Movement on making main roads safer

Most of the publicity and noise over the last year or so has been around additional Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Lambeth council created new LTNs in Oval, Railton, Ferndale, Tulse Hill and Streatham Hill areas. But there has been action on main roads as well which is often what those railing against LTNs call for.

Both low traffic neighbourhoods and safer main roads are needed for people to cycle from home to their destination – whether it’s school, work, shops or seeing friends.

Woman cycles on CS7 A3 Clapham Road past a side road that's in the Oval-Stockwell LTN
CS7 on the A3 Clapham Road passes Fentiman Road in the Oval to Stockwell low traffic neighbourhood

Many of the biggest main roads and in particular the ‘red routes’ are controlled by Transport for London which has upgraded the bus lanes on these roads. TfL has made nearly all red route bus lanes 24/7, made them continuous through junctions and banned some turns to reduce risks from motor traffic turning into side roads. Bus Lanes are not nearly enough for true 8-80 year olds cycling but they do raise the comfort level enough for some more people to ride and the extended hours mean existing cyclists can make trips in more safety outside commuter trips. 

Highlights in Lambeth include the A23 from the Oval to the South Circular at Streatham Hill alongside the Tulse Hill LTN and future Brixton Hill LTN, the A3 from Elephant to Clapham part of which borders the Oval LTN, The A3 CS7 Clapham Road also has small new sections of wand protected cycle lane, safer junctions at Kennington and Union Roads and at Elephant the bus lane now finally extends to meet the protected tracks around the main junction. There have also been TFL improvements to South Lambeth Road and a wand protected cycleway on Waterloo Bridge. The third boundary road of the Oval LTN – Harleyford Road already had a high quality protected cycleway. 

There are other main road schemes already consulted on and signed off. Nine Elms Lane has had a decent temporary scheme with some wand protection but work has now started on the high quality protected lane scheme that was consulted on a few years ago. The A23 Streatham Hill has an approved protected cycleway scheme due to be break ground early in 2022.

Planned cycle track on Streatham Hill
The planned cycle track on Streatham Hill

Lambeth Council has also made some changes on roads it controls, for example a high quality protected cycleway now runs along Baylis Road with a high quality temporary scheme extending south from Lambeth North to Lambeth Road. The bus lanes on Kennington Road are supposed to be upgraded to 24/7 on Kennington Road south to Kennington Lane, although it is disappointing that this has still not happened 8 months after the others.

The first section of the Rosendale Road cycleway is in place, with next sections committed to and Norwood Road has a short wand protected lane northbound from Brockwell Park Gardens to the crossing from the park to Rosendale Road.

More needed for safer cycling

We need much more, but there’s no doubt this is action on main roads to improve cycling conditions, alongside the creation of new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. It’s also clear that the two interventions are complementary – motor traffic turning to rat run through side streets needs to be removed in order to make main road cycling safe.

We support the LCC’s Climate Safe Streets campaign calling for a London-wide Smart Road User Charging system to tackle over reliance on motor vehicles and support the funding of active and sustainable travel.

There are main road improvements that are overdue given the progress elsewhere. TfL needs to make upgrades to the South Circular, the A23 and the A3. They have done elsewhere in London, like from Elephant and Castle to Farringdon, why not across Lambeth?

Lambeth Council needs to join up improvements it has started. Why has it not followed TfL and made bus lanes 24/7 on roads it manages as an interim improvement? Why has it not yet made further progress on it’s network of healthy routes?

Unsurprisingly, many of those who claim to support cycling, but not LTNs, or who said they only support LTNs where there are also main road measures as well, turn out to be against these schemes too, for example in Wandsworth where there people calling for the removal the CS7 upgrades.

A driver's car on a bollard on the pavement of Brixton Hill at Dunbarton Rd
A driver crashed on top of a bollard on the pavement of Brixton Hill at Dunbarton Rd. We need a Brixton Hill low traffic neighbourhood