Safety issues at junction of The Strand and Wellington Street

I have serious concerns about the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians at the junction of the "The Strand" and "Wellington Street" when riding in both directions

Coming south from the Covent Garden area onto Waterloo Bridge, and also coming north from Waterloo Bridge up into Wellington Street

Presently, there is a feintly marked "cycle lane" on the pavement of the Strand where Wellington Street intersects. But no bollards, flashing lights or warnings to pedestrians that this is a cycle lane, and no indications to cyclists that pedestrians may be crossing without paying attention to the cycle lane. 

There is also a set of traffic lights controlling cycle movement across this junction, when heading South onto either the Strand or Waterloo Bridge; these lights are phased during rush hour and also have a push button activation control on a pole next to the cycle lane

During 5+ years of commuting through this junction I have seen too many near misses between cyclists and pedestrians, and cyclists and motor vehicles.

It is not uncommon to see motor vehicles (private cars, taxis and buses) continuing to drive through the Strand even when the traffic light controlling access from Wellington Street onto the Strand are "green" in the cyclists favour - this is a fatal accident waiting to happen! 

During this period of commuting I have also seen collisions, and even fist fights between cyclists and pedestrians using this junction in either direction, as cyclists are using this junction going South with approval from the green traffic light

And are coming off the Waterloo Bridge across the Strand up into Wellington Street with no chance to slow down, due to high levels of fast movign traffic following them through this junction, which pushes them across the pavement into the path of pedestrians who do not realise this is a live cycle lane. 

 

I have raised this issue with TFL and the local authority who have blamed each other (or the Mayor!) and on numerous occasions with staff from the local authority (undertaking "research") or Police officers and Community Support Police Officers whenever I have seen them in this location - they have promised to "report" my information but nothing is being done.  

Apart from excuses over who is actually responsible for upgrading the safety of this junction, I have been told some interesting stories by these staff, that "we cannot repaint the pavement cycle lane markings" or "we cannot install bollards" from local authority staff. 

Any ideas how to get some momentum building on improving this junction? I use it every day, as I am sure many other London cyclists do, and it seems insane to have such a poorly designed interface leading onto a key river crossing.  

This post was edited by hampsteadbandit at 1:08pm 28 November 2012.

Replies

  • By JHW at 6:40pm 6 April 2012
I use this nightmare junction on my commute twice a day. The conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and motor traffic is a disgrace. I was collecting petition signatures at The Cut on Wednesday. One gentleman I approached for support launched into an eight minute rant about the dangers to pedestrians at this junction after which he refused to sign.

Just yesterday I was hit by a bus a few yards after this junction, I was heading east on the Strand and turned up the Aldwych Crescent. I was in lane and had a visible position, when I suddenly felt my bike shove to one side. I looked back to see a massive double decker behind me, it was changing lane trying to get to a bus stand and I was lucky to have kept control and not ended up under the bus.

Damage report seems to be a buckled rear wheel and bent chainstay, but what really got me was that the driver would not admit he had hit me an tried to drive away, (I guess if you are driving a 12ton vehicle you won't feel much if you hit a 10kg bike) he only pulled up when I got my phone out to call TFL...Anyway now I am left with the process of having to make a claim and hope to get my bike and confidence to ride in London back again.

  • By Seanino at 1:37am 10 April 2012

The Strand is ok to ride along but then it suddenly turns into the mulit-lane racetrack of the Aldwych; I've had so many 'near-bus' experiences there. The one time I complained to TfL about an aggressive driver I received a letter of apology - not sure what good that did ultimately.

A sunken or ridged lane might alert some pedestrians to the Covent Garden uphill route but then again I frequently had to dodge dozy folk casually ambling down such cycle lanes on Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park with their backs to oncoming bikes. I ended up in hospital once because of a pedestrian walking in said cycle path.

Pavement repairs on the night of the 26th June have now put a full height kerb right across the cycle lane! This caused a near accident this morning as I crossed the junction. Unless you're prepared to do a bit of a wheelie you have to stop the bike to cross into Wellington st from the Strand/Waterloo bridge.

