CycleDireHighway – CS3: TfL get it wrong again

Since January, I’ve commuted, in part, down Cycle Superhighway 3.  I have been meaning to write for ages about some of the spectacularly dangerous and inept junction designs on the route.  But before I’ve even had time, TfL have done something so colossally stupid, I have to cover it first.

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They’ve only gone and blocked it completely.

Now, I know there are fairly limited (but not unwelcome) improvements planned to CS3 (I don’t know if this is related to that, and when I tweeted TfL asking what they were up to, I didn’t get an answer.  Clearly something significant is happening, and the scale of the work means the cycle track has had to change.

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In the process however, TfL have taken the only safe, segregated route out of the centre of London to the east, and closed it.  And provided:

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There’s a cyclists dismount sign too, out of shot.

The bizarre thing – the thing that shows TfL, or at least large parts of it, still don’t get cycling, or don’t consider it as a worthwhile mode of transport, is that they’ve kept the road open next to it.  It’s a vile little rat-run full of commercial vehicles.

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Yesterday, but I’m making a collection of all the through traffic rat-running down Cable Street if anyone wants it.

Let’s recap.  TfL have blocked the only safe east-west route in Tower Hamlets, when they could have closed the road and let cyclists still have a safe route – and instead, they’ve left open a rat-run to drivers instead.

There’s no warning further up the route – even if there were an alternative.  So what do you think every single person on a bike did?

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TfL – making CS3 less safe, and less pleasant, for everyone.

But don’t fear – there’s still space right next to where all the other pictures were taken for pavement parking.

CIMG9996As ever, I’m trying to be balanced.  TfL are doing some great stuff on CS2, that I blogged about today.  But this is so spectacularly clueless, I still wonder what’s going on inside the organisation.  Sort it out – the works are due to last until November.

CS2 upgrade – people on bikes voting with their wheels

This was the scene on Mile End Road outside the Royal London Hospital, heading into town at around 9.15 this morning.

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I cycled through the gap.  The drivers in the right-hand lane were going nowhere, and I didn’t fancy choking on coach fumes, the coach stuck behind the bus in front, for the next few hundred metres.  The two people on bikes behind me did the same, slightly to my surprise.

This was the scene half a mile further down the road, at around 2.30pm on my way home (going away from town):

CIMG9097There may be scope to encourage people to walk on the pavements a little more – although I guess at busier times of day, they’re more likely to do so voluntarily.

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People are voting with their bikes about where they’d rather cycle.

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Since it was 2.30 – outside the six hours a day during which the bus lane operates – until recently I’d have been cycling on the outside of these cars.  (The drivers appeared to be managing whatever their ‘kerbside activity’ was unhindered.CIMG9102

It ain’t perfect by a long chalk – this LCC post covers the pros and cons of this stretch pretty well here.  But honestly, what would you prefer:

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Segregation – finally on the way.

CS2 Upgrade Consultation Response, from a local resident

Comments on individual sections of the route (Sections 1 – 7)

1 Do you support the proposals for Section 1 (Aldgate to Whitechurch Lane) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 1 (Aldgate to Whitechurch Lane) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:

These proposals are generally very good.

2 Do you support the proposals for Section 2 (White Church Lane to Cambridge Heath Road) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 2 (White Church Lane to Cambridge Heath Road) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:
As a cyclist, I’m very much in favour of these proposals. As a pedestrian, I understand and partially share the Mayor of Tower Hamlets concerns at this point. This road is very, very hard to cross at present and this will make it harder. This does not reduce the need for these cycle improvements, but further pedestrian crossings would certainly be desirable.

3 Do you support the proposals for Section 3 (Cambridge Heath Road to Beaumont Grove) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 3 (Cambridge Heath Road to Beaumont Grove) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:

This proposal substantially improves this stretch of road for people on bikes and pedestrians (subject to my overall comments on wands and junctions).

Again, it draws attention to the need for general improvements on roads such as Cambridge Heath Road and Sidney Street.

