When we last updated the Dulwich Village Forum website, we had reached our target of £4,000, raised from the community, to commission traffic consultants Phil Jones Associates (PJA) to carry out the first part of a feasibility study into an alternative design for Dulwich Village Junction that would put pedestrians and cyclists first.
Members of the Dulwich Village Forum then asked local councillors whether this year’s underspend from CGS funds (local projects that hadn’t in the end gone ahead) could be used to complete the modelling, provide a technical drawing and note, and pay for PJA traffic consultants to make a presentation to Southwark and TfL. This was agreed at the Dulwich Community Council meeting on 1 February.
PJA’s presentation to Southwark took place on 15 March, and the minutes are reproduced below. There is also a link here to PJA’s powerpoint presentation.
As you can see, we are now waiting for Matt Hill from Southwark to report back to Councillor Wingfield, who takes the decision on the final design for the junction.
DULWICH VILLAGE FORUM PRESENTATION OF ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL
FOR DULWICH VILLAGE JUNCTION ON QUIETWAY 7
15 March 2017
Sue Badman, DVF (Chair)
Brigid Gardner, DVF
Alex Hamilton, DVF
Phil Jones, Phil Jones Associates (PJA)
Andrew Saffrey, PJA
Matthew Hill, Southwark Council
Richard Wells, Southwark Council
Will Bradley, TfL (representing Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner)
Caspar Jack, TfL (representing Jessica Ellery)
Apologies from Helen Hayes MP, Cllr Ian Wingfield, Cllr Jane Lyons, Cllr Michael Mitchell, Marianne Kavanagh, Barbara Richardson.
Brigid Gardner pointed out the advantages of the DVF proposal: dedicated cycle paths, a low-speed environment with less pollution and more comfortable environment suitable for a village community and conducive to more local trading. She demonstrated with ample quotes from TfL’s recent publication Healthy Streets for London that these were very similar to the aims TfL itself now espouses.
She said she recognised that modelling suggested that traffic flow on the N/S axis might be subject to queues in the am and pm rush hours but that even ‘Healthier Streets’ recognised that making a better long-term environment might incur short-term congestion.
Phil Jones and Andrew Saffrey gave a presentation showing how the three-roundel could work. They provided interesting modelling. This did show that there could be long tailbacks in the assumed rush hours, but PJA made the following points:
(i) rush hours amounted to only around ten hours in the week, whereas the improvements to the general conditions including reduction of delays at the junction itself and air quality improvements would continue around the clock
(ii) it was harder to judge exact effects in a flexible continual-flow scheme
(iii) vehicular traffic statistics had shown a steady decline over the last decade and if this trend continued at the same rate into the future, the modelling showed it could mean the problem would dissipate and
(iv) nobody could be sure without actual trials what alternative action drivers would take to find a faster way through.
Phil maintained that the cycling pathways including the new ‘parallel crossings’ (for both cyclists and pedestrians) would work well. In response to a query as to whether the cycle routes would be excessively long, for going round the junction, Phil clarified that the cycle routes would not be one-way as in the original sketch by DVF, but instead be two-way, in effect making a small local network of QW routes all-round the junction and mostly separated from it, allowing choices of routes and potential shortcuts. Furthermore, cyclists would enjoy priority on the zebra crossings, which is possible with the new parallel crossing authorised in the latest regulation.
Phil also said that a PJA scheme in Trinity Place, Bexleyheath, not dissimilar to ours, worked very well and had received a civic award.
Will Bradley preferred the original design because it was ready to be built and, in his view, was more likely to encourage cycling by protecting cyclists from motor traffic, and to benefit pedestrians. He also agreed with Southwark’s concern that the modelling of the junction showed the design would not be feasible with the current traffic levels. However, the consensus was that Quietway 7 reflected an earlier, narrower view of how to achieve healthy streets and environments. It was tacitly conceded that the DVF proposal might even be superior and certainly more in keeping with current thinking.
The issue is the old one: that the current plan is ‘ready to go’. TfL wants to sign off the Quietways. The money can only be given for a fully costed plan. In theory it could be agreed that the money could be held over until an alternative plan was ‘ready to go’ but there would be no guarantees – and in current circumstances it is highly risky as TfL is about to lose its large grant from central government.
Southwark believes that their current scheme is ready to be implemented and can deliver benefits in the short term for all modes, and is funded. While they agree that there are merits to the DVF proposal, it is at the very early stages and to get the proposal to a ‘shovel ready’ state is likely to take in the region of 2 years and significant expenditure. It was not certain that it was deliverable and if it would be acceptable at consultation.
The DVF pointed out that the current scheme had not been acceptable at consultation (70% had rejected it) but that did not seem to have made any difference. Also it did not seem good sense to spend money on something already known to have shortcomings, if delay would result in something better.
It was suggested that a cheap version of the current plan could be built but the problem is that the most expensive part is the signalling and that can’t be done on the cheap.
Since there was disagreement between TfL and PJA as to whether traffic in the area was increasing or decreasing, another idea was to do a trial of the traffic elements of the scheme. This might be for a, say, two weeks’ period with the two main roundels (not the Calton /Court one) and zebra crossings (not the cycle pathways or anything else) painted on the road in order to trial just the traffic flows in the alternative proposal.
It was emphasised that these studies had been crowd funded and represented what could be done within the limitations of time and funding. But certainly further refinements of the proposal and more analysis would be possible. The potential for this alternative was a much better public realm, better conditions for both pedestrians and cyclists and better air quality.
The main point was whether this sort of scheme was one that the authorities could support and work with DVF and PJA to refine and take forward.
4. ACTION TO BE TAKEN
- Matt Hill will report back, asap, on the meeting to Cllr. Wingfield including the idea of a possible trial
- Matt hopes this will result in a meeting between Cllr. Wingfield and DVF and would seek to arrange one.
- PJA will look into cost (to us) of producing a plan for a trial and the likely cost (for Southwark) of carrying out.
Here is a hand-drawn sketch, based on detailed drawings by PJA, to show how the cycling ring round the junction could work: