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Honor Oak Road – petition on 20mph zone 23 June 2013

Posted by Philip Peake in Transport.
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Earlier this year I was asked to look into problems on the walking route to Fairlawn School. In a separate occurrence I was also told of complaints of speeding traffic on Canonbie Road. At a meeting at the school, to discuss its Travel Plan, further issues were raised.

Four years ago, Lewisham had run a consultation on a 20mph zone in the whole area to our side of the railway line.

Such zones required extra physical measures to slow traffic down. There was a lot of concern from Ringmore Rise, Tewkesbury Avenue and Horniman Drive, about adding speed humps to those presently un-humped roads. The result was that the zone was introduced only to those roads on the lower side of Honor Oak Road.

I had always thought that the exclusion of Honor Oak Road from the original plan was odd. Certainly the northern half, going past an old people’s home and a primary school, with another primary school at the junction, was a candidate for lower speeds. Fairlawn (and Horniman) schools are two of only 11 primary schools in the borough (out of 69) which are on through roads.

The petition we put together following all this requested the 20mph zone to be extended to Canonbie and Netherby Roads, which were excluded from the original zone, and to include the northern half of Honor Oak Road. That half is defined as starting at the junction with Horniman Drive; there is a natural entry there, where the road narrows from the left around the trees in the verge adjacent to the old people’s home.

With the help of Pat and Rowena from TLERA and my councillor colleague Alex among others, we collected 271 signatures from people who live in the area and from parents of children at Fairlawn School. I think in total about 8 people who we found in didn’t want to sign the petition, which should give the council an indication of the balance of feeling.

On Wednesday 1st May I met with two of the council’s senior highways officers. We took a walk around the area. I explained the traffic problems in the suggested area, as well as drawing their attention to other problems. These included the narrow and uneven footways along Honor Oak Road, the difficulties for pedestrians crossing at and near the St Francesca Cabrini junction, and the safety railing at the bottom of Canonbie Road. We also noticed a blocked drain problem – I have been out since, checking and reporting on those!

As I discussed with petition signers, we all recognise the lack of money at the moment, and one positive of the plan was the limited cost of introducing a zone in this area – few or no new extra physical measures are required at this stage, since the zone extension suggested is already humped. This was appreciated by the officers.

Ian and Bill did not, of course, immediately promise the zone could be implemented. They raised a couple of reasons not to: the difficulty in enforcement of a 20mph zone compared to a 30mph zone; and the relative safety – lack of human accident statistics – at the St Francesca Cabrini junction. Of course the first is only relevant when the police actually do enforce it, which we’ve seen little evidence of and is only less likely after the cuts; the second is only a small subset of the issue.

In general, however, they had a positive attitude to the issues that we saw and promised that there would be a full study undertaken soon on the possibility of changes in the area we talked about. We all need to keep an eye out that this doesn’t drift and I have already asked further questions to chase the issue up.

Photograph copyright (C) Keith Evans and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

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