Lewisham Gateway: 2013 evolution

This is probably getting unnecessarily nerdy now but when I received the Lewisham Gateway bus plan from TfL last month, I noticed two stops were missing from the numerical sequence – 11 and 12 – and that the plan was subtitled “mitigation measure: bus stop 11 and 12 removed”.

So I followed up that Freedom of Information request with one asking for the previous version of the plan, showing those stops, and yesterday TfL responded with it –

– along with this obvious word of warning and brief explanation:

Please note this drawing is out of date and no longer relevant as it reflects the proposed bus stop arrangement for the highway layout which was approved in 2009. The highway layout has changed as a result of the work done recently to ensure that the road space is managed as best we can for all road users.

It’s an interesting form of words: can removing two bus stops really be for the benefit of all road users, including bus passengers? In fact it may be a borderline case where you could just about argue that.

Cops’ stops

The stops in question were basically the same ones as the two outside the police station now. These are notably absent from the current working plan PDF (drawn up in April 2013) but are still there in the plan as it stood in January 2013.

Bus stops 11 and 12, outside Lewisham police station, before and after removal

Bus stops 11 and 12, outside Lewisham police station, before and after removal

Under the new plan, there’s very little need for the vast majority of Lewisham visitors to use the pavement outside the police station. The station and all bus routes are now planned to be so well connected directly through the Lewisham Gateway development site to the town centre, that it’s no great hardship to choose between the new stops nearest the station and the old stops down on the high street near the market, so making about 13 bus routes perform an additional stop on their way southwards is arguably just slowing them down to relatively few people’s benefit – although I’m sure residents of the area around St. Stephen’s Church and the police station would disagree!

It’s not an unquestionably good decision though: it may well mean less road space specifically allocated to buses. Presumably this is a result of traffic modelling showing forecast congestion before they made this amendment, eased by making it, but as a public transport advocate it’s not a pleasing sight.

Quaggy Quarter?

Assuming this is the way forward, though, isn’t there now an opportunity for some additional public realm improvement work? The pavement outside the police station is pretty enormous, and only very occasionally used by TV crews filming pieces to camera about disgraced newspaper editors being questioned under caution there. I assume the reason for this expanse of paving is because no foundations for anything else could go there as it has the river Quaggy running beneath it.

So, with the bus stops being removed and that pavement becoming less used, couldn’t more of the Quaggy be uncovered, opened up, turned into another river-centred public space like the new Confluence Place? (Or would that be too prone to flood Europe’s biggest police station, literally frightening the horses?)

Crossings out

There’s one other change I’ve spotted between the two plans, from January and April 2013. The January one shows three separate small crossings between Lewisham Station and the Lewisham Gateway ‘island’ (as I like to call the big chunk of land containing the bulk of the DLR station and the majority of the planned Gateway flats and shops), while the April one shows one far larger one.

Station Road crossings before and after the change of plan in early 2013

Station Road crossings (shown in solid black on the road) before and after the change of plan in early 2013

Again, there are pros and cons here – the new plan may seem a little less ‘desire line’-matching, attempting to funnel everyone going in or out of the various access points for the station and along any of the routes through the Gateway island onto a single crossing, but the April crossing is wide enough that its central position compared with two of the January crossings means very little diversion from where they were planned to run to use it – and the January third crossing only really seemed to cater for people wanting to get from Confluence Place to the taxi rank, a group arguably small enough not to warrant an entire separate bus-slowing intervention.

Latest

Meanwhile, nothing noticeable has happened since my previous post – but the official Lewisham Gateway News page really does make it sound like we’re not far away from Month 1 of 27 now – watch this space, or perhaps this space:

Work begins?

» Full Lewisham Gateway content archive

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