The Friends’ Committee would like to draw to your attention a current consultation by Southwark in relation to a proposed cycling corridor which would, if approved, run in part through Dulwich Park.
At a high level, no doubt most people welcome the idea of encouraging cycling – indeed, several of the Friends’ Committee are active cyclists. However, attention needs to be paid to the detailed practical considerations and possible impact of the route, in each specific location.
The Friends propose to make a submission as a group. If you have views you would like us to bear in mind, please do email back. Obviously everyone can also make their own individual responses to the survey (see links below).
There is currently no information we have seen that tells specifically what the ‘corridor’ would mean for the park in physical/practical terms, but we are trying to find out more.
Considerations that the Friends have so far identified are (relevance depends on what is proposed):
- Is it appropriate to use a park as a commuters’ cycle corridor – effectively a cycling public highway – and risk changing the character and feel of the park, which many see as a carefree oasis? It is not the only possible route.
- At any time when the gates are open to cyclists, they are of course open to the many other free-roaming park users.Is it appropriate effectively to give cyclists priority and increase certain risks?
- The 5MPH speed limit in the park applies to cyclists just as much as those vehicles allowed in to the park (a typical cycling speed is 13MPH). At present, that speed limit is often not observed.Increased usage would heighten the need for observance.
- The park closes at night, at varying times during the year. If consideration is given to extending those hours, certain practical issues arise:
– would it be sensible to encourage children
– or anyone – to cycle or walk through an unlit park in the winter months? Or would lighting be proposed (see below)?
– leaving the park open outside its current hours could attract socially undesirable behaviour elsewhere in the park (and create an increased safety risk for cyclists);
– security concerns for adjoining residential owners;
– the park is part of a ‘dark corridor’ that is ideal night-time terrain for wildlife, especially bats. Any lighting would prove detrimental to this protected species. Wider park use after dark by others (e.g. dog walkers) would disrupt other wildlife that has an overnight haven.
The link to the consultation is here: http://www.southwark.gov.uk/ info/200107/transport_policy/ 3623/cycling_strategy
You might want to take a read of the Executive Summary, and then take a look at the interactive map, here: http://www.sdgdigital.co.uk/ sites/southwarkcycling/. You can zoom in on Dulwich Park and, if you click on the icon in the middle of the park, see the comments so far made.
Please let us have your thoughts.