  • By RedRider at 12:27am 28 November 2012

Yup.  It still is a nightmare at the end of Nov 2012.

My observation on this intersection is that the light for cyclists on Wellington Street goes green AT THE SAME TIME as the signal for pedestrians crossing Lancaster Place.

If cycling at an average speed, starting off at the front of the queue for the light going south on Wellington Street, you'll bump straight up into the stream of pedestrians who are crossing on their green walk signal. 

What's worse, is that southbond on Lancaster Place there is a solid white line painted across the intersection side of the pedestrian crossing.  The intention of the road marking designers being that rather than cyclists and other traffic going through the intersection as normally expected, one is to stop there once the light goes red.

This is part of my commute to work, and only after around a week did I notice that the problem was caused by the lights and the road markings as I've noted above.

Sure.  Someone could say that if cylists rode at a snail's pace they would meet up with the red light by the time they made it across - and everything would be fine.  But I doubt very much that a similar road signal strategy would be considered, implemented or tolerated if a green signal was present simultaneously for pedestrians and automobiles. 

As well, others might say that cylists should notice that there is a solid white line painted across the road prior to the pedestrian crossing.  And in the best of all possible worlds and ideal circumstances, I would agree.  But to the best of my knowledge, this is the only intersection I've ever seen where there is an expectation that traffic crossing through which finds itself with a red light in mid- transit is intended to stop within the intersection just prior to exiting it and not clear the path for other vehicles which would be expected shortly coming from another direction.

After being baffled by this situation during the first days of my commute, I now see the problem.  I now go very, very slowly through this intersection.  If I make it across prior to the cyclist light going red, I stop for the pedestrians who are crossing, oblivious to the fact that other traffic has a green signal.  And if the light goes red prior to me clearing the intersection, I stop at the unnusual and unexpected white line prior to the pedestrian crossing within the intersection, contrary to any urge to safety I may have in remaining within an intersection.  Other cyclists, however, who aren't veterans at this intersection don't see these things.  And hence, the situation is a danger to cylists and pedestrians both.

I've written twice this year (from months ago) to TFL and finally received a reply yesterday.  Their position is that;

"Further to [my] enquiry, an engineer has attended site to observe the flow of cyclists heading onto Waterloo Bridge from Lancaster Place. While the signals are operating as expected and timings are correct to current standards, the engineer did witness cyclists not obeying the signals. This issue is a matter for the Police and would require them to attend site and enforce with a fixed penalty notice under the Road Traffic Act.

There is a Metropolitan Police service call RoadsafeLondon. Incidents of anti-social road user behaviour reported to RoadSafe are investigated by the Metropolitan Police Traffic Operational Command Unit, and the information collated helps to determine the deployments of the MPS Cycle Taskforce. "

In my opinion, TFL has completely missed the problem here - and worse - appears to be indicating that the problem is caused by cyclists.

Certainly simultaneous signals to cross cannot be the correct answer.  And as well, the non-standard and unexpected requirement to stop at a red while within an intersection could be easily dealt with by the traffic light at the intersection having a sign on it indicating 'Cyclists to stop here upon red signal'.

In TFL's defence, they have also indicated within their email that "TfL are reviewing the existing timings of the traffic signals in order to investigate if any improvements can be made to aid better progression through the junction. This review is to be completed and implemented by Christmas."  So that is potentially good news.

But I think some YouTube videos of this intersection are in order.  And I'll be looking to make one as soon as I'm able.  if anyone else posts one, please publish a link on this page as well.

Oh, and I agree with Seanino's earlier post about some sort of sunken lane, (or other clearer markings) being required at the 'Covent Garden uphill route' (cycle path to Wellington Street).  I go through this path ringing a bell and with my front light flashing in strobe mode, and it's still, quite literally, hit and miss with pedestrians.

It's an obvious problem.  It can't be that difficult.  Let's fix it.

This post was edited by RedRider at 12:40am 28 November 2012.

  • By paul at 1:08pm 28 November 2012

Fully agree with RedRider. The pedestrian crossing is clearly part of the intersection and no other traffic is expected to stop at a white line in this position. The pedestrian phase should be before or after the bicycle phase.

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