Saturday, 30 June 2012

Going for a pole hat-trick

Following the success in getting the old rusty pole removed from Tooting Bec Gardens, an unholy trinity of obsolete poles was brought to our attention at the junction of Mitcham Lane and Ambleside Avenue. This seems to be quite a widespread issue where road signs have been removed or replaced, and no one has finished the job.

The particular poles in question are on three corners of the junction, causing both unnecessary hazards and obstruction, taking away space from pedestrians not to mention wheelchair users and people pushing buggies. It becomes a particular issue at school time, as the junction is right by St Leonard's School, and so dozens of children pass by regularly and a lot of pavement space is required. The children also use this route to get to St Leonard's church.

The junction is on a red route, so whilst the polls may have been the responsibility of Lambeth Council in the past, they are now come under Transport for London (TFL). So we are going for a pole hat-trick, and seeing if we can get TFL to remove them to provide more pavement space.

[Update: 6 September 2012 We were chatting to some people at the timber yard/ carpenters on Mitcham Lane by the junction with Ambleside Ave. Turns out they have been trying to get the pole outside their entrance moved for ages with no luck. It causes an obstruction to their vans as well as pedestrians.

[Update: 15th November 2012 We have been told today by TfL that the poles on Mitcham lane will be removed by the end of the month. We'll keep a look out!]

[Update: 4th December 2012 One of the three poles has been removed (outside the timber yard/ carpenters). However, TfL seemed to forget about the other two. We chased them again, and they apologised, and said the other two would be removed by the end of January.]

[Update: 15th February 2013 The last two poles have been removed. More here.]

Friday, 29 June 2012

Streatham’s 20mph Phantom Zone

Did you know that Garrad’s Road, Abbotswood Road, Prentis Road, Becmead Avenue and Woodbourne Avenue… all have 20mph speed limits?

Nor did I. And nor do many residents on those roads, or indeed those who regularly drive down them. The reason? There is virtually no notification either on the road surfaces or in the form of signposts on the roads themselves – to let people know what the speed limit is.

The 20mph Phantom Zone runs to the West of Streatham High Road, stretching from Drewstead Road at the top, right down to Prentis Road at the bottom, taking on Garrad’s Road to the West. But most people driving through will assume that the default speed limit of 30mph in a residential area, applies.

This is particularly serious as some of these roads – such as Garrad’s Road and Abbotswood Road - are official cycle routes. There have been collisions in this area resulting in serious injuries for cyclists - for example at the junction of Woodfield Avenue and Mount Ephraim Road. It even appears from the collision report that those investigating have assumed at 30mph speed limit too.

The only clue that these roads have 20mph limits are the occasional signs at the edge of the zone – for example coming over the bridge from Wandsworth into Lambeth along Bedford Hill saying “you are now entering a 20mph zone”. Blink and you’ll miss them. Some of these are tucked away behind trees. There are also some signs informing the motorist that you are leaving a 20 mph zone – which isn’t all that helpful.

Talking to some residents it seems that once upon a time - some years ago - there were more 20 mph signs. See for example this one, caught accidently by one resident of Abbotswood Road when photographing a back garden. It took a Freedom of Information Request however to establish whether the limit was still in place, as there are now no signs anywhere along the road at all.

We’ll see if we can get some more signage put in place.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Crunching the collisions on Streatham High Road

One of the Green Party’s researchers has been digging up some statistics on collisions on Streatham High Road. There are now stats of collisions reported to the police which can be crunched, provided on They have data from 2005-2010 inclusive (not 2011 yet).

What we have found is that in this six period there were 575 collisions reported to the police on Streatham High Road (NB these aren’t small knocks, but those warranted serious enough for police involvement).

Of these:

- 53 involved cyclists

- 122 involved pedestrians

- 62 involved ‘fatal’ or ‘serious’ injuries

- The majority were in daylight, with only 163 being after dark.

- The overwhelming majority (498) were in conditions described as “fine and no high winds” as opposed to conditions involving rain, wind or fog.

This means that on average there will be a significant incident every four days, with someone being fatally or seriously injured every month, and two pedestrians being hit every month.

We await the statistics for 2011, but things seem to be getting worse, not better.

If these were shootings or stabbings, we would call it an epidemic. We wouldn’t tolerate it. We would take the necessary steps to deal with it. And there are clear steps that can be taken to tackle the road casualty epidemic on Streatham High Road - such as 20mph speed limits, segregated dutch-style cycle lanes, making crossing times longer, and re-orientating the road hierarchy in favour of pedestrians.

As a first step, Green Party Assembly member Darren Johnson has agreed to ask the London mayor whether he will consider a 20mph limit for the High Road if local people support it.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Now you see you don't

There's been an old rusty pole on Tooting Bec Gardens for probably more than a decade, with no sign on it, causing an obstruction to the driveway at 25 Tooting Bec Gardens as well as pedestrians using the road.

We got Transport for London to remove it.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Success: pavement widened at bottom of Tooting Bec Gardens, junction with Garrad's Road

As flagged up at the end of this blog, we've been trying to get Transport for London (who have responsibility for Red Routes) to widen the pavement at the bottom of Tooting Bec Gardens where it meets Mitcham Lane.

The situation has been for a long time that the pavement isn't wide enough for many people with buggies, wheelchair users, those with mobility scooters etc... to get past a large tree. In fact it is downright dangerous for many people, particularly in winter when conditions are icy, right next to a red route with large amounts of fast-moving traffic.

We have been trying to get it sorted for months. TFL finally committed to addressing it back in February, and I'm pleased to report that TFL have now almost completed the work. I spoke to the workmen today, and they say the job should be completed tomorrow.

Update: 27/6/12 - here it is completed...

Monday, 4 June 2012

Encounter with an older man on Conyers Road

I was down on Conyers Road a couple of days ago, taking some pictures of some areas where there is no ramp access to cross the road - in particular the junctions with Babbington Road and Fairmile Avenue.

As I did so, along the pavement came a man who I estimated to be in his Eightees, on a mobility scooter. We began chatting, and I asked whether the lack of ramp access was causing him difficulties - particularly as it means cars tend to park across the corner as a result because drivers don't see it as an access point.

"Yes" he replied. "I come along here every morning to get onto Mitcham Lane, but I have to go all the way down there in order to find a place where I can get across the road" he said, pointing in the opposite direction, "and then come all the way back this way" he said, pointing in the direction of Mitcham Lane.

For years, it seems, every morning he has had to go hundreds of yards out of his way, just because no one has put in a small ramp down to the road so he can cross the junction - and indeed, because no local councillor has spotted that there might be a problem.

"Would you like me to contact the council, and try and get a ramp put in?" I asked.

"Would you?" he replied, his face lighting up.

I have contacted Lambeth council, asked them to drop the kerbs. And I've dropped a note through his door to let him know, too.

[Update: Ramps are now installed. See here ]

Saturday, 2 June 2012

What Streatham High Road could be like

As a contribution to the supporting Streatham High Road campaign, local Green Leon Maurice-Jones has come up with some visual images to inspire discussion and debate about the kind of thing that might be possible.

We already covered some of the ideas in detail here. They include dropping the speed limit to 20mph (which has worked well in other boroughs) to cut collisions, improve traffic flow, and decrease noise and air pollution, dedicated dutch-style cycle lanes, and giving priority to pedestrians. They also include a greater use of greenery, such as green pillars, planters etc... as well as sculpture commissioned by local artists.

We have a real chance to do something significant with the new money awarded for the High Road from the Outer London Fund, and the new Tesco Hub development.

Here are the images showing the kind of thing that might be done: