WELLS WAY TRIANGLE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION
COMMUNITY MEETING – TRANSPORT SPECIAL
29th March 2011
Jenny Bentall opened the meeting and explained that it would be primarily dedicated to discussing transport issues. There were other association business items to cover afterwards. She introduced the other speakers. Val Shawcross - London AM member for Southwark and Lambeth and special interest in transport issues – Malcolm McDonald from Evolution Quarter Residents Group (EQRG) and the cycling instructor Michael Paull.
2. IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Malcom McDonald – Evolution Quarter
Malcolm McDonald gave a fabulously well researched presentation highlighting key transport issues. These include:
- Long waiting times for buses
- Capacity of the local buses, which does not meet demand
- Destinations of the busses, which do not travel to central London.
The lack of a direct bus into town means longer journeys, that are more expensive for Oyster pre-pay users from this area because they have to pay for two journeys.
A superb graphical display illustrated the lack of rail services for the WWT area. This leaves us dependent on buses.
The Cross River Tram (CRT) planned under the previous mayor of London recognised the poor transport services currently provided for the area. The CRT was cancelled by Boris Johnson.
Malcolm described Evolution Quarter’s lobbying campaign to improve public transport. As well as direct lobbying Malcolm is also a member of the Southwark transport group. The WWRTA also sit on this group.
Wells Way and Southampton way bus services are a priority for EQRA along with improving the 63 bus route.
Malcolm demonstrated how the 168, 148, 12, 171 or 42 could be directed to provide a route through the WWT area to central London.
Malcolm also argued that his own observations of the 343 service suggested that this is currently overly frequent. He also noted that residents in the Brokley area complain about it as it is not needed in their area. He suggested that buses could be terminated in Peckham or taken off the 343 route to provide capacity for an alternative, direct to central London, route.
Malcolm mentioned that there will be a follow up meeting with TFL and Assembly Members in May 2011 which will provide a further opportunity for lobbying.
Malcolm advised that residents should complain about poor service noting specific incidents but that more general complaints about the standard of services can also have an impact.
On a positive note lobbying had achieved around 140 additional digital display screens at bus stops, two of which would at 343 stops on Southampton Way. These should start appearing later this year.
Val Shawcross AM - GLA Assembly member for transport
Val followed Malcolm’s presentation with her own.
Val talked about the Cross River Tram (CRT) proposal. This was part of former mayor Ken Livingston’s project for improving transport for Southwark. The CRT project planned a tram link from Peckham to Kings Cross via Southampton and Wells Way. It was second on the list of transport priorities for South London but dropped when Boris Johnson became mayor.
Val showed that we were “a cold spot” on the PATI index, mapping access to public transport.
When the CRT project was cancelled TFL promised that they would make improving bus access a priority but this hasn’t happened. Val agreed with criticisms of the 343 bus route as infrequent and overcrowded.
The mayors five year business plan for London makes clear that London bus services will not be increased over the next five years and that prices will continue to rise. The growth of population means that we can expect demand to further exceed supply over this time.
Both Ken Livingston and Boris Johnson have showed an interest in reinvigorating tram services if they are elected. This suggests that part of the solution to improving transport is about raising the profile of transport infrastructure projects in the minds of prospective mayoral candidates.
Trams represent a highly efficient use of road space. One tram can be equivalent to 30 buses in terms of transport capacity. Trams can also have tremendous social benefits, reducing poverty by giving people fast access to city centres. Our experience of trams in the UK is that they take a huge number of car off the road by providing an alternative. They are also the only form of transport that do not require an ongoing public subsidy after installation, because of the high ratio of passengers to drivers.
Val argued that lobbying for improvements to bus services can only ever be a short term fix for the transport problems of a high population density area like ours. We should therefore be making the case for large transport infrastructure projects, such as the CRT as part of our own campaigning strategy.
Tom Tibbits mentioned train links noting that a new station at Blackfriars seemed unnecessary and that the old Woolworth road station had been closed.
Val commented that the overground system was not managed by Transport for London and that the reinvigoration of Blackfriars station was to remove pinch points to train networks running into the city and increase capacity into the city by 10,000 passengers per hour. Although the focus was on improving transport to outer London she expected local services to also improve.
Improving train access in Southwark was a priority for the council. However train operators make greater profits from longer distance commuters and so are not enormously interested in areas only a short distance from London.
A further question mentioned that we had been lobbying for a cycle hire scheme to be introduced to the area as a low cost option for.
Val supports the introduction of the cycle hire scheme and believes that we will get these eventually, possibly after the Olympics are out of the way. She noted that geographical expansion required further enhancements to cycle hire services in central London so it’s not as simple as it would seem.
Malcom noted that he also agrees in principle with the cycle hire scheme but believes that lobbying for this could district from other improvements.
A further comment mentioned that the 343 route had been overcrowded for 25 years and that we are the forgotten transport area of Southwark.
Tessa Brown noted the long walks to bus stops required of secondary school children and the dangers that this presents.
Val explained that there is limited scope for development of further bus routes. However there was a general agreement from the floor that people would like more destinations.
