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Archive for the ‘Traffic and transport’ Category

If you haven’t already received the newsletter through your front door you can download it here. The newsletter for this quarter contains:

  • Tube noise: the rumblings of change?
  • Clint Eastwood’s visit and details on filming in the area
  • Call for ideas on how to spend ASSA community £s
  • Rubbish collections and bins in Albert Square
  • Details of the recent draught busting day and street sale
  • Call for helpers in the Summer fair (June 12th – put it in your diary!)
  • Call to action on companies who refuse to deliver up more than 13 steps

Download here: ASSA Newsletter Q1_2010

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Latest dialogue with Lambeth Council – suggestions and questions sent to them in March, responses received today.

SlowASSA proposal:  That the top of Lansdowne Way (between the Clapham Road and the South Lambeth Road) be returned to being a two-way road.

Lambeth response:  Unfortunately we are unable to progress this request due to what would be a negative impact on the wider road network.

ASSA proposal:  Defensive entry treatment at the junction of South Lambeth Road and Aldebert Terrace, and the junction of the Clapham Road and Albert Square.

Lambeth response:  We would support your proposal, however these roads are the responsibility of TfL and as such any such requests should be directed to them.

ASSA proposal:  Measurement of the impact of the sinusoidal humps

Lambeth response:  This is a good idea. We will arrange to have speed and vehicle volume surveys carried out.

ASSA proposal:  A 20mph sign to replace the current 30mph sign at the start of Bolney Street (as you leave Dorset Road)

Lambeth response: Thank you. I will arrange to have this sign replaced.

ASSA proposal:  Sinusoidal humps to replace all the speed cushions

Lambeth response: Unfortunately we are unable to replace the speed cushions with sinusoidal humps at this time, however those cushions that are in need of repair will be attended to.

ASSA question:  Has any assessment been made of the impact of the priority traffic flow treatment in Fentiman Road?

Lambeth response:  An assessment of the effect of the Fentiman Road scheme is yet to be carried out.

ASSA question:  Are there any plans for traffic calming in streets that feed our area e.g. Vassall Road, Caldwell Street?

Lambeth response:  There are no plans for additional traffic calming on these streets, or any of the others feeding your area at this stage. Any need for traffic calming or additional works is prioritised and considered as funding becomes available.

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The latest proposals for the development of Battersea Power Station include the idea of extending the Northern Line from Kennington through Nine Elms to a new station at the power station itself.  Given the track record of Battersea Power Station proposals – a special shuttle service to Victoria was proposed twenty years ago and never got off the drawing board – it’s anybody’s guess whether this will ever come to anything, but it does have some local implications.

northern line to battersea The proposal takes advantage of TfL’s intention (discussed here last year) of splitting the Northern Line so that Charing Cross branch trains always turn round at Kennington, but extending the terminus out two stops.

If it were to happen, one effect would be to put us within ten to fifteen minutes’ walk of four different tube stations, as there is a proposal for an intermediate station at Nine Elms, which looks as though it is intended to go roughly in Sainsbury’s car park.  The other effect would be that of the tunnels:  they would run south west of Oval station coming under Fentiman Road and grazing the end of Richborne Terrace, turning to run due west as they cross under South Lambeth Road somewhere around Wilcox Close.  That’s almost certainly far enough away to avoid the problems we have with the Victoria Line – but the margin is not huge.

That’s all a bit of an approximation because the map on the power station website is tiny, but there are larger samizdat versions on the London Reconnections blog, which also has more of the background.

None of this will happen soon under any circumstances, and as things stand at the moment if feels pretty unlikely that it will ever happen at all.  But it’s certainly one to keep an eye on.

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Two new speed limit signs have appeared in the last few days.  The first pair, at the entrance to Aldebert Terrace, add to what is now a fairly unpleasant clutter of signs, but are now clear enough.*

Aldebert Terrace signs

Another new sign at the entrance to Albert Square, finally confirming the road marking which has been there for quite a while.

Albert Square sign

That at least means that most drivers looking for a short cut will have no excuse for not being aware of the lower speed limt.  But approach St Stephen’s Terrace from Bolney Street, and it’s a different story.  The signs there were put up to mark the end of the 20mph zone round Fentiman Road (known to the planners as “St Stephen’s” for bizarre reasons of their own).

Bolney St speed sign

Since the two 20mph zones are contiguous, the signs simply need to be removed to ensure that drivers are accurately informed throughout the area.
*When it first went up, this sign was on a very short pole – even shorter than the one at the entrance to Albert Square – and was potentially very dangerous as it blocked half the pavement at head height. Credit to Lambeth for replacing it with the much taller and safer pole within a day.

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Lambeth Council has produced a draft Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which was published in July, and is open to consultation until 15 December.  It’s a long and detailed document covering the area from Lambeth Bridge in the north down to Wyvil Road in the south.  The plan is seeking to encourage significant redevelopment in the area, though recognising that this would add further pressure to already stretched transport services.

