The new Mornington Crescent junction design is an insult to us all

I was alerted to TfL and Camden Council’s plans for Mornington Crescent by Rachel Aldred’s recent article about it.

Usually when someone else writes about a subject I leave it, as there’s little point in covering the same ground, but the design for this junction is so appalling I thought it was worth writing a brief article myself.

I encourage everybody to respond to Camden’s consultation about this design, which ends on Tuesday. Ignore their leading questions, none of which involve cycling (just say “no”), and tell them exactly what you think in the comments box at the end.

Let’s take a look at it, shall we?

TfL and Camden plans for Mornington Crescent / Cobden Junction. The usual 1990s arrangement of advisory cycle lanes, ASLs and lots of space for motor vehicles.

What, no #space4cycling?

Now, it’s being touted as an improvement on the existing arrangement, but it isn’t really. It’s mildly better in some respects, especially that there are fewer crossings required when walking, but in almost all other respects it’s no better. (I’m sure it’s better for driving, somehow.)

So what do we have? Despite the tons of space available, the cycling “infrastructure” consists of narrow advisory painted cycle lanes and ASLs. That’s it.

Certainly, from a cycling perspective I fail to see how this design works at all. It doesn’t even approach the Mayor’s “Vision”, which is turning out to be more and more blurred with each passing day. (Perhaps this is one of those already-in-the-pipeline “crap designs” Andrew Gilligan warned us about?)

It’s a hymn to motoring, a design straight out of TfL’s Network Assurance department’s textbook. I don’t cycle there now, and I wouldn’t cycle there if this was installed. Would you be happy for your children or your parents cycle here?

Would those responsible for this scheme be happy to cycle there with their nearest and dearest? I sincerely doubt it.

Consultation Schmonsultation

While I’m on the subject, am I right in thinking that these online consultations are rigged? These yes/no questions ask about all the good stuff, and then you find yourself at the bottom of the page having agreed with everything they’re doing.

“Do you think more trees are nice”? Yes, course!

“Do you think the wider pavement will be better”? Sure!

“Aren’t kittens adorable?” Certainly!

“Thanks for completing our survey and giving your 100% support for our plans to drive a motorway through the neighbourhood.” What?! Hang on!

So don’t agree to anything. Just fill in that box at the bottom telling them that their plans are really crap, and they’d better think again.

Do it now!

 


Update, 1st October 2013: On the Cycling Embassy‘s forum, user ‘iBikeDream’ has posted a version of the plans with Dutch-style cycle tracks. Great work!

A re-worked version of TfL's plans, but with high quality cycle paths suitable for everyone.

Now this is more like it!

 

 

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “The new Mornington Crescent junction design is an insult to us all

  1. Here’s the comment I submitted to the consultation:

    • I have given “no opinion” to each question above because the survey seems designed to get “yes” answers. The questions about pedestrian space are meaningless without an alternative being stated – is it pavement space vs. more space for cars [as question 6 implies], or vs. a little bit of dedicated space for cycles?

      Overall, this plan makes no real contribution to making the roads safer for cyclists. Though the improved cycle parking is welcome, the design makes no meaningful provision for cycles traveling through the junction. Advanced stop lines (ASLs) are better than nothing, but often require difficult maneuvers, and drivers don’t always cooperate. The proposed ASL on Crowndale Road requires cyclists heading for the High Street to get around left-turning cars, who may or may not have occupied the ASL and may or may not have occupied the cycle slip on the left hand side. And that’s the good news – it’s what happens when the light is red: when the light is green things are far worse, leaving a cyclist approaching from Crowndale Road with no safe way to get from the cycle lane to Camden High Street, and the way to Hampstead Road would be pretty frightening.

      I cycle through Camden regularly on my way to & from work in the West End. This is a junction I avoid now, and if this plan is adopted I will continue to avoid it. The lack of meaningful, modern provision for cycles is so complete that I would be insulting the designer’s skills if I did not conclude that it was a goal of the plan to keep cyclists from using this junction. Streets should be designed to make it safe for children to cycle – this plan doesn’t even inch in that direction, and looks bad even from the view of commute-hardened adults like myself.

  2. Nico (@Nicovel0)

    Interestingly this is an intersection I avoid like the plague because I cannot go across it. I cycle from Kings Cross to Prince Albert road but instead of negotiating this horror (involves dismounting too) I go around and do a detour via Royal College street (yay cycle track!) and Pratt street.

  3. Consultation answered. Won’t lie, I pulled no punches.

  4. GareThugHowell

    My answer to that problem would be to silence traffic in the straight section
    of the junction ENTIRELY for a matter of two minutes or so, whilst pusbikes and pedestrians have free range of the WHOLE area between the four access roads to the junction. It would be marked as an extensive pedestrian zebra crossing, with time outs 20-19-18secs in strategic places.
    It might be too grand a scheme for that particular junction having such a long middle section, but it certainly would work at other more densely used and non-spaced junctions.

    It would be a pedestrian AND cyclist answer, treating push-bikers as NON-vehicles, as they always should have been.

    Your campaign and others like it, including critical mass, are seeing a move towards cyclists being recognised as what they really are : NON-vehicles, just the same as the pedestrian or even the disabled wheel chair.

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