Donnacadh pointed out that there are a lack services across South London. He was positive about the support for trams from Val. He suggested that we needed to be lobbying together with other local areas, such as Lewisham and Croydon to raise the profile of South London transport. He noted the need for forming alliances.
Val agreed that the profile of South London transport needed to be increased. She noted that every six months the mayor runs a people’s question time. She suggested attendance at the next one by as many residents association members as possible should try to attend as many of these as possible to verbally lobby the mayor.
Donnechadh also mentioned that Southwark is now one of the most dangerous areas in London for cyclists. The council allow building on cycle lanes and that South London is consistently left out of transport plans in favour of north of the river east west developments, such as crossrail.
Val noted that the five year plans are an opportunity to ring fence land for particular uses. She did not know why cycle lanes had not been protected. She felt that this was an important thing to lobby for during future planning rounds. Part of the problem was that the mayor would only ever see very major development plans so the developments eating into cycle lanes would not cross the mayors desk.
Alan Batchelor and a number of other speakers noted that the overcrowding would not apply if the tube was extended to Camberwell or Peckham.
Malcom noted that a tube would, of course, be highly desirable but that this wouldn’t happen within the next five years so lobbying needed to be focussed on what was achievable..
Val felt that the CRT proposal was more realistic than extending the tube as the cost of extending the tube would be prohibitive and the CRT would add more overall capacity.
Jenny Jones commented that we should aspire to get prospective candidates to turn up at a large meeting and commit to specific transport improvements, such as the CRT.
Jenny Bentall noted that this should form part of our future lobbying strategy.
Mark Williams, the new ward councillor, noted the frustration of getting the 343 and offered his support in this area. He also offered his contact details for issues such as this and other issues of concern to residents. He can be contacted by e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7525 7730.
Val noted that the active support of the council in supporting transport projects is essential to the success of getting these.
Further comments noted the difficulty of travelling without a car in the triangle areas.
Cycling Michael Paull noted that residents of Southwark could get two free cycle lessons. The majority of people using his services can ride a bike but are nervous about using a bike for transport. His organisation also teach school children to cycle. He is paid directly by TFL.
His organisation can also help with very basic level bike maintenance.
3. CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS Jenny mentioned that the constitution needed to be amended for the WWTRA to be recognised by the council as a Tenants and Residents Association. The proposed amendments were
- That no local councillor could hold the office of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary or Treasurer of the Residents Association, though they can still sit on the committee.
- That we must hold at least four general community meetings each year.
The adoption of both of these changes into the constitution were approved unanimously by those present.
Updates from the last meeting • Planning proposals for works on Southampton Way were approved without any of the WWRTA concerns being met – e.g. relating to pedestrian crossings and cycle lanes.
• Planning permission has been approved for the new shop fronts. There will be some effort to maintain original fittings.
• Planning permission has also been approved for 149 Southampton Way. We expect work to commence in due course.
Jenny Bentall noted council plans to build a new library on the forecourt of the law courts and the possibility that this could involve the destruction of further trees. The council are currently consulting on this.
Gardening Group Claire and Tessa noted the success of gorilla gardening outside St Georges school and making window boxes. All of the boxes donated by a local scaffolding company were taken.
The group want to investigate the possibilities for gardening on derelict land. They are also keen to examine the possibilities for planting trees in the street.
Claire offered advice and support for anyone wishing to grow food.
Arts events Tessa talked about extending Camberwell arts week up into the WWRTA area. She has spoken to the curator of this event, planned for June. She also suggested holding a street party to coincide with this event.
She is looking for people prepared to offer up space for displaying arts in their homes or other spaces to which they have access.
Nicholas the vicar noted his support for the event on the basis that the local school and youth group were to be involved.
There was majority support for a street party to coincide with this event.
Christophe, Nicolas, Sue, Ziggy, David, Emily and Cleo offered to form a working group with Tessa to arrange our involvement with this event.
Other ideas Donnechadh volunteered to run a free workshop on helping people to green up their homes. The committee will discuss whether this should coincide with the arts event or be a later event.
4. AOB Comments from the floor noted the litter outside the George pub and asked if anything could be done about these.
Mark Williams noted that he could be contacted about this and any such other environmental issues. He can be contacted at email@example.com .or on 020 7525 7730.
Sue Crisp noted the tree cutting in Burgess park and the public anger that this had caused. However she also suggested that this was part of a wider scheme and that Friends of Burgess Park (FoBP) were supportive of the planned changes overall. She also noted that phase II of the program would involve the closure of the park for a period of time over the summer as earth moving takes place. The council the main contact for Burgess Park is Ruth Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of Burgess Park will be lobbying to allow people to continue to influence developments as work continues. FoBP meet on the first Tuesday of each month. The next meeting general will be held on May 3rd at 7pm at the Sports Centre in Coburg Road.
Tom Tibbits noted that membership is free and that the FoBP meetings can give members of the public an opportunity to have their views about the current developments listened to.
Donnechadh suggested that he was disappointed that the FoBP had supported the tree felling in spite of the majority of attendees at the last FoBP meeting opposing this.
Jenny Bentall closed the meeting.