I’m going to take a silver lining from the commotion that the small pilot Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Crystal Palace has caused – namely that a lot of people are now talking about traffic levels and air pollution.
One of the two campaigners trying to remove the LTN measures has said their second aim, after removing those measures, is to improve local air quality.
Assuming all the interest is genuine, I’ve written this blog to set out some facts about traffic and pollution and some options to try to address the longstanding problems blighting Crystal Palace.
By the way, the pictures above were taken in 2014, when I last wrote about traffic in the area. Congestion and pollution is nothing new, here!
Traffic in Crystal Palace
Let’s zoom in from the national to the local, to understand this properly.
Road traffic in Great Britain increased from 255 billion miles travelled in 1990 to 328 billion miles in 2018, an increase of 29%.
In London traffic had been falling slightly, year on year, in the noughties according to official statistics. Then from 2009 traffic started to rise and it had increased by 21% between 2009 and 2019. In Bromley and Croydon it rose more – 26% and 27% respectively.
Across London the increase has almost exclusively been on minor roads, as this chart shows.
Traffic levels across London’s residential roads have increased an incredible 72% since 2009.
This is partly blamed on SatNavs leading to more people cutting through residential areas, the rise of Uber & co, and the decision by Boris Johnson while mayor to reverse policies to prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and buses.
Traffic levels on the main roads in Crystal Palace have mostly followed the Londonwide pattern – falling up until 2009 and then flattening off, or in Beulah Hill’s case going down then back up again. In the chart below the Y axis is average daily traffic flow in both directions for cars (not including buses, vans, lorries, etc.) We know that these traffic levels are too high – that Crystal Palace is frequently congested, particularly around the Triangle.
[Edit: it has been pointed out to me that the figures for this part of Crystal Palace Parade have not been manually counted since 2012, and have been extrapolated. Another count location on the same road near the petrol station show rising traffic again since then. The other locations have more recent manual counts so I think those figures are broadly robust.]
Sadly there isn’t much detailed monitoring of traffic levels on residential roads around Crystal Palace.
The government stats include manual counts for 2019 at the top end of Stambourne Way (4,655 cars per day) and Spa Hill ( 5,146 cars per day).
Croydon Council commissioned manual traffic counts on Auckland Road in January and August 2019 and measured a daily average flow in one direction of around 5,000 vehicles in January and 3,500 in the summer holidays.
A group of local residents repeated the exercise on Sylvan Hill in late June 2020, as lockdown was easing, and counted a similar volume of traffic with people cutting through residential streets. [Edit: it has been pointed out that there were various roadworks at this point so more people may have been using this route to avoid them.]
So last year these four ostensibly residential roads have been as busy, if not busier, than Central Hill – an A road. These are not suitable traffic volumes for residential roads.
We don’t know what has happened to traffic levels across London or Crystal Palace in 2020 – there is no published data – though we all have our subjective impressions. Using its own data Waze estimated that congestion across London (excluding the congestion charge zone) was 20% higher in August than the same month last year.
In the absence of any monitoring by councils we’ll have to wait until next year for the Government’s stats on our main roads to be updated.
Traffic creates various types of pollution from exhaust fumes and tyre wear. Traffic is the main cause of air pollution in London, and especially around Crystal Palace where there isn’t much by way of industry.
Air pollution causes a range of health problems including:
- As many as 64,000 early deaths a year across the UK.
- Aggravated health conditions like asthma, heart disease and dementia.
- Reduced lung development in children.
There is only one location in Crystal Palace where air pollution is currently monitored – Anerley Hill, where Bromley Council measures Nitrogen Dioxide levels each month using a basic technology called diffusion tubes. These measure the average level over a month, so in a sense underestimate the average traffic during the day when people are waiting at the bus stops or sitting outside pubs and cafes. On Anerley Hill, average pollution levels have exceeded legal limits in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 (falling just below in 2018, but still at unhealthy levels).
