Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

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DerBrenster
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Joined: 25 Oct 2008 23:17
Location: SE26 6XX

Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by DerBrenster »

I'd been impressed by how little disruption that the works being carried out by Riney were causing over the past few months but during the past couple of weeks, it seems to me that the latest changes being made are yet another example of how to cause maximum inconvenience to road users.

Who are the idiots that configure these schemes? Are they genuinely stupid or is there a more sinister undertone? Did they use the same "consultants" who thought it a good idea to site a pedestrian crossing on the brow of a bridge with terrible sightlines from the road and where you're blinded at night by oncoming vehicles?

Firstly, the new island that's been built at the Kirkdale exit reduces traffic down to a single lane again, meaning that there will now be a return to long queues going back up the road as far as Jews Walk at all but the quietest times. There's enough room there for two lanes, one to go left into the town centre and one for traffic turning right - but the muppets who have designed it have lost that opportunity by making it too narrow. I've lived in Sydenham for long enough to remember a time when there were two lanes there and funnily enough, you didn't have to sit in long queues when it was set up that way.

And the other very recent change is the creation of raised pedestrian crossings both there and at the exit to Westwood Hill. Yet another stupid idea, meaning that pedestrians don't have the awful trial of stepping down a couple of inches to road level but actually resulting in discomfort and suspension wear for the thousands of vehicles (and their occupants) that will now travel over them every day.

I am sick of the continued discrimination against road users every time there is redesign of a streetscape (which is usually paid for from the myriad taxes applied to people who have the audacity to drive motor vehicles). I see on another thread here that there is acclaim for the creation of a 20 MPH zone in the Thorpes - why? Is it really so dreadful to drive at up to 30 MPH along a public road? That law has been in place for 80 years and there hasn't been mass carnage. Indeed, KSI's have fallen year on year across the decades. Even 20 MPH outside a school at hometime is arguably too fast, but what about at 3am? Surely, it's not about speed but about the road conditions at the time. The police won't enforce such a scheme anyway so it'll just be a big political posturing waste of money, but do enjoy the many repeater signs that'll be coming to your lamposts soon and ignored.

As I recall Silverdale, which has speed bumps at very regular intervals, has massive potholes in the unkept road surface between those raised pieces of tarmac so you speed along there at your peril. You won't need a 20 zone - just give it a couple of years and your roads will crumble and not be repaired.

I think Lewisham Council should be prohibited from creating any further traffic calming measures until they have filled in every single pothole in the borough. With the state of the roads in this area, it is absurd that good tarmac is being used to deliberately create "calming" measures whilst the council is shamefully ignoring the dreadful state of carraigeways which are meant to be level but in fact undulate wildly (been down Sydenham Avenue recently?).

Doubtless the right on, green types will be outraged by my post but it seems to me that the balance between providing quality roads for people to transport themselves around and through the borough, versus the mania to create as many obstacles to road traffic as possible is very badly skewed in 2013. How much does it cost the economy (and the environment) to have people inhibited from moving around efficiently?

As mentioned, I've lived in SE26 for a long time - long enough to remember when it was possible to drive from Bell Green to Cobbs Corner without sitting in a jam at all times of the day. But that was before the last redesign that we've lived with for the past couple of decades. And that's not just about increased traffic density - it's about poor road layout, inefficient use of traffic signals and their phasing with an overall general bias against the road user. I was hoping that this new scheme would redress that balance but sadly it seems not.

One last thing - it's not just those nasty people in their cars that are affected by this - it's those travelling on buses, bicycles and in ambulances who have to encounter these obstacles too. I drive cars, I have a bike, I use buses and I am a pedestrian too so anyone who attempts to label this post as being the rantings of a speed freak couldn't be more wrong. It's about balance. And the balance being applied by the London Borough of Lewisham is now skewed too far against the interests of road users.

P.S. Drafted this earlier and drove around the roundabout at 10.30 on a Sunday night - traffic chaos. The re-siting of the roundabout has made it harder for long vehicles to negotiate (like the 197, 176 and 202 buses as well as HGV's) and so if that's what happens off peak, it's going to be fun for everyone when it gets busy. Utterly ridiculous and yet more proof that those who design these things need locking up.
Eagle
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Eagle »

Dear Sir or Madam
I to have known Cobbs Corner for over 60 years. Unfortunately more down market than in the time of Cobb's Dept Store.
You seem to agree the raised crossing assists the pedestrians but you believe that it damages cars which is more important.
I would imagine built and designed NOT to damage cars that travel at the correct speed over the humps.

