diamond geezer

 Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Today's question: Where in London is over one mile from a station?

Last week I identified the handful of areas in London that are over two miles from a station. But that's quite a long way, indeed few people would dream of walking that far to start a commute. So a much more practical consideration is to identify areas over one mile from a station, that's about a twenty minute walk, because Londoners might potentially go that far on foot to catch a train.

• I'm allowing any type of station - tube, rail, DLR, whatever.
• I've decided to count Tramlink stops as stations, because trams run on rails and deliver you to places according to a set timetable.
• I'm measuring a mile in a straight line, even though there might not be a direct route. If this concerns you, please read this CityMetric post.
• The distance is from one designated point at each station, which may not actually be the entrance.

Courtesy of one of my readers (thanks Geo_rich!) I can show you precisely where those regions are. He's plotted the location of every station in (and just outside) Greater London on a Google map, and coloured in red all the areas more than one mile from any of them. You can see that map here, in glorious accurate detail.

The summary map below is my rough approximation.

What immediately stands out is how few 'inaccessible' locations there are in the centre of London - just the one. Indeed there are eight boroughs (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Lambeth, Islington, City of London, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham) in which no point is more than a mile from a station.

The sole central blackspot is in Southwark, specifically between Walworth and Camberwell (and if you can't quite picture where Walworth and Camberwell are, that's probably because neither of them have stations, QED). It's here.

Most of the dead zone is within the eastern half of Burgess Park, which you might not think too great a problem because it's only a park. But parts of Albany Road, Bagshot Street and Coubourg Road fall within the red border, along with Couborg Community Primary School, which can't be good. Plus there are thousands of people living very close by, specifically on the Aylesbury Estate, who get to be the only community in Zones 1&2 to have to live almost a mile from a station. There was once a station at Walworth Road on the line south of Elephant & Castle, which would have closed the gap, but that closed as a 'temporary measure' in 1916 and has long since disappeared.

It's no coincidence that two recent transport infrastructure projects have targeted the Walworth Gap in an attempt to improve its accessibility and prosperity. The first of the these was the Cross River Tram, a proposed link from Camden Town to Peckham, which fell foul of lack of funding and was scrapped by the incoming Mayor in 2008. The second is the Bakerloo line extension, pencilled in to serve either Camberwell or the Old Kent Road, with the latter likely to receive the nod after consultation. And while that might do wonders for connectivity hereabouts, it won't be happening before the early 2030s (whereas the CRT might have opened as early as next year). The Walworth Gap won't, alas, be disappearing any time soon.

Here's a summary rundown of all the other not-spots, starting in Enfield at the top of the map and working round clockwise.

Enfield: a large (but mostly empty) sector along The Ridgeway north of Trent Park
Enfield: from the foot of Forty Hill through unpopulated Whitewebbs Park
Enfield/Haringey: a tiny fragment of Devonshire Hill Lane
Enfield/Waltham Forest: Picketts Lock, and a sizeable chunk of Chingford overlooking the reservoirs, and some streets to the west of the Crooked Billet roundabout
Waltham Forest/Hackney: around the railway sidings on Orient Way (it's no coincidence that Lea Bridge railway station is due to reopen - as soon as the freight companies stop bickering - to plug this rare mid-London accessibility hole)
Redbridge: a mini-hole on Hatch Plain, near Woodford Golf Course
Redbridge: the heart of the Hainault Loop, from Clayhall up to Repton Park
Redbridge/Barking & Dagenham/Havering: the largest area of red on the map, starting at the far end of Hainault, hanging down to Marks Gate and (unexpectedly) Becontree Heath, then spreading west to cover Collier Row, Chase Cross and most of Harold Hill, then spreading south through mostly unpopulated fields and forest, but also taking in some of Cranham, the east end of Rainham and a lot of South Hornchurch. Almost a hundred thousand people live in this section and they rely on buses and cars to get around. The clean white circle on my map surrounds Rainham - the only station in London that's over two miles from any other station. One day a new station may be built at Beam Park on c2c to plug the Thames-side gap east of Dagenham. Alas no Crossrail station is planned to the west of Romford Stadium, in a rare hole that's actually on a railway line.
Barking & Dagenham: A tiny triangle near the Lidl at the foot of Becontree Avenue
Barking & Dagenham/Newham: Beckton Sewage Works, Creekmouth and much of the Thames View Estate (and this is precisely why TfL wants to extend the Overground to Barking Riverside)

Greenwich/Bexley: Most of Thamesmead. Poor Thamesmead, it missed out on the Jubilee line, it doesn't quite get Crossrail, Boris scrapped the Greenwich Waterfront Transit, and the London Overground might extend under the river from Barking after most of us are dead. Still, at least this isolation makes Thamesmead affordable.
Greenwich: A long strip to the north of Eltham Common, from Woolwich Common to Shooters Hill
Greenwich/Bexley: A trio of small not-spots, in the vicinity of Plumstead Common, East Wickham and West Heath
Bexley: the Darent Industrial Park
Bexley/Bromley: Chislehurst (east), then Foots Cray, Ruxley, Kevingtown, the eastern suburbs of Orpington (and a lot of rural lanes)
Bromley: the other big red area on the map, this covers almost the entire southern half of the borough, the main centres of population being Keston Mark, Locksbottom and Biggin Hill, plus umpteen small villages in this most pastoral corner of the capital
Croydon: a fair patch of Shirley, along and to the south of Wickham Road
Croydon: Selsdon, Sanderstead church, and the road down to Hamsey Green
Croydon: Old Coulsdon and the surrounding downs
Sutton: a strip from Roundshaw round to Little Woodcote
Sutton: a few acres along Thornton Road on the St Helier Estate
Sutton/Merton: London Road, from North Cheam to St Anthony's Hospital
Kingston: Malden Rushett, and the fields to the south
Kingston: an irrelevant fraction of a sports ground in Hook
Kingston/Merton/Wandsworth/Richmond: almost all of Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common lie in this large stationless void on the edge of inner London, but it also includes much of Ham, north Kingston, Kingston Vale, Putney Vale and the whole of (modern) Roehampton

Richmond/Hounslow: a thin (but not insignificant) sliver from Hounslow Heath down to Hanworth
Hounslow: Lower Feltham and much of Bedfont Lakes
Hillingdon: the Heathrow Cargo Terminal
Hillingdon/Ealing/Hounslow: this is one of the more heavily populated holes, covering most of central Hillingdon apart from a few punched-out circles around a string of future Crossrail stations. The hiatus includes Harmondsworth, Harlington and Heston services to the south, and Cowley, Hayes, Hillingdon, Yeading and the western side of Greenford to the north. The West London Tram, scrapped in 2007 for being unfavourably impractical, would have filled some of this.
Hillingdon: most of the northwest of the borough, all very lightly populated apart from Harefield and Ruislip Common
Harrow: the top end of Pinner Hill Golf Club (no houses here)
Harrow: a green swathe from Grim's Dyke and Bentley Priory down to built-up Harrow Weald
Brent: a narrow band from Church Lane, Kingsbury-ish, to the Welsh Harp
Barnet: a smidgeon of Sunny Hill Park, Holders Hill
Barnet: a large mostly-rural area covering a lot of the north of the borough, including the top of Edgware, villages round Arkley and the ridge end of Totteridge
Barnet/Haringey: from Coppetts Wood across the North Circular to (perhaps not surprisingly) Muswell Hill
Camden/Haringey: and finally, the western half of the grounds of Kenwood House at the top of Hampstead Heath. Bull and Bush station on the Northern line would have cleared this one, but it was never built.

(or you could just look at the map)

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