Progress on our campaign for a safer South Circular!

For the last five years as your local councillors we have been campaigning for a safer South Circular.

Following the tragic death in 2017 of Dr. Jasjot Singhota at the zebra crossing on Thurlow Park Road, by Birkbeck Hill, in February we organised a walkabout with TfL, Helen Hayes MP and our GLA representative Flo Eshalomi to highlight the problem of speeding, as well as lobbying the transport deputy mayor of London.

Sadly, another young woman was killed on the South Circular a year ago crossing at the pedestrian crossing between Ladbrokes and the Co-op. This is a very dangerous junction, and while the £5 million we have secured as part of the Streetworks project to completely redesign it, clearly it needs to be made much safer much sooner while those plans are developed. 

We met with London’s deputy mayor for transport and got a commitment that the Streetworks project would experience no further delays. In the interim, they agreed to review the positioning and lighting at the corner where the hit and run took place. 

We are incredibly pleased to see that action has been taken – the crossing has been realigned to improve pedestrian visibility on this corner. 

This is by no means enough, and we will continue to campaign for safety improvements. Soon, we hope to be able to share detailed plans for the gyratory redesign – the high level designs were developed with the community and have been with TfL technical officers to model. 

Major leak on Norwood Road

There has been a major leak on Norwood Road – large holes in the road and water running down Norwood Road and Robson Road breaking the up the road surface.

Diversions are being planned for traffic including buses. At time of writing, only the 322 bus is diverted – down Lancaster Avenue, along Thurlow Park Road and up Rosendale Road. TfL have said that they expect further diversions.

Water was lost in parts of SE27 and SW16 earlier but Thames Water are confident that they have resolved this issue. They expect no further outages but some residents may experience drops in water pressure.

We are in regular contact with TfL and Thames Water so please get in touch if there are further issues.

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We will post bus diversions and any further news here and will share on Twitter and Facebook.

Our response to the consultation on the new low emission zone

Soon after his election the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called for new proposals to urgently help tackle London’s lethal air pollution. The Mayor has already introduced the T-Charge in central London, bought forward the start date of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for central London to 8 April 2019 and announced a series of measures to clean up London’s bus fleet.

TfL are now consulting on detailed proposals for two further initiatives to improve London’s air. These involve:

  • Tightening the standards of the existing London-wide Low Emission Zone from 2020, which affects heavy vehicles – buses, coaches and HGVs and other heavy specialist vehicles
  • Expanding the ULEZ for light vehicles (cars, vans and motorcycles) from central London to inner London up to, but not including the North and South Circular roads in 2021 so that all vehicles in this area are subject to emissions standards

The full proposals can be found here:  https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-3b/#our proposals 

In Thurlow Park, they involve a new low emissions zone extending up to but not including the South Circular.

As your local Labour councillors, we have responded to the consultation calling on the zone to be wider, covering all of London rather than stopping at the South Circular.

Air quality is a very important
issue for us and our residents. Thurlow Park ward straddles the South Circular
and has a number of other strategically important roads that experience heave
traffic, including Norwood Road and Lancaster Avenue. 

These roads, and the
streets leading off them, experience high volumes of cars, buses, lorries and
vans. As a consequence, the air that residents living, working, walking and
cycling in our ward, and especially on these roads, is damaging their lungs.

We are therefore
very supportive of actions which TfL and the Mayor can take to tackle air
pollution and welcome a large Ultra Low Emissions Zone. We agree with proposals
that there should be tougher emissions standards, particularly given this will especially
impact the heavy vehicles that we experience disproportionately.

We also support
the expansion of the existing Low Emission Zone. However, we are very
disappointed that it is being proposed to go only as far as the south circular.
As shown by this map displaying data from the London Air website compiled by
Kings College London, the South Circular is the worst road in our
neighbourhood. It’s a residential road, and in just Thurlow Park goes past two
schools and very near to two more.

On any given day,
these homes and schools have around 15,000 vehicles driving east and a further
12,000 vehicles travelling west past their front doors, according to data
collected by TfL which we have published here: https://thurlowparklabour.org/post/166566971597/progress-made-in-our-campaign-for-a-safer-south

Other pollution
hotspots would be missed off the new zone too – in our ward, Norwood Road sees
higher traffic and pollution, as do Robson Road, Rosendale Road, Lancaster
Avenue and Croxted Road, for example, thanks to buses, delivery vehicles and
other traffic.

The current
proposals, up to and not including the South Circular, fail to take action on
the road in the greatest need of action and does nothing to tackle the
pollution hotspots south of this boundary. They create a situation which sees
only half of our residents breathing cleaner air, while some of the worst
affected areas see no change in regulation. We are also concerned that the new
zone will push the most pollution traffic south as drivers of vehicles affected
look for alternative routes that avoid the charge. We don’t want to see the
southern half of the ward become a rat run for London’s most polluting traffic.

