Thursday 3 February 2011

Alexandra road - improving the streetscape

The Walthamizing of this road is now almost complete. The Waltham Forest check-list of excellence has been followed to the letter.

Addition of pavement parking : Check
No separation between pavement and parking bays thus allowing sloppy parking to block footway : Check
No redeeming features to alleviate the wall to wall tarmac and parking bays : Check
Narrow cycle way : Check
Cycle way running right up against parking bays to facilitate dooring : Check
Cycle markings to place the cyclist in the most dangerous part of the road, and to allow motorists to close pass : Check
Billboards advertising Waltham Forests latest regeneration success : Check.

Another triumph for the highway and environment department of Waltham Forest.


  1. What are those red thingies on the right? Are they fences to protect the trees or what? I hope they are not permanent, they're not very pretty.

    Move the red fences a little and you can add pinchpoints to the checklist.

  2. This is a one-way street on a major cycling commuter route from Leyton into the City. There is no significant growth in cycling on this route and your photo shows why. Only the most hardened vehicular cyclist will ride in conditions like this.
    Your photo also vividly illustrates how it would be possible to have safe, segregated cycle path on this route but TfL and Waltham Forest would prefer to allocate street space for car parking.
    The Council says that the purpose of this particular scheme is to make streets like this one ‘safer, more vibrant and attractive.’ Schemes like this promise ‘Increased connectivity by providing easy accessibility and an uncluttered street scene’ as well as ‘Increased wellbeing and resident satisfaction from a high quality public realm’ and ‘Opportunities to tackle climate change and enhancing sustainability through reduced carbon emissions’.

    That’s what it says on p. 51 of Waltham Forest council’s new ‘Local Implementation Plan’.

    The cost of this particular ‘Streetscene’ scheme is £562,000.

    @ Anonymous. The red plastic fencing belongs to the contractors and simply means they haven't finished yet. It will soon be removed and then the street will fill up with parked cars.

  3. I have been down this "revamped" street once on my cycle and it is truly terrible.

    If one ignores all that could have been done with the road to improve it and make it better for pedestrians and cyclists, one is still left with what has actually been done.

    Cycling is terrible because they have put that cycle lane right in the dooring zone. But the space to the right is just enough for a car to squeeze past if the cyclist is in the lane, not enough if the cyclist is on the line which, looking at the picture is just on the edge of the door zone. So the only thing that lane is doing is indicating to motorists that they should be able to pass and that they cannot because the pesky door fearing cyclist isn't using it.

    I would have preferred chevrons with a cycle marking down the middle to this. Or even nothing may have been better.

    When I cycled down it, I gave up and just went in the cycle lane as there was only a couple of cars parked. Once it is all completed though this is going to be chock full of cars and then it will be a really horrible cycle experience. Especially if the parking is anything like in Leytonstone high road where you frequently encounter cars half on the pavement and half in the cycle lane.

  4. Would I be correct in assessing that all that has happened here is that both pavements have been removed, being replaced with an expanse of tarmac at the same level as the road? That seems to be the case, having compared your photograph with the google streetview image.

    If that is what has happened, this is indeed a grotesque waste of half a million pounds, that has only served to create a far worse street environment for cyclists and pedestrians in particular. This is 'shared space' of the worst possible kind.

    ‘safer, more vibrant and attractive' my arse.

  5. Aseasyasridingabike

    Yes, that is the essence of the change. I haven't got a before picture unfortunately, but google view will give you the idea.

    The kerb has been removed, and the parking and actual roadway raised to the level of the existing pavement. They have also replaced the street lights with some flashy curved numbers.

    The roadway looks slightly narrower, but this might be an illusion, it is difficult to tell.

  6. On the bright side, the cycle lane has a solid white line to protect the cyclist from cars driving into it and they have used some of the £562,000 to move the ironwork out of the cycle lane, where it is a hazard to cyclists, and onto the parking bays where it is no hazard at all. Oh, hang on...!!!!

    [Apologies for posting as Anon - as I did also on the LIP thread - but I don't appear able to log into my Google account]

  7. The drain is appalling. The grill is parallel to the kerb - I can see a cycle wheel lodging quite nicely in that.

    £562k is an amazing amount of money to achieve the end result of the road being raised by about 2 inches.