Thursday, 26 January 2012

It's not the cyclists cutting out motor traffic lanes at Tottenham Court Road. It's Boris's plan. But he's not offering you any alternatives either. Want to cycle down from Camden instead of driving? Forget it.

Pictured above. the junction at the top of Tottenham Court Road. Transport for London is about to spend £10million redesigning this junction.

The plan above, is the version designed by a bunch of people with bicycles over at Camden Cyclists.

What TfL wants to do is something completely different. Something that will look amazing to designers but will be pretty much useless and downright inconvenient for most people. And probably downright dangerous for people on bikes. 

TfL wants to spend lots of money here to make less space for cars and buses. It will reduce 5-6 lanes at the top of Tottenham Court Road down to three. And it will squeeze in an advisory bike lane (in one direction only). You can see the detailed TfL plan here on this page.

Not only do motor vehicles get less room but there's also nothing here for people on bikes. How on earth are you supposed to encourage people to cycle instead of paying for the bus or to park their cars in the centre of London, if you constantly 'forget' to include the cycling infrastructure? It's not even as if you'd need to spend any more money. Or as if you'd need to restrict any more lanes for cars. You're doing that already. You just need to actually add the bike lane bit.

But here we go again. No bike infrastructure whatsoever. 

Transport for London has issued a consultation (good, at least there is a consultation this time) on its website which shows its own plan. You can add your comments on that plan and I'd encourage you to spend two minutes filling out the form.

Tfl will narrow the road and make cycling conditions that look like
this. Fabulous. What a waste of effort.
Once again, it's taken some keen cycling folk to point out what a complete waste of time and effort this latest TfL scheme is.

The scheme proposed by the Camden Cyclists folk is actually designed for the people who live, work, walk, cycle and take the bus or drive here. It is designed to benefit people by making things work better so they can choose to use a bike rather than the bus (saves them time and money) or they can choose to bike rather than drive (also saves them time and money). But this scheme does nothing for anyone. 

I'm sure the TfL plan looks lovely on the desk of an architect. But it's no good if you're on the bus. And it's not going to encourage you to swap a short car trip (51% of London car journeys under two miles, remember) down from Camden or Kentish Town. They're just shafting (pardon my French) the motorist and doing pretty much nothing to allow you to cycle instead.

I'm fed up of poring over Transport for London plans. That's not my job. It's their job to design London for Londoners. But what they're doing is designing Londoners out of London in favour of drawings that look lovely on paper and are a right pig for everyone who has to use them.

Thanks Boris. We all pay for Transport for London through the top-up tax you charge us on our council tax. Time you started telling your team (who report directly to you, remember) to start taking Londoners seriously when it comes to the roads you control. 

If all of this groaning hasn't put you off, comments please to the poor folk at Transport for London who are going to get caught in the middle of this. Click here to open the online comment form.