By extending the
zone to cover the whole city, this scenario can be avoided. We would
therefore like to see the new zone expanded to cover the whole of London,
including the South Circular.

Thurlow Park Road: junction improvement works planned

Transport for London have written letters to local residents to inform them of plans to improve the junction at Thurlow Park Road and Rosendale Road. TfL will install new pedestrian and junction signals, repave the footpath at the junction and improve cycle facilities. Works begin from Thursday 01 March. This is part of their Quietways programme.

Works will take place from 08:00 until 18:00 and 20:00 until 05:00 on Mondays to Fridays, and from 08:00 until 16:00 on Saturdays, between 01 March and 10 April. The noisiest works will be completed 23:00.

TfL will signpost diversion routes during any closures, though the advice is to plan ahead, and allow more time /use alternative routes where possible. Visit tfl.gov.uk/trafficnews or follow @TfLTrafficNews on Twitter for live road travel updates.

Bus routes 201 and P13 will be temporarily diverted and bus stop Lancaster Avenue / West Dulwich, which serves these routes, will be temporarily closed. We will place notices at the affected stops to guide you to the nearest alternative. Visit tfl.gov.uk/bus/status or follow @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter for live updates.

Please visit tfl.gov.uk/roads for more information.

Progress made in our campaign for a safer South Circular

Following the tragic death of Dr. Jasjot Singhota at
the zebra crossing on Thurlow Park Road, by Birkbeck Hill, in February, we have
been working to tackle speeding and improve safety on the South Circular.

In March, we organised a walkabout with TfL
officers, local residents, friends of Jas, the local Labour London Assembly
Member Flo Eshalomi, and the local Labour MP Helen Hayes. We discussed a number
of issues with the speed of traffic, the visibility of crossings and the lack
of enforcement when drivers are disregarding road safety.

We have been working with TfL to follow up on these
actions behind the scenes, and while the police inquiry into the tragic
accident is still ongoing, we are able to provide an update on this work from
TfL officers.

We asked TfL to commission a speed survey at the
crossing to give us the evidence we need to push for improvements. This took
place between 18 April and 24 April and the results are here:

Clearly, far too many drivers are exceeding the speed limit – and we are committed to continuing to work with residents to campaign for measures to tackle this. 

We also asked for a collision study, so that we
could gain a better understanding of the dangers of this crossing.

TfL officers say: 

“We have completed a collision study, which revealed at this location
there were five collisions in the 36 months up to 31st October 2016 (which is
the latest Police recorded data available, so it does not include the collision
involving Dr Singhota). Two collisions occurred on the zebra crossing involving
pedestrian’s being struck by a vehicle, whilst crossing the road. One of these
collisions resulted in a serious injury, with the other resulting in slight
injury. Three of the collisions involved vehicle shunt incidents on the
approach to the zebra crossing. Two of these three collisions involved vehicles
travelling westbound, with the other collision involving vehicles travelling
eastbound. All three shunt incidents were attributed to inappropriate speeds
and the driver failing to look properly. Two of these collisions involved cars
only, with the other involving a car and a motorcycle.”

While the ongoing police inquiry has advised that
the highway layout was not being seen as a contributory factor to the fatal
accident in February, TfL have agreed to review the layout to begin to address
our concerns. These are all things which they are able to include in the
ongoing maintenance programme so the required works can be delivered fairly
promptly.

In summary, these works include:

  • The belisha beacon (the pole with an orange ball on top by the zebra crossings) post on the north-eastern side of A205 Thurlow Park Road is solid black, and will be made black and white striped to be consistent with other crossings of this type. This should make is more visible for oncoming traffic.
  • The belisha beacons on either side of Thurlow Park Road will be re-orientated to improve their visibility.
  • Two replacement keep left bollards will be installed on the pedestrian refuge area (island) in the middle of the road.

In addition, TfL have agreed to get in touch with
the police to set up some community-led speed checks under the Community
Roadwatch scheme, which will complement the surveys that TfL have undertaken.
This scheme gives residents the opportunity to work with local police teams,
and use speed detection equipment to deter speeding on their roads. 

Dates are
yet to be finalised for this event – if you would like to be part of this
please sign up here.

TfL are also considering other interventions that
could be made in the longer term and progressed as part of their programme with
the aim of reducing speeds and improving safety along this section of Thurlow
Park Road. They say, “We intend to work with all stakeholders
to ensure that all our roads are safe for all road users.”

Quietways call-in FAQ

We have been asked a number of questions regarding the
call-in and thought it would be useful to circulate answers. We will continue
to update these as more residents email with questions.

What does a call-in mean?

From time to time, the Cabinet may take a decision that
causes concern to some councillors to such an extent that they believe the
decision should be changed. The Local Government Act 2000 requires every
council to establish a mechanism which allows for executive decisions made but
not yet implemented to be ‘called in’ for consideration by scrutiny. This
includes decisions taken by Cabinet (collective or individual) or decisions
delegated to Chief Officers.

