Camden Cyclists were consulted on the changes in Fitzrovia and you can see the details and our response at. In our response regarding the signal removals we wrote the following:
We support this though we have some slight concerns about whether cyclists will be vulnerable to turning vehicles. We think that this will be a small risk as long as the cycle lane is clearly marked through the junction as shown in the consultation document. Please can you make sure that the Give Way or Stop signs and road markings on the side streets are clear?
As it turns out, there is no green lane across the junctions in either Howland Street or Maple Street, but I suspect that this isn’t possible due to the proximity of the zebra crossing to the junction.
Click on any photo to see an enlargement
Junction of Howland Street and Charlotte Street
See location on Open Cycle Map.
Before the changes, westbound cyclists in the cycle track were provided with a separate signal so that they could go ahead without worrying about left-turning vehicles cutting them off. But there was a disadvantage in that the signal time was quite short. But some users have already expressed concern about the new arrangement. To quote from an email from RF:
I saw a near miss involving a cyclist and a left-turning van this morning.he problem is that left-turning vehicles aren’t willing to cede right of way to cyclists on their inside who are going striaght on, so conflict is bound to arise
The two photos below show a view of the cycle track leading to the junction and of the interaction between a cyclist and a left turning vehicle. During the half hour spent observing the junction I didn’t see any ‘near misses’ although I did see one or two cyclists stop to allow a vehicle to turn left as in the photograph. As you can see from the photo on the left, the Give Way is clearly marked on the side road.
I think that the changes at the junction 1) the removal of signals and ii) the presence of the three zebra crossings used by numerous pedestrians does have some calming effects on motor traffic. But I have been unable to reach a conclusion as to whether the removal of the signals is a good change for cyclists.
Building works on SW corner of the junction of Howland Street and Charlotte Street
The cycle track has been closed to allow for building works on the UCL building on the corner of Cleveland Street (further west). This means that cyclists have to pull out into the road after crossing the junction. There were worries that cyclists could be squeezed. However, the motor vehicles seem to keep to the right-hand side of the road leaving space for cyclists on the near side. In addition, all cyclists seem to be riding very sensibly, pulling out as soon as they leave the segregated track so as to be in a good position to pass the hoarding. The only cyclist I observed that might have been in trouble was using a mobile phone and stopped to sort himself out in front of the hoarding.
An eastbound segregated cycle track runs along the wrong side (south side) of Maple Street from the Westminster border to Tottenham Court Road. The first photo shows a cyclist crossing the junction with Fitzroy Street. Since the traffic signals were removed Maple Street has become the major road. A Give Way is clearly marked at the junction with Fitzroy Street. There are now zebra crossings on three arms of this junction.
Two-way cycling in Fitzroy Street and Whitfield Street
The Fitzrovia improvements scheme included proposals for two-way cycling in the one-way sections of Fitzroy-Charlotte Streets as well as Whitfield Street. The evidence of some start on this work shows in the photo on the right where a few cycle logos are marked on the entry to Fitzroy Street. This work is incomplete since the ‘Except Cyclists’ sign has not yet been put below the ‘No Entry’ signs, nor is there a ‘two-way cycling sign at the other end (by Fitzroy Square). I found similar signs of work starting in Whitfield Street (one block east). North-south cycling permeability through Fitzrovia will be immensely improved once these two schemes are complete.