Consultation on the Albemarle Road traffic management scheme


26 February 2021

We publish our draft response to the Westgate Road bridge Consultation below. Members are invited to provide feedback (by Tuesday 2nd March) prior to preparation of a final response.


Draft response to the Westgate Road bridge consultation

Introduction

Ravensbourne Valley Residents is a Residents’ Association in Shortlands comprising 500 subscribing households and covering an area of approximately 1500 households.  This area neighbours the traffic scheme area and many of our members and residents can be expected to use Albemarle Road, Westgate Road and other surrounding roads.

 

Background to this response

Shortly after the launch of the consultation we tweeted about it to over 500 followers inviting our members to express their views.  We also posted all the documentation on our website.  This draft response has been prepared taking into account responses and has been published by us on our twitter account and our website in order that members may see the view we are proposing to take and to give them an opportunity for further comment.

 

Consultation process

As much as it is important to comment on the consultation questions themselves, we think there is a place to comment on the consultation process and format itself, as follows: -

  1. We are surprised that the consultation is being held at this time. This scheme is very new and, having only been completed in November, traffic flows have been anything but normal and there has simply been no time for the scheme to bed in for a period under normal conditions.  As such, any attempt at assessing the situation at the present time seems premature.

 

  1. We are not aware of any traffic measurement (speeds, number of vehicles/cyclists etc) that has been undertaken and therefore we again wonder how a well-founded, scientifically-based judgement can be made of the effectiveness of the traffic scheme.

 

 

  1. No information has been provided (that we know of) which explains what this scheme has achieved so far (if indeed, being open minded, anything) nor the full range of what these changes are supposed to achieve. Further, there is no explanation that the scheme needs to be considered in the context of TfL active travel guidance issued in May 2020 or central government’s “Gear Change” document.

 

  1. We are surprised that the consultation is being presented as a binary choice. Respondents must choose either: -

 

  1. “Re-introduce 2-way traffic on Albemarle Road between St Georges and Westgate Road whilst retaining the west to east segregated cycle lane

 

and (our emphasis)

  1. Re-introduce 2-way traffic onto Westgate Road bridge controlled by the addition of traffic lights (with timings to manage tidal flows) to avoid driver conflicts.

Or,

Revert Albemarle Road and Westgate Road (bridge) to their pre-trial arrangements.”

 

It is not clear why respondents do not have the choice to select either a) or b) or why they can’t vote to keep the current arrangements just as they are. This consultation appears to be funnelling respondents down a particular route rather than allowing them to freely express their choices.

 

  1. Furthermore, the survey is silent about the cycle lanes in Bromley Road, and it is not clear why this aspect of the recent changes to traffic management is not part of the consultation.

 

  1. No indication or information has been given regarding cost. We understand that TfL funding is available for the traffic lights, but what about funding for the other changes?

 

What indeed about funding to revert to pre-trial arrangements? Surely this will have to be found from within existing Council budgets meaning that some other service will have to be cut. No cost/benefit analysis has been provided about this which makes it difficult to assess which course of action is most beneficial when viewed from the larger perspective.

 

Our Response

In response to the binary choice, we believe the trial should continue with the proposed changes with a further review of the effectiveness of the scheme being carried out after six months of normal traffic conditions

We make this choice because: -

  • It is least likely to waste resources;
  • It allows a proper assessment to be made of the scheme after a reasonable trial period; and,
  • It supports the important principle of supporting the shift of transport modes towards more sustainable cycling and walking, which is ever more vital in view of climate change priorities.

 

However, there is insufficient information to make a properly informed choice and we believe Council policy on this matter should be informed by the professional experience of the Council’s road traffic engineers.


Ends

We have just (11th Feb) received maps/plans and the following letter from the Council:-


Dear sirs

 

I am writing to you in your [sic]Ravensbourne Valley Preservation Society capacity.

 

The Council has written to approximately 3000 residents in the Albemarle Road area consulting on the Albemarle Road and Westgate Road traffic management changes. The results of this consultation will be presented to PDS Committee on the 11th March 2021. (Consultation on the cycle scheme at such an early stage was not the choice of Ward Members or the project team).

 

The consultation is about improving the cycle scheme or scrapping it completely. The Albemarle Road cycle scheme has enabled the Council to attract further TFL funding to install traffic signals on Westgate Road bridge. This will enable two way traffic across the bridge without nose to nose conflicts but also safe for cyclists who will have safety stop lines in front of motorists and priority. If implemented it will be the first stage of implementing a Bromley to Lower Sydenham cycle route.

 

The experimental cycle scheme on Albemarle will be amended to allow 2 -directional traffic between St Georges Road and Westgate Road, whilst retaining the segregated uphill cycle lane. Downhill cyclists will have priority cycling with the traffic. Traffic speeds should be reduced by narrower carriageways. (Speeding motorists was a regular complaint from residents prior to the changes).  East of Westgate Road the scheme will remain the same.

 

If residents vote to scrap the changes completely, Westgate Road is unlikely to have traffic signals in the near future. It is also unlikely that TFL will be granting any funding  for cycle infrastructure between Bromley and Lower Sydenham.

 

The comments of you residents association are welcome and will be included in a consultation summary. If you wish to discuss the matter further please feel free to contact me.

We would be grateful to hear from members their views about this - please forward any comments to roadsandtransport.rvr@outlook.com