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 .

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 

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

Conclusion

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.

Replies

All good points, except perhaps 6. There is a good argument that at complex junctions two-stage pedestrian crossings can allow faster crossing for those on foot by allowing, for the same amount of foot and vehicle traffic clearing the junction on each cycle, less average waiting time for pedestrians (at the cost of stopping twice).

In this instance, we're objecting more to the deviation from pedestrians' desire line, rather than the two-stages themselves. People prefer to walk in straight lines, and often do no matter what street planners mark out on the carriageway.

The side road junctions are so important. They must make sure that motorists wanting to join the main road wait at the cycle lane (not on it), and that motorists wanting to turn left give way to cyclists that are not obviously on the road. The A4 segregated cycle track shows how useless a track is when this issue is poorly handled (ie ignored).

@jkbingbong - that's exactly what I saw on Royal College Street today. It needs to be made clear to drivers where they stop.

This content was deleted by LegalWheels at 08:05pm 10 Jan 2013.

 

In what is otherwise a good scheme overall, the sections at the roundabout are the most scary and worrying. This section has to be right. I am a commuting cyclist who travels this route every day and has done so for over 20 years. I am also a regular motorist on this route.

I am likely to continue to avoid a deathtrap roundabout, whatever they do to it,  and go over the flyover whenever I can. There is plenty of room on the flyover for a segregated cycle lane for those fit enough to go over.

Everyone needs to accept that whatever you do at a junction, the inherent delay in negotiating it will always mean that those fit enough will prefer the flyover when travelling westward. The flyover used to have two lanes each way, now reduced to one lane by white hatching the carriageway to restrict traffic to a single lane. There is plenty of room for a safe segregated cycle lane on the flyover. I urge LCC to press TFL to consider options for bringing it in use. whilst also providing for cyclists who will feel better able to use the surface-level route.

There is no point assuming that the flyover will not still be used by cyclists, so why not use the space that is there already and make it safe?

My first reaction, based only on the pictures, is that the thing looks truly frightening. I hope the pictuers aren't really to scale. Thank goodness we will retain the legal right to avoid it. I imagine, too, that the pictures show things in the most optimistic light they can.

I suppose I need to study things in more detail to see whether the route is really that bad. The comments about the way the track injects cyclists into junctions imply that the problems are real.

The shops in the picture look pretty deserted, although they are not shown actually boarded up. Nobody gets off buses to visit them there, it seems, no white van man has to carry boxes to and from them across the cycle track, there are no alleys from which cars might emerge, and then park across the track, before being able to get into the roadway.

The ouslem bird assumption that cyclists are always left-wing only people, who would never turn right, has been noted. The right wingers will probably use the road to make their attempts to make a right deviation from the straight path easier.

The track has today's usual "trapped in the trough" design, that provides extra narrowing, thanks to the shy distance from both edges

Whoever Ashok's wild endorsement is speaking for, it isn't me.

Jeremy Parker

Ths is no "wild" endorsement, Jeremy. It has the considered approval of LCC's Junction Review Group, the Board of Trustees and staff experts ... not to mention the membership, who voted overwhelmingly for LCC to pursue the Love London, Go Dutch campaign in August 2011.

You mention that you haven't even looked at the plans in detail. Perhaps you should do this before you allow your prejudices to take over. And a trip to the Netherlands to see how these designs function effortlessly in practice, even in busy shopping areas, might be an idea too.

This post was edited by London Cycling Campaign at 12:53pm 16 Jan 2013.

There's clearly an issue here with the Rick Roberts Rd/ Warton Way junction. As far as I can tell, the separated cycle track more or less joins the carriageway here, and cyclists go on the same light as the motor traffic. This exposes cycle traffic to left-turning motor traffic - you lose the benefits of separation at exactly the point where it's needed. It's not clear, either, how the two stage right turn is supposed to be done in practice. I hope LCC is going to oppose this design, in favour of a proper separated dutch-style solution?

Hello.

Just to say it's excellent that things are really moving now. My concerns - and I don't ride quite as often in London now as I used to - are still that in so many places in the centre cyclists are given narrow tracks to use and then thrown out into the mainstream traffic where it really matters i.e at the major junctions and roundabouts. You  will also continue to see many cyclists ignoring the special cyclist lights and crossings becuae they require sometimes at least two or more sets of stops/starts before you can get right across a junction. It's the same for pedestrians. On the continent  I have noticed that people are generally able to cross and entire road,  even a dual carriage way, in one move, with the traffic stopped in BOTH directions, and the pedestrian travelling in one straight line with the time to get right across. 

Di Fraser

  • By BarryK at 02:50pm 31 Oct 2013

I have been cycling this route for over a decade, and this morning the westbound extension was open, from the end of the Startford one-way system, right through to the Bow Flyover.

After a few weeks of being squeezed by three lanes of traffic fighting over the 2 lanes whilst the work was being done, and the odd impatitient motorist trying to squeeze past, it was a welcome relief to see the cones blocking the entrance had been removed.This didn't stop one muppet on a mountain bike still using the road for the entire length.

Based on one journey using the new extension was a very positive experience, but one that highlights just how bad the rest of CS2 is.

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