Friday, 21 November 2014

Old Street redesigned

TFL are currently releasing lots of consultations at the moment. This part of the better junctions scheme, which is planned to improve 33 junctions for cycling. Some of these have already been released, ranging from disappointing (such as Elephant and Castle) to needing very few changes to be very good (such as Blackfriars)

From the consultations so far, I think I can raise the following two points:
  • TFL have realised that good cycling infrastructure should be designed to the same standards as roads are
  • However, TFL have not realised that cycles need to be treated differently to cars
I think these are made most apparent in the consultation for Old Street Roundabout. This includes some very promising cycle tracks through the junction, and most importantly, all left hook conflicts have been removed. Also, not a single ASL in sight, which is also another huge step forward.
Promising, but the cycle facilities still need improvement
However, most of the problems in this design stem from the fact that TFL are still treating cycles the same way they would treat cars. This is apparent by the excessive signalisation of cycle only conflicts, and of pedestrian and cycle interactions.

Yes, there are conflicts, but cycles don't need signals to deal with them.
That's why I've done a redesign of TFLs consultation plan. This isn't because you should oppose TFLs plans, far from it. However, it needs to be shown to TFL how cycle tracks need to be designed, because bikes are not cars, and so interactions aren't the same.

Much safer for cycling, and much quicker to cycle through
The T-junctions now have cycle track crossings on all arms, and allow cycles to make a left turn or go straight ahead at all times without signals. Cycles also don't have to wait for pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians cross the crossings either on an informal crossing, or though a zebra crossing, however my diagram has these missing.
Closer to a standard Dutch junction

All the changes can be seen in the PDF of my amendments

Overall, I think people need to partially support the TFL proposals. They are among some of the most promising UK cycling infrastructure plans to date. But there are problems, and to fully support the proposals purely because they are better will, in my opinion, mean we will never progress to anything better. I know TFL look at my plans, for Kings Cross my designs made it into the appendix. Therefore when responding to the consultation, link to this blog post, and show TFL how to improve their designs even further.

Too much praise leaves you where you are, but well put criticism will lead to progress.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Heavy Duty NL

I've moved! I'm no longer living in Maidstone, and am now studying at the University of South Wales, near Pontypridd. However, I am still going to keep the name that everyone knows me by.

It's been almost a week now since I picked up my Heavy Duty NL. It's a Dutch import from Royal Dutch Gazelle, and frankly, I think it looks stunning.

My bike outside my student halls

Since it is a Dutch import, there are features on it that are very uncommon in the UK. Firstly, the back wheel has a lock built in. Without the key, a metal bar goes between the spokes in the back wheel. This means no key, no movement.

I wouldn't leave it for long on the wheel lock, but it's great for going into a shop for a few minutes

The bike has front and rear racks. I'm yet to properly utilise the front rack, although I have used it to carry my jumper when I've gotten to hot riding (it's possible to multi-task, eating, taking off clothing ect!). I'm planning on getting a crate so that I can carry shopping or any other items. As a student, the front rack is also the perfect size for carrying a crate of beer!

Although today I used it to carry potatoes.

The back wheel has a seven speed hub. I'm probably going to do some modification to the gearing, as my student accommodation is on a very steep hill (welcome to the Welsh Valleys!) so it's a bit of a struggle getting up some of the hills at the moment. The chain is also fully enclosed by a chain guard, so no more oil or grease on my trouser legs.

Low maintenance, important for a bike designed for transport

So would I recommend a Dutch bike? Certainly. Although you can feel a little bit more vulnerable in UK traffic because it won't go quite as fast, riding one of these is by far more enjoyable than trying to ride a sports bike to the shops. I love my sports cycling and racing around in lycra, but that is a completely different activity to travelling to lectures carrying textbooks.
And yes, it just about gets on the train!
I bought my bike from Rob at Really Useful Bikes in Bristol. And the Royal Dutch Gazelle website is here.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The negatives of positivity

Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about the East-West Superhighway, entitled 'Get off the hype train'. I suggested that you only partially support, rather than fully support. This is despite it being probably the best cycling scheme to be proposed in London, and well, probably the rest of the UK.

Now I would like to explain my reasoning, with a little bit of help from Royal College Street.