In Lambeth, a call-in can be made by councillors to ask
Overview and Scrutiny to send the decision back, or let the decision stand but
make recommendations, or approve the decision.

The call-in will be considered by members of the Overview
and Scrutiny Committee. If they deem it valid, a public meeting will be
organised to discuss the decision and the reasons given for calling it in.
Members of the public can also take part.

How can I take part?

Call-in meetings are public events and anyone can attend.
Members of the public can also request to ask questions or make short points at
this meeting.

Your local councillors will be representing you at the
meeting too, and would value your input. You can provide this input in a number
of ways –

Who called in the decision?

Your local councillors, Anna, Max and Fred, called in the
decision.

Calling in a decision should be a last resort, so we waited
until we had held a meeting with the cabinet member and senior officers to see
if there was a quicker way to resolve the various issues and outstanding
questions without escalating the matter to Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

We found out after the call-in deadline had passed that the
councillor for Clapham Common, Cllr Briggs, also called in the decision,
although we are unclear why a representative from a different part of Lambeth would
take a new interest in West Dulwich and West Norwood without the courtesy of
discussing with the cabinet member or local councillors, given a lack of previous
interest shown to any local or cycling matters.

Why are local councillors calling in the decision?

We want Rosendale Road, Turney Road, and the surrounding streets to be safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and children walking to school or crossing the road. It should be a pleasant environment to live and work in, and the local community should have some say on, and ownership over, how this is developed. 

We think the plans fail to take into account the feedback that residents gave in the consultation last year – and as a result do not achieve the safety and environmental improvements the community need. We do not want to cancel Quietways but we do want to make sure that local changes are as good as possible. We have asked for the proposals to be improved and for a full final consultation before the plans are signed off. 

In particular, we want a much safer proposals for the junction at Parkhall,

to ensure good access to the Rosendale Allotments,

better safety at the junction of Turney and Rosendale for children travelling to school, and sufficient greening the length of the route.

Why does the call-in focus on the design rather than the
overall route chosen?

The route was decided in 2013 by Andrew Gilligan, the then
Cycling Commissioner. A call-in must be specific to a particular decision, and
taken within a very limited time period after that decision is made (5 working
days). At a local level, councillors at the time report that they were not
included in this decision, although Cllr John Whelan was the leader of
Lambeth’s Conservative Group at the time and will have had the ability to have
questioned the choice of route had he chosen to.

This call-in is to challenge the decision made on 12 June
which is about the design. We think that the route along Rosendale Road means
there will be a unique investment in our local neighbourhood – which we would
welcome should the proposals deliver genuine improvements in safety for
residents, cyclists and pedestrians, and should the community have genuine
input into the design.

Therefore, the scope of the review by Overview and Scrutiny
will focus on the design as detailed in the decision published here

Does this delay improvements to Rosendale Road?

Yes, inevitably it takes time to review a decision and make
recommendations. However, we hope that any delay to works starting will be
mitigated by a much improved design which will deliver greater local benefits.
We will be working closely with the cabinet member and officers to ensure
delays are minimised.

Our Quietways call-in

On 12 June, Lambeth Council’s website showed that a decision had been published regarding the design of Quietway 7 – the route along Rosendale Road and Turney Road.

This Quietway has been a fraught process since the outset, and we have worked closely with residents and community groups to ensure that we achieve a design that makes the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians, but that is acceptable to people living, shopping and working nearby too.

We ensured the original proposal to close Rosendale Road to through traffic was taken off the table and organised a full consultation in 2015, with public meetings, co-design workshops and exhibitions of proposals. There was an online consultation on plans in March 2016 and we have continued to push for changes since – in particularly to retain parking near to Turney School, to ensure continued access to the Rosendale Allotments and to ensure the Parkhall/ Rosendale junction does not change in a way which speeds up cars or causes additional traffic queues.

When the decision was published, we were concerned that the public feedback during the consultation and our contributions on residents’ behalf had not been taken into account as plans appeared unchanged except for the reinstatement of parking on Turney Road. And as cyclists, we don’t believe the scheme delivers the safety improvements that cyclists and pedestrians need either.

We met with the cabinet member and lead officers to express our concerns and discuss how we can address those, and will continue to meet regularly. We are meeting with TfL officers regarding the route and the junction on the South Circular too.

We have also decided to request a “call in” on the decision – this is a formal challenge to the decision and could result in the decision being sent back to rethink, or modified before it can be implemented.

Our “call in” asks for plans to be changed so that they reflect our concerns and community feedback, and for a full consultation on new plans – both online and in public workshops. Scrutiny committee are meeting in a few days to consider our request, and if it is accepted there will be a public meeting to discuss the decision and make recommendations.