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Denmark Hill, between Champion Hill and Blanchedowne: Improving cycle and pedestrian crossings

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    Hi, Southwark Council have an ongoing public consultation to improve access to Ruskin Park via Denmark Hill for cyclists and pedestrians. Closing date is the
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 30, 2013
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      Hi, Southwark Council have an ongoing public consultation to improve access to Ruskin Park via Denmark Hill for cyclists and pedestrians.  Closing date is the 4th October for replies.


      Denmark Hill, between Champion Hill and Blanchedowne: Improving cycle and pedestrian crossings



      My views to date are as follows:


      I welcome measures to improve pedestrian, cycle and road safety on Denmark Hill in general, and the new cycle Greenway link.  But I object to this proposal without amendments, as the proposal prioritises improving the existing assisted crossing on Denmark Hill (by Blanchedowne), yet leaves every other crossing “informal” between Champion Hill and Blanchedowne remaining unassisted


      Greenway links are not just for cyclists and Sustrans notes they “are designed for use by cyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users and others who feel vulnerable on or near busy roads”.  Yet, the main pedestrian entrances in Denmark Hill (by Ferndene Road and Champion Hill for access to the family and dog free areas) are not being provided assisted type crossings access (e.g Zebra or Signalled crossings) where I believe more assistance and safety is needed.  This is a more faster and dangerous section of Denmark Hill, than by Blanchedowne, with higher crossing demands and powerful desire lines.


      Speeds on Denmark Hill (A215, which is designated Strategic Road access corridor) at the dual carriageway are some of the fastest on record in Southwark for high traffic volume routes (over 8000 vehicles per day), with average speeds 31.1mph/29.1mph north/southbound last recorded in 2010. Click to show “Southwark Traffic Flow Survey” for speed reports on Denmark Hill at: http://maps.southwark.gov.uk/connect/?mapcfg=defaultmap&x=533272&y=174968&z=11  , or see traffic count record database http://www.southwark.gov.uk/downloads/download/3056/transport_data ).


      Comparing 2007-09 and 2010-12 for “Only Pedestrian” and “All” accidents on Denmark Hill by Champion Hill and Ferndene Road, the trend appears to me that accidents are getting worse (Source: http://www.crashmap.co.uk ).  And, In 2012 there were two Serious “pedestrian accidents” opposite Ruskin Park by Champion Hill informal crossing.  Overall, that makes three Serious accidents at this location in the last three years at this site. 


      On the Lambeth side of the new “Toucan” (cycle crossing) the pavements width remain as narrow now, and seem to me to have inadequate pavement space for cyclists passing pedestrians into Acland Crescent (especially at busy peak times).  Yet, the Southwark side of the crossing is being made much wider.  Such disparity in pavement widths indicates that the Toucan crossing could be poorly designed and compromises safety by increasing cyclist/pedestrian conflict and creates a pinchpoint for cyclists and carers with buggies, disabled and wheelchair users, trying to access the local bus stop or cross via the only proposed “assisted” crossing point on Denmark Hill before Champion Hill.


      I do not understand why Lambeth and Southwark have not put forward a better proposal together for this crossing.  I’ll try and measure the pavements later today to gauge against current standards for cycle tracks.   A road this wide should not need such compromises.


      Overall, Ruskin Park access via Acland Crescent is poor for a Greenways route.  It links to a narrow Park entrance with a nasty near 45degree short step down, and not best designed for wheelchair access.  This Park entrance needs to be improved and new dropped kerbs provided to allow safer wheelchair access (over Ferndene Road) if this entrance is to be used as the “only” Greenway link access route.


      Removal of the centre Denmark Hill “traffic island” on the Blanchedowne crossing will also mean removing the current clearly marked out safe central waiting gap for turning right into, or out of, Blanchdowne.  I believe this will make this particular junction (in the proposed layout) less safe and more threatening for road cyclists (and others) turning right.  Noting, the road is proposed to pinch down to 3 lanes (from 4 lane wide) over just this junction, and the road is very busy and often means waiting halfway for a gap in traffic for extended periods when turning right across it. Also, the current central island allows pedestrians a safe place to wait if they attempt to cross against the signal aspect (e.g to catch a waiting bus at a bus stop next to the crossing).  At night, this risk will be greater.


      The Champion Hill junction on Denmark Hill and its informal crossing over the dual carriageways has no “safety” improvements that I can see in this proposal (eg no raised crossing, nor converted to an assisted type).  Yet, this crossing is the most dangerous between Champion Hill and Blanchedowne.  If safety improvements cannot be afforded in this consultation, I strongly support that further funding is requested as soon as possible to improve pedestrian and road safety at this location.


      I support new assisted type crossings are needed over Denmark Hill “between Champion Hill and Blanchedown”.  If funds are limited, then I support funding to allow at least one new additional raised assisted crossing over Denmark Hill for Ruskin Park nearer towards Champion Hill as well as a raised assisted crossing at Blanchedowne.  This could support the Greenway links via Green Dale to Ruskin Park, as there is step free access via Cross street (by the NHS Clinic) that leads to Ferndene Road (for Park entrances to the family areas of the park, and are dog free). 


      I also support additional measures to reduce speeds on this very fast road eg more raised crossings, 20mph working and speed enforcement (like average speed cameras along length of Denmark Hill to Herne Hill).  


      I would welcome to hear other views to assist Southwark Cyclists and Lambeth Cyclists in their submission on this cross border consultation.


      Francis B

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