Tuesday, 5 February 2013

20mph speed limit for Waterloo Roundabout and approach roads

EDIT (10/5/13) -  TfL have just confirmed they are going ahead with these scheme after 97% of respondents supported it. This is massive news. First 20mph limit ever on TfL roads.


TfL are now consulting on their plans to introduce a 20mph speed limit for Waterloo Roundabout and it's approach roads.


Anyone interesting in improving cycling conditions in London should click the above link and do the 'Online Survey', giving full support to this initiative, before 28 February 2013.

Waterloo Roundabout: a 1970s urban planner's heaven; a cyclist's hell.

A 20mph limit might not sound like much but it is actually, in my opinion, rather momentous.

This is a (unique) example of TfL prioritising the safety of the 5,500 cyclists that use this roundabout every weekday over the motorists who see a decline in the average speed of 34mph on the Waterloo Bridge and Stamford Street approaches.

Time and again, good infrastructure for cyclists has not been implemented in London because of TfL being afraid to curb the excessive speed of London's motor traffic; politics of road use are far more important in deciding the quality of cycle infrastructure we have in London than either funding or expertise (though of course, we still have much to learn from Dutch and Danish town planners).

However, here, in early 2013, we can see, for perhaps the first time, TfL explicitly putting the safety of cyclists first.

You can see how controversial this move is to many motoring groups from the fact that this is having to be implemented as '6-month experiment'.

In Holland or Germany this would be a no-brainer. In Britain it is an 'experiment'; like burning magnesium in GCSE chemistry. I wonder what will happen? Will all the cars explode because they're driving at 20mph? No. Less people will die. Surely you can accept that as a good thing?

I am quietly hopeful this experiment will succeed. A 20mph limit on the roundabout and approach roads will almost certainly lead to a significant increase in cyclists, especially with summer approaching, and with even more cyclists using the roundabout it will then be extremely difficult come September/October for TfL to remove the 20mph limit; especially since you're almost 10 times more likely to die when hit by a car at 30mph, than at 20mph.

Who knows, this might be the first step towards to the taming of the disgustingly dangerous gyratories that plague Central London; I'm thinking: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Vauxhall, King's Cross, Bow Roundabout, Parliament Square, Old Street Roundabout, Elephant and Castle, Hammersmith Broadway, Swiss Cottage.

Imagine if 20mph limits became the norm for all Central London's roundabouts and gyratories...

TfL might, ever so slowly, be coming round to the common sense opinion that if you want to drive fast, you don't drive in Central London. We've got motorways for that.

If you want to go somewhere quickly in London, take public transport or cycle. Don't drive.

This has to be the message TfL, Boris Johnson, and Andrew Gilligan, bring to the London of the 21st century.

(otherwise they're idiots)

So do the 'Online Survey' now!