Friday, 18 April 2014

An Unenlightened Crossroad


Anyone travelling through North Cheam this morning has probably noticed that the traffic lights have not been working. The cars (or at least their drivers) have been very good and well manered and not caused as much traffic mayhem as might be expected (at least as far as I have seen). It's probably a good thing though that this occurred on a bank holiday.

Apparently they were not working at 7am (did anyone see them not working prior to this?) and have been off all morning.

So while one corner of the North Cheam crossroads may have been doing its best to enlighten people, the rest has remained stubbornly unenlightened...

Update (3:30pm)

Lights are working again.

31 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Velox said...

Traffic was better than usual. I honestly wish most lights were removed. Anyone remember central road before all the lights were installed? :)

Martin said...

I agree. There are never any tailbacks or jams when the traffic lights fail in Worcester Park by the station, just like in the old days when drivers were allowed to use their commonsense.....

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

Interesting you say thain have always thought maybe a roundabout by the station would keep a steady flow of traffic Better than the system in place tiday . this is something that our cross border traffic review would look into.

guest D said...

I agree it would be great for drivers, but what about the pedestrians trying to cross the road? One of the main purposes of those lights is to give them time to cross safely.


The same applies to Stewart's suggestion, both are car centric i.e. cater for the 22% who commute by car in London. We need a holistic solution that caters for all.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

I would like to see a pedestrian bridge considered that begins at platform level, goes straight across the road and then down. This would mean passengers could reach the other side of the road without having to cross at lights or ascend a separate second set of steps after first descending to street level. There will still be issues crossing Park Terrace but this is not nearly as dangerous as crossing Malden Road and could be dealt with using separate measures.

guest D said...

Simon, that is a positive suggestion but unless there was another lift installed on that side of Malden Road it would make it even worse for wheelchair users.

I do like Stewart's suggestion of a roundabout, but as it would have to cater for 'busses turning into the station it would need to be quite large, a mini roundabout would be out. That could have crossings, which at least would remind drivers of the need to cater for pedestrians.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

Wheelchair users could have lift access to a bridge... I have to say I think if you want higher traffic flow, pedestrians will either have to under or over the road ...I don't mind speculating but would prefer a proper review to be done.

Guest said...

Maybe not in Central and Malden Road, but it creates tailbacks everywhere on the residential streets, eg the Avenue, where local traffic is unable to get out into the main road.

Unfortunately, when the traffic lights are down, given the option of using 'common sense', many drivers interpret this as "Drive as close to the one in front as you can, tailgate and (under no circumstance whatsoever) give way to anybody!"

If drivers did have common sense, there would probably be no need for traffic lights.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

A round about would cure this as residential street are to the right...

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

I think guest D that quoting numbers is not that helpful ...22% it is not only commuters that use the road ...mothers school runs ...trades people, deliveries...The fact remains that this i a main arterial road that clogs up everyday ...it must cost us as a community dear in lost business...

guest D said...

Stewart, if you used the road as I often do outside of the 'Rush Hour' you would find that it is free flowing taking less than 5 mins to get between the A3 Malden roundabout and WP station (or vice versa). So trades people and deliveries should not be seriously affected.

If parent's want to damage their kids health with the school run that is their business so I won't comment, but otherwise it will be commuters who will benefit from any changes.

Martin said...

Pedestrians don't like subways under the road as was proved at Tolworth so it would have to be over rather than under.......but getting rid of the long pause for a pedestrian phase would increase traffic flow through the junction.......until the next set of lights.

Alex said...

And aside from subways being extremely unpopular, this area is low lying and subject to flooding. A pedestrian bridge, parallel (perhaps attached) to the existing rail bridge, on the south side, would surely be more practical and cost effective? ...Just a shame most of £2.25 million has been squandered on stupid and worthless projects!

Nichu said...

Pedestrians having to trot over a bridge? Wheelchair users having to use several lifts? Surely not. Make the fatties get out of their cars instead.

Dave said...

The delays on Central Road during the morning rush, particularly during term time, are more to do with the poor phasing of the Green Lane lights than of the existence of traffic lights at the Park Terrace / Station ramp junction. It's very noticeable how much freer the traffic flows during school holidays.

A roundabout at the Park Terrace junction is a non-starter, not least because of the physical constraints. A footbridge is entirely unnecessary.

When traffic tails back from the A3 no amount of 'improvements' will stop Worcester Park becoming congested.

Traffic planning cannot be done on the basis of whimsical ideas of local politicians.

Time to ignore the politicians and 'politicians' jumping on yet another bandwagon.

Dave said...

