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Bonkers Blog December 2017

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Sadiq Khan

6 December (Part 2) - Albion Road improvements shredded!

Here’s something that was received two weeks ago and slipped through the net; Bexley Council’s propaganda sheet explaining their latest cock-up, the Albion Road ‘improvements’.
Albion Road

Click image for four pages of Council propaganda.

Things are not quite as described, the changes to Gravel Hill began last January and were supposed to be completed within ten months. Now we learn that work will continue until next Spring. 50% longer than planned then?

Having messed up a perfectly good road by installing cycle tracks almost at random, Bexley Council is now encouraging cyclists to ride on the footpath, probably good advice given how narrow the main carriageways are.

On the southern side of Albion Road there is a cycle lane except where it is needed most. At the junctions and roundabouts. Councillor Davey had it right when he said the roads in Bexley are Bonkers.

One of my correspondents spent a long time analysing the propaganda sheet, far more time than I have free so let’s go with him…


Better Access to the Town centre
Quote: ‘The central brick wall barrier which cut off the north and south sides of Albion Road has been removed to open up the street’. Unquote.
In the same context how about also removing the end sections of the massive six foot high wall across the top end of Royal Oak Road (south side of Albion Road)?
New brighter street lighting
Quote: ‘… and provide better colour definition’. Unquote.
The LED lights give everything a ghostly grey pallor ideal perhaps for Hammer House of Horror films but not very attractive for residents.
New Footpaths
Quote: ‘New footpaths …. where cyclists will be allowed to share them… ’Unquote.
This would seem to be contrary the Highway Code where the only reference I can find is that cyclists MUST NOT ride on pavements. Note the use of MUST NOT in the Highway Code makes it a legal requirement and offenders liable to prosecution.
Also Quote ‘Dark paving indicates that the footpath is shared between pedestrians and cyclists.Light paving indicates that the footpath is pedestrian only’. Unquote.
Again cannot find any reference to this this in the Highway Code. Wonder how would you expect cyclists and pedestrians to be aware of this distinction?
Six new pedestrian crossings
Quote: ‘…a new form of zebra crossing which allows cyclists to also cross at the side of the pedestrian striped zone. … drivers are expected to stop when a pedestrian OR CYCLIST is crossing…’Unquote.
Again I cannot find this in the Highway Code and wonder how would you intend to educate drivers that they must also stop for cyclists at these crossings?
Oaklands Car park to Townley Road
Quote: ‘… with an overrunnable central divide… ’ Unquote.
Partially over runnable might be a truer description since the whole central divide has edge kerbing with some of it up to approximately six inches high. In addition the central divide would seem to have been designed by someone with a very wonky flexicurve or after one too many at lunchtime. The central divide kerb lines wander around all over the place for no obvious reason.
Quote: ‘A new pedestrian crossing has been provided at Royal Oak Road…’ Unquote.
It is just a pity that it is on the west side of Royal Oak Road where it leads smack into a six foot high brick wall. Had the crossing been positioned on the east side of Royal Oak Road it would have been adjacent to a section of the wall which could (should) be removed.
Quote: ‘No Right Turn is permitted out of (Royal Oak Road)’ Unquote.
Why not? Vehicles are presumably permitted right turns out of the Conservatory Club car park and Cardamon Court. Why not Royal Oak Road also? In addition the Council has narrowed the exit/entrance of Royal Oak Road by curving out the kerb line for no apparent benefit since there still needs to be sufficient width for traffic both ways at this junction.
The south side edge strip of Albion Road between Royal Oak Road and the War Memorial has still to be finished. It is presently being used as a Conway dumping area.
Townley Road to Highland Road and Highland Road to Gravel Hill
The provision of parking bays with little islands on the outside of the cycle lane between Pincott Road and Victoria Road seems bizarre. All properties along this stretch have access to parking in their rear gardens that they could readily use.
In addition the kerb line along this stretch has peculiar kinks. Conways really should learn to use a taut stringline. Just stand by the junction with Pincott Road say and sight along the kerbline. The greenest of apprentices could have set it out better. Trust you have a contract provision making Conway responsible for redoing poor workmanship at their cost.
In contrast to the above cycle lane plus parking lane bays on the south side of Albion Road on the North side there are sections without even a cycle lane viz. between Townley Road roundabout and the shopping centre car park entrance and again from the shopping centre car park exit to the Marriott Hotel car park entrance/exit.
What is the point of spending vast amounts of TFL money and with the massive disruption to residents lives all to provide cycle lanes but then totally omit large sections? The pavement in these sections is amply wide enough to accommodate a separate cycle lane plus footpath.
The Townley Road and Highland Road roundabouts have still to be completed. If planting is proposed I trust it will it include bluebells to replace those which were massacred by Conways.
Update on Gravel Hill improvements
Quote: ‘The improvements are expected to be complete in Spring 2018’ Unquote.
When the work commenced in January 2017 there were notices stating that it would be complete in ten months i.e. October 2017. Hence an overrun in the order of 6 months is now being predicted. Trust for the costs associated with this overrun are down to Conways.
General
Could Conways be prevailed upon to prioritise the total finishing of ALL, repeat ALL, work between Oakland car park roundabout and Gravel Hill i.e. line painting, roundabout approach island infill etc. etc. and then to remove all their paraphernalia (barriers, cones ,materials etc.) and all their equipment from this section of Albion Road.


I drove from the direction of the bus garage, past the Civic Offices and down Gravel Hill twice last week. All the roads are being made narrower with kerbs built out from their previous positions. My family road safety expert has told me several times that all things being equal narrow roads are not as safe as wide roads because they encourage head on collisions.

I’m not sure how he has the cheek to demand such large fees for advice like that because it is a statement of the blooming obvious isn’t it?

Bexley has not only made Albion Road narrower they have removed the central reservation. And the borough’s accident statistics are creeping up.

Will my correspondent get an answer to his questions? Not one he will like obviously.

 

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