Traffic reduction in Crystal Palace and Anerley

One of my top priorities for the Crystal Palace and Anerley area would have to be traffic reduction. Every day on my way home from work, walking back from the station or cycling down the hill, this is what I see:

Traffic in Crystal Palace and Anerley

The crawling queues are similar around the Triangle and down the other main roads in the area. This is bad news, if only because it’s annoying to be stuck in traffic! Plus, it snarls up buses and makes them less reliable.

Here is another pair of pictures, this time showing air pollution in the area.


The map on the left shows the quantity of deadly nitrogen dioxide emitted by vehicles each day, and in case you’re wondering the dark blue along Crystal Palace Parade is about the same as the Strand in central London, while the pollution down Anerley Hill is similar to that on the roads leading north from Kings Cross and Euston. The map on the right shows the stretches of road that are predicted to still exceed legal health limits for nitrogen dioxide in 2020, and the bus stops near them.

The main cause of all this pollution is traffic, particularly vehicles idling in queues. We have to walk along these roads to catch a train, wait there to catch a bus, sit out next to it on a sunny day with a pint down the pub. It retards lung development in children, increases the chance of asthma and makes the symptoms worse, and can exacerbate heart conditions. After smoking, it’s the second biggest cause of premature death in London.

So less traffic would mean healthier, more pleasant streets with more reliable buses.


So how do we reduce traffic?

The first solution is to give people a good alternative to driving. That’s one reason why I support the Space for Cycling campaign. Besides making the area safer and more pleasant for cyclists, and we could also remove pavement clutter and improve the streetscape to making walking nicer (as the Anerley Regeneration Project are doing). Bromley also needs to embrace car clubs – there are parking bays scattered across surrounding boroughs, but they disappear when you come into the wilds of Tory Bromley. Fewer people would need to own a car if there were more club cars.

A lot of the traffic isn’t even local, we’re just a through-route for people, so we also need TfL to get back to thinking about traffic reduction. Since he was elected, Boris Johnson has actually scrapped or reversed policies that were supposed to reduce traffic. From 2000 to 2012, traffic actually fell across Greater London despite the population growing by one million people and the economy (mostly) booming. Now TfL expect traffic to start rising again.

Finally, we need to block development that encourages even more vehicle traffic. That means stopping the crazy proposed hotel and conference centre in the park, making sure new flats are built with minimal car parking. Some people worry this will cause parking problems, but with the above policies it doesn’t need to. More than half the households in this area already don’t own a car.

Without a clear vision like this, we’ll just drift into ever increasing congestion and pollution.


  1. Encourage the Councils to become corporate members of a car club scheme, and cut completely the payment to staff for ‘grey fleet’ use of personal private cars on Council business.

    First the car club cars will,be 1) no older then a couple of years old 2) low emission, hybrid or even battery (car club fleets are approaching 90% below the £0 VED rating) 3) with a known provenance in terms of vehicle condition and maintenance (fulfilling a clear H&S requirement for the Council in delivery of their Duty of Care) 4) with a full audit of use (date, times, mileages, driver) 5) offer a staff benefit in kind of personal membership of the car club, potentially delivering the opportunity for an employee to unlock a boost to their annual disposable income of £2000-£3000/year through giving up car ownership.

    Second the low emission fleet has lower fuel consumption, and lower running costs – as a comparative detail my last 2 day car hire at public rates cost, all inclusive (VAT,Fuel etc), £23.75p/mile. Corporate deals will be even cheaper, and case studies (Aberdeen, Dumfries &c) by the Energy Saving Trust highlight the figures. Indications are that a Council could cut their mileage payments bill by around 30% if they fully apply the change and cease to pay mileage rates for personal car use. At a stroke the Council has also cut its carbon footprint.

    Corporate car club vehicle use boosts the number of cars available for evening and weekend use by private car club members, which has been the key to the success of Edinburgh’s City Car Club, the UK’s first, and outside London, the biggest.

    The car club deal should be integrated into a total transport portfolio – bike hire and bus/rail bulk purchase (Oyster/ITSO etc), so that for local trips bikes, taxis or buses replace personal car use at work. Bikes are especially useful as they deliver a high level of service (instantly ready to roll and door to door), chosen by one University to fill this need rather than a 7 figure cost for providing a frequent minibus shuttle between sites distributed across east London and Kent.

    Finally just observe the success of cycle logistics – moving the 90% of packages delivered in a city which weigh under 30Kg and are easily shipped by cycle. In NL 10% of DHL fleet are cycles, and 33 cargo bikes have directly replaced 33 vans – saving €430,000/yr in cost and cutting out 153 Tonnes/yr of emissions. Remember too that cycle logistics delivers the potential to employ young people in that first job, with no call to have a driving licence or onerous academic qualifications.

    London Boroughs can, through well considered procurement policy deliver some dramatic and beneficial changes, if there is the political will to press this forward. Now when are your local elections?

    4th May 2014
    • Tom Chance said:

      Thanks, that’s great. Roll on the vote on the 22nd May…

      7th May 2014
  2. Steve P said:

    Very interesting! Can I ask where you got the pollution data from and if there are vector files available?

    31st May 2014
    • Tom Chance said:

      The pollution maps are from, a web site I built in my day job. If you go to any of the different pages you’ll find links through to the LAEI data which includes vector files.

      2nd June 2014

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