Swiss Cottage Gyratory. As they say:
“There are very little provisions for cyclists around the one way system at the moment”
But all they have added is ASL boxes at each of the places where there is a stop line.
The proposals in the consultation document prepared by Buchanans for TfL do not include any changes to help cyclists to traverse this “barrier to cycling”.
There is no recognition of the problems that cyclists face, for example to travel northbound from Avenue Road or St Johns Wood Park and then north up Finchley Road or College Crescent. In both cases they must cross from left side to right side over 4-5 lanes of traffic to reach the Finchley Road at the first set of signals.
After that, those intending to continue on Finchley road need to cross back over 4 lanes of traffic to the left side of the road.
Bigger image of consultation leaflet taken off line. (1.2 Mbyte but clearer)
The only adequate solution for cyclists is to reduce by one the number of lanes of southbound traffic on Avenue Road and use the space gained to make a northbound contraflow cycle track outside the Library. We did propose this to TfL at the CRIM on Link 26, which seems to have been too late; however, they should have consulted cyclists before firming up this proposal.
There is great concern from cyclists that the cycle crossing from Eton Avenue over Finchley Road should be retained. Jamilla Barret has assured me in email that this will not be affected by the consultation.
There is also great concern from cyclists that the cycle filter from Finchley Road into College Crescent should be retained. Jamilla Barret told me that she thought it would be unnaffected and promised to get back to me, but I have heard no more. This filter is very important in allowing southbound cyclists to avoid the need to cross over lanes of traffic emerging from College Crescent.
It would have been helpful to show these details on the consultation document.
LCN+ Route 50 (Camden Link 26)
The alignment of this route is between Avenue Road and Finchley Road.
The filter to College Crescent (mentioned above) helps with this direction of travel; and the removal of the bus lay-bys will also be an improvement. But on approach to the junction with Avenue Road, cyclists will need to cross over the left-turn-only lane to reach the straight-ahead lane. The least that could be done here would be to provide a central feeder lane between the two ASLs.
Cyclists from Avenue Road must cross over 4-5 lanes of vehicles in order to reach the ASL for northbound traffic at the junction with Hillgrove Road. The drivers are moving at up to 30 mph and are busy looking for opportunities to change lanes themselves and are unlikely to take account of cyclists. The whole nightmare is repeated along the northbound side of the island. For this latter manoeuvre, there is often nothing to slow down the northbound vehicles unless pedestrians are crossing.
Cyclists on Adelaide Road
Those cyclists heading for Hillgrove Road seem to be expected to ride in one of the central lanes at speeds that may reach 30 mph. How can that be done?
Those heading north have a similar route to cyclists from Avenue Road.
Preferred solution: revert to two-way working
The gyratory is a severe barrier to cyclists and pedestrians and damaging to the local economy. It should be reconfigured with two-way roads on all three sides of the triangle. Avenue Road outside the Library would be narrowed to form a High Street environment, whereas Finchley Road on the west side of the island would take most of the through traffic; space can be gained by moving the island eastwards.
Fall-back solution: two-way cycling on east side
A single vehicle lane in Avenue Road on the east of the island should be sacrificed to make space for a two-way segregated cycle track on either side of the road. In either position, the cycle track could be linked at the north end via the existing cycle crossing. A similar cycle crossing at the south end over St Johns Wood Road, Avenue Road and Adelaide Road could link it at the south end.
I think I have demonstrated that the need to cross vehicle lanes and to maintain speeds of 30 mph make the gyratory very hazardous for cyclists. Conditions could be improved radically with a properly enforced 20 mph limit all round the gyratory.
An ASL box can only help cyclists when signals are on red. When signals are on green, cyclists have to cope with the speed used by drivers going through the junction. The consultation document does not specify the depth of the ASL boxes: LCDS recommends 5m.
To cater for the case when a signal is on red, every ASL should be provided with a feeder lane to allow cyclists to reach the ASL box past the other vehicles. At two of the junctions, the road fans out into three separate stop lines each with its own ASL box. Careful consideration should be given to the placement of the feeder lanes; it is regrettable that these details were not shown on the consultation document.