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London Borough of Culture

Bonkers Blog October 2017

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Sidcup Place

10 October - Pay homage to the God of Lycra - and get it wrong

A man who lives just a stone’s throw from the Townley Road roundabout and has watched with increasing disbelief Bexley Council’s antics in and around Albion Road was quick to let me know when that roundabout was excavated with the loss of the bluebell bulbs planted there when it was first built. My correspondent has a long memory, he remembers the bluebells that occurred there naturally on an even older roundabout.

Bluebells, as he was keen to point out, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act although I think that must apply only to wild bluebells. If it finds wider application then I am in trouble for removing some from my mother’s garden 20 years ago which she had bought in a nursery. They still survive in my front garden, their colour suggests they are Spanish bluebells while the genuine article may grow in my back garden. I am after all close to one of London’s finest bluebell woods.
Bluebells
Pursuing the Wildlife Act question will be a waste of time, Bexley Council always has an excuse for whatever it does, far too many laws are constructed with the intention of giving officialdom freedom to do whatever it likes.

Nevertheless, prompted by the man’s report, a trip to Bexleyheath was called for. The bluebells bulbs had most certainly gone from the raised roundabout, indeed everything had gone to a depth of a foot or more below road level. Bexley Council will be hoping that heavy rain does not encourage Great Crested Newts to take up residence.

As frequently happens while taking pictures of ugly street scenes with a big camera passers by ask what I am up too. A young lady asked if I was Bonkers while snapping away at Abbey Wood station this morning. Maybe the choice of site name was unwise.

In Albion Road two local residents came up to me to point out what I may otherwise have missed.

I had already spotted that the barriers invited pedestrians to cross the road but the far side was blocked (Photo 3). While there I watched one gentleman make the crossing anyway, the barriers were not difficult to move.

However the lack of a cycle track (Photo 4) seemed to be an odd decision given that the footpath at that point is wider than the the road. As everyone familiar with the area will know, a pedestrian passes that way about every 20 minutes and maybe less.

I was given a guided tour of some of the other sights. It does not show well in Photo 5 but FM Conway ought to invest in a string and two sticks. The kerb meanders around rather more than one would expect of a professional installer.

A long parking bay has been placed two metres from the kerb but it is not sufficient to accommodate anything wider than a small saloon car. If there is room for a parking bay on a stretch of single carriageway road why is it time restricted? There is no provision for two lanes of traffic to enter or exit Albion Road so it can only be another of Andrew Bashford’s (Traffic Engineering Manager) stupidities.

It’s not the only one.

There is another ridiculously wide footpath to the east of Townley Road (Photo 7), another that goes nowhere and therefore little used. A little further along there is a pedestrian crossing (Photo 8) which leads to nowhere useful, just a plain brick wall.

If a break was created in it to allow access to Royal Oak Road one might see a purpose to the crossing but this being a Bexley road scheme there is none.
Albion Road Albion Road Albion Road Albion Road
Albion Road Albion Road Albion Road Albion Road
In 20 minutes one cyclist came along Albion Road from the east and hugging the roundabout as close as he could turned right into Townley Road thereby cutting across traffic lanes twice.

My new found friends told me that one cyclist in 20 minutes was exceptional in their experience.

 

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