Bow to Stratford CS2 shows TfL starting to adopt Dutch principles for cycling provision
We’re delighted with many aspects of the designs for the second section of Cycle Superhighway 2, which are open to consultation until 11 February 2013.
You can make your views known to TfL on its proposals via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's good about CS2?
Using segregated cycle tracks is the right solution on this stretch of busy road, and space for cycling has been gained from the carriageway rather than the pavements.
This is the first time that cycle tracks of such quality and consistency have been proposed by Transport for London, showing that our Love London, Go Dutch campaign is bearing fruit.
The 2.4km of segregated cycle tracks along Stratford High Street will be a huge improvement on the current situation where cyclists share road space with fast motor vehicles, often being overtaken much too closely.
The cycle tracks are wide enough to allow overtaking, so cater for different abilities and allowing cycling side by side.
We’ll be reminding TfL that it’s essential these tracks are maintained to a very high standard because users have little option to bypass debris or surface defects.
We’re pleased that at certain points the cycle tracks are routed behind bus stops (see below), so cyclists don't have to negotiate fast motor traffic when buses stop ahead of them.
This kind of cycle track and bus stop design is commonplace in the Netherlands, and has been shown to remove conflict between cyclists and buses.
We acknowledge the bus network is more dense in London than in Dutch urban areas, but Stratford High Street can certainly help inform how this design can be rolled out elsewhere.
What are the problems?
Despite many good things, however, there are flaws to Cycle Superhighway
- This section of CS2 from Bow to Stratford is not an ‘extension’ as claimed by TfL, rather it’s only the second of three section of the original CS2 route that was proposed in 2010. At present there’s no completion schedule for the third section from Stratford to Ilford.
- The ‘early start’ traffic lights at Bow roundabout cause delay to cyclists (who must always stop at one set of lights, while motorists don’t) and aren’t safe on large junctions because cyclists don’t have time to clear the junctions before motor vehicles are allowed to come into conflict with them. The system also neglects pedestrian safety.
- The proposal doesn’t address a fundamental problem with Stratford High Street, which is the large one-way system at its eastern end, through which most Londoners would be too scared to cycle because the motor traffic is fast and intimidating. Some improvements have been made near Newham Town Hall, but the one-way system should be removed and the junctions, particularly the one with Tramway Avenue, need a much simpler layout.
- The Stratford High Street dual-carriageway divides the north side from the south: for example, residents on the north side near Bow will have an excellent cycle track for going east, but to go towards the City they face a long detour to cross to the other side of this busy main road to access the westbound cycle track.
- We have doubts about the two-stage right turns, whereby people turning right by bicycle wait for two sets of traffic lights to avoid conflicts with motor vehicles. This type of junction works well in the Netherlands because the Dutch allocate a generous amount of time to cyclists, making them quick to negotiate. We don’t know the phasing proposed here yet, but in the UK much less time is typically allocated to cyclists, meaning long waits are likely, unless Transport for London bucks the trend and gives time advantage to cycling. At the smaller junction with Abbey Lane cyclists will use two stages of pedestrian crossings to do a right turn.
- We disagree with the staggered pedestrian crossings that are proposed. Some of them are significantly off the desire line of travel for people on foot. One of the fundamentals of good design for walkers is making crossings short, direct and in one stage.
In summary, we strongly welcome TfL’s decision to use segregated cycle tracks on this busy main road, removing road space from motor vehicles, not pedestrians, in order to accommodate cycling. However, to make the route truly safe and inviting for cyclists requires the removal of the Stratford one-way system and improvements at Bow and other junctions.
We’re working on a detailed response for submission to Transport for London, which will be on our website on 11 February. We urge people to respond to the consultation.