Courthill Road correspondance with TfL #3

Received on 11th March 2010.

Dear  Mr Calò

Re: Pedestrian Crossing on Courthill Road SE13

Thank you for your continued interest in the Lewisham High Street/Courthill Road junction. For clarity, I would like to respond in the same format and provide comments to each of your points in turn below:

1.    You say that twenty collision accidents of which five involving pedestrians happened in the last three years. You also say that these accidents happened on all four arms of the junction.

I would really appreciate it if you could provide a breakdown of these twenty collisions divided by arm of the junction and also specifying where the accidents involving pedestrians happened.

For your information, please find attached a description of the collisions that have occurred at the junction concerned for the three years up to October 2009, which is the latest data we have available.

2.    You then say: “The fact that there are queues on all the approaches to the junction during peak periods with the current traffic signal operation is a clear indication that this junction is operating at its capacity limit. To provide pedestrian signals we would need to shut the entire junction down for traffic to enable pedestrians to have a free period to cross or we would need to re-phase the traffic signals and provide wider pedestrian islands to enable pedestrians to cross all arms of the junction at different times without being opposed by vehicles. If all traffic movements were to be permitted both of these options would have a significant impact on the amount of time that traffic currently has to move through the junction.”
Have you considered the context of this junction? This junction is sited between Lewisham Centre and Catford Centre, and traffic here only flows to the next junction and it makes almost no difference if you can go past it fluently in either directions because inevitably you’ll very soon hit the next junction, and each time there are queues at Courthill Road there are also queues at the other junctions of the route in both directions.

You are right, this section of the A21 between Courthill Road and Catford Town Centre is a particularly busy route. However, the impacts of installing a pedestrian crossing at Courthill Road cannot be viewed as simply holding a queue at one location rather than another. We must be sure that any queuing created as a result of this pedestrian crossing does not have significant impacts on other neighbouring junctions, not just on the A21 but also on local borough roads.

3.    You say that “We will continue to investigate whether we can provide pedestrian improvements but this process takes some time.”
Only that before saying this you wrote that you already investigated this and quiet clearly expressed the identified possible solutions. Why the need to investigate further then?

Previous investigations have indicated that it will not be possible to install pedestrian improvements at this junction without significant impacts on capacity of the junction. We now need to identify exactly what these impacts are for different scenarios (all red to traffic stage or pedestrians walk with traffic as explained in section 2 above) and whether they are acceptable for other modes, including buses, cyclists and general traffic.

As part of our previous investigations we built a model which replicates the operation of Courthill Road junction and nearby Ladywell junction which are both linked operationally. We are now testing the impacts of any changes of the junction to identify whether they are acceptable to both Transport for London and the London Borough of Lewisham.

4.    Immediately after you write: “To comply with the other policy objectives we must be able to demonstrate that the introduction of signalised pedestrian crossings will not have an adverse impact upon traffic flow through the junction. If we cannot demonstrate this then, it is unlikely that we would be able progress any pedestrian improvements.”
If I take this to the letter I understand that you are saying that unless a pedestrian crossing provides ‘zero’ impact on car flow you wouldn’t place a pedestrian crossing. Isn’t this always putting cars before pedestrians rather weighting the pros and cons? Obviously a zero impact is impossible to achieve. Was this what you meant?

TfL have a duty in accordance with the Traffic Management Act to ensure the expeditious movement of traffic through the network. We must  understand the impacts of any alteration on all modes of transport, this includes pedestrians, cyclists, buses and general traffic. As previously mentioned, the TfL road network (TLRN) in this particular location is already operating close to its capacity with long queues regularly forming on all approaches to the junction. If the installation of a crossing makes this situation significantly worse it will be unlikely we can justify a crossing here without severe impacts being upheld on local borough roads only.

We have recently met up with the London Borough of Lewisham officers and councillor to explain this issue and will remain in close liaison as our investigations develop.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you require further assistance.

Yours sincerely

P.S.: at point 1 the letter mentions an attachment with details of the recorded accidents. The attachment was actually missing, I have asked for those data again, both to TfL as well as to other contacts at City Hall and I’ll post that data here as soon as I receive it.

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One Response to “Courthill Road correspondance with TfL #3”

  1. TfL in partial agreement on Courthill Road « . Says:

    […] And that’s encouraging. Read the full letter here. […]

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