Friday, October 09, 2020
Six months ago I reported on a new bike lane ploughing through a bus shelter.
This is Ruckholt Road, just north of the Olympic Park, where a programme of road improvements had been underway at the junction with Temple Mills Lane. Almost all of the work was finished by early March, including a new eastbound cycle lane swooshing along the pavement, but nobody ever came back to finish the job by moving the bus shelter out of the way. The end result was laughable, requiring cyclists to divert onto the pavement (or through waiting passengers) to avoid a) a bus stop pole b) a bus shelter c) a litter bin.
Most of the junction works had been completed by the borough of Waltham Forest, but shifting the shelter was TfL's responsibility and they failed to get their act together before lockdown was imposed. This lack of coordination left a dangerously suboptimal piece of infrastructure in place throughout the entire spring and summer. All anyone could do was add a Cycle Lane Closed Ahead sign at both ends in the hope that cyclists would work it out for themselves.
After I blogged about the cycle lane in April I received an email from TfL's Senior Press Officer. This never normally happens.
"Just to let you know that we are keen to work with Waltham Forest council to get the shelter moved as soon as possible – however, all TfL-funded construction sites are currently paused in support of social distancing. As soon as restrictions are lifted and staff return to work, we will progress the opening of the cycle lane with our borough partners."But it took until the start of October for the work to be done.
I'm pleased to report that the bus shelter, the bus stop and the litter bin have finally been moved, by about a metre, and the cycle lane is at last unobstructed. It's amazing what a difference a tiny shift can make. That said, the people who moved the shelter didn't resurface the area where it used to stand so the cycle lane now includes a few metres of unfriendly bumps. Most of the cyclists I watched using the new lane still diverted out of it to avoid the rough surface, and those who rode straight through slowed down just to be sure.
TfL's "borough partners" will hopefully be along soon to tidy up the mess. Let's hope it's completed faster than the seven months the previous mess endured.
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