Traffic Chaos in Crystal Palace

Not so local motoring backed campaign groups have long protested about road infrastructure changes, most recently about the LTNs that are popping up around the country. Close to my heart are those in South Norwood and Crystal Palace, a place I grew up near, have visited, cycled, and driven through a lot over my years in London.

This week we’ve seen a campaign backed by a motoring group launch a Judicial Review against Croydon council about the road closures put in place. The same road closures have seen attention from Bromley council complaining about traffic build up in their borough ’caused’ by the road closures.

The causes of the issues are actually very different, and it’s easy to point the finger at one source. Several side roads in the area have been closed in an effort to stop rat-running. The main being a bus gate installed on Auckland road, it allows buses and emergency services through, but private motor vehicles receive a fine from ANPR cameras if they go through it. This is a popular route to avoid Crystal Palace Triangle and Upper Norwood.

The complaints have been about traffic build up around Crystal Palace Triangle, from Upper Norwood and down Anerley Hill. No one can deny that traffic has been bad around there whilst Auckland road has been closed, it undoubtedly has been. But the source of that problem was mostly down to a motor vehicle crashing into a building just before the triangle on Church road on March 23rd. The building was unsafe, scaffolding was put up into the road, and as such traffic lights were put in to allow traffic to ‘flow’. This was only taken down this past weekend, the beginning of November!

Auckland Road was closed from March 11th for emergency gas works, nearly 2 weeks before the car crash in the triangle. These works were only meant to last until the end of the month.

However I passed through on the 17th of May, and these works were still in place! The only thing open is a small slither of pavement that was a zig-zag between barriers and dustbins.

At no point whilst this was closed did we see any complainants from Bromley council or campaign groups. This could be down to us being in lockdown for most of this, and traffic in the area being very light. The same can be said for traffic problems when they did arise, people were less likely to take public transport, so we saw a rise in people using private motor vehicles.

This weekend just gone we saw a campaign ground Open Our Roads hold a protest along Church Road (Yes, the road where the car crashed into the building and the traffic lights that have been in place for over 6 months!). Some members have helpfully put up some videos of the protest, such as this one showing free flowing traffic.

Video showing free flowing traffic on Church Road
This at 1:23 showing the traffic lights still in place, causing the traffic!

Now the scaffolding has been taken down normal service has returned to Crystal Palace triangle, motor vehicle traffic can freely drive through with little interruption, despite Auckland Road still being closed. Here is a before and after video of the scaffolding, both were taken at roughly the same time of day, during school term time, and during commuting hours, just look at the difference!

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