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Bromley Borough Roads Action Group

Traffic Congestion - A Major Problem

In Bromley, cars are by far the most common means of transport. Unlike central London boroughs, where there is an extensive network of rail, tube, bus and other public transport services, outer London boroughs such as Bromley tend to rely on the road network (e.g. cars supported by bus services) for transport needs. Note that cycling, walking and usage of bus services have all been declining over recent years. Commercial goods are also typically moved by road. For a scenic tour of Bromley traffic jams, go to Road Tour.

Unfortunately the increased numbers of private cars, and their cheaper running costs, have resulted in increased traffic congestion.  This is frustrating to road users, economically costly in wasted time and results in greater atmospheric pollution. Residential streets are also often affected by traffic noise as a result of traffic diverting off the main roads. Note however that atmospheric pollution is not a major problem for Bromley, unlike central London, and is likely to improve over the next few years anyway - click on Air Pollution for more information on this subject.

The Greater London Authority and Mayor have established various strategies to tackle traffic problems in London, particularly central London, as part of their overall transport strategy - click on London Transport Strategy for more details, or go to Congestion for several articles on congestion charging and the road pricing. In summary however, the GLA has no plans to significantly improve the road transport network in London and believes that public transport is the only solution - this is not likely to assist outer London boroughs much, except for those people who commute into London to work. One thing they are proposing is more tram or light rail systems, but look at the following page for an article on the Croydon Tramlink system if you really want to know how unsuccessful that has been: Croydon Tramlink.

Bromley Council published their 44 page Integrated Transport Strategy document in 1999 which includes objectives such as reducing traffic by 10% by 2008 - however it was very short on concrete proposals on how to achieve those objectives. By 2006 when this page was last updated, it was very clear that these objectives will not be met. There were similar proposals in the Unitary Development Plan and LA21 Agenda Proposals which tend to be environmentally correct but misguided in practice. For example, one of their strategies is to reduce parking availability in the borough so as to reduce car use - a policy that is unlikely to work, or alternatively will simply encourage shoppers to shop outside the borough and for businesses to relocate elsewhere, to the long term detriment of the financial health and vitality of Bromley.

Bromley actually spends considerable amounts of money on traffic management schemes, but this is almost all spent on road safety improvements (and some of that wastefully) or on bus lane schemes. Many of the traffic management schemes that are installed tend to cause more traffic congestion as a result of poor design.

Of course Bromley is not unusual in comparison with other UK urban areas. According to the UK Commission for Integrated Transport, the UK has the worst road congestion in Europe, the longest work commuting times, and some of the most expensive and lowest quality public transport. This is primarily down to lack of investment in the transport infrastructure (both roads and public transport). See www.cfit.gov.uk and our Newsletter No. 13 for more details.

Bromley, like many London Boroughs, also has considerable problems with on-street parking of vehicles and this has lead to the introduction of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) or Permit Parking Schemes. Go to Permit Parking for more information on that subject.

B.B.R.A.G. would like to see some of these policies changed so that a more realistic and effective approach to transport problems in Bromley is applied. For more information on how transport in Bromley might be improved, read the article: Improving Transport in Bromley

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