Hooray for pointless conflict!
I'm sure most people know about the Royal College Street scheme. It consists of plastic armadillos and planters, which are are constantly breaking. There have been plenty of blog posts about the failings of the scheme, so I won't go into detail.

An Armadillo, working exactly as planned.

Last night, Camden Cyclists tweeted this:
Just like the original Royal College Street, there are things to be praised. Space is being given to cyclists, and often conflicts with parking have been removed.
Why the loading bay conflict?

But there is terrible stuff here. There are loading bays with door zone problems, the fact armadillos don't really work, and also an appalling bit where cycles and cars are expected to just merge together through a pinch point

This is incredibly dangerous. Why are Camden Cyclists supporting this?

The big problem here is the amount of praise and awards. Here is a tweet from a Camden councillor:
Why does Camden need to improve on the Royal College Street scheme. They know they got loads of awards and praise the last time, so why bother? There is no point working any harder if the results are the same. The level of effort required for praise has been set so low, the designers needn't consider proper cycling infrastructure. Just place out a load of armadillos, and the cyclists will be happy.

This is why I have my reservations about praising the East-West superhighway too much. Yes, it deserves praise. But too much praise, and it sets the benchmark too low.

London and the rest of the UK will never progress while praise is just given out on a whim.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Get off the hype train

Last week I went to the Netherlands, on one of David Hembrow's study tours. You can look at photos as long as you like, but to fully understand Dutch infrastructure I believe that you have to see it first hand.

Standard cycle path, with separate space for pedestrians.
I will do a proper blog post on the brilliant infrastructure I saw, however this post is more focused on the not so great infrastructure that came from London while I was away.

Feel the space, ignore the design

Don't get me wrong, the two new superhighway routes are a huge step forward. The amount of space being allocated to cycling is great and the chance to have safe cycling routes along Embankment and Blackfriars junction is a great proposition.

However, they don't deserve the hype that they have been given. The design of these routes is clearly lacking, and in many places, it's appalling. I fear with the amount of hype these routes are being given, we cannot progress. If TfL get the message that these are good enough, this is all we will ever get.

I think TfL has a surplus of traffic lights. Why innovate when there are solutions that work in other countries?

Take "early start" as an example. For years, cycle campaigners have been telling TfL that the addition of these to Bow Roundabout is not enough. With 60% of cyclists refusing to use the roundabout and continuing to use the flyover, it is pretty clear that it is an awful design. Yet I am still told that I have to wholeheartedly support the new superhighway, despite Early Start being used 3 times just on Parliament Square

Staying on the superhighway? Wonderful.  But it's a pile of crap if you are going anywhere else. This is one of the sections I recommend you say "no" when asked to support this in the consultation.

Tegelijk groen

I have actually already done plans for two parts of the superhighway, at Parliament Square and the end of CS7 at Upper Thames Street. However, these were made before I knew about the wonderful Simultaneous Green Junctions that exist in the Netherlands.

Simultaneous Green would solve many of the problems with the new superhighways, namely that the junctions are crap. The fact that TfL have gone with two way tracks leads to problems with connectivity. Simultaneous Green solves this without a dangerous two stage turn which kills in Denmark.

No problems with this two way track connecting to the other roads on this crossroads in Assen. Location here.
Below is a video of Simultaneous Green working at a 10 lane junction:

The first design I have done is on the East-West Superhighway, at Blackfriars. This junction has excessive traffic lights, with all movements through the junction but one, require cyclists to use two sets of traffic lights. By replacing these with a simultaneous green junction, at worst cyclists will only get one set of traffic lights here, and at best, zero.

Sea of traffic lights replaced by one junction., allowing cyclists to take the most direct route.

The second design is the junction of Embankment with Savoy Place and Savoy Street. I've replaced the two stage ASL with a simultaneous green junction, which is quicker for cycles. I've also made Savoy Place two way for cycles.

A new type of roundabout has to be test for months. A new type of ASL doesn't for some reason...

PDF files for the Blackfriars junction and Savoy Junction.

Sitting on the fence

So should you support the East-West Superhighway? Well, partially. The amount of space given to cycling here is great, and on some individual sections, I'll happily support completely. But there is just too much shitty junction design to give wholehearted support, and some sections where I have said no completely (Parliament Square and north of Hyde Park). So since TfL gives the option, I suggest people support partially. 

