Southwark council have decided to make Mason St. one way, traffic being allowed to turn off the Old Kent Rd into it, but not out onto it. Mason St. is located just before the new traffic lights at the approach to the Bricklayer's Arms roundabout. Unfortunately, for those living on Mason St, getting to and from their properties by car will become a dangerous nightmare.
Currently, starting from eg. Tower Bridge Rd, one has to drive down the Old Kent Rd to the first set of lights. Here there is a right filter onto East St, and normally one would go up East St, and approach Mason St. from the rear. However, once Mason St. is made one way, this will no longer be possible. Instead, residents must do a U-turn at this junction, come back along the Old Kent Rd, then turn left into Mason St. THIS CAN BE DANGEROUS! Firstly, a U-turn requires that there be no traffic turning out of East St onto the Old Kent Rd - which means waiting at the lights until the path is clear. Of course the lights are green, and the line of drivers behind you are wondering why you're not moving off, and getting impatient. Secondly, sometimes there are cars parked on the Old Kent Rd at the corner of East St, which can restrict the space available for a U-turn, and force reversing in order to complete the turn. Reversing with impatient traffic behind trying to get on to East St can be dangerous, but this will be our only choice!
Secondly, for residents of Mason St to actually get on to the Old Kent Rd from their homes will require going round the houses and exiting at the same East Street junction, which though not dangerous is somewhat inconvenient.
The residents on Mason St, and surrounding streets were presented with 3 different road layout options by Southwark council at the end of last year, and option B was chosen, I guess by a majority vote. However, there aren't as many residents living on Mason St compared with the surrounding streets, so surely the dice were loaded from the start against us, as the other options had more of an impact on the surrounding streets than ours.
The proposed measures are to clamp down on rat-running in the area, but to be honest with you there isn't a great deal of rat-running going on along Mason St. so I'm somewhat puzzled as to what this tinkering is trying to tackle.
As most residents are now aware, the introduction of the Mayor's Congestion Charging Scheme is due to commence on 17 February 2003. The Congestion Charging boundary runs through Southwark Borough along New Kent Road and Tower Bridge Road. It is anticipated that Congestion Charging will cause increased traffic along these two roads as drivers who would normally travel though the city center would now travel around the Congestion Charging boundary to avoid paying the £5 congestion charge. This could put greater pressure and exacerbate existing problems on the local road network as motorists try to find alternative routes.
On 9, 13 and 14 November 2002, Southwark Council held an exhibition showing various traffic management proposals within the Walworth area (the area bound by New Kent Road, Old Kent Road, Albany Road and Walworth Road). The Council undertook an extensive advertisement campaign to inform residents of the exhibition and the affected areas. Approximately 10 700 letters were delivered via the post to local residents and businesses inviting them to visit the exhibition and to provide the Council with feedback on the proposals. In addition approximately 1000 letters were hand delivered to homes and businesses directly fronting each of the proposed sites, an advertisement was placed in the South London Press and 22 public notices were placed on lamp columns and posts around the various proposal sites. For those residents who could not attend the exhibition and contacted the council for additional information, information packs were sent out via the post.
As a result of the feedback from the exhibition, Option B was adopted as the preferred option for Mason Street. Option B involves converting a small section of Mason Street (approximately 25m long), at the Old Kent Road end to One-way westbound. The remainder of Mason Street will remain Two-way. This will allow vehicles to turn left from Old Kent Road onto Mason Street, however there will be no access onto Old Kent Road from Mason Street.
The example given that a resident who is travelling from Tower Bridge Road will have to do a U-turn at East Street then head back up to Mason Street (along Old Kent Road ), turning left onto Mason Street is incorrect. There will be no additional restrictions on any resident accessing there property from Old Kent Road, nor will there be any additional restrictions for any residents accessing Mason Street from any other local road under the Option B proposal. All residents will still be able travel down Old Kent Road, turn right from Old Kent Road onto East Street, and approach Mason Street from the rear. Again, this access will not change for any resident along Mason Street. However, residents who want to access to Old Kent Road from Mason Street will have to exit via Massinger Street or East Street.
To better assess the opinion of local residents a second stage of consultation was undertaken on 19 December 2002. The consultation area targeted only residents of Mason Street, Darwin Street, Gavel Street, Crosslett Street, Barlow Street, Crail Street, Chatam Street, Catesby Street and Hillery Close. Approximately 800 letters were delivered to these residents and businesses. Included with the letter was a diagram of the proposal and a feedback questionnaire. Southwark Council is currently analyzing the feedback form the returned questionnaires to determine if the proposal has community support.
It should be noted that local residents raised the initial concerns about traffic along Mason Street and the effect Congestion Charging will have on Mason Street. The second stage of consultation will allow local residents to have a significant input into how their street operates.
