Waterloo roundabout – frustrating and occasionally entertaining reading

Lambeth Cyclists’ Clare Neely comments on this week’s Waterloo Roundabout consultation response report. She says the report makes frustrating and occasionally entertaining reading.

TfL proposed a “peninsularisation” scheme where a some of a roundabout is closed to traffic so the roundabout is converted from being like an island to a peninsula. However, similar “penisularisation” schemes south of Westminster Bridge and at Elephant & Castle are difficult to follow. Those schemes feel slightly safer for someone like me, who has cycled in London for nearly 60 years. I cannot imagine anyone who is new to cycling will find the Waterloo proposals the reason to get on a bike.

As our Lambeth Cyclists response points out, getting onto the junction involves cycling across a busy bus lane and if you are heading over the river you still have to cycle with buses.

The view from Waterloo Bridge, now and as in TFL’s proposals.

Why is the banned turn still in the scheme, despite widespread objection?
According to the report “This is due to the prohibitive cost associated with further carriageway widening”. Or put another way, the amount of reduction in current motor vehicle traffic road capacity, is too scary for us at TfL to contemplate, even though most of those motor vehicle journeys could be walked or cycled. We, the report writers, know that in another part of TfL there is research that concludes that good cycle facilities reduce congestion, but we don’t really believe them.

In the report there is the requirement, in all seriousness, “to keep traffic moving through the area to reduce pollution”. Cycling is “traffic” and the way you reduce pollution is to reduce the amount of “motor vehicle” traffic using London’s roads. There are two ways of doing this, reallocating space to cycling, for instance by installing with flow cycle tracks, and removing rat runs, or charging people to drive and park. Hysterical responses from people who drive, suggests the scheme is a move in the right direction on reallocation of road space to people cycling.

Other good news from the report is that local people are very concerned about an increase in rat running, so may support filtering out through motor vehicle traffic with a knock on effect of more pleasant walking and cycling away from the junction.

Cycle campaigners were right all those years ago, I would put money on us being right again, that is the scheme is a step in the right direction for encouraging cycling, but seriously flawed. That report would have taken a lot less time to read.

Read more on TfL’s Waterloo consultation.

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