Richard Reynolds

37 / M / Southwark

It's great to see more campaigning for a safer better junction. Improvement is long over due but it's worth the wait and the fight to get it right. We are campaigning for a better junction than the proposal from TfL at this website: http://www.elephantandcastleroundabout.org

Southwark Council's Head of Regeneration Jon Abbot, who is spearheading TfL's proposals for the council in public meetings, told me on Monday he would not be using the proposed new cycle lanes - particularly in between the shopping centre and The Tabernacle - because for him, as a keen cyclist, he expects a safer faster passage in the lanes with cars. This statement reflects either an inadequacy for the provision or points to the relevance of segmenting cyclists between "road users" and "segregated lane users" who might be better served with clearly directed bypasses instead.  

For cyclists the proposal fails to consider the role of better using adjacent side roads, including the very effective CS7 that bypasses the area (bizarrely edited out of TfL's map) in the west already. Elephant Road for example to the east passes directly behind the railway station and adjacent to a new large Market Square and pedestrian shopping area but is ignored. There also appears to be little consideration given to the specifically more dangerous portions of the five junctions that make up the total junction, data we have graphed and publicised for them. 

Other negative side effects of the proposal are confirmed by TfL modelling which they have shared with us:

- Increased air pollution, particularly for the hundreds of residents on the western side

- Increased journey time for all users, cyclists, buses, motorists and pedestrians. Up to 41% slower for pedestrians to cross the road at the busiest point (across New Kent Road)

- Felling four mature trees to make way for massive road widening on the western side (4 lanes increased to 6+cycle lane).

While it divides opinion we believe there is still significant value in some of the subways being retained for pedestrian flow. They provide a direct, pause free passageway where collisions are impossible. In their current dilapidated and inaccurately signposted state some find them unwelcoming but they are still very busy (over 3,500 people in one hour at peak) and you're less likely to be a victim of crime down there than at surface Community Wardens tell us. We launched http://www.saveoursubways.org in 2012 to make the case. 

TfL's proposals are a behind closed doors bodge - community consultation was purposefully avoided until they could present their sales pitch and Boris could announce it in the press as a done deal. The 'consultation' seems pretty fake, a very manipulatively worded questionnaire and deceptive artistic impressions, so we campaign assertively. 

TfL will be available in person to answer questins between 11.30 and 3.30pm tomorrow at the London College of Communication. Representatives for "Say NO to The Bodge" will be there too to launch an alternative proposal.

Richard Reynolds