New Pedestrian and Cycling Facilities from Shortland’s To Beckenham
The new traffic management arrangements for Albemarle Road, went live on Wednesday 18th November 2020 in Beckenham.
This scheme to create a cycle route connecting Shortland’s to Beckenham and to improve pedestrian crossing facilities, has been introduced as a temporary measure in response to the Government’s drive to encourage cycling as a viable travel option and improve the attractiveness of walking with the current reduced capacity on Public Transport. In response to feedback from local residents after the initial letters were distributed, Westgate Road was made one way over the narrow bridge.
As a temporary scheme, the changes are in effect experimental. The scheme has obviously been assessed in terms of traffic flow and safety, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Whenever any new scheme is implemented, it will take days or weeks for traffic patterns to settle down and for the highway authority to make final assessments. Council officers will be visiting to monitor traffic in the Albemarle Road area and making necessary adjustments to, for example, traffic light timings at Beckenham Junction, or even making changes to aspects such as the one-way flow of traffic over the Westgate Road bridge.
The rationale of the Government funding for such schemes, with this scheme costing £56K, is that if all prior users of public transport in the area switched to a car, congestion would increase, increasing journey times for all. If the rise in car use can be limited with these proposals the rise in journey times may well be less than would occur without changes. A slightly increased journey time for some needs to also be balanced against the many benefits of increased cycling and walking. There was also a concern that new or less confident cyclists would be less inclined to continue cycling with increased car use post lockdown.
Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said: “We wrote to residents in advance of the scheme and received the range of responses from support to opposition, with some residents offering additional comments. As a result of the consultation comments, an amendment to the scheme has been included. I would like to assure residents who have concerns about this temporary scheme that we will be visiting the area to observe first hand and that all feedback will continue to be read, considered and as we have already demonstrated, appropriate action will be taken. I would, however, ask residents to allow time for drivers to adapt to the new layout so that the implications of the scheme can be properly assessed.”