If this redesign of the western side of Lambeth Bridge is anything to go by, then either Boris’ adoption of LCC’s “Go Dutch” campaign was nothing but a last minute attempt to gain some votes from Ken Livingstone, or the Go Dutch message hasn’t filtered down the hierarchy to TfL’s design department.
Shared use pavements do not make a Dutch-quality cycling environment. It seems that TfL’s main goal here is to not remove even one inch of space from motor vehicle users. The new widened footways are currently tarmac with white paint on them – a bodge from when this junction gave even more space to motor vehicles than it currently does.
There’s tons of space here for a proper design. Why are TfL obsessed with keeping two lanes for each arm of the roundabout? All four roads are single-lane anyway so there’s no need to have two lanes for each road on the roundabout. As a driver I find this annoying and stressful – as soon as you have left the roundabout you have to merge with the other lane.
This whole design stinks of business-as-usual and if it gets installed as currently designed then it will be a massive missed opportunity. So I implore you to tell TfL what you think about their poor design!
In the spirit of offering constructive criticism I present to you my version of the junction. Consider this a work-in-progress version 0.1, but you’ll get the general idea. (The image below is rotated 90º clockwise, looking at the junction from the east. It’s not an aerial view either, but a 45º bird’s eye view.)
The red paths are the cycle paths, and the white bits are physical barriers – raised kerbs, I expect. It’s not perfect – and I expect it violates a few DfT rules – but it’s much better for cycling than TfL’s original design. I haven’t tackled what happens further along the roads, but Millbank (to the south) has Cycle Superhighway lanes on it which would link up nicely.
Note how no space at all has been taken from pedestrians. (I suspect the odd nibble into the pavement wouldn’t harm, there are some very wide pavements here already.) And no space has been taken from the acres of tarmac available to motor vehicles on the roundabout, either.
Little changes for pedestrians, but cyclists would have priority when going around the roundabout and only give way to pedestrians, once just before joining the roundabout and once just after leaving the roundabout, which seems fair enough to me. I’ve used roundabouts like this in the Netherlands – much bigger, more complex and busier ones, too – and they really do work, for everyone.
Feel free to suggest improvements – maybe we can make a submission to TfL if a technical enough drawing can be made?
I suppose the two main stumbling blocks are:
1) can this be achieved using current UK regulations, and
2) do Boris and TfL have the cojones to keep their promise and actually Go Dutch with junctions like this?