For those that don’t know, I should explain that LCC has recently instituted a CRISP (Cycle Route Implementation Stakeholder Plan) process for designing new LCN+ routes. The first step in a CRISP is called a CRIM (Cycle Route Inspection Meeting). For the CRIM, stakeholders cycle the length of the route in both directions, stopping frequently to make notes on what should be done. This one was done on foot because there were said to be too many participants.
We met at Kings Cross Thameslink station at 10 am on Friday 17th December and set off east along the Pentonville Road in pouring rain.
LCC was represented by Andrew Cornwell from islington, Danny Williams of City Cyclists and Jean Dollimore from CCC. Rik Andrew represented CPEC and joined us later on in Farringdon Road. The consultants Buchanan were represented by Tony Wilson, Kevin Weaver and Eddie Oriakhi. TfL was represented by Steve Decker (Camden/Islington section) and later on Jerry Behl (City section). Islington council officers Jean Cantrell and Angel Pascual were there as far as the Islington border, where a City of London officer joined us. Carl Pittam represented Sustrans. But nobody from the LCN+ team attended, presumably because this is not an LCN+ route.
This is a TfL exercise to attempt to improve the A201 for cyclists between Kings Cross and Elephant and Castle. Buchanans and TfL confirmed at the start that the part north of Blackfriars Bridge is not an LCN+ route, nor is it intended to be one. However they had decided to use the CRISP process to get input from stakeholders as to possible improvements. When Rik Andrew arrived, he insisted that if the CRISP process is being used, alternative routes have to be considered. As there was not sufficient time to do this today, they said they might carry this out on at a later date.
There was some initial discussion of access from Pentonville Road to the “start of the route” at the junction of Penton Rise/Kings Cross Road. The cyclists rejected TfL’s rather meagre offerings, on the grounds that it was better to use the Stations Circular for accessing Camden or Islington and eventually to access Kings Cross/St Pancras via Argyle Street.
Some time was spent discussing the junction of the Stations Circular at Calthorpe Street/Lloyd Baker/Margery Street. Apparently Buchanans are already studying this junction with a view to making pedestrian and cyclist improvements and we will be consulted on their plans. I passed on the points made by CCC members regarding the width of the junction and the difficulty of turning right. The other cyclists concurred – the consultants suggested signal timings could help with the width but didn’t offer to narrow it. The Islington officers are trying to address the difficulty of turning from the Margery Street contraflow cycle lane into the square on the right. We suggested green cycle lane markings across the junction.
As we progressed down Farringdon Road we saw all the snags mentioned by James, Paul, David, John and others when we were discussing our response to the questionnaire. That is, HGVs, loading and unloading, illegal parking etcetera. There clearly isn’t room for cycle lanes, so we kept on asking for more continuous bus lanes. The story is that there is room for bus lanes only on one side of the road.
At the corner of Roseberry Avenue we had a long discussion of the problems for cyclists at this junction. We pointed out that the ASL by Exmouth Market is much too far from the junction, but not much headway was made on that point. By now everyone was totally saturated so we stopped in a caf for a hot drink and a dry out. We agreed that we were glad not to have the cycles with us.
The next stop was Clerkenwell Road junction. Good news about Clerkenwell Road Rail Bridge – Islington officers now have funding for bridge works and that the cycle and pedestrian lane on the east side will eventually be ready for use.
Discussions as to the problem for those travelling west on Clerkenwell Road were inconclusive – we argued for cycle space being gained by moving the centre of the road away from that side.
After more observations of the problems of cyclists on Farringdon Road and the difficulties arising from the need to deliver to the various properties along the road, we stopped for a sandwich at Charterhouse Street.
After lunch the rain had almost stopped but a very cold wind had come up. However we pressed on down Farringdon Street, stopping for a discussion of the problems at Holborn Viaduct. The concrete barriers that cover the cycle lane are there to protect the bridge supports from being struck by traffic. If they had been a little further away from the supports, a cycle lane could have gone inside them. However, TfL were instructed to maintain a certain amount of vehicle space. For the eastern, downhill side, TfL want to put a cycle lane on the footway and say that as it’s very wide, there should be no deterioration for pedestrians. A new bus lane will protect cyclists on the other side. Roger Stocker of Southwark council joined us here and told us that Barry Mason of Southwark LCC can’t come because of illness.
We suggested that TfL sort out the “wiggly” bike lane on the west side of the road. Again we complained about the parking, but that had no effect. A long stop at the junction of Queen Victoria Street and some plans for junction improvements.
I would very much have liked to be involved in the discussion of Blackfriars Bridge, but had unfortunately become too cold to carry on any further.
I have the following information about the discussion of the bridge from Andrew Cornwell, Rik Andrew and Carl Pittem:
The over-riding feeling was that the bridge can’t be seen in isolation but a review of the whole area would need to be done in the long term. A lot of time was spent on discussing the roundabout at the northern end and how it might be replaced or modified.
A variety of short term options for north bound cycle lanes were discussed. It was pretty much agreed that road space rather than pavement should be taken for cycling. Buchanans seemed very open to different possibilities including reducing northbound from three to two lanes and re-allocating space to cyclists. A two-way segregated track is a possibility.
The junctions with the Sustrans NCR 4 were considered in detail. But after that, according to Roger Stocker, the CRIM was not completed for the Southwark part of the route due to the absence of the TfL representative for that section.
The next stage will be Buchanans report on the findings.