diamond geezer

 Monday, November 24, 2014

The future of the Bow Roundabout (according to the deeper recesses of the TfL website)
"We are working with the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham deliver the Vision for Bow: a place which is safe and accessible for all road users."
A 'Vision For Bow' sounds remarkably grand, whereas in reality it's the creation of a non-lethal road junction.
Late 2014: We are developing a scheme to provide signalised crossings at the roundabout. The proposal will go to public consultation in late 2014.
Mid-2016: We are developing a scheme to provide signalised crossings at the roundabout by mid-2016.
So that's good, probably. It's about time there were signalised pedestrian crossings at the Bow Roundabout, indeed it's almost criminal it's taken so long. The four entry arms could have one already, because all the traffic stops anyway so it'd be simple to add a red/green man for pedestrians. It's the four exit arms that are the problem, because vehicles can come off the roundabout at any time, so adding lights is non-trivial. Any solution will involve stopping the traffic, be that cars, lorries or bikes, so won't be especially popular. Indeed it'll go against the policy of "smoothing the traffic flow" that has until now given Bow's A12 connection priority. Will TfL suggest an all-red phase, whether any pedestrian wants to cross or not, or will we be asked to press a button to bring the entire roundabout to a halt?
2018-2020: We are also looking at opportunities to deliver more substantial changes at Bow to support the regeneration of the area including long-term plans to remove the flyover and roundabout. This is as part of the Road Modernisation Plan. More details on these proposals will be shared during the 2014 consultation.
And blimey, will you look at that? The long-term vision for Bow is the removal of the the flyover and the roundabout, both structures inflicted on the neighbourhood when the A12 was dualled in the 1960s. Presumably this means we'll be getting a crossroads instead, or some similar kind of junction at which all turns can be tightly controlled. There's plenty of room, or there would be if the flyover were removed, which'd require a pretty mammoth piece of engineering. Indeed East Londoners should expect a particularly lengthy period of major disruption, which isn't ideal when local crossings of the River Lea are few and far between. But no doubt the A12 underpass will survive, because the great flow of tunnel traffic must continue, and by dipping underground it doesn't kill cyclists.

None of this has anything to do with the upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2 whose consultation period ended earlier this month, and on which work is due to begin early next year. This explicitly excludes the Bow Roundabout, which means the early stop lights are scheduled to survive until the junction gets a bigger makeover later. Road users might find it pertinent to watch the videostream of cyclist @SW19cam who's using the roundabout twice a day and uploading a video feed to YouTube. Most people behave, some people don't, that seems to be a summary of their findings so far. But not ideal, whatever.

We should find out TfL's proposed plans for the Bow Roundabout within the next few weeks. Safe passage for pedestrians? It's about bloody time.


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