Designers of residential streets in Lambeth could learn a lot from their counterparts in Holland

Cars turn left into this Brixton side street (see it on streetview) from a busy one-way road, often at high speed. Motorists often drive over both lanes of the side street to soften the radius of the corner and maintain velocity. Cycling in the other direction one must hug the left-hand side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic.

To make matters worse, both the one-way street and the side street have 30mph limits, and yellow lines mean the corner is always clear, again, meaning cars don't have to slow down.

You can't see on this photo, but there's a park entrance less than 50m from this junction, and parents with pushers and young children cross here all day.

Even worse, this junction receives much higher than average traffic volumes because motorists use it as a rat-run as the traffic lights ahead don't allow a left turn (see map below), and they can save time by cutting through these otherwise quiet residential streets.


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Overall, the three-sided Morval Road / Brixton Water Lane one-way system has nothing to recommend it, and is initimating for even experienced cyclists.

Throughout its length, motorists often travel at inappropriately high speeds and make fast blind turns around the shallow-radius corners. Small speed bumps have just been installed on Morval Road, but it remains to be seen whether these will make any difference. 

The unsignalled junction (marked with a red pin) at the entrance to Morval Road is particularly dangerous for people on foot because buses and cars turn at speed into this one-way street knowing there's nothing coming the other way.

Effra Road is a busy and direct pedestrian route for people walking from nearby residential areas to Brixton town centre to the north, and hundreds of pedestrians cross here all day.

People with mobility and/or visual impairments are known to struggle to cross this junction, and there are often long waits even for more able pedestrians, encouraging them to take risks.


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By contrast, in the Netherlands planners make strenuous efforts to slow down motorists when they enter residential zones.

For example, vehicles turning into this side street must drive across a bike lane, and then over a substantial raised table, with the side street entrance narrowed by bollards.

Even though the driver is turning into a one-way street (which in the UK is a signal to accelerate), the motion and speed of the car is carefully managed.

The surface also changes colour and texture to remind the driver they're entering in a new type of environment, one in which the speed limit is reduced to 30mkh (18mph).


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