Monday, 30 November 2015

Westminster Bridge Road Consultation

Complete PDF is here

TFL are currently consulting on upgrading the Westminster Bridge Road gyratory junction. And while the plans are a vast improvement, they come with many problems.

Nice, but there are some major problems here
The first problem is connectivity with the East West Superhighway. This runs on the south side of the road, to the west side of the bridge. It makes much more sense to continue this track over Westminster Bridge, rather than adding an extra signal delay for eastbound cyclists

Therefore, I've continued the two way track all the way around the gyratory in my version. It also makes more sense than a one way track because cycles have no reason to want to be in the centre of the gyratory, except for access to the hotel. A two way track reduces the distance cycles need to travel for some movements, and no movements are disadvantaged, except for some that are extremely unlikely to be made.

Also, the cycle lanes TFL propose have wide sweeping corners for motor traffic to left hook cycles. The effects of these can be reduced through good design, but a two way track removes this conflict completely. 

Left hook magnet
Conflict removed completely

There is one bit of my design I am not too happy about, but the options here are very limited. The road outside the front of the hotel is bus and cycle only. TFL propose simply narrowing this road with no cycle provision. For cycling, this only caters for one direction

The carriageway space here is extremely limited. The ideal solution would be to continue the two way track on the outside of the 'roundabout'. However, with the space, there was really 3 options

  1. Close the road to buses, and make it bike only
  2. Segregated facilities for one direction, no cycling in the other
  3. Shared bus and cycle lane, with contraflow cycle lane
None are ideal but I went for the latter, as it gives cycles the best routes through the junction, while still allowing buses to turn around here.

Not ideal, but I think the best solution here
Overall TFL have produced a very good set of proposals for this junction. However, they demonstrate the main issue that TFL need to resolve regarding cycling, interactions with pedestrians. Once TFL realises that only interactions with motor vehicles require signalisation, I think we will start to see these issues ironed out.

Please let me know your comments/criticisms etc regarding my version, it really helps!


  1. So, whilst on @rantyhighwayman's tour on Saturday, I noted the footways on the Bridge (but particularly at the corner of Embankment/Westminster Bridge) were not coping with the sheer volume of pedestrians

    The bridge needs more footway space. To do this, I'd propose being radical and making the motor traffic part of the bridge bus & taxi only.

    This would change considerably the Bridge arm of the junction

  2. These are fantastic ideas, and much better than TfL's version. I feel like TfL's cycle tracks are very stop-start (a lot like the rubbish CS2 upgrade) and don't 'flow' around the junction. Yours are easy to understand and 'flow' much, much better.

    I think you're spot on that the main issue holding TfL back now is pedestrian crossings. Apparently they claim you can't have a zebra crossing across a cycle track, although I assume that's changing with the new TSRGD. Saying that, other local authorities seem to have managed to do it. Even if they did have zebras though, they would probably insist that they're staggered with signalised crossings, which would mean a lot of extra space would be needed at the junction to provide the pointless staggers. I guarantee you that, if they did a trial, pedestrians would not be confused about an in-line zebra and signalised crossing!

  3. What volume is the bus traffic? At 30 km/h, or 20 mph, it is OK to let buses and bikes share but only if the volume is very low. No more than about 6 buses per hour total.

  4. You do sometimes have to be pragmatic, but only after you've tried to do the best first, then the other recommended options. A beer truck delivers a bunch of beer to a football (I'm guessing this means association football, AKA soccer) stadium in Assen once a week, found this because of David Hembrow, via a cycle path.