A failure at Aldgate

I recently attended the first seminar in a new LCC Policy series, at which the Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan addressed an audience of about a hundred people, discussing in detail the future plans for cycling in London.

Gilligan made it quite clear that he wanted to be informed of new developments being proposed in London that were not up to scratch, as far as cycling was concerned. He gave the example of the Heygate development in Southwark, which would have compromised cycling if the original plans had been left unaddressed. He also wanted criticism of TfL plans to continue; a message he repeated at a meeting with Camden Cyclists on Monday

Gilligan encouraging campaigners to keep pressure up on TfL on delivery. Reception of Cycling Vision from activists was “almost too good”.

Well, from what has been posted on the City Cyclists blog this morning (please do read this important post in full), there is an issue – a big issue – at Aldgate. The plans to remove the gyratory and replace it with a two-way road look absolutely miserable.

The roads in the area are enormously wide. The space between buildings is vast.

DSCN9826_2A little further onwards, to the west from this point, we enter the Aldgate gyratory itself. This two-way road becomes a four lane, one-way road, in front of Aldgate tube station.

Courtesy of Google Streetview

Courtesy of Google Streetview

The plan is to remove this gyratory, and restore the roads here (including the similar eastbound section just to the north) to two-way running.

But there is nothing for cycling. Here’s what the plans for this particular bit of road look like –

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 10.23.05

The tube station entrance – visible in the photograph above – is the hexagonal shape, between the two green ASLs.

Amazingly, it’s being converted into a two-way road, with just one lane in each direction, but with no infrastructure for cycling at all, bar a couple of ASLs with hopeless lead-in lanes. 

The westbound capacity of this road has been reduced from four lanes to one, and yet somehow no space has been reallocated for cycling. Even the bus lane has disappeared. Given the amount of space between the buildings you can see in the photographs above, this is an extraordinary oversight.

A huge opportunity is being missed here. Gyratory removal is seemingly taking place in a complete vacuum; motor vehicle capacity is being reduced, without considering how the space could be used for cycling, and for public transport. This is something I wrote about, at length, recently – it seems that trend is continuing.

We desperately need to start using the enormous amount of road space available in London in a more constructive way.

This entry was posted in Andrew Gilligan, Boris Johnson, Gyratories, Infrastructure, Junction Review, LCC, London, Subjective safety, Transport for London. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A failure at Aldgate

  1. Is there a consultation or any way for people to comment on the proposals?

  2. Jason says:

    The area around there is utterly desolate – horrible for pedestrians, cyclists and local businesses alike (why would anyone want to go to such a horrible place?). It’s great they’re improving it but amazing that they’ve left out the easy to put in cycling provision.

    All praise to Danny Williams for taking a big risk to himself in leaking this for the public good – and thanks to this blog to publicising it further

  3. Fred says:

    He wants to know what from TFL needs review – maybe everything, my conversations with them seem to indicate that they don’t understand cycling, but if they did it would be as an after thought. This is not the only enormously wide road where they can’t find any space for a bike.

    • Fred says:

      (for a start, how about Blackfriars Road, which goes past their office building and is total rubbish – apparently this is currently under consideration so maybe a good one to highlight)

      • I’m 100% with you on Blackfriars Road – it’s an absolute joke! So much unused space, running right past TfL’s HQ. Where better to do a trial and monitor it?

        • Fred says:

          I actually got a reply back on this one, the conclusion is that they “are carefully considering options which will be of benefit to all users”. If that’s a reflection of their implementation of cycling policy it’s worse than a joke, to me it sounds like inadequate rubbish and ignoring the mayor’s cycling vision. Cycle lanes don’t benefit all road users, but that’s sort of the point – pavements also don’t benefit all road users but that doesn’t make them an inconvenience, they’re an important part of our transport system.

          TFL clearly don’t really believe cycling is a priority and will probably only put in second rate cycle lanes as an afterthought.

  4. @mic_j_h says:

    Crucial route between city and canary wharf that’s been a nightmare for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians for over 20 years – this solves no problems but would create bigger jams.

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