I led a citizen science project to get a snapshot across 20 other locations in Crystal Palace in July 2014, using the same diffusion tube technology. Note that that traffic levels and pollution are lowest in July and August, so if we had done this in October or February we’d have recorded much higher levels.
Still, we measured pollution levels far above the legal limit on every main road location except one part of Central Hill, and levels by the bus station twice the legal limit and as high as The Strand in central London. They’re mapped here and shown below.
We don’t know what pollution levels are like in Crystal Palace at the moment, compared to previous years. Bromley Council is still monitoring the location on Anerley Hill but told me it won’t release the data for 2020 until next summer when it has been verified.
With generous support from local residents, especially Andy Stem of Bambino, I’ve crowdfunded £450 to run another citizen science project this winter which will include a focus on roads in and around the Low Traffic Neighbourhood. Details TBC…
Traffic is a major contributor to climate change – 25% of our average footprint in Croydon – and these emissions need to fall drastically if we are to avert catastrophic climate change.
While the UK has made huge strides in cleaning up our electricity supply, carbon emissions from road transport have actually risen since 1990 by 6%. Our total emissions need to fall by 60% by 2030, and to zero by 2050, following government targets, so transport emissions must start coming down.
But locally, emissions from road transport have risen since 2010 in Croydon and Bromley, and fallen in Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham. That’s pretty much in line with what’s happened to traffic levels. We are making the problem worse when it needs to be getting much, much better.
In the Mayor of London’s climate change action plan it says petrol and diesel use needs to fall 10% in the next two years assuming it had already been dropping (which it hasn’t), 40% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. The graph below shows the huge drop in diesel (grey) and petrol (pink) fuel use that’s needed.
But in recent years we have been heading in the opposite direction – petrol and diesel use is rising in Croydon and Bromley. This is really, really bad because climate change is an existential emergency for humanity. We can’t keep going in the wrong direction. So now we need to cut even more, even faster.
This can only happen if we both switch to electric cars and switch to walking, cycling and buses instead of driving so often. Waiting for electric cars to replace the petrol and diesel fleet will mean we emit too much over the next thirty years.
Speeding is a problem across the local area. Just a couple of examples… In February 2011, the Metropolitan Police carried out a speed survey on Crystal Palace Park Road and found that 48% of vehicles were breaking the 30mph speed limit. In January 2019, Croydon Council carried out a speed camera survey on Auckland Road, near the bottom of Stambourne Way and found 80% of vehicles breaking the 20mph speed limit.
Lots of fast traffic means more collisions, worse injuries, and roads closed more often to deal with the crashes. This map shows the serious and fatal collisions in Crystal Palace over the past twenty years. There are many more slight injuries.
Collisions are most common at road junctions where car drivers turn off or onto a main road without paying enough attention, at pedestrian crossings for the same reason, and along high streets where shoppers often nip across the road between shops, cafes etc.
To summarise the above, we can say:
- After falling in the 2000s, traffic on main roads in Crystal Palace has been broadly unchanged over the last decade.
- There is no good data for Crystal Palace’s residential roads, but across London traffic has risen 72% on residential roads, and a couple of local counts suggest traffic on some rat run roads are comparable to some lesser-used main roads.
- Air pollution on main roads in Crystal Palace has been above legal limits for at least the last decade.
- Carbon emissions from road traffic have increased in Croydon and Bromley since 2010, and now need to fall dramatically which must include a shift from car journeys to walking, cycling and buses.
- There have been scores of serious or fatal collisions on our main roads, which are obviously far from safe.
So what’s to be done?
The reason that traffic fell slightly across London from 2000-2009, even as the population rose by 1 million, is that the mayor and government, and some councils, explicitly aimed to reduce traffic and they used lots of carrots and sticks to achieve this. The carrots were things like investment in public transport, tax incentives to buy a bike for commuting, and wider pavements and more pedestrian crossings; the sticks were things like the congestion charge, the fuel duty escalator and (!) closing roads to through-traffic.
