Traffic in the High Road

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dandanthesushiman
Posts: 4
Joined: 24 Oct 2011 16:16
Location: Sydenham

Traffic in the High Road

Post by dandanthesushiman »

As I was sitting in the high street traffic jam at around 7pm on Saturday I not unnaturally started to wonder why there is nearly alway's such bad congestion on the high street. I walk to and from the station every weekday (so I am not one of those people who drive a short journey and add to the problem) and normally I am going faster than the traffic.

This morning I decided to count the traffic light's on my journey and there are 7 sets of lights between Fairlawn Park and the station. Between Cobb's Corner and Sainsburys there are 11 Sets of lights. I believe this averages a set every 100 yards. There are 6 sets between Mayow Road and the Station which can not be further than 400 yards!

It seems obvious to me that having this many lights is the root cause of the problem, I would argue that at least 6 sets of lights are completely unnecessary.

Is there a plan behind the installation of all these lights? Who decides that this is a good idea in terms of controlling the flow of traffic and effectively spending our council tax. Would it not be better for the environment, business and the stress levels of those living and traveling through Sydenham to do something about this? The good news is that the problem could easily be assessed and addressed by simply switching off most of the lights for a week or two and seeing what effect it had. Does anyone know the appropriate person to ask about this? Am I alone in thinking this way? I look forward to the debate!

PilatesYogaAdam
Posts: 11
Joined: 14 Oct 2013 14:44
Location: Sydenham

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by PilatesYogaAdam »

Speaking as a pedestrian, I think the sets of lights are a VAST improvement to what was there before, which was pretty unfriendly to bipeds.

Eagle
Posts: 10658
Joined: 7 Oct 2004 06:36
Location: F Hill

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Eagle »

Exactly which lights do you deem not needed ?

Sydenham High Street is a pedestrian area with people wanting to cross the road at many places.

the main question is why locals feel the need to have and drive cars.

Steveofsyd
Posts: 304
Joined: 23 Feb 2013 19:05
Location: Wiverton Road

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Steveofsyd »

I think Dandan has a point though . The number seems excessive.
I have a car but I use it only to go further afield. I cycle or walk to the high street so I have no agenda.
It would be interesting to compare with Beckenham .
Our problem is that most traffic is "throught" traffic and not necessarily stopping to shop.

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Steveofsyd
Posts: 304
Joined: 23 Feb 2013 19:05
Location: Wiverton Road

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Steveofsyd »

Just thought about this and of course we have the junctions of Newlands and Mayo where lights are of course very necessary

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Eagle
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Joined: 7 Oct 2004 06:36
Location: F Hill

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Eagle »

Thanks Steve

Newlands Park used to be a nightmare to cross.

dandanthesushiman
Posts: 4
Joined: 24 Oct 2011 16:16
Location: Sydenham

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by dandanthesushiman »

As I said a few are necessary Newlands and Mayow being 2 but there are any number which are not at junctions at all. I am both a pedestrian and a driver so I see both sides.

As pedestrian I find the pavements perfectly adequate when walking and feel that I do not need to have a set of lights every 100 yards in order to cross the road safely. If I feel the need to cross at a traffic light I aways have the option to walk to the nearest one and cross there.

The high street is not a pedestrian only area, if it were traffic would not be allowed to use it.

As to the main question of why the locals feel the need to have and drive cars, have you ever considered that the high street may be a route used by non-local people? and that perhaps people who live in Sydenham may some times wish to go to other places without it taking an age just to leave the area?

mosy
Posts: 3984
Joined: 21 Sep 2007 20:28
Location: London

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by mosy »

I think it's agreed that the lights aren't phased brilliantly (see other thread). A big difference, well two actually, that pelican lights make for pedestrians is that:

First, cars are more likely to take notice of lights, which can now actually be seen in advance by drivers in the run up, yey, than were taken of the belisha beacons so there should be fewer near misses now, thankfully, after a decade of complaining about the dangerous zebra crossing point at the Greyhound brow. Edit PS, not to mention suicide corner at Newlands Park.

Secondly, if lights are relatively close together, it stops vehicles revving up and racing to the next set, often at higher mph than appropriate for a busy high street.

On the other hand, once lights are phased in sync, pedestrians had better be on their toes if they want to traffic dodge... Hopefully re-phasing will mean that pedestrians at pelican crossings (junctions are different) can expect them to change - well - sometimes it feels like any time before Christmas would do ;)

No-one wants congestion and delays - maybe they should build a ring road through CP park? :mrgreen:

Rachael
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010 13:42
Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Rachael »

As someone who regularly approaches Cobbs Corner from Westwood Hill, I frequently sit in tailbacks beyond Sydenham School. Once I'm (finally) past the two new sets of pedestrian lights, Sydenham Road is often almost clear of traffic. So it seems pretty clear to me that these two sets of lights are contributing to the making the usual peak-hours tailbacks longer. But they are not the cause of them.

Tailbacks from Cobbs Corner have always been an issue at peak times. Before, it was the lights at Newlands that caused the delay. So there has always been an issue with the volume of traffic filtering through that part of the road in peak times. The current set-up is making an existing problem worse.

mikej
Posts: 408
Joined: 14 Dec 2006 21:55
Location: New Beckenham

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by mikej »

the problems at the Cobb's Corner roundabout at peak times (especially the evening) are caused by the fact that two roads' worth of traffic (Westwood Hill and Kirkdale) are forced to squeeze into one road (Sydenham Road) after the roundabout.

Clearly the two pelicans slow down that traffic further (as Rachael explains).

