Thursday, March 09, 2023

Gellatly Road 1990s Traffic Campaign: a Geography Lesson

A perennial campaign in the SE14/SE4 area has been in relation to traffic in Gellatly Road/Drakefell Road, part of a busy B road linking  the Old Kent Road (via Pomeroy Street) with Brockley and beyond. 
 In the early 1990s a campaign by local residents to slow and reduce the traffic included blocking the road by continually crossing back and forth during the rush hour and placing skips on both sides of the road so that vehicles had to slow down. The campaign did have some success, resulting in speed humps and 'pinch point' barriers to prevent large vehicles using the road. While still busy today, it is no longer routinely used by lorries and coaches as a short cut from one part of the A2 to another.

Remarkably this local campaign was featured in a 1990s Geography school textbook as an example of how 'ordinary people can also bring about change in their neighbourhoods. The people of Gellalty Road, in south London, were so fed up about the amount of traffic using their road as a shortcut, they decided to do something about it'. The following section comes from 'Geography in Action' editeed by Andy Owen (Heinemann, 1995):

More recently the Drakefell Road Action Group and others have been continuing this campaign. Good luck to them, though I sometimes think that unless traffic levels overall can be reduced the only fair way of managing traffic is to randomly close roads for a period of time so that every street takes its turn with being busy or quiet. At the moment Thames Water seems to be implementing this policy by digging up roads across South London, and I was very happy when my very busy road was closed over Christmas because it had a big hole in the middle of it. 

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