Letters to the editor: 14/02/2019

(13 February, 2019) Letters

'The current scheme seems to be a case of looking for a micro solution to one very small area, just because one or two well-connected residents have succeeded in making a fuss about it to the papers'

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I am profoundly frustrated by the pursuit of the plan to partially close Champion Hill in spite of the large number of legitimate concerns raised by the few people who were even aware of the proposed scheme.

To illustrate the problem, I would love for someone from the Council to accompany me taking my 8-year old son to school in the morning from Grove Park to Tulse Hill.  The closure of Champion Hill means that I now have to drive through the already extremely congested streets of East Dulwich or do a U turn in Champion Park (A2216) and join the queue of traffic by Denmark Hill Station.  I fail to see how displacing the traffic from Champion Hill, which is a road where residents are well set back from the road, to the existing congested roads, particularly of Melbourne Grove, is helping air quality of the borough.  It is especially unfair to the residents of Melbourne Grove and East Dulwich Grove where, unlike Champion Hill, the residents have very little distance between their front-rooms and the exhaust fumes of the stationary traffic.

The irony is that I am a cyclist and regularly cycle along Champion Hill with my 2-year old daughter to Mother Goose Nursery in Greendale and have never found the brief horizontal stretch of road along Champion Hill to be a problem – although I concede that the road is too narrow for cars to overtake cyclists at peak times.  A very easy solution to this would be a sign saying: no overtaking of cyclists.

The current scheme seems to be a case of looking for a micro solution to one very small area, just because one or two well-connected residents have succeeded in making a fuss about it to the papers, whilst completely ignoring the consequences on the wider community.  The consultation was extremely poorly communicated – I for one did not receive any invitation to participate and only found out about it through word of mouth.  There has been virtually no input from the residents of Melbourne Grove, East Dulwich Grove, Derwent Grove, Elsie Road, Quorn Road, Pytchley Road, Bromar Road, Camberwell Grove, etc most of whom will see increased congestion and a decline in air quality because of the closure of Champion Hill.

It goes without saying that there will be less traffic in Champion Hill if it is blocked in one direction – surely that has to be measured in some way against the increased journey times for vehicles which were previously using Champion Hill.  If each user is taking an extra 5 minutes journey time, that is the equivalent of an additional 40 hours of air pollution per hour at peak times (based 480 cars taking an additional 5 minutes to reach their destination).

The paper on the Southwark website refers to other suggested solutions – were these discussed with experts?  Can we see what these suggestions were?  It is my understand that TFL has already failed to recommend this scheme and yet the Council has gone ahead with it anyway in spite of the major disruption to the hospital users and the increased traffic in neighbouring streets all for the sake of a few cyclists (who never asked for it in the first place).  I find it quite mind-blowing that this is being pursued on such flimsy numbers in favour and where the alternative routes are so inappropriate.

David Trafford-Roberts,via email

 

Duncan Wilson says:

This is the worst scheme I have ever seen and spectacularly fails to understand the traffic system and demands in the area. I totally echo the sentiment here, a very small minority of households have been allowed to invoke their self interest, when the consequences are so far reaching and negative to tens of thousands of journeys, where cars will now drive slower for longer and thereby create significant highly net amounts of pollution.

If pollution is a problem, why are Southwark making absolutely no progress in installing high speed charging or free bays for electric cars. It is a pathetic response to this well understood and public issue.

In terms of the consultation (or lack thereof) and testing of this experiment – is that it has been so poorly thought out, explained and publicised that Southwark intend to push this through regardless and hope the residents just give up and get over it. Experiments are a good tool in life and planning, but poorly thought out experiments with far reaching consequences and dubious oversight are not a good way forwards!

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