Waterloo Roundabout Junction Review

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Thursday 25 October 2012 3.30am
Here are the proposed changes (starting works in late November) for the Waterloo/IMAX junction cycling safety enhancements: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/betterjunctions/waterloo-roundabout

Here's what I like:
-20/mph speed limit starting in 2013

Here's what I don't like:
-Pretty much the rest of the scheme (more advanced stop lines and some 'feeder lanes' to reach the advanced stop lines)

These improvements strike me as WAY too little for a junction at which 1/4 of the traffic -- according to TFL -- is cyclists.

In my opinion, unless segregated cycling lanes can be provided to cyclists -- which strikes me as unlikely given the awkward Waterloo Bus Station exit/entrance -- the entire roundabout should be turned into 'shared space' (i.e. Exhibition Road.)

Other thoughts? Maybe someone can be more creative and thus less extreme than me, but I just don't think some more paint on the road is going to cut it here.
Thursday 25 October 2012 8.58am
I agree....the problem often with complicated junctions/roundabouts is that whilst trying to navigate through them users don't have time to look at the instructions - either signposts or painted lines - and if they do they can become more dangerous users for not keeping up with what is going on around them in a fast flowing situation.
Thursday 25 October 2012 9.06am
This is a great example of the stupidity of 20mph limits.

It makes a great headline, but does nothing to enhance safety or reduce congestion.

Most of the time this r'bout is so busy that anyone driving safely and with any consideration won't be able to get above 20mph even if they were trying. (N.B. anyone who isn't driving in this way is already committing an offence, and probably won't pay any attention to a 20mph limit anyway).

The only thing the 20mph limit will do is to make anyone driving across there in the dead of night when it's empty (and *possibly* safe to exceed 20mph) liable to get a ticket.

James raises the example of Exhibition Road (again). The great thing about deristricted/shared (or whatever I'm supposed to call it) space is that it makes everyone use their common sense and be considerate. Applying that approach to the r'bout would mean that most of the time traffic was below 20, but that, when the junction was relatively empty, traffic would go faster.

20mph limits are a blunt tool. The problem is more sophisticated.

...if you press it, they will come.
Thursday 25 October 2012 11.48am
OK so the proposals aren't good enough. Designing roads isn't rocket science so I've had a think...

Speed humps would be bad for all modes of transport.

Giving cyclists a completely different route around the east side using the vast area of pavement is a possibility, I think.

I responded to the consultation and suggested installing traffic lights on the southbound bridge exit, or at the least a light controlled pedestrian crossing, as it is this traffic which enters the traffic much faster.

I strongly recommend responding to the public consultation.
Thursday 25 October 2012 1.00pm
This is my route home from work (Southbound from Covent Garden to E&C) - I think traffic lights on the southern exit from the bridge might work well here - it can be difficult to time your exit onto the roundabout as often you end up in a blind spot, and can't see if it's safe to proceed onto the roundabout. Plus it would give pedestrians a safer way to cross the bridge - many people don't like to use the subways and have to dodge several lanes of traffic.

I don't think shared space in the form of pavements which cyclists can use would be a good idea, as too often people don't expect to see bikes on them, and may not realise that they are walking in a bike lane. It would be better to have a separate curbed-off bike lane.
Thursday 25 October 2012 1.00pm
james127 wrote:
the entire roundabout should be turned into 'shared space'
It's worth recalling the Waterloo City Square proposal from 2009 which seems to have been forgotten.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Thursday 25 October 2012 5.11pm
Thanks James -- that's what I was referring to with my shared space idea, but I couldn't find a link to an older article.

Although I am a cyclist, I am also a bus user -- I wish these changes could also help to improve the insane wait for buses to depart the Waterloo Bus Station. For a journey from SE1 to Aldwych/Holborn, the wait from the Waterloo Bus Station can often add up to about half of the journey depending upon congestion and driver aggressiveness with the lights.
Thursday 25 October 2012 6.51pm
It's a serious error to think that absolutely any junction can be turned into a workable shared-space environment for motor traffic, cyclists and pedestrians.

Waterloo roundabout at present is wholly unsuitable for this kind of treatment because of the high volumes of motor traffic, cycling and pedestrians.

Shared-space is suitable for low-traffic areas, where motorists, cyclists and walkers can interact comfortably - low-traffic shopping streets/residential zones etc - but not busy commuter routes.

If you try to impose a shared-space streetscape where there's heavy motor traffic, then cyclists and walkers will simply be pushed aside, as they often are at Exhibition Road.

The Dutch would never use this approach at Waterloo, or anywhere else where motor traffic could be dominant.

Under these circumstances they segregate cyclists and walkers from motor traffic.

The only alternative is to take drastic action to reduce motor traffic, such as removing through traffic, though this is unlikely at such a busy interchange as Waterloo.
Thursday 25 October 2012 10.20pm
Agreed -- how do you, London_Cycling, think segregated cycling lanes could be fit in at Waterloo Junction? That is my favoured proposition -- especially because it is a tough cycle from the junction to the bridge on the south end and it can be scary going slow with so many buses bearing down on you from the Waterloo bus station.
Friday 26 October 2012 2.27pm
Perhaps a cycle lane (at least for the most frequently used North-South route) could go underneath the roundabout using one of the pedestrian tunnels around the iMax?

It could disappear before the bus station to reappear just after the bus stop on the bridge.
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