Wellington Street goes from bad to worse
The junction of Wellington Street with the Strand and Lancaster Place, on the north side of Waterloo Bridge, was always far from ideal for cyclists. The recent introduction of a right-turning facility for buses has only made matters worse.
The cycle track connecting the Strand with Wellington Street is a vital cycle link between central and south London. Unfortunately it was designed when cyclists were a rare breed and it cannot cope with current volumes. Even comparing a wet day in October 2012 with a sunny day in July 2005, the number of southbound cyclists has risen by 77%.
The cycle track in Wellington Street
At about 2.4 metres, the width of the cycle track is less than the desirable minimum of 3.0 metres specified in the London Cycling Design Standards. This is one reason why the capacity is severely limited: only 12-13 cyclists can pass through the junction while the green signal is showing. Up to 25 cyclists can arrive during each cycle of the traffic signals. The remainder tend to go through on red. With further growth in cycling, this problem can only get worse.
It has always been a cause of frustration that southbound cyclists, after waiting for the green signal to exit from Wellington Street, have to stop again for the pedestrian crossing of Lancaster Place. When they do so, they can now be displaced by right-turning buses.
Cyclists conflict with right-turning buses
Meanwhile the old problems are still with us:
- On the approach from Waterloo Bridge, there is little room for northbound cyclists between the traffic lanes.
- There is the risk of collision between north-south cyclists and pedestrians walking east-west along the north side of the Strand.
- Cyclists are not allowed to turn right from the Strand (west) into Lancaster Place, or from the Strand (east) into Wellington Street.
- There is often a motor vehicle trying to reverse out of the dead end at the bottom of Wellington Street.
Although this is Westminster's road, the traffic signals are TfL's responsibility and it was TfL who would have instigated the right turn for buses. So it is more likely to be effective to refer the problems to them.