Campaigning Success - getting it right at roadworks - Cycle Superhighway 3

Today we can congratulate Tower Hamlets and the roadworks managers on CycleSuperhighway, Cable Street. They have shown that they can do it right, at least some of the time. The road is closed to motor traffic to allow space for cycling on the carriageway, and space for walking.

Last month we had a go at Tower Hamlets Council and Transport for London for the appalling mis-management of cycle and other traffic at the renovation works on Cycle Superhighway 3 in Cable Street, East London. Almost all the recommendations on the safe management of cycle traffic near roadworks had been ignored. Other critics joined in on Twitter and Facebook.

London Cycling Campaign have learnt that, as a result of complaints, contractors were told to bring their traffic management into line with best practice and also ensure the works were completed as quickly as possible.  We had advised that stopping rat running motor traffic while allowing access to all the homes and businesses was the best way to reduce the danger to cyclists and pedestrians. That is exactly what they have done.

To speed up works Cable Street was completely closed to motor traffic for a short while near Back Church Lane with the diversion we had suggested. When the next section of work began we saw what is almost a text book example of good traffic management. 

Where previous road narrowing led to setting up conflict between cyclists and pedestrians the new works moved the through motor traffic off the route and let cyclists use the remaining carriageway, leaving the pavement for pedestrians.

These changes have shown the viability of stopping through motor traffic altogether.  The residents and delivery drivers have discovered all the ways in and out. At some times it is much easier not having to contend with jams of minicabs, taxis and coaches plus a few tipper lorries cutting corners.
This good practice has not spread all the way through the re-building works but, overall there are improvements.

The Cannon Street Road junction seems to change every day. These pictures show them getting it wrong. There is two-way traffic on the roadway, but very little as it is for access only. The cyclists should be encouraged to use the road, not be squeezed against the fence with pedestrians.

This rider has ignored the mis-placed signs, he is taking space for cycling and leaving room for the walkers.

Further down there is now a near total closure while they re-surface both the road and cycle track. Could this have been scheduled better? Could they keep one side open while they worked on the other?

And when it is finished.

This shows a completed section. The Superhighway now works for people who walk as well as people on bikes. It is far from perfect. The temporary blocking of through motor traffic has shown how LCC's and Tower Hamlets' wish for filtering to support both cycling and local access can really work.

At this point large amounts of money have been spent on relatively minor changes. Granite blocks have been dug up and replaced in the same spot. Hand-laid cobbles look great on the separation but will they survive a few months of bin lorries turning across them. The road surface for cars is beautifully smooth, perfect for cycling on. The newly laid cycle track is all up and down, just right for trail bikes.

 Despite those quibbles we hope that Tower Hamlets and Transport for London now know not to repeat the mess we saw at the same spot a few weeks ago.









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