Our infrastructure lead did a walk through of the completed Baylis Road upgrade scheme with the project manager yesterday and was very impressed with the design and attention to detail.
A few highlights below –
This wasn’t in the original designs. Strictly cycling isn’t permitted on this alleyway but it’s obviously wide enough and the PM noticed people on bikes were using it to cut off the corner and avoid the busy section of Waterloo Road next to the park. So he added a dropped kerb so they could join the cycleway. We’ll be lobbying to have that made formally legal though we don’t think anyone should have an issue cycling considerately there in any case.
The two Zebra crossings both have parallel cycle crossings. We’re not a big fan of these (in theory they require you to join a potentially crowded pavement to use them) but the reality is they formalise the movement on a bike and you still get benefit if you use them from the carriageway. It’s great to see the Kerb protection running right up to the crossing itself which you don’t aways see – it makes a big difference to the feeling of safety
There are ‘by-passes’ on every bus stop which mean people cycling aren’t put in danger from buses pulling in to stops (and don’t have to pull out into traffic around a bus). These are nicely done with a “table” and crossing to give pedestrians priority to get to the stop. The bus stop islands are large and there is a ‘tactile’ ridge at the edge of the cycle track.
This section towards Lambeth North station is the narrowest at 1.6m but because of the angled kerb (which has been made completely flush with the tarmac at the bottom) and the kerb buffer you can safely use the full width and two people can happily cycle side by side.
It would be better if this was wider but the ‘mature trees’ meant cutting into the very wide pavement would have been expensive and contentious. Faster riders aren’t going to be able to overtake here but you always get caught at a red light a the junction anyway so there’s little to be gained by pushing past (and nothing to stop you using the motor lane if you prefer).
This is the last section up to Lambeth North, which had to move left to allow a landing bay for the bike rental point (which is going to be moved so pedestrians aren’t pushed into the cycleway). It’s at pavement level because it saved a huge amount of money on moving services. The tactile bump at the edge of the track is easy to cycle over so you can safely use the section to the right and the loading bay to move up to the junction when it’s busy.
All in all we think this scheme is a huge improvement on what was here before. If you spot any issues in use let us know and we can feed them back. For us the biggest remains Frazier Street which is still a rat run so there is still danger from turning traffic. Hopefully that can be addressed in future as there’s little excuse for it remaining.
We’re unlikely to see any new schemes of this quality for some time as all budgets have changed due to the COVID crisis. However, we’re told that to either side of this scheme both The Cut and Kennington Road (all the way to Kennington Park) are in the priority list of schemes in the COVID Emergency Transport Plan and hope to get more details soon.