Dulwich Village will see part of a busy road pedestrianised this week, among other emergency transport measures to be put in place in the wake of Covid-19.  

Southwark was awarded £1.3 million by TfL from its Streetspace funding pot, which aims to rapidly transform London’s streets to help facilitate social distancing, cycling, and walking as lockdown eases. 

Dulwich Village low traffic neighbourhood was granted £23,000 for the first phase and £110,000 for the second.  

As part of its ‘our healthy streets’ initiative, the council had already earmarked the Village as an LTN.  

Calton Avenue will be blocked off to traffic from Dulwich Village and Court Lane on June 25. 

Changes coming into effect on Thursday are:  

  • The part closure of Calton Avenue to vehicles, except bicycles, between its junction with Dulwich Village and the north eastern wall of No.1 d Calton Avenue
  • Melbourne Grove will have a point closure set up to stop vehicles entering  
  • The existing loading bay along Calton Avenue will be relocated nearer the junction with Gilkes Crescent 
  • Double yellow lines to be added to Calton Avenue opposite the junction with Gilkes crescent, and in Court Lane opposite the junction with Dekker Road. 

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The junction can be very busy

“We are proposing a ‘permeable closure’ of Calton Avenue and Court Lane at the junction with Dulwich Village.  

“This will close these arms of the junction to all motor traffic, providing a safer junction for walking and cycling, improved bus operation for the P4 route, wider pavements and a new public space,” according to the council.

Campaign group Clean Air for Dulwich supports the incoming changes but said more needs to be done as soon as possible.

“A permeable filter at this junction will provide safe space for all – prioritising walking and cycling.

“We’re excited the temporary version will be in soon, a great first step but further bold measures are needed asap,” it said. 

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Poster in Dulwich Village

The Dulwich Society also backs the plans but said there may be “unintended consequences and some areas will be positively or adversely affected more than others”.

“It is essential that the measures are seen as being flexible and easily reversible and/or extendible if need be, and that the council responds positively to residents’ experiences of the schemes in operation,” it said. 

A newly formed local group, One Dulwich, said though it supports Southwark’s ‘our healthy streets’ objectives, it believes the current plans are “rushed and illogical”.  

In a statement it said: “On June 25, the council will close Dulwich Village junction for eighteen months, blocking off Calton Avenue and Court Lane. 

“We believe this will push traffic past many more schools in the area. Narrow streets will become rat runs.

“Life will be harder for those with health and mobility problems, particularly the elderly.

“Local shops hit by the recent lockdown will suffer. A much-loved and historic area will be cut in half. 

“We believe permanent closures divide the community and are a disproportionate response. 

“Instead, we believe that timed restrictions (stopping through traffic at peak hours, while still allowing residents access to their homes) would be a sensible and pragmatic compromise. 

“We want to bring the community back together and find a solution that benefits everyone, not just a few.”

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Artist impression of Calton Avenue pedestrianised

Southwark’s cabinet member for environment, transport, and the climate emergency, Cllr Richard Livingstone said: “We note the One Dulwich campaign’s ideas, and we also note the criticism that those ideas have drawn on social media from local clean air campaigners and the technical problems that those ideas would create.   

“In a sizable consultation response, 55 per cent of local residents supported the council’s Our Healthy Streets: Dulwich proposals which include this closure.  

“The right way forward is the one the council is taking: to introduce this as an experimental measure to see if it works.  

“Going back to the drawing board at this stage would just mean months of delays in putting in place measures to clean up our air and to make walking and cycling safer in Dulwich.”