Sydenham was NOT designed for the automobile and as such pedestrians and buses should have priority . Far to many residents have cars when it is debateable whether they are really required.
DerBrenster
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Location: SE26 6XX

Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by DerBrenster »

Mr/Ms/Mrs Eagle,

My gender is irrelevant in relation to this issue, as is yours so let's park that and address your points.

Which I'm afraid aren't particularly logical in a number of ways.

Firstly, the actual speed limit there is 30 MPH but the "correct" speed, which was a point I made in my post, is one which should actually be relevant to the conditions. Please don't "imagine". Use facts.

As a worked example, if I'm driving along there at 2am with not a soul in sight, hitting that crossing at the legal speed would do a lot of damage.

Having been gifted with two working legs, it's not really a big deal for me to step down a little to cross the road - indeed, the previous design dropped the kerb to road level anyway and I quite happily pushed my kid's buggy across the road using said drop.

What they've now done is introduce yet another road obstacle to add to the excess number that already exist, both designed and through negligence.

To say that Sydenham "was not designed for the automobile" suggests that you live in an aspic shaded Victorian utopia, free of those blasted inconveniences of the modern world. Can you point me towards somewhere that was "designed" that way? It's called progress, and you benefit from it in many ways so don't be a hypocrite.

Feel free to ride around on your Penny Farthing if you like, but the rest of the world has moved on - my point, which you have completely missed, is about balance (or rather, the lack of it).

To suggest that people should do without cars is to wish for a return to a world where people don't travel much more than 10 miles from where they were born (as was the case when Cippenham was a hamlet 200 years ago). I use trains, buses, bicycles and my feet. But there is also a place for the car to take you to places where the former are impractical. That, maybe, is why they're so popular!

Oh, and about buses - they have to ride over the raised crossings too. When the government of the day first authorised "traffic calming" such as this, they promised that it'd never be used on bus routes. Another lie, conveniently forgottten now.

And if I want to be really pedantic, an omnibus driven by an internal combustion engine is a form of automobile so by your logic we shouldn't have them either.

I was hoping for some educated debate on this subject but if all you can provide is a response which denies the realities of the world we now live in, then it's not really doing anything to enhance a debate.
Maria
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Maria »

"You were hoping for some educated debate" - You don't say?! :lol:

What with calling some people idiots, wondering if they are genuinely stupid, and stating they need locking up, you STILL think you can raise a valid point and sustain a rational argument?

Tell you what: with that kind of language you will quite possibly (probably) jeopardize your opinion, turn people off and stop them for being bothered to even get to the end of your post. Even if you were right.

Tai Chi - have you tried it? It's fantastic for pent up aggression and unleashed hostility.

PS: it's not what you say, it's (rather often) the way that you say it...Was that a song?
Rachael
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Rachael »

Did you come for educated debate or to set out your opinions and wait for people to agree with you?

If you have serious concerns about buses not being able to turn, contact Lewisham. Although if the buses are having trouble, I'm sure the bus companies will let them know soon enough. With the road layout not yet finalised, it's hard to know what the final outcome will be. The new roundabout does look like it's in an odd off-centre position, but maybe the rest of the road layout will be adjusted too.

Here's a link to the redesign plans. It shows two lanes in the approach to the roundabout from Kirkdale and the roundabout in a more central position. If this is not what is being delivered, contact Lewisham.
http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/SiteCollecti ... posals.pdf

What's the difference between raised crossings and speed tables? I ask because I know plenty of bus routes where there are speed tables. Do these contravene the promise you refer to (if you have a link to that it would be very useful)?
Tim Lund
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Tim Lund »

DerBrenster wrote:Is it really so dreadful to drive at up to 30 MPH along a public road? That law has been in place for 80 years and there hasn't been mass carnage. Indeed, KSI's have fallen year on year across the decades.
Interesting to look at some numbers here

Image

Source Wikipedia

Image

Source http://www.cyclehelmets.org

If we'd not grown up with many more thousands being killed each year, just under 2,000 being killed on the roads might well have seemed like 'mass carnage', and certainly more shocking than the 127 more deaths than expected in one year which triggered the Francis Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust

A 'Mr Angry' might look at the continuing death toll on the roads and be righteously incensed, but a more constructive approach might be to ask what has caused the long term decline in deaths, and encourage those responsible to keep up the good work - although in the early days a large part of the decline is due to pedestrians learning that roads were more dangerous than in the days of horses and carriages. Better brakes and seat belts are the obvious development to thank, although there are those who argue that drivers adjust their behaviour to a level of risk they feel comfortable with, so 'safer' mean more dangerous drivers - the"risk compensation" hypothesis.. As I understand it, the established view is that reducing speed does unequivocally make a difference.

