Saturday 22 October 2011

Tour de TfL

Whilst TfL is organising the Straford to Stratford cycle ride, Cyclists in the City blog is organising a cycling tour of the most dangerous junctions in London.

A roll-call of the junctions on the route sends a shiver down me.

1. St. George's Road/London Road/ Elephant & Castle Junction Southwark
2. Clapham Road/ Kennington Park Road/ Camberwell Road Junction
3. Strand/Northumberland Avenue/Whitehall Junction
4. Waterloo Road/ Stamford St/ York Road Junction
5. Mansion House St/Princes St/ Threadneedle St
6. Elephant & Castle/Newington Butts Roundabout
7. Hyde Park Corner Westminster
8. Millbank/Lambeth Bridge Junction
9. Clerkenwell Road/Farringdon Road Junction (via Kings Cross)
10. Albert Embankment/Kennington Lane/ Wandsworth Road Junction

Although my cycling is mostly confined to North of the River and the City, I have visited these junctions on foot or in the car, or on cycle enough times to know that they are simply terrible.

The initiative is really in honour of the fact that TfL is "improving" Elephant and Castle, with the same thought processes that are currently "improving" Blackfriars bridge. That is that cramming as many lanes as possible into an urban space can be adequately mitigated for cyclists by scattering some ASLs around the area and some fluffy promotional video initiative. Just look at the plans for the Elephant and Castle below (courtesy of cyclists in the city)

It is somewhat of a struggle to see how this is any improvement on the current layout. In fact, I struggle a bit to see much difference at all. 

And this isn't simply happening in some isolated cases in London, it appears to be happening everywhere TfL is involved in redeveloping the roads. We have the celebrated Blackfriars bridge, but also Kings Cross, Tottenham Hale, Stratford Gyratory to name simply a few that spring to mind. TfL have no right to claim any positive influence on cycle rates in greater London whilst they pursue such misguided redevelopment plans.

So, if you are feeling brave, join cyclists in the city; the event is happening

10.30am Saturday 12 November
Meet by the stairs at the front of St. Mark's Church, The Oval, Kennington, SE11 4PW 

I will be endeavouring to join this event if I can. 40-50 like minded cyclists attempting some of the most horrible junctions in London will be an education if nothing else. If I do join I will make sure the panniers are loaded with several changes of underpants so I can complete the route in comfort...

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