A few years ago there were two lanes after the roundabout heading into Sydenham road. That seemed to help, but again the Newlands Park lights slowed it all down.

It is difficult to see how this situation could be improved without major road surgery in the area.

Pity there is absolutely NO provision for safe cycle routes along this busy stretch of road.

An opportunity missed.

Robin Orton
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Joined: 9 Sep 2008 07:30
Location: London SE26

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Robin Orton »

I seem to remember being told that one reason it was decided to replace the ordinary zebra crossings in Sydenham Road with light-controlled crossings was because many pedestrians with disabilities had difficulties with the former and preferred the latter.

hairybuddha

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by hairybuddha »

I don't think it's controversial to say that the priority should be the safety and convenience of pedestrians and vulnerable road users. Then probably the safety and convenience of public transport users, then private motorists.

It seems like conditions have improved for the first one on that list, possibly got a little worse for the other two. Is there a way of tweaking things to improve the road for bus and private motor vehicles without unduly affecting pedestrians? Or are there just still too many people making journeys along Sydenham High St who don't need to? Perhaps we have to go through a phase like this until we start to see behaviour change and hopefully reduced traffic levels.

Fiddling with the number of lanes in and out of the roundabouts won't make much of a difference. That just shifts the problem a bit further down the road unless you widen it all the way down. And I don't think we want that.

leenewham
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Location: SYDENHAM
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Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by leenewham »

The number of lanes in and out of the roundabouts is the same as before isn' t it?

The width of traffic is the same as before.

We have many more traffic lights than before so Sydenham Road will always now have traffic when it's busier. How this affects trade is anyone guess.

Overall it's an improvement on before, mostly due to the pocket parks, but it's not a brilliantly design and thought out scheme, it's not unique to Sydenham, not placemaking and details like the lights are dull. I'm grateful for the improvements, but it's nowhere near as good as it could or should be.

Hopefully the council listened to the advice for the extension to the scheme lower down Sydenham Road and designed out pavement parking, fly tipping etc. If not they have let us down.

JulietP
Posts: 294
Joined: 18 Apr 2011 21:14
Location: SE26

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by JulietP »

There used to be two lanes on the kirkdale approach to cobbs corner roundabout. On the original plans there are also 2 lanes. However there is now only one. That has to have an impact.

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Rachael
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010 13:42
Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Rachael »

JulietP wrote:There used to be two lanes on the kirkdale approach to cobbs corner roundabout. On the original plans there are also 2 lanes. However there is now only one. That has to have an impact.

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Coming down Westwood Hill, cars can now use both lanes to enter the roundabout to go straight ahead, when the left hand lane used to be only for turning left up Kirkdale. So there are two lanes to enter now instead of one, but the tailbacks are much worse than before. So I don't think your theory holds water.

hairybuddha

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by hairybuddha »

Rachael wrote:Coming down Westwood Hill, cars can now use both lanes to enter the roundabout to go straight ahead, when the left hand lane used to be only for turning left up Kirkdale. So there are two lanes to enter now instead of one, but the tailbacks are much worse than before. So I don't think your theory holds water.
Water is precisely the analogy we need here. If all of the roads leading up to and away from the roundabout are one lane (with the exception of short two lane stretches on the junction itself) then you can't actually fit any more vehicles through the system. All you do is increase the pressure at the pinch points. If anything, allowing two lane approaches where both lanes are able to go straight ahead is probably adding to the congestion problems.

Steveofsyd
Posts: 304
Joined: 23 Feb 2013 19:05
Location: Wiverton Road

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Steveofsyd »

As an interesting test and at no financial cost. Why don't they try turning off the lights closest to the roundabout for a week...just put covers over them so there's no confusion. See if the flow improves with only the one by Lloyd's bank working...after all that is the set which serves the station. V

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Wing
Posts: 141
Joined: 9 Oct 2006 15:11
Location: Sydenham Hill

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Wing »

The lights closest to the roundabout should be dismantled. They just cause long tailbacks from the high street, Kirkdale, Westwood Hill and Laurie Park Road at peak hours. The lights in front Station Approach should suffice.

biscuitman1978
Posts: 1588
Joined: 16 May 2006 20:14
Location: Chislehurst; previously Sydenham

Traffic in the High Road

Post by biscuitman1978 »

Wing wrote:The lights closest to the roundabout should be dismantled. They just cause long tailbacks from the high street, Kirkdale, Westwood Hill and Laurie Park Road at peak hours. The lights in front Station Approach should suffice.
I suspect that many pedestrians wouldn't make that detour. If you are emerging from Station Approach and want to head west on the southern side of Sydenham Road/Kirkdale (i.e. on the opposite side to the Greyhound), using the crossing between Palace Wines and Lloyds bank takes you out of your way. Instead, people will cross the road where they can, without the benefit of a crossing.

Does that mean pedestrians are lazy? Perhaps, but we need to plan for living in the real world, not a world where pedestrians enthusiastically walk one way in order to get to their destination in the opposite direction. (And why should they? We should be encouraging people to walk, not making life more difficult for them in order to please people in their cars.)

In any case, I don't buy the idea that one pedestrian crossing is holding up traffic to the extent people are suggesting on this forum. There may be a improvements that can be made to the timing on the crossing (and indeed on the other crossings and junctions) and by all means let's see what the position is once, as we've been promised, this is looked at. But let's not put pedestrians at risk by removing crossings which are well used.

Annie.
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Joined: 11 May 2012 17:48

Re: Traffic in the High Road

Post by Annie. »

Well said, put pedestrians first.

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