Some improvement soon: Brixton Hill to Elephant & Castle

TfL has announced two sets of plans which could make safety improvements to the A23 from the South Circular through Brixton to the Oval and to CS7 from the Oval to Elephant & Castle.

Neither scheme is building safe infrastructure as the recent plans for Streatham Hill aim to do but they will bring small safety improvements especially at junctions.

As a quick, cheap, interim measure these are welcomed. We will continue to lobby TfL for the proper protected tracks that are needed on this key cycling corridor. Andrew Gilligan, when leaving his role as cycle commissioner, highlighted this as a top priority five years ago.

All the bus lanes on these roads were made 24/7 in the autumn which makes a significant difference to cycling comfort compared to the previous peak hour only bus lanes when dangerous drivers would undertake other drivers at speed using the bus lane.

South Circular at Brixton Hill to the Oval

These are very minor changes, especially on Brixton Hill, but by banning some turns, and by removing double straight ahead lanes at signals that merge directly after a junction, this should give an appreciable safety improvement.

Changes will be experimental, trialled for 18 months, and work will start in early March.

TfL’s list of improvements

TfL’s information and feedback form.

Improvements for cyclists and bus passengers

  • New sections of bus lanes to provide a continuous lane dedicated to buses, cyclists and taxis along the A23 between Oval and Streatham. This will make journeys much more reliable for people cycling and travelling by bus or taxi
  • There will be larger advanced stop lines at junctions along the A23 between Oval and Streatham. This will help people cycling to pull ahead before traffic at a junction, so that they are more visible
  • There will be low-level signals, specifically for cyclists. An ‘early release’ signal to people cycling, so that they can move ahead at a junction before traffic receives a green light. These improvements will be made at the junctions of Brixton Road with: Stockwell Road and Gresham Road, Atlantic Road, Acre Lane and Brixton Hill, and Ferndale Road

Changes to local access and parking, to support the improvements for cyclists and bus passengers

  • There will be some changes for general traffic, including some banned turns. These changes will improve safety and protect people cycling from being injured by motor vehicles turning left. As part of the monitoring programme TfL will work with Lambeth Council to review traffic levels in the area. The banned turns are:
    • The northbound left turn from Brixton Hill into Blenheim Gardens. The alternative route is via St Saviours Road and Halliwell Road
    • The southbound left turn from Brixton Hill into Fairmount Road. The alternative route is via Beechdale Road
    • The southbound left turn from Brixton Road into St John’s Crescent. The alternative route is via Villa Crescent
  • At the junctions of the A23 with New Park Road, Fairmount Road, Trent Road and Caldwell Street motor vehicles will only be able to enter the bus lane if they need to turn left, otherwise this lane will be an ahead only bus lane for buses, cyclists, taxis and any other road user that can use a bus lane.
  • TfL will also relocate loading and disabled bays from outside 90-98 and 108 Brixton Hill to St Saviours Road. This will enable us to provide a continuous bus lane at these locations, improving journey times for people cycling and bus passengers, as well as making cycling safer 
  • Bus lanes will be widened at bus stops to make it easier and safer for buses and overtake people cycling, and to overtake stationary buses

The Oval to Elephant & Castle

These continue bits of improvement that have been made to CS7 further south. Possibly the best bits of these plans are the new sections of bus lane on Newington Butts. Currently, there’s really bad fast undertaking that puts most people off using the Elephant tracks (rather than the cycle route bypass) because you have to deal with this short section of horror.

These will also be experimental changes trialled for 18 months with work starting in March.

TfL’s list of improvements

TfL’s information and feedback form.

Improvements for cyclists

  • Introducing 50 metres of new cycle wands on the existing cycle lanes at the Camberwell New Road/ Kennington Park Road junction (on both carriageways), and additionally 20 metres of new cycle wands at the junction of Kennington Park Road/Camberwell New Road southbound carriageway. These will segregate people cycling from motor traffic, to help people feel safer. The wands will be spaced eight metres apart, to allow vehicles to pull in to make way for the emergency services, if needed
  • New two stage turn road markings for cyclists turning right at the Kennington Park Road/Camberwell New Road/Harleyford Street junction to help cyclists feel more assured and confident when making right turn movements, rather than having to manoeuvre across multiple lanes of traffic
  • ‘Early release’ signals on Harleyford Street and Camberwell New Road, at the junction with Kennington Park Road, to help people cycling to pull away ahead of traffic, so that they are more visible to other traffic
  • Some sections of bus lane will be wider and longer, to give additional space for buses and for people cycling in the bus lanes. Any new sections of bus lane will operate 24 hours a day to align with the recent changes to the hours of operation for existing bus lanes on this corridor, and they will be accessible to cyclists and taxis

Improvements and changes for bus passengers

  • 60 metres of new northbound bus lane from the junction of the A3 with Churchyard Row, to the junction with Walworth Road. We will also introduce 155 metres of new southbound bus lane from the junction of the A3 with Walworth Road. The new sections of bus lanes will help buses to run more reliably. They will also be accessible to cyclists and taxis

Changes to local access and parking, to support the improvements for cyclists and bus passengers

  • Banning the left turn from Kennington Park Road into Kennington Lane (Westbound) for all traffic except cyclists and the Emergency Services. This is intended to reduce the likelihood of left turning motor vehicles posing a risk to cyclists at this junction. Our data shows that most vehicles use the previous left turn from Kennington Park Road into Kennington Road (A23), and access is being retained on this road  
  • Remove 14.4 metres of parking space outside 188 Kennington Park Road, 7.7 metres of parking space outside 184 Kennington Park Road, 28.4 metres of parking from 140-148 Kennington Park Road, and 20.9 metres at 116-124 Kennington Park Road. Doing so will create a bus lane with fewer obstacles, ensuring cyclists are provided with a safer environment and also reduce the possibility of collisions caused by drivers of parked cars opening doors
  • TfL will retain the 170 metre-long parking bay on the southbound side of Kennington Park Road. The bay runs along the section of Kennington Park Road just opposite the junction with Kenning Way, to just north of the junction with Ravensdon Street
  • Loading bays adjacent to the White Bear Pub, Kennington Park Road and The Old Red Lion Pub, Kennington Park Road will be retained with hours of operation changed to 19:00 – 07:00. The hours of operation for two further loading bays, outside 119-125 Newington Butts and outside 48 Kennington Park Road will also have their hours of operation changed to loading only between 19:00 – 07:00. Two small loading bays will be removed; an 8.7 metre bay outside 1-30 Falstaff Court, Kennington Park Road, and an 8 metre bay outside 1-12 Harfleur Court, Kennington Park Road. Doing so will create a bus lane with fewer obstacles, ensuring cyclists are provided with a safer environment.