Too much hype tells TfL the job is done. It isn't, so don't give that impression.

Friday, 8 August 2014

TfL propose no worthwhile improvements. Tell them it's not good enough.

A few months ago I made a blog post with plans for Kings Cross. This was in response to a TfL consultation to improve the gyratory for cyclists. However, there was little improvements. Current cyclists may have benefited slightly from Advanced Stop Lines, but the plans were in no way attractive to anybody else.

A week or so ago, respondents to the consultations received an e-mail. Despite a large number of respondants citing safety concerns, TfL are going ahead anyway. However with one change. Semi-segregation will be used in places because:

[Semi-segregation] will allow cyclists to move onto the main carriageway and overtake stationary buses and taxis if necessary.
I think my reaction to this can be summed up in one GIF

This is not good enough. On Tuesday 12th August, come to Kings Cross Square for a ride around the gyratory, and tell TfL that their plans do nothing for cycling. There is a Facebook event page and a twitter feed.

Another design

As this junction was again brought to my attention via the e-mail TfL sent, I decided to give my design another go. When I made the original, I tried not to reduce traffic capacity, and I also didn't know about the wonderful simultaneous green junctions that exist in the Netherlands. So below, here is my second design for the Kings Cross gyratory.

My design, version 2
A simultaneous Green junction outside Kings Cross?

Design as a PDF (for zooming in without loss of quality)

My design isn't perfect. It has its faults and problems. However, there is one claim I will stand by, and that it is miles better than Advance Stop Lines and bits of paint on a busy gyratory. This area is the first impression of London for many people. Trains come to Kings Cross and St Pancras from Kent, the North of England, Scotland, Europe and beyond. A traffic sewer is not a good first impression for any city.

I don't want to London seen that way.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

An e-mail I'd like to share

This is the response of the cabinet member at Kent County Council for Environment and Transport, David Brazier, to someone's objections to the scheme that, in my opinion, will lead to a large decline in the use of the bicycle as a mode of transport in Maidstone. I've started a petition to stop this, which explains more, and it would be great if you could sign it.

I've added a few emphasises, these are my own. Otherwise this e-mail is unedited:

Thank you for your emails regarding the recent outcome of the public inquiry into the application for the Powerhub site in St Peters Street, Maidstone.

The application was subject to assessment by the KCC Transportation & Development Team.  It was recognised that the reduction of the wide footway on the northern side of the St Peters Bridge would be a disadvantage of the development proposal.  However, this would be offset by the additional capacity for traffic that would be gained by widening the carriageway over the bridge to four lanes.

The width available for pedestrians and cyclists on the northern bridge would be reduced to 2.5 metres.  This is too narrow to maintain the existing segregated space, so pedestrians and cyclists would have to share this space.  KCC recognises that this is an important route across the river for cyclists, and that it connects to cycle routes on either side, however the numbers of cyclists using the bridge have been fairly low; generally in single figures during peak hours.

Therefore, on balance, KCC did not make an objection to the regeneration proposal for Baltic Wharf, as the overall impact on the highway network could be mitigated by the off-site works. We accept that these measures are not helpful to cyclists in a location where cycling on the actual carriageway of the gyratory would be extremely difficult.  However, my officers did not consider that we could sustain an objection to the development on these grounds.

KCC does not hold cyclists in contempt. I ride most days, wishing the traffic would go away, but accepting the realities of life. 

I appreciate that this may not be the response you had hoped for, however I hope that the information provided is useful and fully explains our position on this matter. 

So it turns out KCC does not hold cyclists in contempt.  They just give off that impression because they accept the realities of life.

Please sign the petition to stop this scheme going ahead. This could be any town, please don't let it be mine. Thank you. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Tottenham Court Road

The West End Project is a £26 million investment to improve the area around the Tottenham Court Road area. There is a desperate need to improve here, as fast traffic is encouraged, making it a terrible place to walk or cycle. While walkers and bus passengers will see a vast improvement, as the project stands, cyclists get nothing.

Yes, we get some small plastic blobs on Gower Street, but these fail to work effectively on Royal College Street, a lightly used road. Suggesting these on a main road is absurd.

