#fail cycle superhighway in London

pmorgan1
pmorgan1 Posts: 173
edited March 2017 in Commuting chat
Hey all those affected:

What are your thoughts on the state of the Westminster - Tower Hill superhighway? The due date was supposed to be April 30, yet there's a large hole in the VicEmb section, the parts where the CS is supposed to cross the main road are outright dangerous, the uneducated pedestrians who cross the path wherever they please?

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transpor ... 18831.html
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Comments

  • inbike
    inbike Posts: 264
    There are bound to be a few problems getting it sorted out but it is worth a bit of patience because as far as I can see the results are excellent.

    Loads of women, kids and tourists on bikes are using the lanes (before they are even open) so I'd say it's working which will help drive up the number of cyclists and justify making more car-free infrastructure.

    It's certainly annoying that the gas people have had to dig a hole in the new superhighway but you can't really ignore repairs to a gas main (!)

    As for joggers in the cycle lane - how is that any different from recreational cyclists in the "car lane" on other roads? Our right to go fast doesn't take priority over other people's right to use the public highway.

    The fact that other people get some use out of it should help justify more car-free space, and you can always hop into the main roadway if you prefer not to be bothered by pedestrians. Besides, joggers only really use the cycle lanes at lunch time when the number of bikes is fairly low. I haven't seen anyone in it at peak commuting hour yet.
  • imatfaal
    imatfaal Posts: 2,716
    inbike wrote:
    There are bound to be a few problems getting it sorted out but it is worth a bit of patience because as far as I can see the results are excellent.

    Loads of women, kids and tourists on bikes are using the lanes (before they are even open) so I'd say it's working which will help drive up the number of cyclists and justify making more car-free infrastructure.

    It's certainly annoying that the gas people have had to dig a hole in the new superhighway but you can't really ignore repairs to a gas main (!)

    As for joggers in the cycle lane - how is that any different from recreational cyclists in the "car lane" on other roads? Our right to go fast doesn't take priority over other people's right to use the public highway.

    Joggers in the road would get all sorts of grief and be asked not to by the police (not sure they can be told not to). I passed two joggers in the lane this morning at both points there were zero pedestrian on the very wide lefthand or central pavements. It is sheer bloody-mindedness - but then so is cycling three abreast in a two way cycle lane which I also saw.

    If more people on London roads stopped being a dick then we might get along safely
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    I jogged along Embankment between St Paul's and Westminster yesterday lunchtime - loads of joggers in the bike lane and there was just no need, plenty of space on the pavement. There weren't many cyclists, but even so it is annoying when people use space intended for others for no good reason.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    A bit soon to declare #fail, I think overall they'll be good once they all come together. There will be some snags and I will learn to clear the table tops, sorry speed humps.
    Looking forward to it being two-way from Parliament heading East, shame it's a little late.
  • dyrlac
    dyrlac Posts: 751
    I took the superhighway eastbound from parliament this morning--bailing out at the roadworks by Temple--to avoid the monumentally horrible traffic. Was OK today, although overtakes are going to be very difficult once traffic increases. I think the real issue is that that segment of the superhighway will be close to capacity, at least from April(ish) to September(ish), more-or-less from the off: look at the size of the pelotons at each traffic light these days. I'd be very interested to see the cycle traffic modelling with vehicle figures (what I've found on the internet is vague as to what levels of cycle traffic the post-completion cycle journey-time models assume).

    In any event, I would not want to be a ped trying to cross at rush hour, even if I wasn't looking at my phone/taking a selfie with Big Ben.
  • rjsterry
    rjsterry Posts: 27,591
    Tried the southbound section from Holborn viaduct to Blackfriars. By the Italian Embassy, the southbound path crosses over to become part of the two-way stretch. Apart from my brain struggling to adjusted to riding on the "wrong" side of the road, it was fine. Not sure it would be as enjoyable at peak times (this was just after 1900), but so far so good.
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  • vimfuego
    vimfuego Posts: 1,783
    Did the Eastbound section from Southwark Bridge to (just before) Tower Hill this morning. It's definitely safer than riding along Thames St used to be, and nice & wide. The lights at the North end of Southwark Bridge take an eternity, BUT the phasing for cyclists means that a fair number of you can get to the ASL and take off before the traffic. Just takes a bit of getting used to looking for the right set of lights. And it would be nice if moped drivers would stay the funk out of the ASL. That section at least should appeal to the nodder community and new cycle commuters - for me it was OK this morning, but I can see the more "athletic" commuter community getting frustrated if it's packed full of nodders. choppers and Boris Bikes.
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  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,098
    imatfaal wrote:
    If more people on London roads stopped being a dick then we might get along safely

    No hope, then :lol:

    As for the lane, I use it from Westminster to Blackfriars, and whilst there are problems - the insane speed humps, the lights hidden behind trees, the frankly baffling junction at Blackfriars bridge - it's a huge improvement over riding in traffic, and has really made me appreciate cycling. Hopefully it will encourage plenty more users - although capacity may be a problem soon.