It’s worth noting that two in five car journeys in London can easily be made on foot or bike – 2.7 million journeys a day. That’s excluding ‘heavy’ shopping trips, people with disabilities that mean they have to drive, etc. So it wouldn’t take a lot to substantially reduce these traffic volumes.
We can do this again, but it needs TfL and the five councils that meet in Crystal Palace to aim to reduce traffic and pollution, and to use lots of carrots and sticks again. No plan that just uses carrots will work, and no plan using sticks will be universally popular.
Here are some options based on my own experience working in transport policy for about 15 years, including a 7 year stint in City Hall. I’ve also set out some that I don’t think work.
- Improve public transport – of course! There was for example the proposal to bring the Croydon tram to Crystal Palace, which needs money and would reduce road capacity for cars up Anerley Road/Anerley Hill. But London is unique among world cities in that the government no longer gives it any central subsidy, and the money it spends on roads is actually subsidised by fares. Further improving public transport would mean higher fares, more charges on driving, or more money from central government – and at the moment TfL’s finances are in freefall and the government is playing hardball. During the pandemic bus capacity is also very constrained so this isn’t a solution to our short-term problems.
- Make roads safer for walking and cycling – more 20mph speed limits, wider pavements, more pedestrian crossings, re-worked junctions, physically separated cycle lanes on main roads and low traffic measures on residential roads (i.e. closing them to through-traffic with bus gates or barriers). In Crystal Palace you can’t put proper cycle lanes on Church Road and around the Triangle without effectively closing them to HGVs, which is one reason why alternative routes on residential roads like Harold Road & Bedwardine Road, Auckland Road & Belvedere Road become important. Again these measures all need money, and also mean less road space/convenience for drivers.
- Subsidise car clubs – roll out more cars so more people can use them, offer council staff membership as a benefit in kind and encourage/subsidise other employers to do the same. Car club users tend to drive less than people who have their own car because the cost of each trip is higher with a car club, whereas with your own car the large sunk cost is buying and insuring the car.
- Subsidise electric cars – some subsidies exist but could be more generous, though they will mostly benefit better-off people who can buy new cars, electric cars still cause exactly the same congestion, and still cause significant air pollution and microplastic waste through tyre wear. Hopefully tyre technology will improve.
- Upgrade the buses – TfL was due to upgrade the entire fleet to hybrids by 2012, Boris Johnson scrapped the target and Sadiq Khan hasn’t accelerated the upgrades again. Buses are responsible for up to one third of the air pollution on some of Crystal Palace’s main roads and one tenth of road transport carbon emissions across London so this should be an easy win.
- Increase the cost of driving – vehicle excise duty, fuel duty, congestion charging, road pricing. The real cost of driving has fallen consistently for years, while the cost of public transport has risen. Only the Government can do this, though the Mayor/TfL should be advocating for powers to do this as with the congestion charge. It is by far the most effective option.
- Target polluting vehicles – all of the above can also be targeted on the more polluting vehicles. The Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone for inner London does this by charging drivers of dirtier vehicles £12.50 per day, and in its first six months reduced the number of cars being driven by 13,500 and reduced roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by 36%.
- Make it less convenient to drive for short trips – the proven approach used for decades around the world is to close residential roads to through-traffic so you can easily travel through the area on foot, bike or bus. This is the basis for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. You can do it with physical barriers or (more expensively) with cameras, and you can choose to allow some vehicles through camera gates like buses, emergency vehicles, local residents and delivery vehicles.
- Reduce, or charge for, car parking – especially around the Triangle to discourage people from driving to the shops/cafes/etc, but you could also roll out Controlled Parking Zones across the wider area to discourage multiple car ownership and stop people parking on side streets to visit the Triangle. This, as with other measures, would benefit from careful work with local businesses, though research has shown that business owner often over-estimate the proportion of their customers who reach them by car.
