|Vauxhall Bridge morning rush hour. Mornings, northbound |
is busy and southbound very quiet (as pictured.
In the evening the southbound is busy,
northbound more or less quiet.
In summary, the plan is now as follows:
- New Cross Gate to Oval will be delivered more or less as planned by this autumn.
- Next year, that original section of the route will be upgraded and 70% of the bus and mandatory cycle lanes will be “semi-segregated” from the general traffic using cats’ eyes, rumble strips, traffic wands etc
- Also during 2014, TfL will build the section from Oval to central London
- And by end of 2015, it will upgrade the junction at Oval (with a fairly weedy interim solution in the meantime)
TfL also confirmed it is considering a Quietway route that will run parallel to this main road route and that it is exploring options to extend Super Highway 5 to Lewisham.
All in all, I think this is a marked improvement on the original plans. Provided, of course, it all goes ahead. Planning for this Super Highway has been rumbling on since 2011 when the first (extremely poor quality) designs were drawn up.
|The heart of Vauxhall is currently a one-way three lane|
motorway. Plan is to build a cycle track
down the left hand side of this picture
TfL presented two options on Vauxhall Bridge itself - either a cycle track over the bridge or to create a southbound bus and bike lane, to replace the existing and horribly narrow advisory bike lane. I was intrigued to see that 51% of people supported the cycle track option including, believe it or not, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association. Only 21% supported the bus / bike lane, among them, the London Cycling Campaign. That throws up an interesting challenge given that most people want to cycle on cycle tracks and don't support the London Cycling Campaign's preferred option.My understanding is that the London Cycling Campaign position derives from the fact that the plans for the cycle tracks suggest the tracks might well be quite narrow and the LCC has concerns about whether people will really use them or not if they're too narrow.
|Believe it or not, this is the London Cycle Network route 3 to Clapham.|
Can you spot it? You're meant to swing
across four lanes of traffic into the little archway on the right. Insane.
|Coming soon along the route to New Cross? 'Armadillos' in action|
in Barcelona. Courtesy Camden Cyclists
Less encouragingly, there are significant number of sections where people will be expected to follow "route logos to encourage cyclists to adopt a central riding position for this short stretch of road". This will be the case at Oval junction for the next two years until TfL can come up with a safer way to navigate people through this mess. As Rachel Aldred puts it in her blog, the 'route logos' don't sound so great when you change the phrasing slightly and read it instead as: "Route logos will encourage your children to adopt a central riding position (jostling with the buses and lorries and impatient white van drivers)....". Doesn't sound so good, does it?
Still, my sense is that the plans are, for the most part, an improvement on the original consultation. I'm impressed by the fact that TfL has clearly sought and won Department for Transport approval for things like deeper advanced stop lines and I'm impressed by the plans to upgrade the route in stages, which seems sensible. I'm concerned that section between Oval and central London still feels like it's hanging in the balance, though and I think parts of the route through Camberwell are still pretty poor to be honest.
As a reminder, here's what the section from central London to Vauxhall looks like at the moment, with thanks to Croydon Cyclist cyclegaz
And if that's not bad enough, here's a part of Oval junction (the Cycle Highway 7 part) as it stands at the moment. This will soon be the meeting point of two Cycle Super Highways. You can read more about this shocking incident (which is sadly all too typical in this road layout) here.