Space4Cycling at Battersea roundabout but is it Dutch?

Wandsworth council have today released a radical new design for Queens Circus roundabout at the corner of Battersea Park.

They are providing separate space and signals for cycle traffic at most of the junctions, but is this really the best practice "continental style" design we have been promised?

Wandsworth council describe their hugely complicated plans for Queens Circus at Battersea park as "cycle friendly" and "the first of its kind in London".

London Cycling Campaign expressed serious concerns about this design when we saw them last year.

Cyclists about 1/3 of peak hour traffic

Currently cyclists make up about a third of the morning peak hour flow on the roundabout. Often there are so many that they fill a whole traffic lane and cars give them space.

The new design gives less space to cyclists with added delay, well over a minute in the worst case. That can only lead to congestion and risk taking behaviour.

Is this best practice Dutch style infrastructure?

Cyclists in London have been waiting for years for Dutch style infrastructure at junctions, while the proposals at Battersea provide segregation from motor traffic at the busiest points it is at the cost of a confusing set of signals which are likely to increase the number of times cyclists have to stop and increase the waiting time, especially for those coming out of town in the evening peak.

A Dutch style roundabout is where motor traffic is calmed while cyclists and pedestrians have priority over turning motor traffic.

LCC have suggested that this junction would work much better as a cross roads with protected space and turns for cyclists; the minor estate roads would join away from the main junction.

A cross roads would provide much more open space available for pedestrians and public realm improvements. Currently the green centre of the roundabout is inaccessible to all.

The developer's plan cuts into this green space to provide extra capacity for motor traffic. They have missed the opportunity to free up green space to make this junction an attractive addition to the park instead of a barrier to be negotiated.

Better for pedestrians

The funding and drive for these plans come from the developers of Chelsea Bridge Wharf and the Battersea Power station site. They have promised to provide safe crossings for pedestrians but also want to increase the capacity for motor traffic being generated by their developments.

Developers promised to provide safe signalised crossings for pedestrians. At the moment getting to and from Battersea park on foot can be frightening, especially with young children.

Where Cycle SuperHighway 8 crosses Queenstown Road pedestrians and cyclists compete for space. There will be better crossing for pedestrians but cyclists will soon have to go through four sets of traffic lights to stay on the SuperHighway.

Keeping the roundabout creates many more points of possible conflict. The busiest ones have separated lanes and separate light phases. At the minor junctions there is not protected space for cyclists and risks of collision remain. It is quite likely that motor traffic will block the cycle routes, queuing to get into the general traffic flows.

Replies

I can see how the traffic signals and lane layout have been designed to eliminate the risk of 'left-hook' collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists at the roundabout's four main arms. These four main arms can be identified in the top image because each has traffic signals and triangular traffic islands.

But there are also another four arms that don't have traffic signals and seem to join the roundabout with no regard to the lane layout! For example the roundabout arm shown in the bottom centre of the top image will apparently have motor vehicles entering the roundabout and driving across the 'left turn' cycle lane, across the 'ahead' cycle lane and across the 'left turn' motor vehicle lane, in order to join the 'ahead' motor vehicle lane and circulate around the roundabout. I quite like the design but these four unsignalled arms will create a confusing mess for all road users, and I think they should be eliminated or incorporated properly into the roundabout design.

You are quite right and it is wrong to call this a fully segregated roundabout. The highest risk is at the exit from the petrol garage (in the bottom right of the top picture). The new arrangement puts all cycles much further to the left when entering the roundabout from Chelsea Bridge.

It is likely that car drivers will look, see the motor traffic on the roundabout or the motor traffic entering from the bridge but will have to look further over their right shoulder to see any of the cyclists.

The other roads carry much less traffic and have better sight lines. However traffic turning into these roads have to make an unprotected left turn across the main flow of cyclists. When exiting it is quite likely that they will queue across the cycle lanes when the main traffic lanes are congested.

Most of the cyclists using this roudabout at the moment take a deliberately central route in order to see and be seen by other traffic. The partial segregation does not eliminate all the crossing risks but does put cyclists out of the main sight lines of motor vehicle drivers.

I regularly cycle, drive and walk around the roundabout.  There's already a cycle lane going round it for those who don't want to stay on the road so why change it?  A crossroads seems a far better alternative as it would provide much better open space rather than swathes of tarmac.

A cycling safety measure might be to remove slower cyclists from the blue super highway northbound up to the Chelsea Bridge - promote the existing cycle path on the pavement.  Also, why aren't there cycle lanes on the pedestrian part of the bridge?  

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/05/the-best-roundabout-design-for-cyclists.html?m=1 . Is it possible to pick a match from sites with photos of *real* Dutch roundabouts, or the CROW manual with permission, and post it back to them, with "And this is how it should be done thanks".

This post was edited by mikeybikey at 8:24pm 21 August 2014.

My flat overlooks the current roundabout and all I can say is, it is appalling for pedestrians, appalling for cyclists, and it continually encourages the worst lane-change driving I've ever witnessed. I've seen people knocked off their bikes a number of times and horns honk all day long. So it is well overdue for a redesign and I am glad the Council has stepped up to the plate.

However, as a local resident, I had no opportunity to provide input and no effort was made to canvass the concerns or needs of local residents. I was simply informed that the roundabout would be re-designed. I am disappointed that the Council has cooked this up with developers but ignored others who have an interest in the area. Though the process has been quite opaque, the Council is boasting that the outcome will be a model for others to follow - lets see how it turns out.

It is distressing to hear from LCC that the design is sub-standard, and actually favours motor traffic over other road users. I will write to my local councillors about this.

The roadworks started 2 days ago and will last for 8 months (so they claim) - I expect the roundabout will be even worse for cyclists until its finished.

I agree that the current roundabout layout is dangerous. I cycle it occasionally and it's an unpleasant experience. The new design looks very confusing. I'm not convinced it's an improvement.

Looks like a cyclist taking the last out could potentially get held up at 4 different sets of traffic lights just going round the roundabout. Most cyclists will I'm sure will take other less proper ways of doing it.

Roundabout are just mini gyratories & not cycle friendly - best to avoid where possible! At least they're trying, doesn't mean we should accept it but at least part of the battle is now won.

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