Dead ends and cul-de-sacs
This next set of ideas all have a bit of an impact. But they are small fry – they just won’t add up to enough of a difference. We could still do them along with a big bunch of carrots and sticks, of course.
- Voluntary car sharing schemes – they’ve been around for decades and rarely take off unless you have a stick, like penalising people for driving solo or controlling workplace parking so only car sharers can park.
- Encouraging people to voluntarily change their behaviour – we have all heard and read about air pollution and climate change for decades but still some people are driving as much if not more than ten years ago. You need carrots and sticks.
- Prioritising smooth traffic flow so vehicles idle less, reducing pollution – idling vehicles do pollute more than moving vehicles, and Boris Johnson tried this for 8 years by reversing Ken Livingstone’s support for things like LTNs, pedestrian crossings and expanding the congestion charge zone. The result was that traffic stopped falling on main roads and leapt up by 72% on residential roads, leading to more pollution and congestion.
- Cycle training – it’s good to give free training and confidence classes to children and adults, but if the roads are hostile and unpleasant while driving is convenient you’re not going to persuade many people to take to their bikes.
- Putting cycle lanes on residential streets – these are really expensive if you cover enough road length to make them useful, and on a lot of roads would require most or all of the on-street car parking to be removed which would probably be even less popular with motorists than the LTN!
- Put pedestrian crossings on residential streets – this is again a potentially expensive solution to the road safety issue if you put them at every natural crossing place, and again does nothing to reduce traffic or pollution levels.
- More speed bumps and chicanes to calm traffic – these can help to reduce speeding and so can be a very good thing, but they don’t reduce traffic levels (as we’ve seen over the past decade) or pollution.
- Making side streets one-way – this turns a residential area into a gyratory system where drivers end up driving even faster (not needing to be careful of oncoming traffic). Unless, that is, you follow Westminister Council and use one-way systems to make residential streets inconvenient and impractical for through-traffic, which takes us back to the stick.
- Filtering air pollution – Boris Johnson famously put planters near monitoring sites and hosed down the pavements to try to suppress the pollution readings. You can use plants and air filters at schools to slightly reduce pollution in the playground and classroom, but to roll this out widely would be very expensive and it only has a marginal health benefit, while of course doing nothing to address congestion and climate change.
The long and the short of it…
Whatever combination of carrots and sticks, the end result has to be that people drive less. If you’re stuck in a traffic jam, you are the traffic!
There is no solution to these problems that means everyone can drive just as much, just as cheaply, with just as much convenience, as they do today. This is especially true of short car trips – cars can’t be our default way to drop kids off at school, nip up to the hairdresser or visit a local park. There just isn’t enough road capacity, and it will mean continued congestion, pollution and climate change.
We can debate whether removing the LTN would reduce or increase traffic. But what’s beyond doubt is that people living and working on and near main roads in Crystal Palace will continue to suffer from illegal levels of air pollution without action.
It would be fantastic if our local councillors, residents associations, community groups and businesses could put their heads together to come up with a comprehensive plan picking a selection of carrots and sticks that will really work. At the moment we just have a polarised debate around a tiny LTN pilot with a few planters and a bus gate closing roads to through traffic.
As London’s population is projected to grow, taking no action inevitably means more congested and polluted roads. We need to reduce the amount we each drive on average just to deal with the growing population. During the COVID-19 pandemic with low public transport capacity the risk is that traffic levels explode unless we find ways to dissuade people from driving so often.
What can our councils do?
A final note. Of all the above options, only three are within the powers of councils: make walking and cycling safer and more pleasant with wider pavements, cycle lanes etc; make driving less convenient by closing roads to through-traffic; and get its own house in order with things like car club membership as a benefit in kind for its staff, and switching its own logistics to bikes or electric vehicles (as Lambeth has been doing, for example, with a cycle courier).