If you seriously think a roundabout would be a practical proposition, take a Google Earth image and overlay an image of another roundabout of appropriate size - suitable for buses - and see if it would fit. Of course, you would have to take into account the ramp down from the Station approach and the incline to/from the railway bridge - how would you accommodate them? Off hand, I can't think of any roundabout where even one road is on a steep ramp, let alone two.

Who would pay for it? RBK? TfL? How many tens of millions would it cost?

As for "residential street are to the right" - is that a joke?

Dave said...

The least efficient vehicle, as far as road occupation is concerned, is the private motor car, which should have the lowest priority, no matter how 'important' individuals regard their particular journey.

If motorists cannot be persuaded to use their vehicles less, or at different times, then the only long-term solution is road pricing (and that does not mean Congestion Charge).

Improving traffic flow only encourages more people to use their cars - which are the main cause of congestion (witness the dramatic improvement during the school holidays) - and you are then back to square one.

Simplistic ideas from 'politicians' add nothing useful to the debate.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Dave, there is an optimum phasing of the lights along the A2043 and we must be pretty close to that now - compare to a few years ago. There are few further benefits to wring out of tinkering with the light phasing.

A footbridge would benefit many people - especially if it begins at platform level but you are right that this won't solve all of our traffic problems at a stroke.

The hard truth is that there is just simply too much traffic in the area for the current road network to cope with. This is why the local Conservatives on both sides of the boundary have already opened the dialogue for a cross boundary traffic review.

Personally I would like to revisit the plan to add an extra road from the top of Green Lane, over the railway line (where the ramp is) and down to the Malden Road/South Lane/Sheephouse Way lights. This idea was first mooted decades ago: http://www.worcesterparkblog.org.uk/2007/12/hard-shoulder-to-cry-on.html.

It would be even better if we could put it underground so as not to spoil the tranquil setting in that area and I would personally push for this solution, but I will be pushing against difficult budget restraints.

These are not whimsical ideas or bandwagon jumping. Worcester park needs a solution to the congestion problems. We are prepared to dig a bit deeper to find one.

Dave said...

Who would pay for it?
RBK? TfL? NR?
How man tens of millions would it cost?
How many months of disruption?


Many people cross there who are not going to the station anyway, so a bridge would not benefit those going to or from a bus stop, or elsewhere. Those people are hardly going to take a long detour over a bridge if they can cross at ground level. Perhaps you are suggesting that the light-controlled crossings should be done away with to save a few seconds on the complete phase of the lights? And pedestrians barred from crossing at ground level? I'm sure those anxious to catch a bus would be well pleased!


As to danger, there should be no danger if people wait for the green pedestrian signal - provided one watches for cyclists 'jumping' the lights.

guest D said...

Simon, I fully accept that you and the other Tory candidates are trying to find a solution to improve the lot of car drivers, but that is in my opinion a short sighted and expensive solution. Also one doomed to failure with the rise of the intelligent Sat Nav, that use the algorithms honed to perfection on CSMA networks.

Most Sat Nav owners keep them on the default setting of the fastest route, so any improvement on the A2043 would almost certainly suck more cars of off the A240 and up Windsor Road.

All solutions proposed are very expensive so basically are unlikely to happen. Added to that London is know facing a severe pollution problem, nowhere near as bad as that of the 50s but bad enough that it will need dealing with and by using radical measures as the governments of that time did, by banning the use of smoke producing fuels. The 50s Smogs (thick yellow foul smelling fog) were got rid off by the late 60s. As the motor vehicle is the primary cause of this, even motor vehicle loving governments will be forced to act, even if we leave the EU.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Dave, you seem to have gone into 'contrary mode'.


Firstly there is nothing stopping there from also being an additional down ramp/steps on the station side of the road so it can also be used for merely crossing the road.


Second, I would not be suggesting that the light-controlled crossings should be done away with and pedestrians barred from crossing at ground level. I believe in freedom of choice and that by giving a better choice, there would less people wanting to cross the road at ground level.


Re paying for it, you may have noticed that public works get built quite often (there are currently lifts being put in at the station). These normally come from payments we make to the government called 'taxes'. The trick is to determine prior to making the decision whether the benefits will out-weigh the cost to the public purse (whether it be TfL, NR, RBK, LBS, HMG or a combination of the above.)


I am not currently in a position to start a quantitative assessment of either the benefits or the costs, and therefore not in a position to judge if the benefits will out-weigh the cost. However I am suggesting a possible solution that could be looked at and am interested in what people think (even you).


Hopefully after the 22nd May I might be in a position to start a quantitative assessment of both the benefits or the costs - if the people of Worcester Park think it might be a viable idea, which I would like to find out first.

