Review of Eltham Town Centre traffic arrangements

Following complaints from several residents recently I wrote to the Council about the traffic islands which have been installed at the Eltham Hill end of the High Street.  I was pleased to be told that a formal review of the Eltham Town Centre Scheme was being undertaken and, in response to my enquiry, the Council intended to specifically include this element of the road layout in the commissioning documents which the consultant undertaking the review would receive.

One of the traffic islands which makes cars swerve when driving up Eltham Hill.

The specific complaint from residents was that the traffic islands positioned beside the garage and the church seemed dangerous and meant buses struggled to get through with some cars going up the other side of the road to turn right into Wythfield Road/Court Road.  The resident felt that the whole layout made the situation more dangerous.

So having written to Council Officers, I was pleased to see an acknowledgement that maybe the road layout had contributed to the change in driver behaviour, however, I think the Officers made a couple of point well worth repeating:

  • The new position of the refuge slightly reduces the area of carriageway in which traffic can queue in two lanes, so at busy times the queues may appear longer, which gives the perception of longer delays.
  • In actuality the capacity of the signalised junction has not changed significantly so the net time taken to negotiate the junction should not have changed either. But the longer queue is tempting some motorists to pass the island on the wrong side which, of course, is illegal.

Possibly the Council (and Councillors) need to be clearer in expressing this message about the total wait time not changing too much.

In addition Council Officers confirmed that during March they would be procuring a “Post Completion Scheme Evaluation and Review” that will include a “Stage 3 Road Safety Audit”.  Apparently the specific issue has been included in the Study Brief for the review and Officer inform me that they will await the report of an independent road safety auditor before considering if anything more needs to be done.

If anyone has any thoughts about other sections of the road layout which may need to be reviewed, please do let me know and I will write to Officers to ask for the independent consultants reviewing the High Street regeneration project to look specifically at any reasonable suggestion.