The first two require funding, which is in short supply at the moment.
Councils can lobby and advocate for the others, of course. Labour councillors in Crystal Palace can press the Mayor to be more bold.
The added problem locally is that Bromley Council refuses to do anything about this. It has opposed or refused to contemplate 20mph speed limits, cycle lanes, closing roads to through traffic and parking restrictions. As we’ve seen with Croydon’s small LTN pilot, this can undermine efforts by the other four councils.
A further problem is that a large proportion of the traffic through Crystal Palace is not local – people just driving through from Streatham to Catford, or Norbury to Penge. So small interventions like Croydon’s LTN pilot, or tweaking the car parking around the Triangle, will have limited benefits. Much larger interventions across a wider area, working with TfL, are more likely to work. But the more expensive a scheme, the wider the consultation, the less likely it is to get off the ground.
There’s no easy answer, and those who oppose imperfect solutions are most likely to just get the status quo – rising traffic, congestion and pollution as the local population grows.
So long as the Government refuses to act, except some funding to rush through half-cocked LTNs; so long as the Mayor is focused on saving TfL from bankruptcy and fails to put in place a strategy to drive down traffic; councils face a stark choice. They either sit back and let the problems grow, or they do everything they can to encourage people to drive less, and walk and cycle more.
Brilliant and well researched article. Thanks Tom for making such a clear argument in favour of change. The status quo is unsustainable.
Thanks James. I sincerely hope we can get more of a conversation going locally about change rather than reverting to the status quo.
Great article Tom, I too hope the local community can come together to recognise that there is a problem and then help find a solution that benefits all.
Well done Tom. This is the most comprehensive post on the wider implications of LTNs I’ve read. I agree with 99% of it.
Normally I too would give the benefit of doubt to campaigners against the LTN who say the next step would be to tackle air quality once the LTNs have been abolished. But in the many thousands of words they’ve expended, the only solution they come up with is “scrap the LTN”. They have no other proposals to tackle pollution.
The reason this is important is that LTNs are the prerequisite to getting people to convert car journeys to walking and cycling. If they can’t see a safe alternative, they just won’t do it. LTNs are that safe environment, so they are the first step to tackling all the other problems related to car dependency. This is why they need to be defended.
Fantastic article. Some important facts and illustration of why doing nothing isn’t an option. The question is if not LTNs, what?
I would throw few other things into the mix.
– Improving public transport further is pretty hard. Pouring more buses on to the roads doesn’t help if the roads are too congested and won’t help with air pollution as you’ve identified. Something like South London metro might be the way to more frequent trains but it would require a change of heart from the government and a lot of money.
– We are also facing an obesity crisis in the UK, nearly all of us need to walk and cycle more.
– The government has suggested subsidising e-bikes. This could be really helpful for a hilly place like Crystal Palace.
– I think you slightly underestimate the value of segregated cycle lanes for longer journeys. A priority should be a safe route to central London. There have been several cycleway proposals that have come and gone but nothing has really stuck.
Thanks, I agree with those points, though segregated cycle lanes to town (which I’d love) probably wouldn’t do a huge amount to reduce traffic round here. They’re definitely needed as part of a wider cycling strategy.
I have just read in full and with interest your article of traffic and I hope you don’t mind if I make a few comments. On the whole, I thought your article was articulate and made several good points which I strongly agree with.
I actually agree about the silver lining in that we have all been made aware of our driving patterns and the need to cut our impacts on the environment. It has been wonderfully interesting to have debates and discussions with people all around about the problems of both congestion and pollution. The vast majority of people actually agree with all the principles and feel stuck in how they can solve them because often a bike is not a great solution for them. They also feel persecuted for disagreeing with this particular LTN because of the lazy assertion that they are then immediately climate-change deniers. I only mention this to help move forward the discussions with the community on the whole.