The plans for Tottenham Court Road are essentially to create an Oxford Street v2.0. Cycles will share with 176 buses per hour during peak times, and then with general traffic in the evenings and on Sundays.

Therefore I've done a redesign of Tottenham Court Road, to include cycle tracks and floating bus stops to make Tottenham Court Road safe for cycling. Its a large bitmap and probably not clear, so click here for a link to a PDF you can download.

I've assumed that roads outside the West End Project will not change, and I've not really changed roads other than Tottenham Court Road. Therefore side roads may not be perfect.

The objection for proper cycle tracks was lack of space at a few points. There was objections for floating bus stops, as the carriageway isn't wide enough. These objections even came from a cycling campaign group, whom I won't name, who really should be campaigning for the best, and not making terrible compromises.

Firstly, a few narrow points should not compromise the whole design. These sections are short compared to the overall length of Tottenham Court Road, so it should be perfectly acceptable to compromise. Instead of a 2 meter wide track, a 1.5 meter one would have to be installed. This is substandard, but acceptable for short sections if it allows for excellent facilities elsewhere.

Floating bus stops also fit into Tottenham Court Road. Yes, some pavement space would have to be taken away. However, bus stops are not usable space for pedestrians anyway. Bus shelters create pinch points on pavements and lead to clutter. If these are moved out to an island, this is better for pedestrians, even if a small amount of pavement space is lost.

To conclude, cyclists are being ignored in the West End Project. Money isn't an object here, so if space for cycling cannot be created here, hope for it elsewhere greatly reduces.

On Monday 30th June, I'm going to an event organised by Camden Cycling Campaign regarding this project. If you are interested in the West End Project, I recommend you come too. And if you see me, say hi :)

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Tottenham Hale

TFL haven't consulted in a while and so I looked at the past consultation section, and saw Tottenham Hale.

This area was a busy gyratory and it needed to be changed. However there were cycle facilities here, and while they were crap, it was better than the usual crap. It didn't give up at junctions and had clear space for pedestrians and cyclists. However TFL have got rid of these, mostly replacing them with shared use and toucans.

The original consultation had four parts to it, so I am going to do four separate blog posts, because it then allows me to explain in more detail my changes (It also allows me time to finish it :P)

The first part is the south section of High Road (download here) The original TFL plans are below:
And my changes:
TFL wants High Road to be a place for motor vehicles. With two lanes in each direction and a bus lane, with a few shared use pavements, TFL is firmly stuck in the 70s with this design. I changed it to one vehicle lane and one bus lane in each direction, plus a bi-directional cycle track on the west side. The central reservation also has trees and other greenery, to make the area more attractive. I got inspiration for this from Lloyd George Avenue in Cardiff, which has a similar set up, although the junctions with the cycle track are done very badly.

Broad Lane does not have cycle tracks, since as you will see when I show the Broad Lane proposals, I have completely shut it off to through motor traffic. Therefore segregation is not required here, and traffic volumes and speeds will be low. 

I've also shut the exit from West Green Road to motor traffic. While this is currently a through road, it is not suitable for through traffic due to its width, which leads to narrow pavements and leaves no space for pedestrians or cycling. Other parallel main routes have more space available to provided protected space for cycling and walking. The removal of through traffic means that segregation is not required. Closing the exit also has the advantage of removing a traffic light junction from North-South cyclists on High Road.

The other parts of the consultation are being finished, so you should expect to see them sometime in the near future.

While TFL claims removing gyratories is about improving conditions for cycling and pedestrians, it needs to back up these claims with actions. It's just no good replacing a busy one way road with an even busier two way road. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

Bow Roundabout

As always, a download link can be found here

I'm sure there isn't a cyclist in the country who hasn't heard of Bow Roundabout. There have been 3 deaths since Cycle Superhighway 2 was introduced here. It took two of those deaths to introduce an "innovative" early start system, which is about as innovative as the double ASL I made for April Fools. Personally I think this should be renamed to delayed start, since a red light is always guaranteed for cyclists.

If the lack of cycling facilities on a flagship route isn't bad enough, there is no safe way for pedestrians this busy junction whatsoever. This junction is probably worse for pedestrians, but they stay away because this isn't a flagship walking route, it's a flagship cycling route. 

