We urge supporters to tell Transport for London that plans for Elephant and Castle fail to provide safe passage for cycling

We're urging our supporters to express strong dissatisfaction with Transport for London's proposals for Elephant and Castle.

The latest flawed proposals come soon after we rejected TfL's proposals for Kings Cross, which present people on bicycles with unacceptable risks of being hit by turning motor vehicles. 

Respond to Transport for London's consultation (until 30 April 2014)

Our key criticisms, which we strongly urge you to mention in your Elephant and Castle response are:

- Northbound: cycling journeys are likely to be extremely dangerous (option A) or extremely inconvenient (option B). With the potential for serious collisions between turning motor traffic and people on bicycles (option A) and less dangerous but still highly undesirable conflicts with bus passengers and pedestrians (option B).

- Southbound: the lack of protected space allowing safe passage past the link road is a serious failing, creating serious unnacceptable risk of collisions with many buses and other motor vehicles. 

Detailed criticisms

Many people know Elephant and Castle as the scariest and most dangerous junction through which to cycle in the whole of Greater London.

High-speed motor traffic spins around, cutting across the route of thousands of cyclists heading to and from the city centre. 

Plans to redevelop the junction were dropped in 2010 because of concerns over reducing motor traffic flow but, since then, we and others have led strong campaigns for safer junctions, resulting in the Mayor's "Better Junctions" programme.

For over a year, Transport for London has been working to produce new designs for this dangerous location.

TfL plans to remove the roundabout, but has failed to resolve the real problem caused by a fast multilane highway cutting through an urban town centre and public transport interchange.

The new design will still include up to six lanes of two-way motor traffic rushing around three sides of a new public space made from the old roundabout.

There is a large amount of protected space for cycling, but critical gaps remain.

The main cycle flows are north-south with over 1500 cyclists an hour at peak times, and over 2000 are expected by 2016.

East-west flows are much lower, but are likely to increase even faster if it the journey is made less hazardous.

Heading south 

Cycling south through the new layout, away from the City, would be greatly improved: there is protected space for cycling on the approach and around the curve. However, this fails to guide cyclists safely past the bus stops on the link road.

16 different bus routes use these stops, with vehicles manouevring from left to right or right to left. It's at this point that TfL has failed to provide protected space for cycling.

Heading north

Option A offered by TfL has a wide cycle lane outside the bus stops, but then leads into a crossover section where all the motor traffic heading west and northwest turns left across the path of cyclists.

When the lights are green this stretch will ressemble a race track, with drivers jockeying for position with people bicycles. The street corners will straightened out, increasing speeds and making the route even more hazardous than it is now.


Option B uses an off-road cycle track to make the journey safer for cycling, but crucially the track is too narrow for existing demand let alone the expected growth.

Peak cycle flows coincide with the busiest period when all 16 bus routes are loading and offloading to the pavements, creating masses of potential conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists.

The track leads to a crossing of St Georges Road, which adds extra delay before leading back into the lane where buses turn left into London Road.

When the cycle track is blocked riders will be enticed back onto the road where there is no protection at all and the motor traffic will be accelerating through the left turn.

One of the good points of the plan is that the smelly, frightening pedestrian underpasses will be closed, returning pedestrians to street level, giving better access from the tube and bus stops to the shopping centre, colleges and leisure centres.

Yet this is still an area where motor traffic from all directions is funnelled into a single road, when it should be a place for people not a bypass route.

You can tell us what you think by commenting below, and we'll be collating comments into our formal response to Transport for London at the end of April.