When you compare the number of people killed on the roads with the number killed thanks to the current scandal over horse meat in our food chain (zero), you can only be amazed at how much cultural attitudes dominate the would be calm, rational mind.
maestro
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by maestro »

Hey DerBrenster, are you still driving that smokey 14 year old Jag making us all cough and splutter here in Sydenham, or did you take my advice and get yourself a super-clean, low polluting Prius?


"I can see that those who have invested their money and reputation into driving a Smug Mobile would want to defend their position and rationale until they were blue in the face but I've made my point now and am going to going and rev my engine and burn some hydrocarbons, just to annoy them. Cheers! "

(cue 'Stuart' :lol: )
stone-penge
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by stone-penge »

And where are the bicycle stands in this design?

No one knows, not even the contractors.
Eagle
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Eagle »

Amazing how a shy and sensitive person like myself could generate so much bad feelings from Den Brenster.
We seem to have different views as to the transport ideals of the area so best let it rest.

I would hate to cause further distress to this person.
stuart
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by stuart »

Eagle I even more upset with you than with piston head. I've had to agree with you three times in three weeks. This is causing me real pain. Have you had the operation causing you to write so much sense?

Please, please Eagle revert or STF will lose its edge ... :?

Stuart
Eagle
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Eagle »

Stuart
Many thanks but I think you must have misunderstood previous posts as I always endeavour to speak sense.

I am sure such as Michael will agree with your comments about my sensible comments.
gerispringer
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by gerispringer »

It's funny they have room for urinals oops mean unused phone boxes, but have forgotten about bike stands!
Are they putting plants/ flowers in the roundabout or just leaving it as an artistic brick pile?

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stuart
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by stuart »

I guess the roundabout is being reserved for your bike stands. There they won't get in the way of pedestrians or that darn van driver who insists on driving over our new pristine slabs and parking on and blocking the pavement with his overweight (dubious?) loads of bottles and stuff which I doubt are going to Sydenham DIY.

Its pointless politely asking him to use the road ... I've tried. Trouble is the parking wardens don't work evenings. Indeed they seldom seem to work in Sydenham Road at all.

Stuart
Nigel
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Nigel »

DerBrenster
I am always amused by people that define themselves as "motorists".
Despite my wide-ranging activities I would never describe myself as a tin-opener user, a cheesecake consumer or rebate plane owner.
Basically you are a Sydenham resident and extremely well done for that .
The current developments have been very accommodating to the motorcar in one important way ; there is now more legal parking for "motorists " to stop and buy things from Sydenham.
That is the only thing that should concern us.
The motor car lobby is still probably one of the most powerful voices and I doubt they need your support however cogent your arguments might seem to them.
What is missing now is 1 - the trees, 2- the bike stands . Everything else is a welcome improvement and good for Sydenham people , whether pedestrians , wheelchair-users or in my case cheese grater - operators .
A very good morning
Nigel

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DerBrenster
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by DerBrenster »

Blimey, you go away for a couple of days and come back to find several responses - but I'm glad to see that my post has elicited further comment other than the Luddite one that I first got. In order then:

Maria - My use of derogatory terms in relation to those anonymous officers of the council who are responsible for the issues that I raised is, I think, perfectly reasonable in the context of the fact that my taxes are being spent on designs which they are responsible for and which are clearly going to exacerbate the already inefficient design of the area around the roundabout. These people sit behind their desks and dream up their schemes adhering to the latest traffic planning fashions and the results of their inadequate designs are felt by everybody using them for years to come. I tried Tai Chi once but found Yoga far more suited to resolving my Karma needs.

