Thursday, 11 August 2011

New route connects Barbican to Cheapside. Wood Street EC4 goes two-way for cycling

Wood Street EC4 new two-way for cycling
And finally some good news.

Wood Street (click here to see location map and cycle links) has gone two-way for cycling.

A further 17 streets are up for consultation in September with a view to these becoming two-way for cycling. Opening those streets would offer up some invaluable new routes through the Square Mile and ways to avoid some of the nastier main routes and junctions.

For the time being, though, Wood Street is a good first step. It allows a more or less straight line down from the Barbican, useful if you 're heading down from Islington for example, all the way through to Cheapside. And it removes the frustration of getting lost in a warren of one-way streets in the area between Cheapside and London Wall.

The link on CycleStreets shows how you used to have to turn left into Gresham Street and wiggle your way towards King Street. You'll now be able to continue straight down to Cheapside and then head in either direction, east or west. Or continue straight on through Bread Street on the other side of the road down to Cannon Street.

Some of the other proposed two-way workings will open up some other much-needed routes through parts of the Square Mile and I'll update on those as soon as we know more.


  1. I'm hoping they will do the same to Bunhill Row in the city, I have to go the wrong way down Whitecross Street to get to work and it's not ideal!!

  2. This is good to see - the City has made some real progress on opening up one-ways to cycle traffic. Stately progress, and a long way to go yet, but real all the same.

    Isn't it a pity that neighbouring Westminster is such a hell-hole for cycling through its warren of one-ways! They could perhaps follow City's example

  3. I can't say I agree with opening up one way streets to bikes in the City. This is usually an excuse for not enacting more sustainable long term measures and lead to masses of aggro with pedestrians who don't expect to have to look in the other direction when crossing one way streets. I spend enough of my time trying to argue the case of cycling in London without giving ammunition to those who are set against it. I'd prefer to see proper, safe measures for enabling cyclists in London, especially in the square mile where the pedestrians should always have right of way.

  4. @Perostek - what you seem to be saying is that contraflow cycling on side streets is a bad idea because it supposedly distracts from the major junctions and through roads and acts to divert cyclists away from them rather than make those places safe. I understand what you mean, but contraflow cycling should IMO be standard practice on one way streets - this would make sure pedestrians get used to the idea far better than trying to avoid it. And don't forget that there are still new one way streets being created without any contra-flow cycling. Not that this should be a distraction from the problems like Blackfriars and the other problems Blackfriars is distracting us from (like the new London Bridge station).

    Also, I see this installation has a traffic island rather than the "except cycles" plate that you can use now.

  5. @christthebull. Yes, I do think that we should be making the major junctions much safer but I am also a realist and will take what I can to make it safer.

    However, the picture above shows the problem. If the white lines were to be extended down the length of the road people are far more likely to look the other way when crossing. You can see this in other parts of London. I walked down Wood Street on Friday and people look in the direction the traffic is coming and walk straight out into the street without looking the other way. And why shouldn't they? How can they expect cycles to be coming up against the traffic when there is no indication to warn them. The island is definitely a good idea, I agree.

    The issue is larger than this though. I know quite a few otherwise reasonable people who despise cyclists in London. I don't really understand why it makes people so mad considering how low the danger coefficient is compared to cars but our stock is very low amongst pedestrians in the city as it is and this has to be hampering our campaigning for the issues that we mention above.

    At the last "people's forum" at work I was asking for more cycling spaces in the basement and a reply I instantly got from another member of the forum was that "we should be getting bikes off these streets, not encouraging more". This was met by a nodding of heads around the table. These are otherwise reasonable people, not rabid reactionaries. If we don't address the issue of our generally low rep in central London we can be forget tfl and the rest ever taking us seriously.

    Sorry if this came across as a bit of a rant. Any improvement to our safety is a good thing. I just feel a big part of the picture is getting lost along the way.

  6. I'm with Chris on this one. The City has responded to the significant cyclist feedback on the LIP by agreeing three key actions: feasibility on City-wide 20mph; continuous on-road cycle routes, and one-way permeability. (The City has a further 17 contraflow proposals due to be consulted on, not all of which will get implemented straight away if approved.)

    Obvious challenges to these are loading/unloading restrictions affect continuity of cycle routes, not all streets are under City's control, and their attitude to street signage "clutter". Ultimately, although it won't happen overnight, we need to get pedestrians and motorists used to the idea that you still have to look both ways to cross a one-way street because of cyclists' contraflow. Familiarity will eventually help, but meanwhile signage will be all we have, and we are suggesting more use of road markings like those you see in Paris - a trio of cycle symbols painted on the tarmac at intervals, for example.

    A bit of education might help too - according to the City Police's own statistics, 2/3rds of pedestrian injuries are viewed by them as the pedestrian's own fault, some being inebriation, many due to attention distracted by phoning/texting. More, and a higher pecentage of, cyclists' injuries were deemed the fault of pedestrians than vice versa.