NOTE – This piece makes much the same points as this earlier one by the Alternative Department for Transport. That post is well worth reading; I hope this one isn’t too repetitive
Earlier this month the CTC published a news item entitled
CTC declares support for quality segregation while still opposing “farcilities”
The article states
CTC’s new briefing calls for all busier roads to have “some form of dedicated space” for cyclists. It recognises the potential benefits of this taking the form of quality segregated facilities where the highway authority has the will to provide these to a high standard, whilst making it clear that all cycle facilities should “be safe and feel safe, showing that society positively values those who chose to cycle, and avoiding any impression that they are a ‘nuisance’ to be ‘kept out of the way of the traffic.”
CTC therefore urges that segregated facilities should normally be created from existing road-space rather than pavement space. They should avoid creating conflict, either with pedestrians, or with motor vehicles at junctions – given that 75% of cyclists’ collisions occur at or near junctions – ensuring that cyclists have at least as much priority at junctions as they would if using the road.
The briefing note [pdf] the CTC have presented makes these same points, in greater detail.
Now this kind of ‘quality segregation’ is precisely what the London Cycling Campaign are asking for at the roundabout at the northern end of Lambeth Bridge, in response to Transport for London’s (now closed) consultation.
The LCC are demanding – instead of shared-use pavements and ambiguous zebra crossings – a Dutch-standard segregated cycle track, with priority across raised tables, created from reallocation of carriageway space and not from the pavement. It would look something like this.
Given the CTC’s support for the benefits of high quality segregation, and its appropriateness on busier streets, one would surely have expected them to endorse the LCC’s demands, and to call on Boris Johnson and Transport for London to implement an analogous solution at this roundabout.
But they aren’t.
Our preferred option in this situation would be to redesign the layout of the roundabout along ‘continental’ lines – that is, with a single lane roundabout and small curve radii single exits and entry lanes.
A ‘continental’ style roundabout is not one with segregated tracks. It is simply a roundabout with tighter geometry, a single lane on entry and exit, and more ‘perpendicular’ entry and exit angles. The CTC document references this table from TfL’s London Cycling Design Standards –
The table gives the dimensions of a ‘continental roundabout, and in turn references TAL 9/97, a Traffic Advisory Leaflet produced by the DfT, covering continental design geometry of roundabouts. As can be seen from this diagram in that leaflet –
a ‘continental’ roundabout at Lambeth Bridge would merely have more perpendicular entry and exit points, tighter geometry, and a single lane on entry and exit. It would not have segregated tracks.
The CTC do mention the London Cycling Campaign demands for a segregated track, pointing out that priority needs to be given to cyclists entering and exiting the roundabout on the tracks.
Whilst we understand that the London Cycling Campaign have proposed fully segregated cycle tracks around the roundabout, we feel this is sensible only if priority over entering and exiting traffic can be provided to cyclists.
They then helpfully point out how this priority can be achieved, in accordance with current regulations –
by extending the zebra raised table to the mouth of each exit and entry way, enabling priority cycle crossings to be provided in accordance with TfL and DfT
The question, therefore, is why such a design is not being presented as the CTC’s first option, given that it meets all their criteria for ‘quality segregation’ on busier streets. Why have they chosen not to demand it, as the LCC are doing, and why are they instead opting for a ‘continental’ roundabout, that, while it would amelioriate conditions for cycling, would still leave the roundabout quite an intimidating prospect for the more nervous – the young, the old and the slow?
Now it may well be the case that Transport for London refuse to implement such a solution (for much the same reason that they might refuse to implement the CTC’s preferred option of a ‘continental’ roundabout – given that both the CTC option and the Dutch segregated option have a similar effect on motor vehicle capacity).
But this is an ideal time to start asking. Cycling safety, and boosting cycling in the wake of the Olympics, are high on the political agenda. The Mayor of London has pledged his support to London Cycling’s Go Dutch campaign, which commits him to
Make sure all planned developments on the main roads that they controls are complete to Go Dutch standards, especially junctions.
The Mayor has made a clear commitment to implement precisely the kind of infrastructure that the LCC are calling for. The time is right to start holding him to account.
The CTC, however, aren’t even bothering to ask the Mayor for what he has promised, despite their claim to support ‘quality segregation’.