4 Do you support the proposals for Section 4 (Beaumont Grove to Westfield Way) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

No

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 4 (Beaumont Grove to Westfield Way) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:

I strongly oppose the flawed design which leaves cyclists unsegregated from motorists along this part of the route. Why? 1) I have been cut up dangerously by bus drivers along this route in the bus lanes. 2) I have had a number of terrifyingly close passes by taxis along this route in the bus lanes. 3) Along Mile End Road when bus lanes are not in operation, one is frequently left picking one’s way around parked minicabs and having the prospect of speeding, undertaking vehicles approaching rapidly from behind. 4) At this point in the route, there is a gap of over 30m between buildings. Expecting cyclists to share with drivers so close to the site of Brian Holt’s death is particularly crass. This one weak-point will serve to invalidate the route for many families and those who, for obvious reasons, do not wish to cycle surrounded by traffic. Segregation must be included along this stretch to make this upgrade worthwhile.

Otherwise, this proposal significantly improves the area, including the junctions, subject to my overall comments regarding wands and junctions.

5 Do you support the proposals for Section 5 (Westfield Way to Merchant Street) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 5 (Beaumont Grove to Merchant Street) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:

As far as Burdett Road, the proposal remains strong, although please see my general comment about left hooks/encroachment at junctions due to removal of segregation in the approaches.

At Burdett Road, I am pleased that we will finally see the proposals consulted upon eighteen months ago implemented. I hope that the parking permitted along Burdett Road to the North of Mile End Road can be limited to ensure the advisory cycle track remains useful. (This also highlights the need and space for segregation along the whole of Burdett Road, although this is one for another day).

Further West, I approve of the proposals, subject to my general concerns about wands.

6 Do you support the proposals for Section 6 (Merchant Street to Bromley High Street) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 6 (Merchant Street to Bromley High Street) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:

Eastbound, I would be concerned about the left-hook risk at Bromley High Street, caused by the wide radius left for turning motor vehicles.

Outside Bow Church DLR, a 1.5m lane is far too narrow for the number of people who are likely to wish to use this. A single-stage crossing for pedestrians would obviate the need to waste space in the middle of the road on an island.

Otherwise, these proposals appear generally good, although please see my general comment about wands.

7 Do you support the proposals for Section 7 (Bromley High Street to Bow Roundabout) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Please give any comments on the proposals for Section 7 (Bromley High Street to Bow Roundabout) of the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade below:

It’s disappointing that more is not being done at Bow Roundabout, but perhaps as more people are able to cycle the perception of pressure on roundabout capacity will reduce and it will become more politically possible to put in safe crossing facilities for pedestrians and people on bikes.

Overall proposals and About you

8 Do you support TfL’s overall proposals for the Cycle Superhighway 2 upgrade?

Yes

Do you have any comments on the overall proposals?:

When I first saw CS2, I thought it was a joke. I subsequently spent a year and a half living three minutes from Mile End Road and I swiftly learned to avoid it unless there was no other way to reach my destination – which, unfortunately, was often the case. I now live a little further East and still use it only when I have no choice. I would welcome the chance to turn the Superhighway into something which I and others could use without fear of taxis, buses, car doors and (most dangerously) rapid under-taking vehicles outside bus lane hours. Therefore, overall, I support these proposals very strongly.

Across the proposal:
– I am concerned about the reduction in width of the cycle track to 1.5m at a number of points. Even now, horrible as it is, this road is heavily used by people on bikes. 1.5m is too narrow to accommodate the growth we will surely see once people are able to cycle safely.

– I am concerned at the reliance on paint rather than segregation at junctions. As on CS2X, there is a removal of segregation in the approach to possible left-turns by motorists. Leaving segregation until nearer the junction would reduce turning radii and ensure vehicles do not encroach on the cycle lane in advance of their turn. This could be topped by wands to avoid damaging encroaching vehicles if necessary.

– I have limited confidence in wands. The destructive effect drivers have over street furniture over time is clear across London. Clearly it’s preferable to have a wand in between me and speeding vehicles, but I suspect the wands are likely to prove both insufficient and expensive – subject as they will be to repeated replacement.

