Travel Survey Results: Beckenham High Street

Note: this is the third in a series of posts summarising the results of the local travel survey conducted by CCARA and Bromley Living Streets in late 2021. For more information about the survey, click here: CCARA Local Travel Survey.

Beckenham High Street is an important part of the community, with shops, parks, community facilities and access to bus and rail services. The travel survey asked residents how they travel to Beckenham High Street, and what they use the High Street for. As summarised in earlier posts, the survey received 1,012 responses which were distributed across the local area, shown below.

Map showing the distribution of responses across Beckenham. Note, the markers represent the postcodes of residents who completed the survey, not the specific location of properties.
Distribution of survey responses. The markers represent postcodes, not the specific location of respondents’ properties.

Responses to the survey showed that walking is the most common mode of travel to access Beckenham High Street, followed by private car, bus and bicycle. It is notable that retired residents are much more likely to take the bus, compared to other groups, and families with school-age children are much more likely to cycle.

Responses to the question on how residents use Beckenham High Street showed that it is popular across a range of uses, making it possible for residents to stay local when doing their grocery shopping, going out for meals and going to public events. Families with school-age children are more likely to visit restaurants or cafes, or to visit parks, churches or local events, while retired residents are slightly more likely than average to access public transport.

Finally, the survey responses included a wide range of comments on the High Street, summarised below to reflect the range of views on parks, shopping, streets and traffic.

Parks and green spaces

“Loved the Beckenham Green Cinema last summer. Enjoyed the parks around Beckenham, especially Beckenham Place Park. Would love to attend public events there as well”

“St George’s Green Space is more accessible and user friendly, and looks attractive”

“Beckenham Place Park is a wonderful facility, despite many having discovered it during lockdown it still remains a lovely outdoor space”

Shopping and amenities

Beckenham High Street is much better after being re-done a few years ago, although it was even nicer when the high-street parking was closed creating more walking space (and less traffic issues with parking)

“Beckenham High Street has also had a lease of life BUT we need more normal shops not just cafes, eateries and beauty places – really welcome the new butcher shop”

“Good variety of restaurants and pubs, as well I love the fact that we have Waitrose, M&S, Lidl and Sainsburys shops nearby”

“Please reopen the public conveniences. The few cafes that had a community toilet sticker in the window have removed them. Sainsbury’s toilers are often shut or in use. The cinema is shut in the morning”

“I used to use the [public toilets] on the High Street next to Kelsey House when walking or running locally. The community toilet scheme is good but only works when those businesses are open”

Streets and traffic

“Efforts have been made to make the High Street COVID-safer, but allowing parking on the High Street makes it more hazardous for pedestrians”

“There isn’t enough public seating. I enjoy walking but given I am getting old I would sometimes like to take short breaks when walking to Bromley”

“Nice open spaces but pavements blocked by pavement tables from restaurants”

“Parking in Village Way car park is very convenient and there is rarely lack of space”

“Lack of dropped kerbs is a problem only when pushing the family member who uses a wheelchair. I had to push her down the middle of the road the other day because there was nowhere I could get her back onto the pavement easily”

“At the Southend Road crossing over towards Waitrose, the dropped kerb is too steep for a wheelchair user to use safely on their own”

“Cycling infrastructure is non existent. Painting a white line on the road does not create a safe cycle lane. It needs a strategy and some joined up thinking about creating useful safe routes”

“There is not enough disabled parking, but also, disabled bays now have a grey, rough and rugged surface – totally unsuited for those with mobility problems as it interferes with a person’s balance etc.”

“Air pollution due to queueing traffic is bad at particular pinch points, i.e. Beckenham Junction and the traffic lights by St George’s Church. I choose not to eat at the outside tables at cafes or restaurants for this reason.”

“Parking on the pavements and constant traffic jams with fumes spilling out are not conducive to make the high street a place that I want to stay”

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   With thanks to CCRA

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