The proposed layout looks very similar to the recently redeveloped "shared space" Frideswide Square in Oxford, directly outside the main railway station. Despite the large amount of space available here the local council seem to have gone down the same route as Hackney Council have in recent schemes and created mammoth pavements with people cycling on the road having to do so in primary position, acting as a traffic calming measure on a narrow carriageway.
|Frideswide Square in Oxford|
It was an early afternoon when I stood at Frideswide Square and I was not there for very long but it really did not impress me at all
Some traffic did slow down, however some cars and trucks blasted through at fairly high speed. Either way I found myself darting across the informal pedestrian crossings quicker than I would at a zebra crossing and it did not look like a comfortable place to be on the bike. Cycling through here is probably fine for many young adults who are willing to mix it with traffic on busy main roads either side of this square but this layout is totally unsuitable for the vast majority of the population and I would be surprised to see any young children or elderly people cycling here, at any time of the day.
|"I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve nearly knocked off somebody on a pushbike"|
|A lady cycling on the pavement, not wanting to informally cross this tankers path|
|Two people cycling on the enormous pavement giving a good visual guide of exactly where segregated cycle tracks should have been built in Frideswide Square as part of this £6m redevelopment|
I was only here for a few minutes so have not seen what this area is like during the rush hour and also haven't used the junction on a bicycle (and wouldn't particularly want to) but there are some strong similarities to the proposal at Lower Clapton Road.
One major difference between the Oxford scheme and the proposal in Clapton is that at Frideswide Square the carriageway has been reduced to one lane on approach to the junction but on Lower Clapton Road the proposal is to keep it to two lanes on two of the three entries to the roundabout
I have my reservations on vulnerable pedestrians using the informal crossings at Frideswide Square but here they are expected to use the informal crossings to cross over up to four lanes of traffic. It is almost exactly five years to the day since an elderly woman was killed at this junction after being run over twice on signalled crossings. I'm not sure how this scheme helps reduce injuries to vulnerable pedestrians, bar forcing them to cross the road somewhere else due to feeling too intimidated.
Having two lanes on approach to this junction southbound is seriously flawed as it means traffic travelling from Lower Clapton Road into Urswick Road will have little incentive to slow down, a potentially dangerous scenario for anyone cycling East to South across the junction. Although as I said on twitter the visualisation of children happily cycling through here side by side to get to school is preposterous
I wasn't quite sure why the mistake had been made in the other visualisations of someone cycling along the central reservation until I read that this was, astonishingly, part of the design.The notion that children will ride side by side along a shared space Lower Clapton Road is laughable pic.twitter.com/sl98Sy9mI0— Hackney Cyclist (@Hackneycyclist) February 1, 2016
"The flush central reservation strip on the north side would also allow cyclists to use the middle of the road if they so choose, something which they are currently doing."
Or perhaps people cycle along the centre of the road because the southbound carriageway of Lower Clapton Road is clogged up with motor traffic all day long wanting to turn right and this is the only way you'll get to the front of the queue on a bike
|Lower Clapton Road, taken from Google maps street view|
|Live departures on a bus stop in one direction on Lower Clapton Road during this evenings rush hour|
Despite the claims from TFL I see little benefit for people cycling or walking here at all. This scheme is all about increasing the amount of traffic using the junction whilst completely ignoring the needs of the 7% of people who currently cycle through here and the many more who might well like to but don't feel it is safe enough. The only people who would benefit are motorists and those who enjoy playing table tennis alongside main roads.
|If TFL were serious about improving safety for pedestrians and people cycling they would instead propose something like this, safe cycle tracks and formal pedestrian crossings|
|The "Dutch Inspired" Shared Space Leonard Circus in Hackney now looking very sorry for itself after every single tree cage has been crashed into, all replaced within the last few weeks. Will the "Gateway Features" be replaced with the same design when they are crashed into or can we expect traffic cones instead?|
|An informal crossing in Poynton crumbling under the weight of thousands of motor vehicles using it per day (picture via Mark Treasure)|
|A pedestrian crossing installed outside a nursery in Farringdon intended to reduce traffic speed. Now patched up and mostly replaced with tarmac after numerous daily visits from the lorries serving Smithfield Market and Crossrail|