson – 2,235 votes).
Bromley residents in Hamlet Road and Waldegrave Road expressed support for the Auckland Road LTN, obviously because it drastically reduced traffic on their roads. Residents on BCPM (the vocal ones anyway) though, mostly opposed the LTN because navigation software diverted rat-run traffic through these entirely inappropriate streets and Bromley Council refused to address it, preferring to sacrifice their residents to their outdated dogma. A simple filter or one-way stretch on one of these roads would have addressed this problem.
A role for Labour councillors
Labour councillors need to differentiate themselves from Bromley Tories and put forward an active travel agenda which restricts motor vehicles and provides safe areas for pedestrians and cyclists.
Labour councillors may well conclude that as a minority they have little power to implement street improvements, but they could campaign for a filter and point out that it was Bromley Tories’ bloody-mindedness that was responsible for BCMP woes.
Bromley Tories track record
One could make a case that Bromley council were progressive in the ‘80s; Bromley town centre pedestrianised 1989, extended 1993… and yet in the midst of a climate emergency, air quality crisis and obesity epidemic, they’ve completely lost the plot. They show little interest in improving conditions in Crystal Palace:
- refused to widen the dangerously narrow pavements on their part of Church Road
- consistently opposed 20mph on the Triangle despite high footfall and narrow pavements
- oppose 20mph on Anerley Hill despite it having one of the worst safety records of any road in South London
- oppose 20mph on Crystal Palace Parade
- taken no action to improve safety for any group of vulnerable road users at the Anerley Hill / Crystal Palace Parade junction danger spot – hostile for pedestrians, lethal for cyclists.
However, Bromley council should be congratulated for constructing a level surface pedestrian-priority crossing at the junction of Thicket Road with Crystal Palace Park Road A234, something that should be emulated at all junctions where rat-run roads meet main roads.
Anerley Park LTN
Recently residents of Thicket Road and Anerley Park have been publishing (on Crystal Palace Transition Town Facebook) their distress at suffering speeding rat-run traffic. A number of residents are proposing an LTN.
A strategy for rolling out local LTNs
Cintra and Anerley Park are just two potential LTNs that border Croydon streets. There is a problem of rat-running traffic between the main roads running SE/NW (Penge High Street and Anerley Road) and Croydon Road. Residents in Selby Road, for example, have been campaigning for restrictive traffic measures for several years. Here are just two more possible LTNs:
All the residential streets in the five areas shown above suffer from considerable volumes of rat-run traffic between the main roads: A212, A213, A214, A215 & A234. Exits from these rat-run roads onto the main roads are also the locations of ‘accident’ blackspots.
Of course, residents within the borders of LTNs enjoy less stress, noise, pollution and danger. But the main purpose of LTNs to society at large, is that they provide safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists, but probably more important is that they encourage drivers to convert to active travel.
Crashmap is a valuable resource for demonstrating where reported ‘accidents’ occur. These maps show that the most dangerous locations are where rat-run roads intersect with main roads.
Level surface pedestrian-priority crossings at all junctions between main roads and LTNs should be introduced.
Here’s how Bromley council have done this at the end of Thicket Road; a good example of how design indicates to drivers that pedestrians have priority, something pioneered in Holland. Rather than having signs instructing people what to do, the elements of the design – raised pavement crossing the road in the same material as the pavement; painted lines at right-angles to the road; chevrons; cycle info-graphic – intuitively explain what is required of drivers and encourage pedestrians and cyclists. In this respect, well done Bromley council highways department.