    I guess we'll all just need to get used to the various irritations. However, if someone could educate Boris bike users on a) how to ride in a straight line b) how to check over their shoulder and c) that using a phone whilst riding is not sensible, all would be well.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • hopkinb
    hopkinb Posts: 7,129
    vimfuego wrote:
    The lights at the North end of Southwark Bridge take an eternity, BUT the phasing for cyclists means that a fair number of you can get to the ASL and take off before the traffic. Just takes a bit of getting used to looking for the right set of lights. And it would be nice if moped drivers would stay the funk out of the ASL. That section at least should appeal to the nodder community and new cycle commuters - for me it was OK this morning, but I can see the more "athletic" commuter community getting frustrated if it's packed full of nodders. choppers and Boris Bikes.

    I'm not a new commuter, and am towards the "athletic" end of the commuter community (at least in aspiration, if not waistline), and I like the change there. The advanced stop zone used to be packed with bikes, tippers, taxis & motorbikes, often with both lanes turning right. It was a cr@pshoot. My view may be coloured by the fact I only have to pootle 2 or 3 minutes from there to Guildhall to get to work.
  • BobMcbob
    BobMcbob Posts: 104
    Tried out the section eastbound on Lower Thames Street and I am surprisingly impressed, there are even sections where it widens to allow relatively safe overtaking. It all comes to an abrupt end near Tower Hill where the section isn't open yet, the path also narrows around there to cable street levels of safety, and you would think TFL should know better... Come the summer I can easily see this route being at capacity, which is both good and bad. Personally I will probably end up taking the Highway more regularly as a result.
  • ManiaMuse
    ManiaMuse Posts: 89
    You Londoners should just be grateful that you are getting cycling facilities that look like they have had some thought put into them and aren't just a tokenist addition with no consideration given to the end user.

    To me from photos I have seen and reports I have read on forums like this it seems like, while improvements could probably still be made in places, that the designers have the right idea generally and are trying to make life better for the average cyclist (though perhaps not for SCR). If they are already at capacity then that could potentially be a good political tool to encourage the politicians expand them or to make some roads car free.

    I was cycling in London from about 2010-2014 and I did notice quite a jump in the number of cyclists and attitudes towards improving cycle infrastructure (compare what you are getting now compared to the slamming the 'cycle superhighways' got in the media when they were originally painted). Yes it will take decades and continued political for things to get anywhere near Dutch city levels, but I think cycling numbers have reached a tipping point in London where they won't just go away overnight. Next steps imo should be to expand some of this decent infrastructure further out from the centre of London and make it seem the norm for councils to implement when digging up the roads.

    Here in Manchester car is king and I don't see that changing anytime soon, cyclist numbers are just so low to begin with and we are definitely still seen as outsiders. The city council has already painted some ludicrously badly designed painted cycle lanes on Portland Street and is now digging up Oxford Road/Curry Mile to put in some segregated lanes on Oxford Road that are only creating more hazards as they zig-zag all over the place with jagged kerbs without warning (it's part of a 'bus priority package' which tells you all you need to know about their true objectives).
  • imatfaal
    imatfaal Posts: 2,716
    I dodged a few barriers in order to run the full length of the cycle path from the end of CS3 at royal mint street - passed the Tower - Lower/Upper Thames - separate part of the underpass (bit spooky) - and embankment.

    Very impressed.

    With little real effort and no risks you can roll along at a nice speed - and three traffic lights gives you a little interval work

    26224231813_c2fe8dac58_b.jpg

    It is a lovely surface at the moment (barring the jumps) and the nodders/shoalers tend to behave and not block up the whole path.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    The Blackfriars up ramp went two-way today, caused quite bit of head scratching for peds crossing at the top but another piece of puzzle finished. Hopefully this means the down ramp will be ready as two way for bikes soon.
  • Koncordski
    Koncordski Posts: 1,009
    It's way to soon to call it a fail when it's not officially open. It's open enough to totally change my short commute. My old journey was coming out of charing cross and squeezing between two lines of buses along the strand before having to take my life in my hands getting around the aldwych racetrack and all the cabs shooting up into covent garden before then dodging the delivery vehicles in the bus lane down fleet street to get to ludgate circus. Now I roll down Craven St/Northumberland Av, join the superhighway with my own traffic light and ride all the way to ludgate circus before using the dedicated right turn opposite evans. It's fantastic to not have to use my years of experience and willingness to tough out the vehicular cycling conditions. I always wanted the proper highways, not for me personally but for everyone that would cycle but felt it was too dangerous, and this summer you'll see just how big that suppressed demand actually was. 8)