Bow roundabout is a horrific car dominated landscape in the middle of a residential area, and involved knocking down whole houses and streets to build it. While this is an important junction and motor traffic capacity should be considered here, it should by no means be at the expense of pedestrian and cyclist safety.

There are two options at Bow Roundabout, sending cyclists over the flyover, or a separate light phase at the roundabout. TFL did a consultation when they introduced the delayed start system, with the other option being 4 toucan crossings at the base of the flyover. Diamond Geezer wrote about this concept at the time 

Not great, but better than what exists

However, I went for a segregated light phase on the roundabout. I feel this is better, because:
  1. There is no incline
  2. It doesn't give cyclists a guaranteed red light
  3. Pedestrian crossings are easy to add
The finished result
I've made the Roundabout more rectangular rather than round, which means that the wasted space in the middle of the roundabout can be moved out to the sides, where it can be used for a cycle track and more pedestrian space. 
Lots of wasted space which is no use to anybody

An additional light phase is needed to accommodate the cycle and pedestrian crossings, however traffic could still continue around the roundabout during this phase.

Red, Green, Orange, repeat.
Bow Roundabout is a deathtrap for cyclists and pedestrians, yet this continues to be ignored by Transport for London to keep the traffic moving. Changing this junction should be a priority, yet all that has been done is some superficial changes to make it look like something is being done. This isn't good enough.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Segregation at Tavistock Place

Yesterday I went up to London for a joint seminar organised by London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets. It was great to see these two organisations working together instead of working against one another, as they both ultimately want to achieve the same goal. I plan to write about the seminar another time, but I wanted to write about my route to the seminar in this post.

About 1/3 of the route I took was along the Tavistock Place cycle track. This cycle track was very popular, with Camden Cyclists saying that 1000 cyclists per hour use it during peak times. The basic concept is also a good one, a protected track for cyclists that goes direct from East to West and vice versa.
There are more cyclists in this picture than I would normally see during a whole day in Maidstone!

You need to get a bit fatter

However, the cycle track has many problems. Firstly the width is really bad throughout the whole length of the track. However at certain junctions, the track narrows to extremely dangerous widths. It was in these places I felt the most in danger at any point while cycling in London yesterday, even on roads where I was interacting with large amounts of motor traffic.

Climbing aboard

The second issue is joining the cycle track at either end. At the eastern end of the cycle track it really goes Dutch... by having cyclists travel on the right hand side of the track. This design isn't particularly dangerous, the switchover and priorities are clearly marked, but it is just a very bad design

The western end however, is a complete shambles. I don't think I even need to explain what is wrong with it, the video shows it quite clearly. Note also the Addison Lee taxi illegally stopped in the cycle lane.

Cross your fingers!

Lastly, the junctions that rely on Give Way markings rather than traffic lights also don't feel safe. Watch the following video and ask yourself if you would feel safe or confident here:

There isn't space for motor traffic to deal with cyclists and other motor vehicles independently, which means motorists have to deal with up to 4 streams of traffic moving in different directions at the same time. I drive myself and I know I would struggle with this during busy periods. The last video shows the sort of interaction that could happen here. Contains bad language.

I also didn't spot a turning vehicle until the last second turning onto the cycle track. This design is dangerous, it needs space for motorists to wait between the road and the cycle track, so motorists can concentrate on one stream of traffic at a time

What should be done?

In the short term, 45 degree kerbs could be used to increase the usable width of the cycle track. However in the long term, traffic needs to be reduced so that the cycle track can be widened, either by using one way streets or removing through traffic completely. This cycle track is almost a victim of its own success, and is in a desperate need of an upgrade 12 years after its original construction.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Crossrail through Parliament Square

Download link here

"Crossrail for the bike" is important. If this scheme can be done right, it should show that segregation is the key to get London cycling. However, the proposed route goes through some very dangerous junctions. One of these is Parliament Square.

Parliament Square is horrible in two respects. Firstly, it is bad for cycling, with multiple lanes, fast moving traffic. I have cycled it a few times when I've been in London and it is at best intimidating. What is worse however, is that the Square named after the birthplace of Parliamentary democracy is a roundabout. Even putting cycle safety to one side, this should be a good enough reason to reduce the dominance of motor traffic in this area.

