Proposals for Lambeth Bridge lack ambition
Proposals for Lambeth Bridge lack ambition

Proposed new junction designs show little sign of innovation

Transport for London has just released proposed new junction designs to improve conditions for cyclists. These schemes involve very minor changes to the road layouts, which in themselves may make conditions slightly easier but they show little sign of innovative or bold thinking.

For several months now Transport for London (TfL) has been consulting stakeholders on the first out of the 100 junctions they aim to make better for cyclists.

This project stems from the disaster at Bow Roundabout, where a newly redesigned junction was partly implicated in a death of a cyclist, Brian Dorling, in 2011. Together with pressure from the Times's Cities fit for cycling campaign, the Government provided £15m for junctions in London, followed by another £15m for other parts of England.

One of the most significant of the recent proposals is Lambeth Bridge's northern roundabout. This also lies at the northern end of Cycle Superhighway 8, which was originally intended to carry on towards Trafalgar Square.

TfL's proposals (see below) involve the construction of larger footways, thereby tightening up the entry and exit curves to reduce speeds of vehicles entering and leaving the carriageway. Raised zebra crossings will further reduce speeds and strengthen pedestrian priority at these crossing. But CTC has rejected the proposal to turn footways into shared use. This idea seems to expect that cyclists will leave the carriageway via a dropped kerb and return again having crossed a zebra crossing. 

CTC's response (see below) has set out an alternative, suggesting a fundamental redesign of the roundabout along 'continental' lines, with increased deflection on approach and a narrower carriageway on the roundabout itself, reducing conflict between users. CTC has also suggested that a fully segregated cycle track would only work if priority is provided over traffic entering or leaving the roundabout.

The other significant junction under discussion is that roundabout at the south end of Waterloo Bridge. Again, the changes are mostly cosmetic - small adjustments to kerb layouts and provision of advanced stop lines. TfL have also suggested that the speed limit on the roundabout be restricted to 20 mph, but that won't take effect until 2013.

Update: TfL has decided not to proceed with the current plans and to prepare a more ambitious solution. TfL is currently conducting real-world trials of a possible fully segregated cycle track around a roundabout.

Chris Peck