The City of London are asking for views on their plans to transform the St Paul’s gyratory. This includes pedestrianising a stretch of King Edward Street – new protected cycle tracks on Newgate Street and St Martin-Le-Grand – and improvements to junctions for cycling. The consultation ends on 29 September. Please have your say!
The online survey allows you to feed back on seven different topics. We’ve mainly focused on cycling here.
Respond now, or read on for more detail below…
Nice traffic reduction – but could do better
We are impressed with the City of London’s efforts to reduce motor traffic – look at Bank junction, for instance, and the St Paul’s scheme will transform half of King Edward’s Street into a public space. But does it transform the rest of the gyratory? The proposals show that it will still be a one-way system for motor traffic, but with added cycle tracks and a slightly different route. And on those streets, motor traffic likely comes first. Where there are protected cycle tracks this could mean long waits at cycle signals and people choosing to ride on the road out of frustration. Where there’s no protected space, like Angel Street and King Edward Street (north), cycling will not feel comfortable or safe.
St Bart’s Hospital have called for King Edward Street to be access-only for motor traffic rather than a through route, with St Martin Le Grand made two-way. That would create a ‘healthy hospital street’ and make King Edward and adjoining streets low in traffic and safe for walking, wheeling and cycling. This sounds like a good plan to us. How feasible that option is remains to be seen, but either way, we would like to see more boldness from the City to cut motor traffic right down.
Newgate Street gets protected cycle tracks in both directions, which is very good news, and even better there is a ‘cycle gate’ at the junction with St Martin Le Grand. A cycle gate feeds people cycling into a space at the front of the junction – like a large bike box – and gives them their own separate green phase so they’re not in the path of vehicles turning left. It’s a game changer for safety. Our only criticism of Newgate Street is that the protected cycle tracks are interrupted by bus stops, which will put some people off feeling that they can cycle here.
St Martin Le Grand
It’s great to see protected cycle tracks proposed for St Martin Le Grand. However, the designs are for two-way cycle tracks, not one on each side, and that complicates things. For instance, if you’re turning left on a bike from Newgate Street into St Martin Le Grand, you have to join the cycle track where you wouldn’t expect it, on the far side of the junction. How many people will turn left into the traffic lane by mistake and then be unable to get into the protected lane? We would far prefer to see a single cycle track on each side here.
King Edward Street, Angel Street and Little Britain
On the rest of the gyratory, King Edward Street, Angel Street and Little Britain will not provide a good level of cycling service for those who want to go northwest, rather than straight up St Martin Le Grand. These streets are neither low in motor traffic (exceeding the levels set by TfL’s ‘cycle route quality criteria’) nor do they offer protection for cycling.
Finally – we look forward to St Paul’s cycle routes being connected to a wider cycle network in the City of London. While this can’t be built overnight, it needs to be expedited, to enable a greater shift to cycling for a diverse range of people and meet the City’s safety and climate goals.