Holborn: Southampton Row/Kingsway redesign issue

This is my first post here.

I am a regular commuter in London also a club cyclist.

In a number of areas, I have noticed that road redesigns are narrowing road lanes.  For instance this has happened around Willesden Junction in Brent and also in Holborn most noticeably in Southampton Row going south.

I am under the impression (rightly or wrongly) that this is to reduce traffic speed?  The unintended consequence is that there is nowhere for cyclists to safely pass stopped traffic.

Nearly every day at the junction of Southampton Row and High Holborn I witness cyclists squeezing down the middle in the "big tunnel of death" between 2 very large vehicles.  Personally I like being alive and if people want to squeeze in front of me fine.

Anyway, is lane narrowing a policy across London? Does anyone else think it is quite dangerous?

The reasoning of the engineers for the road narrowing at Willesden was that it would make things safer and that the traffic would then be slow moving and that bicycles would be OK in the main traffic queue.  The road goes up a hill to Willesden Junction.......

Is there any evidence that lane narrowing makes things safer?


Good question, but I don't know the answer.  I suspect that the reason for narrow lanes is to permit more lanes, to get more traffic through the intersection - it's generally the intersections which are the bottlenecks.  Whether bikes were thought about at all, I suspect is usually doubtful.

If the lanes were a bit wider, mopeds could then squeeze through, and the same issues would arise for mopeds; a bit wider yet, and it would be motorcycles.

The accident forms get summarised in reports issued by TfL every so often.  One way they classify the accidents is by "direction of approach", but that doesn't tell you how fast the cars were usually moving at the time.

The people in the Cambridge Cycling Campaign have now put out accident maps, for England (or maybe Britain) superior to all the other such maps (at least for bike related accidents).  These maps at, I think, <cyclestreets.net/collisions>, or some such, show not only where a bike accident happened, but what happened, "what" being defined by the standard English police form, STATS 19.  That's not perfect, but better than what gets done in most other places round the world.  I think the form gets filled out by a police Road Safety Officer, who, of course, wasn't there at the time, and who has to figure out, from the various witness statements, what actually did happen

Jeremy Parker

@Jeremy Parker - No, the lanes aren't being narrowed in London to permit more lanes - it's a policy to try and reduce traffic speeds (and also widen pavements). There has been discussion of it on various blogs, for example http://cyclelondoncity.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/more-road-narrowing-coming-to-city-of.html

Post a reply

Sign in to post a reply.