Thursday 12 January 2012

Bow Roundabout Update

I saw this article on the BBC website today.

After the Bow cyclist fatalities last year, TfL and the Mayor promised a review and report on the junction. This was in November, and as a general member of the public, I hadn't heard much since. Hence my scepticism   when I saw some large yellow warning signs appear a month or so ago.

It appears, however, that the junction has been reviewed, and TfL have some possible alterations in mind.

1) Addition of cycle lights on the Bow roundabout to give cyclists a headstart over the traffic.
2) Addition of cycle lanes on the flyover with lights to allow easy access for cyclists to the flyover.

The second proposal would see the east-bound carriage-way reduced from two to one traffic lane to implement a cycle lane, and presumably west-bound, the hatchings would be reworked to accommodate a cycle lane there.

In my opinion, both these suggestions show the start of some sensible changes. Most cyclists I see use the flyover now, as do I, so I would err towards option 2 if I had to choose (or maybe TfL could implement both?!). Traffic over the flyover is typically very light - I am amazed at how few cars use it (most are going onto the A12 it would appear) even in rush hour. So reducing the lane count shouldn't cause disruption to motor-traffic. 

The first option also looks promising, but only if the lights really create a safe route for cycles. Since all cyclists will be going in one direction (back onto the A11 slip road - the A12 is prohibited for cycles), I would have thought some cycle priority signals could be able worked with pedestrian crossing time, thus making the junction permeable for both cyclists and people on foot. I would prefer the flyover option because the roundabout is simply horrible for cyclists, and I would need to be convinced about any solutions that TfL have implemented to make it safer and more usable.

Leon Daniels said that TfL are committed to implement improvements before the Olympics. Which is an ambitious deadline considering that this is only 6 months or so away.

This news looks positive from TfL. From the small amount of information in the news report, it looks like the options have been thought out - I didn't think anything involving lights for the motor traffic would be considered because of "traffic smoothing" considerations, so TfL have surprised me with these proposals.

Here is hoping that the ideas, which sound good on paper, translate into some good facilities to allow permeability across the barrier that is currently the Bow interchange.

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