I absolutely agree that air quality should be improved. I think it is important to separate the issues of congestion with the issues of pollution, mostly because I have found when you make a suggestion to solve the one, the other gets thrown at you and vice versa. So perhaps we can address each in turn?
I note you italicised the traffic count on Auckland Road with regards to the direction. We know that traffic mostly flows one way in the morning and the other ways in the afternoon. So let’s just take the figures as they are (with an added small percentage higher for the other direction).
The fact that we have no real traffic data for roads in CP is a pity and I really wish this wasn’t the case. I think the council would have been able to give a far more compelling argument for their decisions had they had data. And presumably it would have been data that supported their case?
I note also you talk about the data from Waze that mentions congestion being up and I would imagine that is because of the hundreds of imposed LTNs? Which would make sense if it was taken in August this year compared to August last year. This is an important point as you yourself has mentioned that congestion is worse for pollution than moving traffic. Before you have a go – I agree that cars pollute the world and that we have to do something about that. I think I am just questioning the use of forced road closures as a measure to achieve this.
I commend you for crowdfunding for pollution meters and would like to contribute to that (and will do). I think it is vital that we have the data and see the impacts (both of just cars driving around as well as the congestion caused currently) and feel the council should absolutely make decisions about traffic and capacity on roads based on that.
Question – if Anerley Hill (the only data on pollution we have) has levels above the legal limit, why would we force more cars onto that road? And ensure that they are also more congested?
I came across the recent winners of the Dyson Design Award who designed a gadget to remove (most of) the particulates released from tyres on cars. I loved them and their ideas and soon we should see all cars fitted with these devices. A welcome step in the right direction!
I also see that we have had no significant collisions on Auckland Road. I know the LTN was not your idea – but it does make me question the roads that were chosen.
I see you say that in London, two in five journeys can be made by foot. Do we have data about this for South London (which has notoriously poor public transport) and also has amenities spread far and wide (in all of the ‘Auckland LTN’ we have not one newsagent, off-licence, little grocery).
I absolutely agree that we need BOTH carrots and sticks (and I have to be honest when I say we have experienced the forced closures of roads as just sticks).
Totally agree about improving public transport. Totally agree roads should be made safer (including for cyclists and many of them have told me it has felt less safe with the current measures). Love the idea of car clubs (Croydon has been promising this for years and not delivered). And absolutely agree with subsidies for electric cars (I would love to upgrade but am broke). Totally agree with buses and the current financial situation is just awful.
With carrots – could we also have free bike rentals for every month someone does 20km that month on their bike? (I can’t afford 5 new bikes for my family but would love to have a way that I could try). What about a discount for driving less than XXX miles per year (a simple logging of miles at each MOT). Why not have a voluntary program where you can log public transport, car, walking, cycling percentages each month with rewards?
We actually have a suggested 5 point plan to transform Croydon’s journeys and would be happy to share with you.
I note with interest your point about congestion causing more pollution. I think that is why most people reacted so strongly against this LTN. And I agree that Croydon should lead by example by replacing their own diesel vehicles.
As to your point about Bromley not getting involved, I would say this. I wasn’t involved in any decision making process or even informed. I cannot begin to explain to you how disrespected people feel when this happens. It is super hard to ‘act as an adult’ in your response to that initial arrogant action, so really I don’t blame Bromley. Croydon messed up. Big time. And they could just have been a little bit more inclusive.
I absolutely agree that ‘much larger interventions, across a wider area, working with TFL’, and other boroughs and the community are more likely to work.
Lastly – we both agree on the term – half-cocked LTNs
I hope we can possibly come together and rather work together for the betterment of Crystal Palace and its neighbours.
Hi Eliska Finlay ,
You rase a lot of thoughts. this is my response, i’m not speaking on behalf of Tom. I know that he is planning to respond.
I’m sorry. I’ve done my best to respond in note form. This does risk sounding terse. I’m sorry I don’t mean it to. Please assume I’m speaking in the nicest tone of voice when I say the bellow.
