After my last post about Southwark’s pointless plans to waste cycling money on their section of Quietway 2, I’ve had a think about what I’d suggest.
Some of the route is already fine, but the bits that aren’t fine have too many motor vehicles on them. While Southwark want to throw money at fancy paving and plants, what this route really needs are modal filters to remove motor traffic while allowing bikes to pass through.
This is cheap because it’s just bollards and a few signs. Politically it’s trickier because car-owning residents often want to drive out of their street at both ends, but I’d be amazed if car-free households aren’t the norm in this area by quite a large margin. The added bonus of more greenery, safe places for their children to play, cleaner air and quieter streets should be enough to get most residents’ approval, I should imagine.
And the nice thing is that this can be trialled easily and altered or removed if it doesn’t work, saving any “place-making” for when the changes are proven to work.
In this scheme, for example, I can see the plaza on the corner of Webber Street and Great Suffolk Street being expanded across the existing junction. This sort of thing should come later, though there are plenty of firms willing to sell their expensive designs for fancy paving without actually changing the nature of the traffic passing through.
Anyway, here’s my suggested plan:
It removes through-motor-traffic from the entire route, while keeping motor access for residents and visitors. (In addition to the filters here, all of which are in Southwark Council’s area, I’d add one further west on Webber Street too, near the junction with The Cut.)
Suddenly, and for a bargain price that can’t be beat, the whole of Webber Street and Great Suffolk Street will now carry so little motor traffic that they’re safe to ride.
Further east, the northbound rat-run on Tabard Street is removed (vehicles currently enter from Great Dover Street via Becket Street, turn left up Tabard Street, then right along Pilgrimage Street), while full access is retained.
Most importantly, Law Street is no longer a rat-run. This is currently an awful street to cycle on due to vehicles avoiding the major Bricklayers Arms junction in both directions, just off-image to the south-east. In fact, the filtering in this area improves the entire block between Great Dover Street and Long Lane, as all rat-runs are now prevented. (I think – can you see any?)
The filtering at the top of Law Street also makes safe the turn into and out of the Rothsay Street cycleway, which under the current plans looks awfully dangerous.
I’ve gone no further because I’m not familiar with the area from this point, I always went up Wild’s Rents from here on a complicated, meandering route towards Tower Bridge.
So, that’s it!
The consultation on this section runs until the 5th of September (with the western-most section until the 15th), so there’s a few days left to respond now.
It’s probably worth responding so that when Southwark ignore all our suggestions we can at least point the finger at them when the plans fail. (Cynical, me?)
Addendum, 2nd February 2015: One of the hot debates along the route is the awful restrictive gateway on Trinity Street. Having thought about it, the simplest solution is to move it so it’s to the south of the Globe Street junction. It will still perform its motorbike-filtering purpose there, but not interfere with the Quietway. Ta-da!