Thursday, 8 August 2013

My response to the City of London's Aldgate gyratory proposals

The City's consultation on the proposals for Aldgate ends today. There is an online opinion survey, which may be currently found here. It's not my area of London, but for more excellent perspectives on it, see Cyclists in the City, As Easy As Riding A Bike, and Rachel Aldred.

Here are my responses to the opinion survey, excluding the yes/no ones:

The provision for cycling east-west, towards and away from the City, and connecting with Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2, is not good enough. On such a major artery, space should be made for segregated cycle tracks of adequate width and good priority, that cannot be blocked by stopping and loading. In order to create that space, it would probably be a better idea to retain the gyratory system for motor vehicles, but provide a short-cut two-way east-west cycle track, or two separate unidirectional tracks on different parts of the junction. 
Middlesex Street: The cycle track (not cycle "lanes") should be 3-4m wide for two-way flow. It should be at a different level from the rest of the paving to make it distinctive and separate cyclists clearly from pedestrians 
Elsewhere, the cycle lanes in the design are unsatisfactory. They are not even continuous on specific alignments, and they will not protect cyclists against large numbers of heavy lorries and fast cars using this route. They need to be physically segregated throughout. To create the space for this on all alignments, the basic idea of removing the gyratory system may need to be rethought.  
There are too many "pinch-points" for cyclists in the current design, which will bring them into conflict with heavy vehicles such as buses and lorries, and continue to be a huge deterrent and a source of danger to those trying to cycle into the city. I am not in favour of the advanced stop areas for cyclists at the junctions. These achieve little on such busy roads. Segregated lanes going up to junctions are needed instead, with signal phases that separate cyclists from turning motor vehicles, and particularly prevent motor vehicles turning left across their path. The pavement space in this design appears excessive, and the discontinuity of the cycle facilities shows that cycling has been a low priority in the design.
Pedestrian facilities are generally good, but the pavement space and general wasted space in the design is too great. The balance between pavement and cycling space is wrong, and this will encourage cycling on the pavements, which nobody wants.  Cycle lanes and tracks must be continuous on specific alignments. 
Suggestion for new public space: You could consider one of the "open air gyms" that I have seen other boroughs installing in public parks. These are very popular with all ages, and provide healthy outdoor recreation. They take up little space and are low-maintenance.
David Arditti, Edgware 

1 comment:

  1. I think the suggestions are excellent