Its just that I wanted to respond to your points but I do have to get on with some other stuff.
>Bike is not a great solution.
they are only niche solutions. you may need more than one bike.
or to mix bike with public tran
or pay people to bring stuff to your house in a van
or to rent cars.
Cars have redundant capacity. They are a sledge hammer to crack a nut. That is why they cause so much danger and pollution
Most CP residents are already mixing and matching their transport mode to their journey
Climate change deniers.
Much like wen I occasionally eat meat(or drive) Driving a car is climate denial in practice if not in rhetoric. Its dissonant to drive.
Its not much use agreeing we need to do something about CC if in practice we block the solution that are implemented on the ground.
Addressing the issue of pollution separately:
call for people to cut engines.
call people a corydon wide emissions zone
call for the ban on ICE cars to be brought forward.
Alternative to forced road closers.
Roads are only closed to large motor vehicles.
The Roads remain open of for access.
This is a the method that is widely used around the world and has been shown to work in Pimlico, Wathamstow and NL.
Alternates would be to raze the cost of driving to put it out of reach of more people. Such as requiring everyone to by a parking space before they can buy a car. This is the practice in Tokyo
Anerley Hill pollution levels.
We need to do the testing first. But it is possible that Anerley has already reached a saturation point. Such that the road is at capacity and infant the pollution is not getting worse.
However the pollution on the main roads is not some that can be left to fester. That also need sorting.
That means people that contain to drive in london will need to by new cars. EVs This can not happen fast enough.
We need people to stop pissing in swimming pool. Not for more pools to open themselves up as urinals.
It is the motorist causing the pollution. If a parent came to me and said: ’this man has brought a big boll of poison for my kids to eat, but i’m a little worried that it might be bad for my kids, would you mind if your kids ate some of the poison as well. so its less bad for my kids.’ I’d say next time that guy shows up call the police.
Dyson Design Award who designed a gadget to remove particulate.
This is magical thinking. When you see a video of it working after it has been submerged in a muddy puddle. Then start taking it seriously.
Also look at the car industries failure to fit alcohol sensitive ignition locks or smart speed limiters.
The car industry always promise the earth and deliver nothing but shareholder value.
I put 0 faith in the orgs that have caused this problem to solve it.
Buying a new car.
EV have huge embodied emissions. And the are still impose danger on everyone else
IMO a better solution is to rent out your car on getaround and work out how to do more trips by none posting modes e.g. bike, ebike, e moped
Carrots for drivers.
70% of households in Palace don’t own a car. Almost everyone in the bottom 25% of income doesn’t have a car. Not using a car saves you money. Please just try to use your car less. I don’t think money should be diverted from other public services to bribe people not to roll around in 5ton empty living rooms.
Disrespected when not involved in planning.
This strikes me as a little petulant. The train company change my wife train from a direct train to work to one that involved a change. This effectively put our house another 30 mins from her work overnight. Often adding another hr to her day. Yes we’er very cross. Yes we had to work out a work around. But we understand that we don’t have absolute right to be consulted about how the transport network opperates. Unlike motorist, people who use other modes expect that sometime routes open up, sometimes they get closed. We don’t have a right to these things.
IMO There is a real problem for people who use their cars to car for elderly and infirm people who are too big to be carried on a bike. We all need to do more to people find alternatives to car so we can leave road space for carers and those providing real community value not just private house hold value with their car. IMO we should be look to each other to find these alternatives not jus expecting the council to do it all.
Thanks for your comments.
Bromley Council hasn’t taken steps to address traffic or pollution or road danger for years. In fact they’ve opposed measures proposed by local residents and cllrs like more 20mph speed limits. Maybe Croydon could have consulted them better, but hell would freeze over before Bromley agreed to something that might slightly disadvantage motorists!
