Tests for a successful Low Traffic Neighbourhood around Auckland, Hamlet and Lancaster Roads

By Angus Hewlett

We’re publishing these key tests as discussions around an amended design to the Crystal Palace LTN begin to emerge.

Other suggestions for key requirements are welcome – please leave them in the comments section below. Any scheme that can meet these tests while minimising disruption for residents and essential services is one that should be given serious consideration.

1) Remove 100% of “through”-traffic cutting between Church Road, Anerley Hill, South Norwood Hill and Goat House Bridge via the LB Croydon-controlled back streets. This is fundamental to the operation of a low traffic neighbourhood.

2) Don’t push Croydon’s problems onto Bromley – keep Croydon traffic on Croydon’s roads wherever possible.

3) Bromley given free democratic rein and accountability to solve anything specific to its own roads (e.g. Cintra Park / Milestone Road cut-through), without prejudicing Croydon’s solution – and vice versa.

4) Minimise traffic speed/volume on all sections of Lancaster Road, Southern Avenue, Auckland Road, and Belvedere Road (Bromley) to meet the London Cycle Design Standards for a fully shared road. This means 2000 vehicle movements per day or less on any given segment of road. In some cases this means increasing, not reducing, residents’ access to and from the nearest main road.

5) Maintain doorstep access to Auckland Surgery to in-zone and out-of-zone residents from all sides of the network, in order to provide convenient and equitable access for people suffering from illness and those with disabilities.

6) Maintain satisfactory access for emergency services.

7) Maintain satisfactory access for the 410 bus.

6 thoughts on “Tests for a successful Low Traffic Neighbourhood around Auckland, Hamlet and Lancaster Roads

  1. I would add the following criteria for

    6) direct access for emergency services from both main roads to virtually every house in the LTN
    7) allows 410 to follow traditional route normally, but also allows easy diversion if the road becomes blocked (such as when we had the gas works for several months)

    Should there be a weighting to all judgements?

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  2. Thanks for putting this together Robbie. I would agree with the bulk of that. As someone who’s position on the scheme is that of “constructive opposition” (IE, my starting point is that I think the LTN was not a good idea, but am happy to try and find something that works for everyone)., I think most of the positions there are broadly sound.

    From my own perspective on the scheme (and this is probably one that most of my neighbours share), the key point here is 4. I don’t think many people would disagree with the statement that there are some strong views on both sides of the argument where the LTN is concerned, and there is enough opposition to it that as it stands it would be very difficult to get something through that doesn’t alienate large numbers of local residents.

    To change that dynamic, you (and and I mean “you” in the generic sense, rather than you personally) have to change people’s minds from “outright opposed” to (at the very least) “It’s not what I’d have chosen, but I can see what they’re trying to do and can live with it”. And the reality is that you’re not going to do that by simply ramming a message down people’s throats. You actually have to make changes that address people’s concerns.

    And to do that, you have to enable people to access (at least) the two main roads nearest to them, by car, via something very close to the most direct route that was available prior to the LTN, and that specifically doesn’t require the use of one of those two main roads to get to the other (so for residents at the South End of the Island, they need to be able to get to either Penge Road or S.N Hill without using the other).

    Resolve that (and to be fair your proposal from an earlier post largely does) and you might see local opposition start to shift (certainly that would be enough for my position to shift quite a lot). But for a heck of a lot of people, anything that doesn’t resolve that point will be considered an abject failure regardless of any other perceived benefits.

    Linked to that, I would also be in particularly strong agreement with 5,6 and 7 (especially your expanded version in the comments). Difficulty accessing a GP surgery and worries about emergency access are also the sort of genuine issues with the scheme that need to be resolved if the very real and valid local opposition is to be addressed. And as for bus access . . .well if you want to encourage people out of their cars, strengthening the main public transport option running through the island has to be a priority

    P.S – none of the above is disagreement with your post. It’s actually agreeing with most of it. You ask about weighting of areas, and for me, 4-7 are the key ones, probably in that order

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    1. Thanks for the contribution Jason. It’s Angus who should get the plaudits on this. He is also working on a proposal that would allow everyone, whether they live within the LTN or not to gain access to the Doctors. As you quite rightly point out, our first proposal (https://crystalpalaceltn.org/2020/08/15/bromley-residents-join-us-to-help-design-a-low-traffic-neighbourhood-that-works-for-all-of-us/) does give access to both main roads in proximity to residents’ houses and of course emergency access from any direction.

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    2. Thanks for the feedback, Jason.

      A design that allows people to access their two nearest main roads is technically very much doable. There’s a couple of approaches, in broad-brush terms:

      1) Residents’ permit system – one access point to the main road network is open to everyone, and the other only to residents’ permit holders. My best guess is – referencing the current design – the southern area would have a residents-only control point at Goat House Bridge, with Southern Ave / Woodvale Ave etc. remaining uncontrolled and open to everyone; the northern area would reopen Fox / Stambourne / Sylvan to all, and have a residents-only control point at the Bromley border i.e. where the width restrictions are.

