The Albemarle Rd Cycle Scheme was a golden opportunity to use TfL funds to make cycling in Beckenham safer but was sadly, implemented badly by our Conservative-led council.
There was barely any consultation, making Westgate Road Bridge one-way was a major mistake and without taking the time to engage local people and recognise the wider impact of the scheme on residents living and travelling through this part of Beckenham. The Council have done a disservice to the benefits of active travel and cycling schemes. In short, they've dropped the ball.
However, we should not let the Council's characteristically poor implementation undo TfL-funded schemes to improve cycling across the borough.
Local Lib Dem Campaigner, Chloe-Jane Ross, asked the Council’s Highways Team why the scheme had not been designed to link up with the long proposed TfL cycle quietway along Worsley Bridge Road to Lower Sydenham. The initial design did not seem to consider this. After this being raised, the Council have now secured TfL funding to install traffic lights on Westgate Road Bridge to return traffic to a two-way system so cyclists will be able to get to the Quietway without having to traverse busy Beckenham Junction. This will also resolve issues on Westgate Road Bridge, something Beckenham Lib Dems have long campaigned for.
As well as returning Westgate Road Bridge to two-way with traffic lights, the Council now propose to make Albemarle Rd two-way again between Beckenham Junction and Westgate Rd.
We think these changes will make the scheme better and balance the needs of cyclists and motorists - most importantly it will enable the cycle scheme to link to existing cycle routes at Lower Sydenham.
Next steps consultation - have your say by 3 March
The Council are now consulting on the next steps for the scheme. There are 2 options:
- Continue the trial with 2 way traffic reinstated to part of Albemarle Rd and over Westgate Rd Bridge with traffic lights on the bridge
- Scrap the whole scheme and not get traffic lights for the bridge
The Lib Dems support extending the trial and connecting Albemarle Rd Cycle Scheme to the Quietway. We encourage you to join us and to have your say by responding to the consultation.
TfL are unlikely to fund any more schemes in the near future. This funding is our best hope of getting safe crossings and cycle routes whilst the Conservatives run the council.
DON'T DELAY - COMPLETE THE COUNCIL SURVEY BY 3 MARCH!
Read the proposal and new road layout maps here
Complete the Council survey here
Let us know your views by email to [email protected]bromleylibdems.org.uk
Results of our Lib Dem survey - conducted in Feb 2021
Over 360 people responded to the survey - see the results of the survey here.
The key findings were that 75% were opposed to the scheme in its current form being made permanent and a similar 80% thought that the scheme had failed to improve travel around Beckenham. 52% were not in favour of Westgate Rd Bridge being one-way, whilst 33% strongly supported the change.
The increase in journey times and congestion were the highest complaints of those not in favour of the scheme. The Council is now proposing traffic lights on the bridge which will open the bridge up to two-way again and control traffic flows more safely. The Council’s proposed changes will go far in addressing these concerns whilst still providing a safe cycling route. The installation of traffic lights on Westgate Rd Bridge is an excellent compromise in returning the bridge to two-way whilst making it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.
It is a shame this scheme was not implemented in the first place! Our survey demonstrates the importance of consulting with local residents who are overwhelmingly willing to contribute constructively to consultations and get the best outcomes.