Monday, 1 December 2014

Consultations Galore! (Part 1)

TfL have been releasing heaps of consultations in recent weeks, so I thought it was worth doing a round up of them.

Archway Gyratory

These plans involve closing an arm of the gyratory and converting it into a two-way off-road cycle track which is quite exciting. It's very good that TfL have not gone for the defunct 'shared space' approach here which would just cause problems for those cycling and walking. Instead you have clear spaces to walk, and a clear space to cycle through. So a big improvement for cycling.

Motor traffic will be routed through the remaining 3 arms of the gyratory which will be made two-way.

Bikes will be physically protected from motor traffic when travelling on one of these 'arms' and on the closed section. Again, big improvement.

But unfortunately some routes through the junction will still involve bikes mixing with motor traffic. For instance, those travelling on bikes from St John's Way to Junction Road will be at risk of the fatal 'left-hook' from drivers turning left onto Holloway Road who have to turn across their path. I believe it's worth highlighting this to TfL.

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EDIT 10/12/14: Here's a nice graphic by Islington Cyclists about what TfL's Archway Gyratory plans should really look like:


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Stockwell Cross

Overall another big improvement for cycling. The creation of safe, segregated cycle lanes here will be a big improvement and allow '8-80' cycling (i.e. anyone form 8 years of age, to 80 years of age, will be safe and happy to cycle through here.



However, as is no doubt clear from these plans, as soon as you leave the specific section of Clapham Road being upgraded, Londoners on bikes will be expected to share a lane with buses (which, by the way, kill more people in London than HGVs every year). That isn't okay, especially given how many buses uses the route, and that this is a 30 MPH road, so when filling in the consultation. I made sure to make this clear to TfL.


Elephant and Castle

TfL consulted specifically on the road layout at Elephant and Castle earlier this year. Their plans were a vast improvement on the current situation, but again didn't bring the junction up to Continental standards of cycle provision. TfL are now consulting on the 'public spaces' they intend to create at Elephant and Castle as part of their planned regeneration.


I believe it's worth those who cycle responding to this because the new public spaces should include off-road routes for those on bikes, i.e. on the section between Elephant and Castle and New Kent Road. This would make cycling more inviting and also prevent unwanted pavement cycle occurring as people naturally follow desire lines of travel.

Moreover, the public space is dependent on the road space for it's quality, and if large amount of vehicles are revving through the junction and turning it into a racetrack, then it won't be very pleasant. So TfL need to consider implementing 20 MPH, traffic capacity reductions, and air pollution limitations into the scheme so that it's a nice place to be.

TfL are also planning on expanding the current Cycle High provision in the area which is usually a very good thing. This should be supported, but effort should also be made to locate Docking Stations at points where they intersect with other transport links or with specific, popular destinations (e.g. right outside the tube station exits, or right outside the planned shopping centre), rather than being hidden down back streets where nobody sees, nor uses them.


Old Street Roundabout

These plans represent a massive step forward and are supported by the newly created group, Hackney People on Bikes, while also being idiotically criticised by those that are currently responsible for the Hackney local branch of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). Who'd have though it?! But, hey, that's the situation, and hopefully it'll improve soon and the people in charge of the local Hackney branch of LCC will actually support the segregation of bikes and motor traffic.



Anyway, the plans largely seem great. Some tweaks need to be made such as extending physical segregation along the north side of Old Street in both East and West directions (it just stops in the current designs). There is plenty of space on Old Street to do extend segregation in both these locations so I hope it happens.


I would also like to ask that all physical segregation and pavements are fitted with a continual dropped kerb (or gradient) on the cycle lane side, so that maximum use of the cycle lane can be made by those cycling without the danger of clipping one's pedals on the kerb. It's actually worth saying this in all the consultation response, as TfL do record this request if it's made, and if it's made enough they may just start doing it. Below is a photo of the sort of thing I mean, borrowed from The Ranty Highwayman's highly informative and intelligent post on the issue of kerbs.

Kerbs that are graded like this are best of segregated cycle lanes because they allow you to make full width of the lane. The Cycle Superhighway 2 Extension between Stratford and Bow is safely segregated, but has very, unforgiving kerbs that are easy to clip a pedal on.

Finally, if you haven't already, it's worth keeping up with the excellent work of the CyclingWorks campaign and the battle to build Crossrail for Bikes which is covered brilliantly by Mark Ames at IBikeLondon.

Oh, and this blog topped 100,000 hits a few months back which was lovely, so I wanted to say a belated big thank you to everyone that reads it!