Bromley Council faced a barrage of questions from the public concerning the installation of a cycle lane at Crofton Road during its recent Environmental and Community Services Policy committee meeting. The scheme has resulted in narrowing the road near Orpington Station, creating congestion, difficulty and danger for traffic in passing buses at the bus stop, with at least one resident claiming that ‘near misses’ occur almost every day for cyclists, and another describing it as a ‘complete rush hour nightmare’.
Bromley Council had to admit that despite an extensive ‘consultation’ period between July 2017 to September 2019, including two approval meetings, public consultation and road safety audits, it had failed to identify that the bus stop was used as a changeover point, and it acknowledged that had this been discovered the scheme would have been altered. The Council blames Transport for London for not notifying them of the changeover point and is now consulting with Transport for London to see if a solution can be found.
The funding for the project (which cost about £0.67m excluding the separate resurfacing works of £0.37m after completion of work) was provided by Transport for London, although responsibility for the care of the pavements is the responsibility of the local authority. One question was raised about the failure by the Council to improve the state of the pavements as promised at the consultation phase. The response stated that there was no funding available and that the Council considered the pavements to be in a safe condition. Several people also raised the point that the narrowing of the road had also required the removal of some central reservation points for use of pedestrians.
There were two Road Safety Audits carried out before the scheme went ahead. The Council also stated that the vast majority of the residents were in favour of the scheme going ahead. A review of the Scheme is planned for Spring/Summer 2022 although the findings of a further Road Safety Audit may not be available until the end of 2022.
While we shall have to wait on the further discussions between the Council and TfL regarding the changeover point for the bus drivers, it is disappointing to note that such a critical factor was missed despite the consultation process, and that completion of such a project which the Council claimed had widespread support has met with many people expressing safety concerns.