Over 300 local people completed the survey. The key findings were that 75% of respondents were opposed to the Albemarle Road scheme as it's currently configured, but opinions were evenly split on making Westgate Road bridge one-way. Over 95% of respondents took the time to explain their views with lengthy thoughtful explanations, and of the comments 40% took time to suggest ways the scheme could work with some changes.
The Albemarle Road scheme as it is currently configured is very unpopular. 75% said it should not become permanent and 80% said it had not improved travel around Beckenham. The results were the same when we analysed respondents who lived within 1 mile of the scheme - 77% were opposed to the scheme.
There was more - but not overwhelming - support from cyclists (who made up 22% of respondents), 51% of cyclists wanted the scheme to become permanent.
17% of respondents said it had encouraged them to walk or cycle more, which is encouraging given the short time the scheme has been in and the winter conditions.
There were a lot of complaints about the lack of consultation - only 7% were consulted about the scheme, and of people who lived within 1 mile of the scheme only 15% said they were consulted. Many of the comments complained about the lack of consultation.
However, there were a lot of constructive comments about the scheme, clearly many respondents had taken a lot of time to consider how the scheme could be improved to work for the benefit of all road users and there were plenty of constructive ideas.
Common themes were:
- The lack of consideration of displaced traffic and what would be needed to mitigate it. For example traffic light phasing, yellow lines, removal of parking bays etc.
- Cyclists and drivers commented on the need to build a proper cycling infrastructure to encourage cycling across the borough, making sure that everything is linked up. There was considerable support for working to achieve sustainable improvements but complaints that schemes have been introduced on a piecemeal basis with no area wide modelling.
- Some cyclists commented how the scheme had actually made cycling on Albemarle Road worse, particularly when struggling with the parked cars and due to the change of right of way at St George’s Rd junction.
- Pedestrian crossing safety had not been considered in the scheme.
- Improved signage would help, and speed restrictions and enforcement would make the road safer for all users.
- Several respondents suggested ways that two way traffic could return but with a cycleway, e.g. narrowing the pavements.
- Many residents suggested adding a right hand filter at the Beckenham Junction traffic lights to ease the congestion there.
- Others suggested the making up of Downs Bridge Rd and The Avenue to ease congestion.
- Lack of consultation really grated with several respondents - there was a sense of outrage that they were not consulted.
Westgate Road Bridge
There was a slight preference for Westgate Road returning to two-way, just over 52% clearly do not support the change to one way citing it was causing congestion in the High Street, increasing journey times and creating more pollution. However, a significant 33% were in strong support of keeping Westgate Rd Bridge one-way as it has improved the safety on the bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, plus stopped motorist altercations. Of those in favour other viewpoints were:
- There should be traffic lights either side of the bridge
- Cyclists should be able to travel in both directions
- Keep it one way but in the other direction
- Downsbridge Rd should be made up and operate in the opposite direction
The increase in journey times due to traffic travelling north being diverted to the High Street was the most common complaint of those not in favour of the bridge being one way. 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.
Our next steps
We'll feed back the results of our survey (anonymised) to Bromley Council as part of their consultation.
Thank you to all the respondents who took time to reply to the survey in such a thoughtful and constructive way. If anything it underlines how valuable consultation with local residents can and should be.
Bromley Council are now consulting on the next steps for the scheme. There are two 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
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