If any resident would like any addition information regarding the proposal for Mason Street, please contact my colleague Jason Hobart on email [email protected]
Transport Group Manager
London Borough of Southwark
Thanks for your prompt response to my message on the SE1 forum. I live at Charlotte Court which is right on the corner of Mason St and the Old Kent Rd. The 25m one way section will surely prevent residents at Charlotte Court from approaching Mason St. from the rear, as the entrance to our building is within this 25m stretch. I guess for all other residents of Mason St you are correct in your assertions, but not for us!
If this proposal goes ahead, I, and other Charlotte Court residents will no doubt feel we'll have no other choice than to break the law when returning home by approaching Mason St from the rear and going through the one way section the wrong way, rather than run the gauntlet of a U-turn at the lights.
As far as I understand, the council only has these residents consultations as a show. I've not heard of any instances where the residents have managed to dissuade the council from pushing through their plans... Am I wrong ?
The only affect the proposal will have on Charlotte Court will be access the gravel area at the front of the property, via the manually locked gates. Regrettably, this can not be avoided due to the proximity of these gates to the Old Kent Road junction (approximately 8m). Access to these gates will only be permitted via the proposed One-way section.
Residential access via the gates adjacent to the staff car parking for Townsend Street Primary School will not be affected by the proposal. Full rear access along Mason Street for these residents will be maintained.
London Borough of Southwark - Transport Group
As previously indicated local residents raised the initial concerns regarding traffic management issues for Mason Street. The Council has undertaken an extensive consultation to further assess the opinion of local residents and to determine if the views put forward to the council are those of the majority.
The Transport Group are currently assessing the returned questionnaires to determine community opinion on the proposal.
London Borough of Southwark - Transport Group
I live on Searles Road which being a no-through road on the south side on New Kent Road has certain advantages and disadvantages. This action adds to the disadvantage. Currently I use Mason St as a way of accessing Searles Road from the E&C area, without having to drive down NKR and double-back via the Bricklayer's Arms. Now I, and my fellow residents will have to join everyone else clogging up the NKR.
The will be no change to the existing access for residents of Searles Road if Option B is adopted. The existing left turn access onto New Kent Road will remain while the gated closure of Searles Road at Darwin Street will also remain.
The only section of Mason Street to become One-way is final 25m prior to the junction with Old Kent Road. The remainder of Mason Street will remain Two-way. Full Two-way access for all side streets such as Gavel St. Barlow St. Crail St. and Darwin St will be maintained.
The proposed One-way section will allow vehicles to turn left from Old Kent Road onto Mason Street, but there will be no access from Mason Street onto Old Kent Road. Under the Option B proposal any resident who would normally travel along Mason Street to gain access to Old Kent Road will have do so via Massinger Street or East Street.
London Borough of Southwark - Transport Group
Guess what - they're trying this again, only worse!
A proposal dropped through my letter box yesterday for making both Mason Street and Crosslet Street one-way southbound (i.e. travelling away from OKR), and completely closing off the bit of Mason Street between Crosslet Street and Barlow Street.
This means any resident of Mason Street, Darwin Street, Darwin Court, Chatham Street, Searles Road etc. would no longer be able to access the Bricklayers Arms roundabout via Mason Street, but instead would have to take a large detour via Townsend Street, Congreve Street & Massinger/East Street, or go all the way up to Elephant via Rodney Road/Balfour Street, and then back down again (although IIRC turning round at Elephant will be impossible after the roundabout is re-built).
It will also seriously restrict access from the North or West for Mason Street residents and teachers/parents driving to Townsend School, as the only access possible to Mason Street will be by travelling from the South along OKR, which means everyone will have to go via NKR/Bricklayers/OKR southbound, and then do a U-turn or use the side streets to get onto OKR northbound.
This just ridiculous! The only justification they give is to prevent rat-running, but I overlook Mason Street and I have never seen any problems with this. Seems to me that the main effect will be to increase traffic about the Elephant north roundabout, NKR, Bricklayers and OKR.
The proposals also include worthy measures like raised tables, new paving etc., as well as a 'new' 20 mph zone (I thought we already had one!). There will also be a reduction in street parking.
If you live nearby then you should get the same pack I did, with a questionnaire to send comments, but if you want to jump the gun or send comments independently then Steve Jones at Mouchel, 020 7874 9125, [email protected] is given as the contact name.
I have been in contact with the consultants on this, and their justification for the proposals is the fact that Mason Street (which opens onto New Kent Road at its north end) has significantly larger northbound traffic volumes than Darwin Street and Chatham Street (which lead into residential cul-de-sacs northbound). So basically, because it has larger traffic volumes northbound (due to it being the only local northbound access on to the main road), they want to make it one-way southbound. Classic.