In any local area traffic issues are up there above most other concerns, but in highly congested Southwark it is a massive problem.
In recent months we have witnessed chaotic scenes and weeks of a virtual standstill around the Elephant & Castle, Jamaica Road has been labelled the slowest road in the country for years and with the imminent closure of Tower Bridge for works, motorists fear further gridlock.
All of the above roads are not managed by Southwark Council as these main throughways fall under the control of the Mayor of London’s office and more specifically Transport for London (TfL).
But the ebb and flow of traffic means that none of this can be taken in isolation and decisions taken by TfL obviously have an effect on the interconnecting roads managed by Southwark Council. How local people can have their say in this maze of responsibilities is important. That is why the council’s current proposal to take away decisions on traffic management schemes from Community Council meetings must be considered more carefully.
There should be open consultation on this proposal, clearly setting out exactly what local people can have a say over. Yellow lines, parking and extra lighting all fall under traffic management and it is this type of decision that those attending community council meetings could vote on.
The Labour administration running the council claim waiting for a vote at community council meetings can take too long. They argue that patently obvious traffic management measures should be enacted upon quickly rather than waiting around. Opposition Liberal Democrat councillors, who established the community council meeting when they were in power, claim this is a further encroachment, taking power away and making these meetings little more than a talking shop.
Given the bigger picture around the whole road network in Southwark, this is a good time to inform local people about what they can have a say on and where.
The News, alongside the council, community groups and all interested parties would like to clearly set down what people do have a say over traffic – where, how and when?
By their very nature, traffic issues cannot be solved or viewed in isolation and attempts to make the processes more efficient to solve the mounting congestion problem should be explored.