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  • adambruntlett
    adambruntlett Posts: 257
    I did the stretch from Holborn viaduct down to Blackfriars and onto the CS Westbound this morning. My thoughts/issues, in chronological order of my route:

    The stretch from Holborn viaduct is a good thing, that used to be a horrible part of my commute with a dreadful road surface and lots of HGVs - to the north of the viaduct it is still a mess, but the new segregated section south of that shows what it will be.

    Like another poster I was confused at being moved to the RHS of the road going south, but it was fine once I was there. The majority of cycle traffic was coming from the south, and there were HUNDREDS of cyclists - it was great to see, although some impatient chopper coming the opposite way tried to go 3 abreast to overtake and I gave him a little tap as he passed me. I think at peak times it'll get a bit hairy due to sheer volume of traffic.

    There's a set of lights which once green send you about 10 yards forward to a pedestrian crossing which has been red both times I've hit it. Poor phasing and it will frustrate cyclists who set off only to stop again immediately.

    I still haven't worked out what the hell is going on at the interchange to get onto the Embankment and there are a few right turns which I can see causing accidents when someone wants to turn but have to stop due to oncoming cycle traffic, and the people behind don't realise.

    I couldn't figure out how to get down to the Embankment, as the old down ramp was blocked off. I went round the barriers anyway and got on in the end but it's not very clear what is happening.

    Bloody speed bumps - they're ridiculous on the Embankment. Must be a 6 inch rise. The ones on New Bridge Street are much better.

    Hidden ped crossing lights, and wandering peds not looking both ways when crossing the CS.

    At Parliament Square coming from the south the lights go green, you turn left to go round the square and straight into a pedestrian crossing, the lights for which were red. Again, poor light phasing meant I and a whole peloton nearly went straight through the crossing because you really don;t expect to have to stop 5 yards after you set off, and the lights are barely visible.

    Otherwise all good, I quite liked it, although being at the more 'athletic' end of the scale I got frustrated by pootling (and even totally stopping) tourists in the CS. Like others I think it will reach capacity pretty quickly and feel a little disappointed that it wasn't made bigger initially.
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,098
    ManiaMuse wrote:
    You Londoners should just be grateful that you are getting cycling facilities that look like they have had some thought put into them and aren't just a tokenist addition with no consideration given to the end user.

    Don't call me a Londoner. I don't live there. I'm not from there. I just work there. :evil: :evil: :evil:

    But your point is valid pretty much everywhere else in the UK: in Aylesbury (where I live), "cycle lanes" = some signs put up on existing pavements, leading to many, many bike vs car conflicts at junctions that wouldn't be a problem with a proper lane. No biggy for me - I ride on the road, and take the abuse from the motoring masses - but for the kids, etc who are the target group this is a real issue. Frankly, it's a funking joke, insulting tokenism. Do it properly or don't bother.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • ManiaMuse
    ManiaMuse Posts: 89
    SecretSam wrote:
    ManiaMuse wrote:
    You Londoners should just be grateful that you are getting cycling facilities that look like they have had some thought put into them and aren't just a tokenist addition with no consideration given to the end user.

    Don't call me a Londoner. I don't live there. I'm not from there. I just work there. :evil: :evil: :evil:

    But your point is valid pretty much everywhere else in the UK: in Aylesbury (where I live), "cycle lanes" = some signs put up on existing pavements, leading to many, many bike vs car conflicts at junctions that wouldn't be a problem with a proper lane. No biggy for me - I ride on the road, and take the abuse from the motoring masses - but for the kids, etc who are the target group this is a real issue. Frankly, it's a funking joke, insulting tokenism. Do it properly or don't bother.
    Apologies, I lived in London for 4 years but could never call myself a Londoner. But the one thing I do miss is the number of cyclists there, it's lightyears ahead of most cities in the UK with a few exceptions (Oxford/Cambridge, maybe York).

    You're completely right, there is no point in building these things in a half-arsed manner. If you build dangerous cycle facilities then inexperienced/kids/vulnerable cyclists are only going to be put off by bad experiences and give up. Which is why I think that even if these new superhighways aren't perfect by Dutch standards, by all accounts here they seem to be being well-used already and have some thought put into their construction and joining them up to make a network of genuinely cycle friendly routes].