On traffic data I think people exaggerate how little we know in order to paint Croydon Council as putting the LTN in place on a whim. I’ve just added a couple more traffic counts I found above. We know plenty about air pollution locally and about traffic to know we need to act, particularly on some residential roads like Auckland Road, Harold Road, Spa Hill etc that are being treated like main roads by SatNav motorists.
If Croydon Council hadn’t dragged its feet on this stuff so much in the past, and if the Government hadn’t made them rush this LTN, they might have put better monitoring in place before and after the pilot was introduced. Part of the reason they’ve not acted in the past is pushback – a really modest proposal to improve walking and cycling routes to schools round here was shelved a few years ago.
I do think, though, that the council didn’t present its case very well!
I really doubt congestion in August was caused by LTNs. Most of London doesn’t have them, many were implemented after August (including half of Croydon’s) and in places like Tooting there it has been removed congestion has remained just as bad.
One good reason to move traffic onto main roads is that they are generally designed better to cope with it. Spreading the pollution across more roads doesn’t help our health or the climate. What we actually need to do is slash traffic levels on residential roads and reduce them on main roads.
The ‘two in five’ figure comes from TfL research and I don’t think they distinguish between different parts of London. But public transport isn’t relevant. Even on Auckland Road you’re not more than 10/15 minutes walk away from newsagents, groceries etc on Anerley Road or South Norwood Hill, not to mention lots of bus stops. Compared to say south Croydon, or most of the rest of the country, we have the most amazing carrots already in place here!
I love the idea of free or cheap e-bike hire. I invested in an e-bike for my commute a few years ago (much cheaper than trains!) and it’s absolutely brilliant for Crystal Palace’s hills.
The thing I’m mindful of is that if I hold out for the big, perfect, area-wide solution it may never come. This LTN may be half-cocked but in my opinion it’s a step in the right direction and one that should be expanded. I live the other side of Church Road and very much support calls for some camera-based approach to reducing rat running along Harold Road, around the rec, etc.
My daughter was born this year, and just makes me all the more determined to do what I can to tackle climate change and air pollution. I don’t want to let her grow up with stunted lungs, or tell her in 20 years time that I was more concerned with being able to drive to shops that are a 15 minute walk away than I was with a stable climate and economy for her.
Hi Tom, in regards to this “One good reason to move traffic onto main roads is that they are generally designed better to cope with it”.
As someone who lives on a main road and has an 8 year old child that I believe is suffering from the added pollution caused from the LTN’s on the closure of the filter roads. Could you clarify how already over polluted main roads are better built for dealing with air pollution and grid locking from the closure of the filter roads?
Absolutely agree with the government and council leading by example with electric vehicles etc. I can’t believe this isn’t already in place.
And public transport needs serious funding and restructuring especially now with the pandemic in mind.
Hi Sharon, I’m very sorry to hear about your 8 year old. I hope the fact that I did that monitoring on main roads six years ago and campaigned for cleaner buses shows I do care about the impact of pollution on your family.
What I mean is that the main roads are physically better designed to carry relatively higher levels of traffic – wider, better lines of sight, pedestrian crossings, etc. Not that it’s fine to have lots of pollution on them.
I genuinely believe that removing the LTN may marginally reduce pollution on your road and increase it on the side roads, with no overall health benefit to local people. In Tooting the pollution and congestion has if anything got worse since Wandsworth removed their LTN because the road filters were putting enough people off driving enough times.
We need to unite around a call for traffic reduction, not just reopening roads to rat running.
I live just over the border in Thicket Road, which unfortunately is in Bromley. Bromley does appear to have no interest in addressing speed limits or curtailing rat runs etc. The traffic count on my road is around 8 cars per minute. All day, every day. That’s about 4000 cars a day.
On an Edwardian residential road.
I have single glazed (draughty, large, sash) windows and cannot block out the continual noise.
I loved this road when I first moved here. But the relentless traffic has destroyed it for me and I just dont want to live here any more. Which makes me feel rather sad
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