I’m pleased about the inclusion of a number of banned turns, which may begin to reduce the rat-running in some of Tower Hamlets backstreets, many of which are forbidding for bicycles. However, this proposal draws attention to the need for an overall strategy to improve these routes, notably by creating a safe, segregated connection between CS2 and CS3. This could be achieved by segregating Burdett Road (as proposed by the LCC as their Ward Ask and for which there is ample space) or by removing through motor traffic from Sidney Street and segregating Cambridge Heath Road. Either way, to realise the potential of CS2 greater attention is needed to the routes across Tower Hamlets to enable people to reach their destinations safely beyond CS2.

I suggest it’s worth considering these proposals http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/exempting-people-cycling-from-signals-and-how-that-can-benefit-people-walking/ regarding junctions.

East-West Cycle Superhighway Consultation response

I use the routes proposed for the East-West Cycle Superhighway a lot and this is a big step forward for people on bikes and for London.  It’s taken a long time to go through the plans and examine the details – so I thought it might be worth posting this for others to consider and consult.

East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 1: Tower Hill gyratory
1 Do you support the proposals for Section 1 (Tower Hill gyratory) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 1 (Tower Hill gyratory) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway? :
I use this junction frequently on a bicycle and on foot. These proposal represent a significant improvement to what is currently a terrifying and dangerous junction.
Cycling up Mansell Street, drivers often jostle dangerously over the junction, with each other and with people on bikes aiming for the current advisory lane. This proposal will retain this danger as the mandatory lane starts too far North. I would welcome either starting the lane earlier, or continuous markings across the junction.
This said, I am very pleased at the inclusion of an island to prevent U-turning drivers from swinging into the path of cyclists at the top of the street.
3m seems too narrow for the narrowest points (e.g. the bus-stop bypass) if the cycle tracks are as popular as one would hope.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 2: Lower Thames Street – Tower Hill

2 Do you support the proposals for Section 2 (Lower Thames Street / Tower Hill) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 2 (Lower Thames Street / Tower Hill) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?:
This proposal is a world away from the current lethal jostling with construction lorries, taxis and buses required for people on cycles in this area and I welcome it.
3-3.7m seems very limited, but I suppose it’s a start and this is a very busy area. Nonetheless, I wonder whether removing a lane in each direction might be something to work towards…?
The arrangements for crossing Great Tower Street are unclear (notably, where cyclists are held travelling West at the crossing). How is conflict with buses prevented, for example?
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 3: Upper Thames Street (Lambeth Hill – Arthur Street)

3 Do you support the proposals for Section 3 (Upper Thames Street: Lambeth Hill – Arthur Street)?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 3 (Upper Thames Street / Arthur Street)?:
This is a huge improvement on existing provision and I support it as such.
I am against the introduction of cyclist ‘early start’ provisions – a few seconds with motorists racing to get away behind you offers very little – at the cost of always stopping. I am also not clear as to how cyclists turning left onto Southwark Bridge from the new superhighway are provided for.
2.7m around a coach stop for a two way track is a joke.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 4: Upper Thames Street / Puddle Dock / Castle Baynard Street

4 Do you support the proposals for Section 4 (Upper Thames Street/ Puddle Dock/ Castle Baynard Street) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 4 (Castle Baynard Street)?:
This is a big improvement on the existing situation. I am not familiar with Castle Baynard Street – ensuring that it is kept clear (for example, around the conference centre) from taxis and delivery vehicles is likely to be a challenge. I wonder whether it would be more productive to use a permeability treatment on Castle Baynard Street midway along in order to ensure it remains clear of traffic?
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 5: Victoria Embankment (Temple Avenue – Blackfriars)

5 Do you support the proposals for Section 5 (Victoria Embankment: Temple Avenue – Blackfriars) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 5 (Victoria Embankment / Blackfriars)?:
I was very nearly killed by an idiot in a van and a hurry in Blackfriars Underpass recently who forced me to the side of the road and then passed me within inches. So it may not be surprising that I am in favour of this proposal. I particularly like the connections with the N/S route, which will begin to create a useful network for cyclists.
The junction arrangements at the slip road connecting the N/S and E/W routes look, frankly, finicky and unclear. Whether this is an issue of signage or, perhaps, an over-reliance on separate signalised lanes I’m not sure. I suspect you can rely on cyclists to find their way through, without separate islands as you need for motorists.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 6: Victoria Embankment / Temple Place east

