TfL improvements may make things worse

Click on the drawing to enlarge it

Works currently being carried out to the junction where 24 year old Central St Martin’s design student Deep Lee (Min Joo Lee) met her death last year may make things worse. (TfL’s improvement works shown left.)

Recognised by cyclists and pedestrians alike as the worst section of a dangerous and complicated junction, moving from Gray’s Inn Road to York Way when going north the route that most needs more safety measures may end up with less.

There is no provision for a cycle lane here or anywhere else on the junction. Without this, widening the Gray’s Inn Road to York Way section will provide vehicles with two lanes and no designated safe space for cyclists. This is definately not an improvement for any users apart from motor vehicles – in line with the Mayor and TfL’s police of ‘smoothing’ traffic – forcing more motor vehicles through London’s roads in less time.

Camden Cyclists, part of the London Cycling Campaign, have long campaigned for improvements here and continue to highlight the shortcomings of new works such as this.

Protesters meet at 6pm tonight at this junction to force traffic to go slow. They aim to highlight the need for safety measures, not smoothing measures, to take place.

About Sophie Talbot

Sophie runs a small business designing websites for small businesses and community groups. http://www.cookiewp.com She also manages King's Cross Community Projects http://www.kccp.org.uk
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7 Responses to TfL improvements may make things worse

  1. Hiromi says:

    Have these people ever been to the intersection? Did they notice there is always a crowd outside the McDonalds? What will happen when there’s even less pavement? Unbelievable that they would alter a major intersection with apparent disregard to anyone not in a motor vehicle. Just sent an angry tweet to Boris.

    • Albert Beale says:

      From: Albert Beale, 5 Caledonian Road (worldpeace@gn.apc.org)

      Hi again all. I’ve just realised, peering at this map, that there’s yet another way in which these plans _increase_ danger for cyclists. (Besides the new pinch point a little way up into York Way as written about both in this posting and by me in another message.)

      Travelling east across the junction, into Pentonville Road, there are primarily two lanes of traffic – _except_ for buses in the “left turn” lane outside the station which are allowed to go straight over rather than having to switch lanes before the junction. So there’s a danger when a non-left-turning bus in the left turn lane has to pull across to its right, as it crosses the junction, to get into what was the middle lane outside the station and becomes the left-hand lane in Pentonville Road. There’s a danger that a cyclist who was on the left of the 2 “straight ahead” lanes can be squeezed between the bus and the other two lanes of traffic as the road effectively narrows.

      This has happened to me many times.

      At least, at present, there is a bit of protection against this happening for two reasons. Firstly, all 3 lanes are on one unsegregated chunk of roadspace by the traffic lights (with just one contiguous advanced stop line area for bikes), so a bus in the “turn lane” which isn’t turning is likely to spot an adjacent cyclist. Secondly, the way the kerb juts out, opposite, outside MuckD’s, means that a driver is made very conscious of the fact that the road is narrowing as you cross the junction.

      But the new scheme will put a traffic island between the left-turn land and the two straight-on ones, with separate bike boxes, meaning that a driver charging straight across the junction from the “left turn” lane is less likely to be aware of a nearby cyclist going straight over. Furthermore, with the bit of pavement on the corner disappearing, the narrowing doesn’t fully take effect until after traffic has gone across (actually an angled crossing of course). So there’ll be 3 lanes of traffic charging across, including buses on the left which find their third lane suddenly disappears as they complete the part-turn into Pentonville Road. And a cyclist is going to get squashed between lines of traffic. It seems inevitable.

      How on earth can it be allowed by any half-competent traffic planner to allow 3 lanes to suddenly become 2 lanes, immediately after a bend as you come out of a junction? I’m almost speechless. (And for those who know me…)

      Has anyone reading this raised this particular point with TfL?

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