Draft Vauxhall SPD coverThere are some curious details – a photograph looking south along South Lambeth Road labelled as looking north, another of the Strand, which is gridlocked for much of the day, presented as an “example of a quality street not compromised by high traffic volumes”, enough typos to suggest that it was put together in slightly too much of a hurry, and quite a lot of repetition.  But there is also quite a lot of systematic thinking about how the area might develop, with a pragmatic realisation that implementation might take 15 years.

There is an online questionnaire which goes with the draft plan and which is worth answering even if you can’t quite face the 111 pages of the SPD itself – it’s pretty straightforward and should only take a few minutes to complete.  One or two of the questions have a pretty strong slant – the two options for answering a question on tall buildings are:

  • Tall buildings should form a cluster around Vauxhall Cross (Vauxhall Heart)
  • Tall buildings should be allowed anywhere in Vauxhall

Not having tall buildings is apparently not an option, despite the transport pressures and visual intrusion they would create, though to be be fair there is an “other” category which provides space for alternative answers.

There are public exhibitions about the plan in several locations over the next few weeks, with details on the consultation web page.

Thanks to Andrew Orange of the Tradescant Road & South Lambeth blog for spotting the documents on the Lambeth website.

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End of the line

The new Transport for London business plan, published on Thursday, promises much for the next ten years:

The Programme will focus on the upgrade of the Tube, building Crossrail, extensions to the DLR and London Overground networks, supporting the 2012 Games and securing a legacy from them, smoothing traffic flows, leading a revolution in cycling and walking, and providing greater flexibility for London’s boroughs to deliver local transport solutions.

Tram lines in the Kingsway tunnel

Buried in the small print at the bottom is the less positive part of the story – which is the part which affects us most directly.    The cross-river tram, which might have come down Clapham Road, has been cancelled:

Cross River Tram (cost to complete £1.3bn):

Given the lack of funding available to implement the project and the likelihood of not securing additional third party funding, TfL is not in a position to develop the scheme any further.

However the Business Plan will deliver a number of transport improvements to the communities along the proposed routes including the increased capacity and more frequent services to come on the Northern, Victoria and Piccadilly lines.

TfL and the London Devlopment Agency will now look at alternatives to Cross River Tram including Northern line separation, improved bus operations and other ways of supporting local regeneration.

The tram always was a long shot, but it’s a shame that the prospect has disappeared altogether as it could have made a big contribution to easing transport pressures.

The opaquely named “Northern Line separation” offered as one of the alternatives is a scheme which would, in effect, permanently separate the Northern line into two lines – one from Morden through Stockwell, Kennington and the City to one of Edgware and High Barnet, and the other from Kennington through Charing Cross to the other of Edgware and High Barnet.  That can’t happen soon – it depends on rebuilding Camden Town station to create more capacity for changing trains and is rather opaquely described in the new business plan as “Northern line upgrade – Part 2, completion date 2020”.  If it ever happens, we would of course lose the direct connection to the Charing Cross branch from Stockwell and Oval, so it may not obviously look like a service improvement – but apparently not having to slot trains from the different branches behind each other on the same lines would allow overall train frequency to be increased by 20%.

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Residents in the Albert Square conservation area should have today received updated consultation material from Lambeth Council about the proposals for traffic calming measures in the area. The last meeting of the Albert Square and St Stephen’s Association (ASSA) Committee considered these and came to the following conclusions, which we hope will assist you in making a response to the proposals (the closing date is now 17 October).

Slow

The Albert Square and St Stephen’s Association (ASSA) welcomes the opportunity to respond to Lambeth Council’s current consultation on a traffic calming scheme in the Albert Square conservation area. But we believe that local residents need a far more effective approach to the serious problem of traffic that is too much and too fast. ASSA is opposed to the current proposals for the following reasons:

  • We don’t believe that the proposed additional sinusoidal road humps will be sufficient to reduce the volume and speed of traffic that now uses our area as a ‘rat run’ – a fact of life acknowledged in the council’s paper
  • We believe that any traffic calming measures for our area should be part of a wider strategy that situates our needs within the wider network of local streets. Such an approach was agreed by Lambeth Council in 2006, when the Executive Director of Environment reported to the North Lambeth Area Committee that the ‘Fentiman Road Cell scheme’ would be processed for implementation that year. Under this scheme, our area would have been subject to an ‘entry treatment’ that would have reduced the volume of traffic cutting through our streets, and its speed
  • There is an existing 20mph speed limit through our area – though you would hardly know this because of the lack of signs and road markings. This limit needs to be more vigorously signed and enforced. For example, a census of traffic through our area a year ago found that in excess of 1,000 vehicles a day were passing through the area, with average speed of 22mph and 15% were travelling at speeds of more than 26mph.

We welcome Lambeth Council’s attempts to tackle traffic calming in the Albert Square conservation area, but call on them to withdraw this scheme in favour of further consultation with residents to introduce more effective longer term solutions to reduce the volume and speed of traffic in our area.

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