Key NE London cycling bridge opens but where are the direction signs?

 

 

A vital safe cycle route in north-east London is now open but cyclists in Waltham Forest, Newham and Redbridge may never find it because it is entirely unmarked. 

The new cycling and walking bridge into the Olympic Park potentially takes cyclists off Ruckholt Road in Waltham Forest and avoids the hazardous A12/Lea Interchange where a cyclist died during the Olympics in 2012. 

While the new bridge and its approach are wide and comfortable, you can see from the photo below that the cyclists in the picture rode straight past it even though they were heading for the Olympic Park.  The old route they were following takes them across several very busy roads and can, heading north, take more than five minutes to cross using the shared pedestrian and cycle crossings. 

If you use the bridge instead you avoid the road hazards and gain access to key cycle routes. You pass the Velodrome and an immediate right turn on the shared use path takes you to the Waterden Road cycle track and thereafter on a car free route to Hackney, via Victoria Park, or to Tower Hamlets. 

The absence of signage is inexplicable. There are ample lampposts and bollards to which signs could be attached at minimal cost (see photo below - the shared use sign is an old one relating to the pavement and not a direction sign).  The bridge was to be part of the Olympic legacy so why have local authorities ( Waltham Forest, Hackney, Newham)  or the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) or the Lea Valley Park Regional Authority (both responsible for parts of the Park)   not publicised the new access point. Every cyclist journey that can avoid the Lea Interchange means a reduction in road danger to that person. 

 This isn’t the first time authorities in the Olympic Park zone have created new routes and not told anyone. LCC reported on the, more circuitous, route by the River Lea which also opened with no clear signage. 

If you live in the area you may wish to tell others about the bridge being open and you may also wish to write to your local authority , and the LLDC, asking them to provide clear signage on new Park routes. 

Replies

  • By MartynB at 4:39pm 2 August 2014

I cycle through the QE (was Olympic) Park every day to and from work, passing by the Velodrome, the stadium and the scrap iron thingy. In the morning there is nobody about and the ride is pleasant. In the afternoon there are many pedestrians about who may be broadly categorized as never looking where they are walking to establish whether or not they are about to get clobbered. It is just so random. Having contributed so much to this piece of real estate I think that it would have added little to mark out cycling areas and pedestrian areas.

Pedestians are often walking four or five abreast. I dread to think what would happen if four or five cyclists were to ride through the same area side-by-side.

Whilst being careful and riding far, far slower in the afternoon it's impossible to predict where the next small child is about to spring from and I dread hitting one.

It is a leisure area but that shouldn't mean abandoning safety entirely. So it isn't just direction signs, it's the basic requirements of cycling and pedestrian layout and segregation. After all, cycles travel four to five times faster than pedestrians in the same way that motor vehicles travel four to five times faster than cycles.

This post was edited by MartynB at 6:29am 3 August 2014.

 Stop moaning LCC and just enjoy the wonderful cycling space, traffic free, that we can now enjoy at the Olympic Park. Picking fault continually without acknowledging the benefits can easily damage our cause. I love the park and its wonderful opportunities for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Some of us have lived here long enough to remember what was there before!!

 

We wish we didn’t have to ‘moan’ but if not for an LCC intervention the east-west cycle route across the Olympic Park, for example, would have been closed in the evenings. The Olympic Park does indeed have some great attractions: the Velodrome, the Aquatic Centre, the children’s play areas, the fountains, the cafes as well as the beautiful meadow flowers. Which is why it’s important to let people know how to get there by bike.

When the Westfield shopping centre in the Park re-opened after the Games a 12 foot square illuminated sign announcing this was erected  on the Bow Road pavement for the attention of motorists.  Letting cyclists know about a useful new safe route to, and through,  the Park merits  a low cost sign attached to an existing post.

LCC published a guided ride to Park attractions last year (see link below) and LCC local groups run leisure rides to and around the Park. As LCC has said from the outset the Park has the potential to be a prime UK  cycling centre.

http://lcc.org.uk/articles/best-rides-olympic-park-architecture

 

Improvements  in the Park that LCC lobbied for include a 20 mph speed limit on Park roads, cycle priority at some  minor junctions and 3 metre wide shared use paths.  Further improvements would help realise the Park's full potentail 

Just wondering if you'd be able to point out the exact  entry / exit points for this new route? I cycle into town via. Grove Green Road > Ruckholt Road > Eastway > Viccy Park. I'm trying to picture where the access to this new infrastructure would be, but can't place it. Being able to avoid the rat run down the Eastway and the many, many sets of traffic lights would be a big win for us north eastern commuters! I always look wistfully to my left at all that empty space in the mornings wondering if there's a more peaceful option available! Cheers in advance - Jim.

  • By Barney at 8:07pm 4 August 2014

I think this is the Google Street View image of the entrance to this bridge, which was under construction when google took their photos.

The route is apparently called Eton Manor Walk.

  • By MartinB at 2:25pm 8 August 2014

This content was deleted by MartinB at 2:25pm 8 August 2014.

  • By MartinB at 2:25pm 8 August 2014

I think what most people find baffling is that a lot of money has been spent on the QE Park, and a lot of clever architects employed to build a decent legacy for the Games, and yet ordinary people on bikes are faced with such glaring design failures. As a place of leisure, it’s fine. You can pootle around on your bike without any traffic to worry about. Yet as a traffic-free route for cyclists travelling from A to B,the park is woefully lacking in signage. In contrast the roads in the Park are plastered with signs and markings telling drivers where to go. But cyclists are given nothing. There’s no indication of whether there is a specific or direct route for cyclists. Sometimes you don’t know if you should be cycling through a patch of park or not. The area around the café and water fountain is pleasant, but not appropriate as a through route in its current form because people naturally congregate there. It does sound like moaning. We’re moaning that such easy, obvious gains for cyclists have been missed. It’s like building a fancy ship but forgetting to add an anchor.

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