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Wanted: cycling contra-flow on St Thomas St
SallyEva
On November 6, 2018

Well this is embarrassing. TfL “engaged” with its public about making St Thomas St one-way. The public hated the idea. Key concerns by this public included “the lack of two-way cycling provision along the length of this street”. Help, someone, what do we do!!! Road widening is right out (£) and the road is 4.2m on a (slight) bend.

Cue backtracking but not enough of it. No time. Too busy. Network Rail are giving the street back to TfL in November so there will have to be some plan in place. A bit of two-way for cars so that taxis can get to the Shard. Heavy lorries will have to use the tiny Bermondsey St/Crucifix Lane junction.

Now come off it. This is not an engineering problem. It’s a psychological problem. TfL’s psychological problem. Much of National Cycle Network route 4 through Bankside is lots narrower than 4.2m and has two-way traffic, including construction traffic. Visibility of cycles approaching HGVs is very good – it’s the other way that’s the problem. One-way streets speed up traffic. Oncoming traffic negotiates. We see that head-on collision coming and take evasive action.. 

The City has been doing this for decades. There’s a handy how-to guide here including streets less than 3m wide https://www.ucl.ac.uk/transport-institute/pdfs/Cheung_slides.pdf. There’s not even a need for contraflow lane markings which might well increase risk of cycling/pedestrian conflict. Any way the kerbs are so low the effective width is far more than 4.2m.

However right now TfL isn’t considering any of this. There will be an Experimental Traffic Order giving the traffic engineers 18-months to get some information (lots of monitoring, counting and analysis). And “further work will also be undertaken to develop an option which allows two-way cycling along the whole length of the street as this cannot be delivered within the timescales of the current proposal”. So there.

The TfL consultation response is here https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/thomas/. The quotes are from the Engagement Report https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/thomas/user_uploads/st-thomas-street-engagement-report.pdf

 

 

 

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