Stockwell Cross gyratory removal consultation

In case they are any use to anybody else responding to TfL’s Stockwell Cross consultation: some hastily bashed out and poorly edited down thoughts I gave them. There are lots and lots of problems you could pull out of the details — positioning of lanes on bends, dangerous lane merges, up to 4-stage pedestrian crossings, etc — but I figured there was no point getting into those when the whole thing is such a mess it needs doing from scratch.

While I agree very strongly with the principle of providing dedicated safe space for cycling here, these designs are not nearly good enough. It is a shame, when TfL have produced some good designs nearby at Oval, we are still being presented with substandard designs like these. In the absence of a consistent high quality standard we risk failing to maximise the value of these schemes, because chains are only as strong as their weakest links and because road users will be confused by inconsistent and unintuitive styles. The use of “superhighway” to describe splashes of blue paint on the introduction of CS7 was mocked; nearly five years on, the term still looks laughable applied to these designs.

I have selected “agree” with separated routes through the junction, but in these proposals the routes are not nearly comprehensive enough, and the designs still appear to be compromised by their having been squeezed in around motor traffic. With a better understanding of cycling as a separate mode of transport, and more willingness to imagine provision truly independent of the carriageway, much more comfortable, convenient and comprehensive routes through this junction could be achieved. It is particularly distressing to see designs which, where the very brief separation ends, sends cycle users jostling with buses entering bus lanes and stops.

I have answered “no” to questions 2 to 7, not because I disagree with providing for bicycle transport but because the provision is totally inadequate. Roads that are this busy (including with many fast and large vehicles) require properly designed separate infrastructure. If the infrastructure were properly designed there would be no need for any of the items in questions 2 to 7. Bus lanes are not cycling infrastructure and using them as such is bad for people travelling by either mode of transport: they will continue to act as a barrier to making journeys by bicycle on this route. Properly designed separate infrastructure has no need for advance stop lines. Properly designed separate infrastructure has properly designed separate signal timings.

I have selected “don’t know” to removing the gyratory and simplifying the junctions. I do not believe that there is anything intrinsically good or bad about gyratories. Most are badly designed — and the currently gyratory here is certainly extremely bad. But removing the gyratory does not automatically make for an improvement, and it is possible to imagine designs which retain a gyratory system for motor traffic while making much better routes and places for people on foot and bicycle than the current proposals do. Gyratory removal might be the means to an end, but it should not be treated as an end in itself.

I have selected “don’t know” to the public space improvements around the Memorial Garden. The reason this area is currently an unpleasant public space is its domination and severance by noisy and polluting motor traffic. The proposed designs do nothing to address the volume and dominance of motor traffic, and the area will continue to be filled with many lanes of waiting and speeding traffic. The public space improvements therefore risk becoming another “place faking” exercise.

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