Sunday 10 October 2010

Haringey - making Waltham Forest look good

World Class Cycling Farcilty - Tottenham Hale
Just to prove that Waltham Forest doesn't have a monopoly on poor cycling facilities, neighbouring Haringey has this around Tottenham Hale. Now as previously mentioned, the fact that something is provided is better than taking your chances around the lunacy that is the gyratory, but the best word one could use about the facilities, if one was in a really,really good mood, would be mediocre.

The above demonstrates why many UK cycling facilities are derided by cyclists. Firstly, the cycle path has been formed by removing space from pedestrians. So the design is giving space to a vulnerable road user by taking it away from the most vulnerable road user. The effect? Pedestrians use the cycle lane as the path is narrow, and feel marginalised by cycling. Meanwhile two lanes of stationary traffic add to the general ambiance of the whole scene.

Then, because the pavement is so narrow, look at how the pedestrian crossing is implemented. The crossing wait area is slap bang in the middle of the cycle-lane putting cyclists in direct conflict with pedestrians.

What should happen is that part of the car road-space is given over to a 2-way cycle path. The existing cycle path is converted to pavement again. The crossing could then has the waiting area in a safe place for pedestrians, and the 2-way cycle path could be light controlled to allow pedestrians to cross without conflict from cyclists.

But this would take away road space from cars! And look at the congestion anyway! Well, the sad fact is that no matter how much space is given over to cars and no matter how much this is prioritised to vehicles, it will always get queued. Too many people decided to make their journey by car. Simply adding more capacity would increase the number of people deciding to take the car, not ease the journey for existing users. The M25, if nothing else, has taught us this.

The Tottenham Hale Gyratory is being re-designed. Since this is being done by TfL, I cannot say my hopes are high for an improvement. But maybe having two way traffic may humanise these roads a bit. I hope so, since, based on past experience, I doubt the off-road cycling provision is going to be up to much.


  1. If you read the response to issues raised document, it says:

    "The cycle strategy tries to provide for confident cyclists on the road using a mix of cycle lanes, bus lanes and wide general traffic lanes. These are not always obvious when looking at the plans. This is complimented with a variety of off-carriageway facilities for less confident cyclists in many areas."

    There you have it. TfL is committed to "vehicular cycling"; safe segregated facilities are considered for the use of "less confident cyclists". Your reservations are probably well-founded. As the old saying has it, garbage in, garbage out.

  2. Oh yeah, and be sure to see the spectacularly vacuous answer to the question "Why has the scheme not being designed to reduce motor traffic or give preference to walking and cycling?". I won't spoil it for you by quoting it here.

  3. I think your blog is excellent. Your points about TfL are spot on. I don't think the bloggers are talking enough about TfL. I recently posted this
    in an effort to try and explain jut what's wrong at TfL and how they think about cycling. I'm a bit worried that it's a bit techie/dense. But I think the message is really important. TfL thinks roads are for motor vehicles. And that's the nub of it. We're stuffed until they update their way of thinking. Groan!

  4. Hex - this is an astonishing document and one that is very telling about how TfL approach a redesign of a road system.

    The vehicular cycling is all very well and good, but TfL use vehicular cycling as an excuse for the status quo. And it isn't good enough. I think a post about this document is in order!

  5. Cyclist in the city - yours is a very considered article on the problems with TfL. In essence they say that all modes of transport are equal, but what they mean is that they are all equal with some are more equal than others (apologies to Orwell).

    I have complained to the local councils about certain things (the cycle lights in Walthamstow being one of them) that are actually the responsibility of TfL. I think that you are correct that many issues we believe are council created actually have the unseen hand of TfL at the helm.

    Not only does TfL seem to be unable to actually treat cycling seriously on the ground, they compound matters with much fluff about cycling which gives the impression that something may be happening.

    Your article is great, it starts to seriously question the motivations of those than plan our urban transport system.