Monday 11 March 2024

Politics And Public Transport (1)

It Starts With Streatham ...

... which is on the A23 in south London.

Streatham  lies mostly within the London Borough of Lambeth, with some parts extending into the neighbouring London Borough of Wandsworth.

Streatham was in Surrey before becoming part of the County of London in 1889, and then Greater London in 1965.

Streatham means "the hamlet on the street". The street in question, the London to Brighton Way, was the Roman road from the capital Londinium to the south coast near Portslade, today within Brighton and Hove. It is likely that the destination was a Roman port now lost to coastal erosion, which has been tentatively identified. The road is confusingly referred to as Stane Street (Stone Street) in some sources and diverges from the main London-Chichester road at Kennington.

So Streatham High Road is a typical suburban shopping and business area which is part of he very busy A23. The main drag starts at Streatham Hill station in the north ...
... and grinds slowly, and in typical suburban style, south ...
... to Streatham station; which is very underwhelming!
There are oodles of buses along this road road ...
... a fact that will become important as we proceed.

Now, on Saturday last, Roger French wrote a very detailed blog on the public transport problems in Streatham, problems caused entirely by a crackpot decision by local politicians.

Roger's analysis was superb, very detailed and almost beyond fbb's ability to understand, being only a very occasional visitor to London. So this fbb blog is your aged writer's attempt to get his own brain in order and see things from the point of view of somebody who wasn't at all sure where Streatham was!

So back to the fbb ramblings.

Almost opposite Streatham Hill Station (top of map below) ...
... is an orange road, a left hand fork, called Leigham Court Road.
This curves round to join a red road (note the diddy number 89, bottom right on the map). 

Just below Streatham station is a left hand turn on to the A214.
This is Streatham Common North, so called, astoundingly, because it runs along the northern edge of Streatham Common.
And very pleasant it is.

We now concentrate on the "D" shape of roads formed by Streatham High Road, Leigham Court Road and the aforementioned Streatham Common North.

Within that "D" we have a network of leafy suburban roads in a higgledy piggledy pattern, that connect with the boundary roads as revealed above.
One railway line (Streatham Hill) crosses from left to right across the top of the Google Earth picture; the line from Streatham runs diagonally from lower left to top tight. But many roads are, indeed, leafy.
Then in step the politicians with their jackpot idea. Lets make that "D" area into a Reduced Traffic Zone. It will improve air quality, improve peoples' mental health, save the planet AND, even better, win lots of votes at the next election.

So they did!
In simple terms you could only drive INTO or FROM a zone (PURPLE, RED or YELLOW) using the appropriate main road of the "D".  You are banned from driving THROUGH the area between zones.

Much of the access used to be from Streatham High Road before the scheme started.

And, now, if you want to take little Torquil from home in PURPLE to his child minder in YELLOW, you have to come out of the purple onto the "D",  drive all the way round the main roads and in to the yellow, reversing the process to get back for your first glass of Prosecco of the day.

Good, innit?

Bus 315 is permitted to pass through using a series of "bus gates" where only buses may cross.
Now fbb will ask his readers a question.

What effect might this "out and in then back out and back in" manoeuvering have on general traffic in Streatham, especially at peak times?
It will be horrific in both directions as snapped by Rog!
The effect led to buses taking over 45 minutes to grind painfully through Streatham on the A23.

Passengers crowded round the stops ...
... recreating scenes from the six nations rugby when their bus eventually arrived.

Then, sometime in the last week or so, common sense prevailed and, in concert with Mr Khan, the powers that were totally incapable of powering through the potty scheme announced that the whole thing would be deleted!

Back to normality!

Well it seemed a good idea at the time!

So, with a warm glow of appreciation for the Councillors (more likely highly paid consultants) who dreamed up the scheme, we move on to Leeds tomorrow.

Readers may be confused by two stations bearing the name Streatham (fbb was!) but worry not, there is a third, viz Streatham Common. The CartoMetro site shows all three.
Streatham Common actually looks like a real station!
But as to where trains go from these three, well, that must be for another day, but Southern Railway's route diagram may help!
See it; Say it; Sorted!

 Next West Yorkshire blog : Tuesday 12th March 


  1. Andrew Kleissner11 March 2024 at 08:29

    Three Streatham stations? I suggest you look at the stations named "Acton" (Tube and BR) - there are no less than seven of them, on four different lines

    1. Equalled, as Betjeman's poem hints, by the Actons, on four or even five different lines, depending how you count.

  2. Andrew Kleissner11 March 2024 at 10:38

    Indeed so - one could count the Piccadilly and District as two.