Rachael - Thanks for the advice but I'll leave it to the relevant transport authorities to do their jobs. As you say, the design shows two lanes there but the new centre island takes up so much room that in fact, there seems to not be enough room for two lanes in reality - as was shown earlier when I was backed up in a queue because cars turning left were not moving completely to the left due to the bus lane and stop immediately preceding it. Regarding the purpose of my post - it was in fact to express frustration and annoyance that yet again, road users are being further impeded by bad road design. Really not fussed who agrees with me, but I suspect that people don't really get much pleasure from sitting in traffic jams or being bounced around by unnecessary raised crossings. I'll see if I can find a link to the government promise I mentioned but it was 20 odd years ago. And this phrase "speed tables". What's that about?? Call them what they are. Deliberately placed obstacles in the road which are allegedly designed to slow people down (even those who are driving at legal speeds) but which in fact cause wear and damage to vehicle suspensions, discomfort to the occupants of those vehicles, increase fuel consumption and pollution as well as causing nuisance to those who live near them.

Tim - Thank you for the graphs which I think comprehensively prove my point. What isn't shown there of course is the considerable increase in the number of motor vehicles using the roads across the same period. And if that were factored in, it would reveal an even more dramatic relative decline. Clearly, every death on the road is one too many but my point, which I've made several times now, is that the issue usually isn't about speed itself but road conditions. Speed doesn't kill on it's own. Inappropriate use of it does. Hence, nannying people to drive at 20 MPH along a street in the middle of the night won't work and, as has been demonstrated in other boroughs, the Met Police are not interested in enforcing such limits. "Established views" - whose? Those who make an ongoing living from clogging up the roads further with their inefficient traffic calming schemes? Well, they would say that wouldn't they? Just to be clear - I'm absolutely not advocating people driving at dangerous speeds. I'm railing against those who impose ill considered and ultimately self defeating (and costly) measures which result in inconvenience to the silent majority who drive carefully but find themselves encountering ever more obstacles.

Maestro - Hello again. Yep, still got the Jag, but only for high days and holidays. Petrol's expensive you know, even more so when it's being wasted in queues created by badly designed road schemes and slowing down and accelerating for every "speed table". How's your Prius battery? Due for it's £4000 replacement soon I'd expect. Or you could just import another new one from Japan and ruin the planet a little more.

Eagle (again) - I'm sorry if I offended your sensibilities but, honestly, stuff like "SE26 isn't designed for cars" isn't going to make them go away. So let's try and make SE26 a suitable environment for them to pass through efficiently on it's major artery, with due respect to those who aren't in cars as well. Which, my point is, this scheme isn't going to achieve.

Stuart - Do I understand from your post that you don't think Sydenham should allow cars to pass through either?

Nigel - I did go to some lengths to define myself as a multi-dimensional individual in the context of me walking, using public transport and having a bike as well. But clearly, it's from the perspective of me driving through my lovely area that my post was primarily directed at. Can't say I've ever struggled with parking in Sydenham - the free Girton Road car park is never full and there are often spaces along the High Street if I need to stop off quickly. It's certainly better than Penge or Forest Hill for parking already.

Anyway - thanks to you all for your responses, although I haven't actually seen anyone disagree with my fundamental points (regarding unnecessary raised crossings, too narrow roundabout exits, the rubbish state of existing roads whilst new tarmac is being used to create wholly new undulations and the pointlessness of introducing 20 MPH zones which will not be enforced by authorities and which are inappropriate when most people are in bed anyway).

But I'll be happy to listen to anyone who can put me straight on any of those if I'm wrong. What I know for sure is that the die is now set, and we'll be enduring the consequences of this poorly thought out roundabout arrangement for years to come. So if I choose to call the people responsible for this "fools" and "idiots" and wish bad things upon them in a public domain, then perhaps that's Karma coming right back at them.

Perhaps we should be grateful that they didn’t put traffic lights to replace the roundabout (as they did up at the Palace a few years back). That really would have messed things up.
Eagle
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Eagle »

Thanks DM

You have put your points well.

However in your reply to my comment that SE 26 was not built with cars in mind , you stated what place was.

Well the roads and main streets in SE 26 were constructed prior to the Motor Car. They were designed in the knowledge that the train would be the main method of transport.

Many places outside London have been mainly built with the Motor car in mind. MK is an extreme example.

To give the car much more freedom in SE26 would mean destroying the victorian and edwardian buildings that make Sydenham what it is.