Dave said...

I wonder if you have any idea of the cost of a bridge over the railway - tens of millions. NR certainly wouldn't pay for it, so that only leaves LBS + RBK or central government - another non-starter.


It's a simple fact that the more capacity that is provided the more people use it. The result is a temporary easing of congestion and/or moving the problem elsewhere. There is an argument that providing less capacity improves the situation, perverse as it may seem, because some, at least, find alternatives.


As I've written several times before, road pricing (not Congestion Charging) seems to be the only long-term solution. Only the bravest politician will take it on. The roads are a resource, just as water, gas and electricity are, so there is no reason why motorists et al should not pay for that resource - existing taxation would have to change, of course. Pay very little, if anything, at quiet times, a lot when there is heavy traffic, and the drivers of 'Chelsea Tractors', occupying more space, would pay proportionately more. It's all-too convenient for the individual private motorist, whose car is the main contributor to congestion, to forget that they are part of the problem.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

Road pricing already exists. It's called petrol tax. Anything else which allows journeys to be tracked is an infringement of personal freedom.


Also - there is a better solution to all this but it is a very expensive one. Put more transport underground. Brussels is like a rabbit warren of underground tunnels (so they can do something right). You can increase capacity without losing open spaces. You can also better treat the exhaust gases before the enter the atmosphere. And you can allow people the freedom to go where they want when they want without having to rely on buses and other unreliable systems that usually require several changes with their own built in long weights in between.


However, as I said this is extremely expensive, but again if the extra work increases employment, then the cost will be offset by the decrease in benefits costs in addition to the benefits to the community of people being in work and learning new skills. I don't believe this idea is necessarily off the table.

guest D said...

Simon, I don't think you are understanding the idea of road pricing. Petrol Tax is a charge on the amount of pollution a vehicle produces it doesn't vary with the amount of road resource you are using.

Road Pricing was introduced by a Conservative Goverment in the early 1960s, to be killed by Barbara Castle as she wanted a 'Socialist' not 'Capitalist' solution to the problem so she increased petrol tax instead.

We could put roads underground but should 80% of the population pay that huge cost £270 Million per mile the Limehouse link tunnel cost, to keep 20% of the population happy. Or are you planning a huge increase in Petrol tax?

I lived in Paris for a while and the majority agreed that the peripherique (a 1960s mainly underground road) was a failure, it had divided Paris quatiers from one another and was always jammed. (Fluide 20Km/h) signs are the norm.

We have to accept that roads are a finite resource, we can't go on building them and using housing land. So we have to decide on how we will apportion that resource. By need (Socilaist) or depth of pocket (Capitalist).

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

That is why Dave. I am proposing a cross border traffic review. we can all speculate as to what is best. I suggest we leave it to the professionals! Are you a professional Dave... ?

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

Guest D. I often use this road duirng rush hour, n fact the last two have spent on ....sitting idle for hours on Central or Malden Road ...I have recently changed my job solely because the situation is so bad...and we both know it takes longer than 5 minutes .

Guest working 9to5 said...

Guest D, clearly you are grossly out of touch with both the needs and commitments of the working families of Worcester Park - especially those many working 9 to 5 or similar hours.

Many of us take rather more than 5 minutes just to get from our homes to Central Road! This is especially true of those in the Green Lane area and those in the area of Windsor Road, now that Sutton Council's (equally out of touch) Outer London Fund have spent thousands sabotaging the traffic flow in the car park.

guest D said...

Stewart, read what I said OUTSIDE the rush hour the road is quiet and free flowing. In the rush hour commuters make it hell.

guest D said...

And that is your issue, you are bound to an outmoded concept of working 9-5. Fortunately many employers are becoming enlightened and actively encourage flexible working, so they have some employees working 7-3 and others working 11-7 and others still working from home. There are proposals from the current government to extend the school day to help with this.

It is that, that will cure the problem spreading the load on the creaking infrastructure not trying to widen pipes to take more of the flow during a short period and then stand empty.

I think we are at one of those pivitol moments in history, like Henry Ford's development of the production line which made cars cheap and affordable by the majority. And what did the people of his home town do to celebrate him, erect a horse trough!

The internet will change all our lives, it already has done it with retail, it will do the same with employment (I think in the next 10 years). I can already fix many of my clients' problems anywhere in the world, without changing out of my pajamas. So do we want to build more roads and if we build them will they be obsolete by the time they are built.

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

Apologies Guest D.

guest D said...

thanks, but no problem I've done the same myself reading in a hurry.

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