Years of hard work and campaigning by local residents to improve one of south London’s busiest junctions came to fruition on Saturday December 4th as the Herne Hill Regeneration Scheme received its official inauguration.
The £1.8 million scheme, which was designed and planned by local residents, has transformed Herne Hill by creating safer conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, by improving and helping regenerate the commercial centre of Herne Hill and the entrance to Brockwell Park, and tackling traffic congestion.
A special ceremony on Saturday 4 December, attended by TfL’s Deputy Chairman of Transport for London Daniel Moylan, Cllr Lorna Campbell, Cabinet Member for Environment on Lambeth Council, and Val Shawcross, London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, marked the completion of the scheme, which has seen Lambeth Council and TfL working closely with local residents and businesses to deliver a wide range of environmental, pedestrian, cyclist and transport improvements.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “For decades Herne Hill junction has been a living nightmare for residents cut off from their local park and drivers and cyclists battling it out for precious inches of tarmac. Today this is a vastly better part of town to live and work in, to visit and to pass through, showing how careful public realm planning can sow the seeds for new investment and potentially boost the local economy.
“As we strive to make London the best big city in the world this is the perfect example of the new and renewed public spaces we are creating, not just in the centre but across the capital.”
Alastair Hanton, Chair of the Project Board, said: “The scheme, designed by a local resident, has provided a focal point for the neighbourhood and an impetus for regeneration of the area. It is a shining example of close collaboration between local people and statutory authorities.”
Cllr Lorna Campbell, Cabinet Member for Environment on Lambeth Council, said: “Herne Hill frankly used to be a nightmare for commuters, motorists and pedestrians, but by stripping out the poorly designed junction and convoluted one way system and planting new trees and redesigning pavements, this project has seen the whole area transformed. Traffic congestion has been eased, the area is no longer dominated by lengthy tailbacks and noise, and we have a fantastic new pedestrian entrance to Brockwell Park and a calmer more peaceful town centre.
“It’s been a long road to get here with many challenges along the way, but this is a great success story and much of the credit must go to local people, who have worked tirelessly and patiently with the council and TfL to deliver these improvements over a number of years.”
The transformation was funded through the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s Great Outdoors programme, a scheme to rejuvenate the capital’s public places.
Daniel Moylan, Deputy Chairman of Transport for London, said: “I am delighted to officially open this scheme which is precisely the type of project Mayor’s Better Streets initiative was established to support. It represents another step forward for the Mayor’s vision to transform the face of the capital and improve the quality of life in London. The scheme has revitalised the local area, making this part of Herne Hill a better place to live, work, and visit. The contribution to the design of the scheme by the local community has resulted in a safer and more welcoming environment for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike, with better transport links and access to businesses that will boost the local economy.”
Used by more than 30,000 vehicles a day, Herne Hill junction was a notorious bottle neck which was dominated by a constant flow of traffic. Congestion caused frustration for commuters and lengthy bus journey times. The area suffered from a high number of traffic accidents, more than 50 personal injury accidents in the years before implementation, and traders felt the problems were damaging the area’s economic viability. In 2005 more than 1,000 local people signed a petition in support of the scheme asking Lambeth Council to improve the junction. Proposals to improve the area through a comprehensive regeneration scheme were devised by residents in the local community. Lambeth Council secured funding from TfL. Steered by a project board drawn from both Lambeth and Southwark and comprising local residents, councillors, council officers and businesses, work commenced in April 2009.
The scheme has:
- Introduced a new slip road and pedestrian island between Norwood Road and Dulwich Road to create a safer and more attractive pedestrian link between the centre of Herne Hill and Brockwell Park and to ease congestion.
- Improved pedestrian safety and introduced ‘green man’ signals at all road crossing points.
- Seen the pedestrianisation and closure to through traffic of Railton Road, and the introduction of raised ‘shared surfaces’ outside Herne Hill Station, to create a more pedestrian friendly atmosphere in the heart of Herne Hill.
- Created a new, welcoming, entrance to Brockwell Park and 25 new trees planted.
- Introduced major environmental improvements including upgraded street lighting, the removal of unnecessary clutter and the use of well-designed, high quality surface materials.
- Improved safety and access for cyclists through new cycle lanes and advanced cycle stop lines.
- Introduced a new zebra crossing on Milkwood Road and more short term parking.
Some comments gathered by the Herne Hill Society from local people include:
“The new junction layout works superbly, a triumph.”
“Wonderful. A triumph of your vision. A vindication of your campaign.”
“As a driver through the region I think it is very positive for the area.”
“Consider the new regenerated junction to be full of only positives. Safer, cleaner, and pedestrianised. Hope many more see the benefits.”
“I live in Rymer Street. I am extremely grateful for the new improvement to Herne Hill Junction because it has improved the quality of life for the whole family with less noise and safer roads.”
“This new road scheme has certainly improved the feel of the area. So nice to have a more tranquil area outside the station where it is now semipedestrianised.”