If you need reminding whether Victorian buildings are better than post was buildings go to Venner Road. The shacks they call Canal Walk , only built in the 70's , look far more run down that the lovely old houses.
leenewham
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by leenewham »

Nigel wrote:DerBrenster
I am always amused by people that define themselves as "motorists".
Despite my wide-ranging activities I would never describe myself as a tin-opener user, a cheesecake consumer or rebate plane owner.
Basically you are a Sydenham resident and extremely well done for that .
The current developments have been very accommodating to the motorcar in one important way ; there is now more legal parking for "motorists " to stop and buy things from Sydenham.
That is the only thing that should concern us.
The motor car lobby is still probably one of the most powerful voices and I doubt they need your support however cogent your arguments might seem to them.
What is missing now is 1 - the trees, 2- the bike stands . Everything else is a welcome improvement and good for Sydenham people , whether pedestrians , wheelchair-users or in my case cheese grater - operators .
A very good morning
Nigel



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AGREE
Have a good morning
Lee, occasional nappy changer.

P.S. The speed tables in Sydenham Road DM are supposed to be like the one outside of Forest HIll Station near ALL IN ONE. It doesn't really slow the traffic down as you can go over them at about 20-30mph (if you find it a problem, then you are speeding), it's a smooth gentle curved raised but of road meant to make it easier to cross the road. It doesn't damage cars and you only slow down because the road marking is different. That is what was discussed at the planning meetings. It is not a speed bump like some of the huge ones that force people, dangerously, to drive in the middle of the road.

I can't say that I've noticed the two lanes issue as when I have been around it, traffic lights have been in operation and it hasn't operated as it should. If it has been situated in the wrong place or doesn't function properly then changes should be made which I'm sure our local cllrs will fight for, even if the council say it's ok.
jonathan_har
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by jonathan_har »

Just to be clear on the issue of road deaths (text taken from Cyclists in the City blog):

Earlier this week, the government released its latest road casualty data for the third quarter 2012.

The figures show exactly the same trend we've seen for the last couple of years. Although motor vehicle traffic levels have increased (up 0.2% on 12 months previously), the number of people killed or seriously injured in motor vehicles is decreasing.

Meanwhile, the number of people killed but not in a motor vehicle is increasing month after month.

We are designing danger out of our roads for people but only when they're in motor vehicles. Look at the number of children killed or injured on our roads: The total number of all child road casualties fell 9% between third quarter 2011 and third quarter 2012. But the number of child pedestrians killed or seriously injured jumped 8%.

Pedestrian casualties (adults and children) are up 6% The number of people killed or seriously injured on bikes is up 8%.

To quote from a Daily Mail columnist:

"I think our roads are statistically safer largely because soft targets, particularly child cyclists, have almost entirely retreated from them. But the roads are not really safer. It’s just that people have learned to avoid them unless they themselves go out in armour".
hairybuddha

Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by hairybuddha »

Haven't been so amused by a forum post in quite some time. Inspired to stop lurking and sign up.

I've been very impressed with the quality of the improvement work that has been carried out so far just as I was very impressed with the plans. Sadly the Council hasn't gone far enough in making the High Street a genuinely pleasant environment for cyclists and pedestrians. But there are signs of progress - The reconfiguration of Venner Rd being a good example.

The roundabout has been configured to reduce traffic speeds. Fine by me. The design specs for infrastructure of this type would not allow a design that buses couldn't navigate. The speed tables at the pedestrian island are specifically designed to ensure that motorists travel at an appropriate speed. If you find that your car is being damaged by repeatedly driving over them then you are driving too quickly. If the jostling in the car causes distress, you are driving too quickly.

The idea that the approaches to the roundabout require two traffic lanes is ludicrous. But for a couple of hours either side of the working day there is already far too much capacity around the junction (as with most of the rest of the road network). If one traffic lane on approach to a semi urban roundabout isn't enough then there are too many people making journeys by car. Looking at the girth of some of my fellow Londoners would seem to back this up.

20mph zones around the Thorpes, bring 'em on. Let's roll it out borough wide. The notion that there is some kind of persecution of the motorist is laughable. Moving around our city by anything other than car is a dreadful experience for precisely the opposite reason. The needs of the private motorist have been indulged for too long.
Eagle
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Re: Cobbs Corner Roundabout and other related issues!

Post by Eagle »

HairyB
As I have discovered to my cost one can get into trouble by refering to our obese fellow citizens.

I agree with most of your points. The Motor Car is only one form of local transport , usually for the richer elite.
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