      2) Linked-camera system. This is more expensive to set up, but cheaper to run – as there aren’t any permits to administer. You have a network of cameras, one at each entry/exit point to the streets, to enforce an “Access Only” restriction. You can drive past any one camera in any ten minute period. Only if you drive past two or more cameras inside ten minutes is a ticket issued. LB Hounslow are trialling this at the moment. In this set-up you don’t need permits: the cameras don’t know or care whether or not you’re a resident, they are just looking for traffic that’s cutting through. Deliveries/trades/visitors can access from either main road, but have to drive back out the way they came.

      But with either system, there’s a problem at the moment, and I’d appreciate help in getting the word out. And that problem is one of compliance. Currently there are a significant number of people ignoring the bus gate, and some going as far as covering up their number plates to do so. It’s _really_ hard to convince the council to spend money on a system like this when people are showing intent to blatantly cheat it.

      PLEASE can people not do this. If we want a final arrangement something like one of the above, it needs to be shown that cameras work. It’s expected that a few people will make mistakes (at least while sat navs are adjusting) and there’s always a small number of bad apples out there. But if we want to get the planters replaced with cameras, it’s vital that respect is shown for the cameras that are already there – otherwise, I guarantee that we’ll be told that “cameras don’t work”, and they’ll insist on sticking with physical barriers. In other areas where this has been tried, they’ve generally been able to get 95% compliance after a couple of months – we need to see the same here. Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for the constructive reply Angus. It’s good to be able to have a sensible discussion from different point of view, not least as its the approach most likely to get a solution that most of us are comfortable with. I think what you say about compliance is fair enough. My only question is whether this is a bedding in issue or something more problematic. . . . . . . hopefully the former

    The benefits of a camera scheme at the South end of the scheme are huge, and I think they go beyond the benefit of it being easier for residents of the zone to get in and out by car (although I acknowledge that that’s my primary concern). There is also a major issue around increased congestion on South Norwood Hill and Penge Road (the latter has been backed up all the way to Anerley Aldi twice at morning rush hour this week). These are actually largely residential Roads themselves (in the case of South Norwood Hill every bit as much so as Auckland / Lancaster Road), and if that congestion can be eased a bit by not having residents of the LTN crawling round to get to the “right” bit of the main road network, then that has to be a benefit.

    My worry though is that while the camera access approach provides a workable compromise, if that doesn’t go forward, we’re potentially back to the binary “all or nothing” approach. Certainly from my own point of view, if we can’t have a camera access approach, I (and almost certainly most of my neighbours) would be strongly of the view that we would need to do away with the Southern Avenue / Lancaster Road installation altogether. You (and most on this site to be fair) would presumably be very much against that, and we’re back to that binary approach that we really need to try and avoid . . . . not least because however this pans out, we all still have to live in the same community afterwards.

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    1. Thanks once more for your considered reply, Jason. We do need people like you putting up constructive opposition, because otherwise, like you say, the situation will result in a stalemate (or binary) that results only in the hysteria we are seeing on social platforms all over the country. We on this site are not happy with this which is why we critique the hastily introduced version of a LTN imposed by Croydon Council. We have come up with a far superior proposition that tries to defend the most important aspects of a LTN – providing safe passage for people who either don’t own a car or choose not to use their car – but at the same time allow flexibility for residents without letting rat-run traffic through. And you have probably noticed, Angus is investigating a radical approach that allows people who live outside the area to access services such as the doctors’ surgery.

      Perhaps the greatest unacknowledged success of the LTN has been that it has started a conversation about how society uses cars, the resulting health, pollution and environmental consequences, what it means to live in a city, how does democracy function and are there corporate interests that govern our lives (road lobby). Pretty impressive for a little LTN!

      We also have to be honest about the consequences of the LTN. It is noticeable that Auckland Road is a far far nicer place for human beings – walkers, runners, cyclists, scooterists – and we have seen a great rise in their number which will only increase. I’ve noticed two particularly social consequences: a far greater number of pupils walking to school (above all Harris) and how much friendlier people are. It has become normal for people to greet each other, even teenagers are doing this with pensioners!

      But what about the traffic (around 7,000 vehicles a day used to travel along Auckland Road) that has been pushed back to the main roads. At certain times of the day it has added to congestion, longer journeys and more pollution. We shouldn’t try to dismiss this. Opponents of the LTN use this to justify scrapping the LTN. Should we then go back to the ‘old normal’ when nobody cared about the 10,000 people dying from this very pollution. It also allows us to examine why traffic needs to spill onto residential roads. Why can’t main roads cope? What kind of journey are they having to convey? Is a large metal box an efficient way of transporting a young fit person?

      Reason enough to keep even this poorly designed LTN, if it gives us the opportunity to ask these important questions.

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