It has been a busy year for the Transport Committee – and a memorable one for transport in Forest Hill.
Without doubt, the highlight of the year has been the opening of the Overground which with its bright and frequent trains has put us on the Tube map and opened up lots of new transport possibilities. We were worried about establishing lines of communication with London Overground management, but after a bit of persistence, now have excellent links to senor management and attend their passInger board meetings.
During the year, Southern has started holding passenger forums to tell travellers about their plans, and seek their views. I was able to attend the first of these, an all day event at a Gatwick hotel, and found it very worthwhile.
We campaigned hard for the retention of a decent level of service to London Bridge after the Overground opened, a campaign which included us handing over a petition to Chris Mole, Minister in the former government, in the presence of MP, Jim Dowd. We are delighted to see that Southern services from London Bridge in the evening peak are to be increased from December and believe that this validates our campaign. Sadly last Christmas saw the end of services to Charing Cross, but we continue to argue for the return of these whenever we can.
London Road was temporarily pedestrianised in the summer following the collapse of a sewer. It proved that closure of the South Circular, whilst inconvenient for some, does not necessarily cause the sky to fall in and the world to end! In fact we might campaign for more temporary road closures, perhaps to support Forest Hill Day.
A long battle to get Transport for London to listen to our many suggestions for improvements to the A205 through Forest Hill finally resulted in a walkabout with TfL managers one sunny September afternoon. They listened to our many comments and said how good it was to get out of the office and meet people who really understood their area. Now we just need them to act on the suggestions!
We have been invited to major TfL events including the Mayor’s Transport Summit, at which the future of London’s transport was discussed in depth, and have contributed to a study on smoothing traffic flow in London. Closer to home, we are in discussion with Lewisham Council about what can be done short term to minimise their over enthusiastic efforts to re-engineer Sydenham Rise.
We have been and are active on a number of other fronts as diverse as the refurbishment of our stations and, particularly the Forest Hill station subway, and the control (or lack of control) of the heating on P4 buses! Looking much further ahead, we have been making suggestions for the best route for a future extension of the Bakerloo Line. New members are always welcome to join the committee and can be sure that their ideas will be received with interest.