6 Do you support the proposals for Section 6 (Victoria Embankment / Temple Place east) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 6 (Victoria Embankment / Temple Place east)?:
This looks like a good, segregated track.
I am unconvinced as to the merits of creating a 2.5-3m kerb to protect a 4m (or less) cycle track. Creating more space for people on bikes is surely a more useful use of space.
I am also unconvinced by the case for raised tables at bus-stop bypasses, particularly those serving only night buses and coaches. Could the whole cycle track not be raised to the same level, gently – at times other than coach stops, this will merely be a hindrance; when coaches have stopped, weight of numbers will lead people to use the whole track to cross anyway.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 7: Victoria Embankment / Temple Place west

7 Do you support the proposals for Section 7 (Victoria Embankment / Temple Place west) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 7 (Victoria Embankment / Temple Place west)? :
This is a good proposal. Again, reducing the width of the segregating island and increasing the space available to cyclists would certainly be an improvement.
Is it worth mentioning there should be cycle use of the Garden Bridge here…?
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 8: Victoria Embankment / Savoy Place / Savoy Hill / Savoy Street

8 Do you support the proposals for Section 8 (Victoria Embankment / Savoy Place / Savoy Hill / Savoy Street) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 8 (Victoria Embankment / Savoy Place)? :
Again, reduce the kerb-width, increase the cycle track width!
I am not clear how cyclists from Savoy Street are supposed to access the E/W superhighway. Is there a risk of conflict with left-turning motorists?
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 9: Victoria Embankment / Northumberland Avenue

9 Do you support the proposals for Section 9 (Victoria Embankment / Northumberland Avenue) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 9 (Victoria Embankment / Northumberland Avenue)?:
Again, reduce the size of the kerb, increase the size of the cycle track
Again, I question the merits of the raised table approach at infrequently used bus stops – raise the whole cycle track and enable crossing all around.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 10: Victoria Embankment / Horse Guards Road

10 Do you support the proposals for Section 10 (Victoria Embankment / Horse Guards Road) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Not Answered

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 10 (Victoria Embankment / Horse Guards Road) :
The cycle lanes on Horse Guards Avenue should begin at the junction, not beyond it. If it were possible to include kerb-segregation for these lanes, that would be appreciated – I am particularly nervous about the actions of taxis in cycle lanes (mandatory white lines notwithstanding).
Otherwise I am in favour of this proposal.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 11: Victoria Embankment / Westminster Bridge

11 Do you support the proposals for Section 11 of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 11 (Victoria Embankment / Westminster Bridge)?:
This seems like a very good solution to a number of issues at this junction. Again, the amount of time spent at traffic light phases may prove an issue for people on bikes. As someone who also uses this area as a pedestrian, I am delighted as to the improvements proposed at this junction for pedestrians. I wonder what prevents conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge crossing – there seems very limited space for cyclists waiting to turn right onto the Embankment – could the crossing be moved further South?
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 12: Parliament Square/ Great George Street

12 Do you support the proposals for Section 12 (Parliament Square / Great George Street) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 12 (Parliament Square)?:
Again, as someone who has had to cross those five lanes of traffic to cycle around this roundabout, going as fast as I can to avoid the taxis and cars behind me, this is a massive improvement. I am also pleased to see pedestrian access to Parliament Square being proposed.
I am opposed to the use of ‘early-start’ facilities, which provide for additional delay with limited safety benefits. I’ve not seen the monitoring report on Bow, but I have read this http://diamondgeezer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/bow-roundabout-cycle-priority-lights.html which suggests that they are not as good as they’re cracked up to be.
It is very disappointing that no link on to Cycle Superhighway 8 just a little further along, and, indeed, by narrowing the road on St Margaret’s Street, that people on bikes are placed in the path of the steady flow of taxis and motorists along this road. This seems a massive opportunity missed to start to connect up genuine, safe cycle networks.