    Hopefully the next London Mayor doesn't bow to pressure from motoring groups/car friendly boroughs and go back to square one.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 72,517
    Well looks like cycling will just be another form of transport in London with congestion & traffic jams.
  • bikergirl17
    bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    I take it from Westminster to black Friars - and think it's a disaster. It's way too narrow for people trying to go 3-4 across & just yesterday I saw a nasty crash as some idiot pedestrian walked across, an inexperienced cyclist stopped short without signaling & the guy behind her had no leeway - curb or oncoming cyclists, take your pick - and went into her, both coming down hard. I find it less safe than the road. In the spring when it was empty it was great. But it's just nit wide enough to handle commuting.

    Those sidewalk speed bumps make you a flying projectile.

    And quite honestly I find trying to get across to embankment from black Friars more dangerous with two way disorganized cyclist traffic than the four lane crossing of near death.
  • vpnikolov
    vpnikolov Posts: 568
    I think a good idea will to be to put warnings on the pavement - something like the "Look to the left/right" ones.

    Yesterday a cyclist in front of me almost took out a pedestrian who crossed without looking at all (and with headphones in). Sometimes I really want to punch such people so hard...
  • The Rookie
    The Rookie Posts: 27,812
    IPed's (pedestrian so engrossed in their iPod or other player that nothing else matters).
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  • bikergirl17
    bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    It won't make a difference - pedestrians randomly cross, cyclists take stupid risks. worst case is if a cyclist seriously injures a pedestrian jay walking - anti cycling groups will be all over that. i Judy don't think the positives outweigh the negatives on this path right now; it's I herently dangerous during peak times.

    The one positive is that I take the mall / the strand in the morning & it's empty & faster now that most people have moved to the cycle path.
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,866
    I am starting to think that cyclists are the most conservative bunch of Luddites known to am. Why not wait to see how it pans out or find out how to contact the builders and offer constructive feedback
  • bikergirl17
    bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    I have repeatedly tried to contact ctc while it was being built when you could see the width - no response - & also commented to the tfl during the comment period. I've been riding on it for weeks now & can tell you 100% it can't handle spring / summer crowds. I have never seen cyclists crashing into each other before other than in a road race or sportive.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 72,517
    Used it again this morning.

    Around parliament square heading east it probably adds 5 minutes. There's a lot of riders jumping in and out of the lane, heading for whichever light is green.

    I was in pootle mode (lots of riding in the weekend) and ultimately the lane is wide enough for patient riders. Wait till there's a gap etc.

    Agreed it's on the narrow side but if people waited like they would in a car it'd be fine.

    I think eventually the SCR mentality will disappear in the lanes and it'll be fine, albeit a lot slower....

    I think overall even by skipping the lights down embankment the process of getting around junctions makes it overall a lot slower, before you encounter slower cycling traffic.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    If you built it as wide as you wanted you'd still struggle to pass people. You just need lane discipline like you would on the roads.
  • surrey_commuter
    surrey_commuter Posts: 18,866
    cougie wrote:
    If you built it as wide as you wanted you'd still struggle to pass people. You just need lane discipline like you would on the roads.

    +1
    people need time to get used to it.

    Too many people on here want utopia and want it yesterday
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Used Parliement (eastbound) for the first time today, a bit painful but it isn't finished.
    I then encountered Boris himself coming down Embankment but as that sections quite nice he didn't get any abuse :D
  • adambruntlett
    adambruntlett Posts: 257
    I think my main problems with it are:

    That there aren't lines down the middle for the most part, so impatient cyclists decide going three abreast is a good idea because they just HAVE to overtake the two people in front of them.

    That the 'speed bumps' on the Embankment are ridiculous. Bigger than most road speed bumps.

    The ignorant pedestrians.

    Getting down from Blackfriars to the Embankment - it's a right turn, against pretty heavy oncoming cycle traffic and with serious volumes of cyclists behind you. I'm sure I'm going to be pranged from behind at some point despite signalling like crazy that I'm turning right. Bikes don't have brake lights or indicators and nodder London cyclists aren't used to being in such close proximity to one another so lose all ability to control their speed or movement.


    Saying that, I'm generally supportive of the whole project and think it's a really positive step. I think most of the problems will be solved by cyclists slowing down a bit and being more respectful of one another. Seeing an ambulance on the cycle path every other day tending to people who have come off is not what I want.
  • adambruntlett
    adambruntlett Posts: 257
    cougie wrote:
    If you built it as wide as you wanted you'd still struggle to pass people. You just need lane discipline like you would on the roads.

    I tend to be going against the flow for my commute, so my side is pretty quiet but I encounter a large number of selfish dickheads trying to pass three or even four people line abreast. Absolute dickheads and I have to hold my tongue to avoid telling them so.