The Ranty Highwayman)
Earlier this week, I had a day off to go for a trundle around Central London. It was partly to just get out and get some fresh air (relatively) and partly to take some photos and video of interesting “streets” things.
This post is about one of the things I saw – the link between Meadow Road and the A202 Kennington Oval (which is the southern end of cycle superhighway CS5). The link forms part of London Cycle Network Route 3 and from my limited use of a section of it, forms a fairly useful route – certainly at peak times, I’m told it gets quite busy at peak times.
The link goes through the Ashmole Estate which is owned by the Metropolitan Housing Trust and over the last few weeks, this little link has become locally controversial because of some staggered barriers installed across the link, nominally to slow the speed of people cycling, a subject which come up a fair bit. I do understand their predicament, having played the barrier game in the past.
The first question I guess is whether or not the link is a suitable place to funnel people cycling through, but presumably LCN3 comes from the point in time where we did everything except provide for people cycling on main roads and so we end up with back street compromises. That’s not to say that low (motor) traffic links aren’t useful – they are. In this case, the wider estate to the southwest of The Oval is poorly permeated, so this is an important access for people walking and cycling anyway. Here is a video of the link as it leaves/ enters CS5;
The good news is that the barriers are due to be removed following some fervent local campaigning and so my comments here are about thinking a bit wider on what could be done here to improve the link with relatively modest expenditure.
This next photo is at the barriers themselves. They are standard 2 metre panels and so with my bike for scale, the distance between the kerbs is 3.1 metres – this would be perfect for a 2-way cycle track! However, we then have the paved margin on either side. I say “margin” as they are not wide enough to be footways and so people cycling and walking are lumped together. The margins are formed with 600mm slabs and the kerbs are 125mm wide (yes, I forgot to take a tape measure – doh). So we have a corridor of about 4.5 metres to play with. Now, we could just remove the kerbs and maximise the width of a shared path, but we can do better I think.