East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 14: Hyde Park Corner
13 Do you support the proposals for Section 14 (Hyde Park Corner) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 14 (Hyde Park Corner)?:
A number of improvements here which will make this crossing far more pleasant.
Again, the cycle track should not be as narrow as 2.7m, particularly if existing cycle tracks are being converted to footway.
Being able to make more of these crossings in fewer movements as a pedestrian will be an improvement.
East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 15: Hyde Park

14 Do you support the proposals for Section 15 (Hyde Park) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Not sure

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 15 (Hyde Park)?:
Suggestions – the track needs to be accessible 24 hours a day. Quite why the route can’t run up Park Lane I’m not entirely clear.

East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 16: Lancaster Gate
15 Do you support the proposals for Section 16 (Lancaster Gate) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Partially

16 Do you prefer route option 1 (Bathurst Street) or route option 2 (Stanhope Terrace) for southbound cyclists?
Option 1 (Bathurst Street)

17 Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 16 (Lancaster Gate)?
Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 16 (Lancaster Gate)?:
While the provision of segregated tracks through this area is clearly a huge improvement on existing facilities, this whole arrangement appears to be complicated
and fiddly. Further simplification, with fewer traffic signals, would seem desirable.
There appears to be a left-hook risk at Hyde Park Gardens with motorists turning across the ‘superhighway.’ The paint should be replaced with kerb/bollard segregation to encourage drivers not to cut the corner and to reduce their speed.
The route on West down Bayswater Road past Lancaster Gate has a pinch point before widening again to two lanes – this should be removed.

East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 17: Westbourne Terrace
18 Do you support the proposals for Section 17 (Westbourne Terrace) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Partially

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 17 (Westbourne Terrace)?:
The segregated tracks are clearly good and appear to be of a fair width.
The junctions are a bit of a dog’s breakfast of old-fashioned and dangerous design. Inviting vehicles to merge with people on bikes into a left-hand turning lane is a recipe for fear and disaster and should be removed. Worse still is the build out on cyclists’ left to push them towards drivers, just at the point the kerb-segregation disappears.
Providing a disappearing second lane East of Cleveland Terrace invites the unpleasant experience of being trapped and surrounded by merging drivers in a hurry to undercut vehicles in the outside lane of the kind which makes CS2 so vile.
Please amend this design, or, if necessary, wait for the Westway section.

East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 18: Westway – Acton

19 Do you support the proposals for Section 18 (Westway – Acton) of the East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the proposals for Section 18 (Westway)?:
Overall Proposals

20 Do you support TfL’s overall proposals for a new East-West Cycle Superhighway?
Yes

Do you have any comments on the overall proposals?:
I have cycled along almost every part of this route on numerous occasions. Almost without exception, I have found this to be terrifying, polluted and dangerous. I would never, for example, cycle with my girlfriend along much of this route. These proposals are a massive step forward for London and I am delighted about them – I would happily use them myself on a far more frequent basis, and would be equally happy to encourage relatives less fit than me to do the same – so the health and wellbeing benefits are likely to be enormous.
Most of the design far outstrips almost everything I’ve ever seen proposed by TfL and the planners should be commended for their boldness and understanding of what safe and pleasant cycling requires.

This said, I have two underlying concerns about the plans, namely:
1) Width. For something which will be a huge benefit – the only safe East-West cycle route through the city, three metres in both directions, or even 2.7m at narrow points, is incredibly limiting and I suspect the route will soon be overwhelmed. It’s worth remembering that, although this takes away one lane along most of its route from motorists, every other road through the City remains available to them (and unsegregated for cyclists). Would a lane in each direction be too much to ask? I recognise that this is a big step forward for TfL but I suspect you will be back at the drawing board, as mass cycling is unleashed, in a few years time, to make this much bigger. I also fear that this may design in conflict unnecessarily for cyclists.

2) Traffic light phases. The scheme relies very heavily on traffic signals – I haven’t counted, but scores along the whole route. The phasing of the lights is not specified in the design. This can cause serious problems if motor vehicle traffic flow is used as the key factor. Currently, along CS3, beside Cable Street for example, cyclists appear to receive something like nine seconds in about every ninety. It’s not enough, and it’s not fair! It’s important that the wait times for people on bikes are accorded equal (or better) priority to those of drivers, rather than leaving cyclists idling beside drivers and tempted to treat the signals with contempt.

Nonetheless, these proposals would be a great benefit, and I wish TfL the best in implementing them.