Yes, this bit…
For Southwark Council, this patch of tarmac is paved with gold.
All you need is some signs and a traffic camera.
Since the Emergency Traffic Measures came into effect, Southwark Council has ensured that these few metres – where Townley Road and Calton Avenue converge at the traffic lights to join East Dulwich Grove – have raised, at a conservative estimate, over £200,000 from drivers who either missed or misinterpreted the warning signs, or alternatively mistimed their journey.
If you are driving back to Herne Hill from East Dulwich and decide go up Lordship Lane and then take a right turn along Townley Road to run between Alleyn’s School and their playing field, you might miss the warning signs at the beginning of the stretch. But if you do, as you reach the last few metres before the traffic lights at East Dulwich Grove, you are doomed unless you decide to enrage the tailback of traffic behind you by doing a three-point turn to beat a retreat.
Because this is the sign you see:
By the time you have registered what it says, you are trapped.
Within a week or two, the post brings a Penalty Charge Notice that graciously allows you to pay a mere £65 for prompt settlement. The detail of the contravention is stated as “using a route restricted to certain vehicles”.
In some parts of Dulwich around the Village, similar signs have raised even more. The northbound camera in Dulwich Village by the corner of Pickwick Road has raised £695,300.
These figures, revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request recently tabled by a neighbour, only take us to the end of March. No doubt the council’s tills are still ringing. For the wider Dulwich area, Southwark admits to having raised over £1 million during this period.
One consequence is significant traffic displacement. Our local LTNs have caused sharply divided opinions and vigourous debate. Some closures seem more pragmatically sited than others. But the annoying feature about this particular trap on Townley Road – readers may of course disagree – is that the prevention of traffic taking this route seems to serve no obvious purpose in reducing street pollution, unless it is to cut down on cars, vans and trucks driving past Alleyn’s School at busy school times. Thus, weekends are excluded. But not, mark you, school holidays or even lockdown when the school was empty.
Over time, the penalties do of course work to deter traffic at this point during those stated times, if that is the intention: once stung, one avoids the area scrupulously. So you just find an alternative way home, along busier roads.