When are Main Roads, not Main Roads?

Where philosophy meets cartography

Musings by Robbie Griffiths

The glorious thing about defending the concept of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood, is that it forces supporters to consider ever more aspects of human life in the city. So it was inevitable that philosophy should raise its head at some stage. So we have to thank Helen on our Facebook platform for pointing out the dangers of dogma, though I’m not sure she meant the dogma that cars and the city are somehow inevitably entwined.

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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.

What we talk about when we talk about filtering*

By our active travel correspondent Katie Crowe

Feels as though this is a pretty topical issue right now! In essence, when people refer to the ‘road closures’ we have in Crystal Palace (and beyond), these can better be described as modal filters.

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Traffic surveys

One measure of the effectiveness of traffic alterations relies on surveys of traffic, before and after the change. If one looks at the major study (S. Cairns, S. Atkins and P. Goodwin) into ‘traffic evaporation’, we find that traffic is analysed both on the road itself, but also the boundary roads where one might expect traffic to divert to. The effectiveness of traffic evaporation is calculated from the ‘before’ and ‘after’ results of these combined figures.

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Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Disabling or enabling

Traditional thinking has tended to view the limitations on disabled people’s choices and life experiences purely as a consequence of the differences in their physical capabilities. The answer to those limitations would be to fix their physical limitations, which is, often, of course impossible, or to accept that they have to put up with more limited choices and quality of life than others. In recent years, however, disability advocates and government have favoured a different way of thinking, called the “social model of disability.” The social model holds that disabled people are held back, not by their bodies, but by the choices society makes about the physical environment, the world of work, social interaction and so on. Giving them more choice and opportunity requires fixing those problematic features of society.

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Bus gate: why not let local residents through?

There are now over 2,100 signatures to the petition which, while being supportive of the LTN, calls for the bus gate to be opened for access to local residents only.

Our proposal for a better way of controlling traffic within the LTN makes it clear that the bus gate is essential to defending a safe route for walkers and cyclists, but we haven’t addressed why residents shouldn’t be allowed through or whether certain categories of people/vehicles should be given an exemption.

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Bromley & Croydon residents: join together to help design a Low Traffic Neighbourhood that works for all of us

Google encouraging rat run traffic

Life must be intolerable for some of the Bromley residents in ‘Auckland Island’ who are now experiencing high levels of traffic driving through their area. There are a number of factors at play:

  1. the constriction at the end of Church Road due to the collapsed building
  2. an increase in local residential traffic seeking a way out to Church Road
  3. satellite navigation software directing traffic through to save a minute over driving up Anerley Hill.

This appeal seeks to address the last 2 issues, though perhaps Croydon Council should be petitioned to take a more active role in finding a solution to the collapsed building.

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Crystal Palace Low Traffic Neighbourhood – theory & practice


In their Croydon’s Streetspace Improvements Programme (CSIP) Frequently Asked Questions, Croydon Council state:

“The purpose of this initiative is two-fold: 

  • To allow residents safer access to their streets enabling safe socially distanced travel, exercise and other activities. 
  • To keep traffic on the classified road network and by doing so reduce the volume of traffic travelling through our neighbourhoods.
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Local support for LTN

Here’s the view of local resident Martin Wheatley posted on Facebook

There’s been a lot on here [Facebook ] recently about Croydon Council’s existing and planned changes to Auckland Road and nearby streets – of which I am a resident. With no disrespect to the views which have been expressed, and for the sake of balance, let me offer a different take.

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Thought of commuting by cycle?

Why not give it a go. The chances are you will get to your destination far faster than by car. Just don’t take the main roads – too much pollution for your lungs, less safe and often slower.

Latest – A fifth of Brits say they’re considering cycling to work


  • it makes you fitter
  • it makes you healthier – better respiratory fitness (important in these times)
  • less likely to catch germs/virus than on public transport
  • it makes you richer
  • it saves you time
  • there is no frustration sitting in traffic jams
  • it evaporates stress after a difficult day at work
  • you see streets you never knew existed
  • sometimes great thoughts come to mind while cycling – solutions to long standing problems can spring into your mind!
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Support for Croydon Council’s plan

Dear Croydon council

I live near the Auckland Rd Cypress Hill junction.

Before the bus gate; barrier with flowers

The road block was fantastic – we saw our non cyclist teenagers both cycling down the streets learning the dangers in a safe way and they now want to cycle to school or walk. The whole road was jogging, chatting in front gardens, cycling, playing outside and dog walking while remaining distanced. It’s been amazing.

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How is all this being paid for?

In May 2020, the Transport Minister, Grant Shapps, announced £250 million for an emergency active travel fund (the first stage of a £2 billion investment).

Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements to allow social distancing, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors were promised across England.

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What does Croydon Council say

This is what Croydon Council Highway Improvements Team say:

Scheme background:

The road closures and other measures across the borough have been installed at speed in response to covid-19 pandemic with the aim of reallocating road space to cyclists and pedestrians enabling safe, socially distanced active travel and form part of the Council’s Streetspace Improvement Programme (CSIP). The central government imposed lockdown has resulted in a substantial reduction in motor traffic, creating less polluted, quieter streets across our borough. Many people have opted to cycle or walk instead of using their own vehicles or public transport, in some areas there has been a 70% increase in the number of people using bicycles for exercise, safe and socially distanced travel.

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