Transport for London must consider Dutch solution to make Waterloo roundabout safe

LCC is asking Transport for London to go back to the drawing board with its design for Waterloo roundabout, and to announce a timetable for a complete overhaul of this major junction to make it safe and inviting for all Londoners to cycle.

We welcome the 20mph speed limit and improvements at the worst collision hotspot, but the roundabout will still be dangerous and intimidating, and is likely to remain a major barrier for hundreds of thousands of potential cycle journeys between south London and the city centre.

You’re invited to comment via STEngagement@tfl.gov.uk, and join many others from all over London who’ve objected to the lack of ambition to promote cycling shown in Transport for London's new design.

The junction is being looked at as part of Mayor Boris Johnson's Better Junctions review, which he recently stated is one of the avenues through which his Love London, Go Dutch commitments would be fulfilled.

However, there’s simply nothing ‘safe and inviting for cycling’ about the new design, which forces cyclists to share multiple lanes with heavy volumes of motor traffic. 

Segregation from heavy traffic

Dutch street design for cycling would never mix bicycles and motor traffic at such a large junction, and a preferred solution would be to reduce the flow of motor traffic by installing a Dutch-style roundabout with segregated facilities, offering protection for cycling and encouraging people to switch their mode of travel.

A short-term solution at this location, as suggested by LCC, could have been to improve the bypass route on Cornwall Road and Upper Ground, which runs parallel to Waterloo Road and is already chosen by many cyclists to avoid the nasty Waterloo junction.

However, this would require substantial improvements on local authority streets, including better access to the bridge, resurfacing and stopping rat-running motor traffic on Upper Ground.

We ask that TfL work much closer with local authorities as Cornwall Road and Upper Ground are managed by Lambeth Council.

Currently the problem of having separate Transport for London and borough council highway authorities is an obstacle to a joined-up approach.

20mph needs support of physical measures

Even the strong possibility of a 20mph speed limit at Waterloo (a policy we proposed form the beginning) wouldn’t make a massive difference at this location unless backed up by physical measures to reduce speed,.

This problem is exacerbated by the incline from Waterloo Road on to the bridge, which slows down many cyclists, making the motor traffic even more intimidating, especially for the novice cyclists that the mayor and Transport for London are determined to encourage on to London’s streets.

Collision hotspot could be improved

On a positive note, TfL has addressed a known collision spot where Stamford Street joins the roundabout: at present, there are two stacking lanes and drivers in the second lane currently nose forward to see past the vehicle in lane two, colliding with people on bikes.

This lack of driver visibility is believed to be one factor causing a high number of collisions, although the other - drivers underestimating the speed of cyclists coming from Waterloo Bridge – hasn’t been addressed. 

To address the problem of poor visibility in the second lane, the new design uses a single-lane entry at this point, which also allows one lane to be removed from the roundabout too, on the south-eastern side.