Below is my take on the junction:

Bye bye roundabout

Clearly, the first step here was to remove the roundabout nature of this junction completely. I've closed off Great George Street to motor traffic completely, and replacing two sides of the square with wide cycle tracks only, and increased the pedestrian space as well. This means motor traffic navigates two T-Junctions as opposed to the roundabout, with one lane for each direction. 

Closing Great George Street to through traffic should also have the effect of reducing traffic on Birdcage Walk and Horse Guards Parade, which will make the surrounding area pleasant as well. 


I've included a Zebra Crossing with a cycle track, to give priority to cyclists and pedestrians. These are better than traffic lights because they remove pedestrian and cyclist waiting time, as well as reinforcing the idea that motorists should wait rather than pedestrians. It bears similarities to the Zebra found in this proposal for Cambridge


Where cyclists do have to interact with traffic, it is best to include separate crossings for cyclists. This is similar to how the Dutch would handle a T-Junction, however the pedestrian crossings and the cycle crossings would swap places. Personally I don't feel as if this matters too much, as it means that pedestrians crossing the road twice don't have to unnecessarily cross the cycle track.

To conclude

Hopefully you'll agree this is better than the proposals from yesterday (which may have been an April Fool :P). While TFL are not consulting on changing Parliament Square yet, it is important this junction is done well, and that the "Crossrail" route is easily accessible. It's no good having a good cycle route if it doesn't connect to anything, or the surrounding areas are bad for cycling as well.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Crossrail through Parliament Square (April Fools 2014)

Download link here

If Boris is to be believed, then "Crossrail for the Bike" is going to be going through Parliament Square. This is an important route, and hopefully a chance to set some high design standards. I used satellite imagery to map out Parliament Square and used the same colours as TFL consultations to mark out pavements, road and road markings ect. My finished version can be found below:

Segregation to keep safe

One of the key features of my design is the use of segregation to keep cyclists safe on the busy gyratory. It is important that some segregation is provided to  keep cyclists safe when navigating such a junction. In other places, segregation has not been used because blue paint has been used instead.

Double or Nothing

Another key feature is my use of an innovative new idea. The double advanced stop line will mean that when the first advanced stop line is blocked by motor traffic, cyclists will still be able to get ahead of other traffic in complete safety. Quite frankly I don't understand why nobody has come up with this idea before.

To conclude

I feel that my design is the best that could fit into this location, after all there is only room for 5 motor traffic lanes around Parliament Square, so I feel I have done the best I could given the circumstances. I have shown my design to two other people (See responses from Rick and Eduard) and received positive responses, and I hope you agree.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Upper Thames flagship

PDF download link here.

The original consultation for changes to Upper Thames Street was a while ago, but I decided to change this one as my third attempt at improving a TFL consultation. Even though the consultation is closed, it is still relevant, because firstly it is the end of a superhighway, a so called flagship route, and secondly Upper Thames Street will carry the "Crossrail for the Bike". Therefore this location is of great importance.

While the consultation says Safety Improvements, in terms of cycling all that has changed is some extended ASLs and a facility for those confident enough to cross two lanes first to access it. The end of the Superhighway, probably the most dangerous location here due to turning HGVs, has been left completely untouched. Below is my amendments:


Along Upper Thames Street, I have added a one way cycle track on each side. By removing the central reservation (traffic should be able to drive within a lane at 30mph), and using the existing cycle lane space, I have added cycle tracks on either side of the road. The pedestrian crossing has also had a parallel cycle crossing added, to allow cyclists to access places on the other side of the road or to U-turn.

End of the line

Let's face it, the end of CS7 at Upper Thames Street is probably one of the most dangerous sections of Superhighway. There are plenty of locations where cyclists have a turning conflict on the Superhighways, but not one where cyclists will be making a potentially unexpected movement with all trucks making some sort of turn, either left or right. I've added cycle tracks along CS7 and added cycle crossings where it crosses Upper Thames Street. North of Upper Thames Street, shared use has been replaced by a cycle track, better for pedestrians and cyclists. Queen Street has very little traffic so it can be shared between cyclists and motor traffic, with CS7 extending further into the city rather than ending just outside as it currently does.

And everything else

Finally, bus stop bypasses and zebra crossings are other things I have added. We should see quality cycling infrastructure here with the "Crossrail for the bike" soon at some point. But this area is currently dangerous for cyclists in an area that cyclists are encouraged to go. There is a chance for this junction to be a real flagship. Come on TFL, make it so.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Kings Cross can be cycle friendly

Download link in PDF file format can be found here.

Following how well received my amended version of the Elephant and Castle consultation was, I decided that I should give another TFL consultation the cycle infrastructure it deserves. Kings Cross seemed an obvious choice, because TFL had said that cycle tracks had been ruled out due to space constraints. The original consultation is below:

There are some improvements to the current situation. For example, a widened cycle lane, the addition of ASLs in some places, and a tiny bit of segregation. But while these are improvements, these will only improve conditions for vehicular cyclists, and will not attract new cyclists. This scheme is a step in the right direction, but only just, and comes at a time when London is going to need to take huge leaps forward if we want to become a true cycling city.

Therefore in my version, I wanted to be able to add cycle tracks where possible. And this was possible in most places.

Space for Cycling

TFL had rejected the idea of putting a segregated track down Pentonville Road due to losing a vehicle lane being unacceptable. This made me really want to be able to add segregation along here without losing a vehicle lane, to prove to TFL that there is space. The space for the cycle track was created from the existing cycle lane (widened in the TFL original consultation), the hatched out space between the loading bays and the road, and a small amount of existing pavement. At first I was hesitant about removing any pavement, however I think the cycle track increases the amount of usable pavement, since walking next to a cycle track is pleasant, whereas walking directly next to a main road is not.

(Kings) Crossings

Junctions are the most vital part of any cycle infrastructure. A single bad junction could put someone off cycling for their whole journey, so safe crossings are vital. The most straight forward crossing is the one at the top of the picture below. Two cycle specific crossings are provided, which allow cyclists to cross parallel to the adjacent traffic lanes. Personally I don't like how the tracks cross at the top left corner, as it doesn't allow much space for cyclists to wait for the crossings. However, in the limited space, I felt this is the best I could do.
I went for two separate crossings at the Southern end of Kings Cross Bridge for two reasons. One, providing one cycle crossing would require joining up the two tracks round the corner. This would inconvenience pedestrians and potentially make the corner too tight for vehicles. Secondly, few cyclists will need to go round this corner, since the layout of the junction means that this turn would not be made unless cyclists were accessing a place on Grays Inn Road. Therefore I chose the dual crossing design, as odd as it looks.

Safe turns

It was relatively easy to provide safe crossings here. A traffic lane can be removed after the junction with Kings Cross Road because there is no creation of a bottleneck. Therefore no extra queues should be created. The right turn bay bay has been removed also, since not much traffic needs to make the right turn. The cycle track along Pentonville road passes the side road with priority, and also with space for traffic to turn before giving way to cyclists, increasing cyclist visibility. I have also created a waiting area for cyclists to cross to reach the track on Kings Cross road, via a dedicated crossing.

To conclude

Again, TFL have produced small improvements for existing cyclists, but their design will attract no new cyclists. Only complete segregation on main roads will attract new cyclists, not bits and pieces of unconnected cycle lanes and Advance Stop Lines. TFL is still learning, and I still think in terms of UK cycling, they are relatively progressive. Expect more amended consultation diagrams from me in the future, and I look forward to advancing my skills forward.

Update 30/07/2014

TFL have sent out an e-mail to those who responded to the consultation saying this:

Dear stakeholder
 Thank you for taking the time and providing us with your views on our proposals to improve safety in King’s Cross for cyclists. After carefully considering all of the feedback received, we have made the decision to proceed with the proposals.  Please view our consultation and engagement portal to view a copy of our engagement report. Following comments received about the provision of a segregated cycle lane on York Way, we have revised our plans.  We are now proposing to introduce a semi-segregated cycle lane which will allow cyclists to move onto the main carriageway and overtake stationary buses and taxis if necessary. Construction of the scheme is expected to start in October 2014 and last for approximately six months. Please feel free to email the TfL Customer Services Team via the web form on our website if you wish to discuss plans or our decision in further detail.
 Yours sincerely Claire AlleguenConsultation SpecialistTransport for London

So we are getting some shit, but with some semi segregation so we can overtake buses and taxis who enter it. Wonderful.