I think there's no reason to keep the subways now that there are at-grade crossings. Just eliminating them would be a nice way to start to restore the streetscape until the horrid flyover can be removed.
- TfL / GLA will determine what happens here, not Southwark.
- The current GLA administration places more value on traffic flow than pedestrian priority.
- With the exception of the NE corner of the central island - the at grade crossings duplicate the subways, so hardly anyone uses the subways, but they still require maintenance.
- The flyover was recently re-surfaced, re-waterproofed and road lining re-marked. This is not a signal from TfL that the flyover will be removed any time soon.
- The cycle hire station is over-used as it sits on the hire zone boundary and therefore has a wider catchment area.
- The subways occupy large areas of space which as a fairly modest scheme could be turned into more cycle hire stations or pedestrian space / tree planting.
- Simon Hughes tried to lobby to get the subways closed but this did not seem to result in any change.
- The whole junction is a major barrier across the neighbourhood.
- The junction is a leftover remnant of a larger road scheme which never went ahead and therefore makes no real sense in either traffic or urban design terms.
- A number of exploratory schemes have tried to propose a combination of development on the junction, closure of the flyover and reduction in road space but nne of these have got any further than plans and visuals.
- The Southern E&C roundabout re-modelling provides the only precedent so far where a junction redesign made it to implementation.
I wrote to TfL some time ago and it was clear that they had no plans or any real interest in the future of this junction.
In my view, the following just might be possible:
1. Infil the subways and add the missing NE at grade crossing to the central island.
2. Populate the space created by filling in the subways, with additional cycle hire stations, additional tree planting or move the existing 'Bricklayers Arms' bus stops currently trapped on the N side of New Kent Road, closer to the actual junction itself where there are more crossings and better access under the flyover.
3. Make the argument for the above based upon reduced maintenace costs through loss of the subways, no significant impact on existing traffic flow, better access to bus facilities and cycle hire.
One potential politician to lobby could be Valerie Shawcross, as she is the local GLA Assembly Member, and has a record of engagement in transport policy and improvememts.
Thank you for providing this information -- removing the subways and providing more Boris Bikes -- which are always gone by 9 AM and provide good support in a transit-poor area for "last mile" commutes to Borough and E&C tubes -- would be a good start.
All in favour of removing the flyover and improving the area generally, but perhaps we should take care with any arguments involving radical alterations to the roundabout and the subways. I say this not because I'm some fan of pointless pedestrian subways and unpleasant roundabouts, but simply as I understand that it's ready-made to be an Old Street-style tube station. They just have to build the tube line - the easy bit surely ;-)
Am I alone in wondering why anyone would want to remove the safest methods for crossing one of the busiest roads in London? The subways.
This junction has to cope with the traffic on the A2, the main road from Kent into central London, and more recently it has been made into a major hub for the congestion charge ring road. This is not a road for the recreational or commuting cyclist or pedestrian to happily wander across, under is so much safer. I believe the approach should be to keep the subways and pretty them up whilst making them safer for all users. TFL should be looking at ways of reducing the massive traffic jam every morning caused by this layout which stops the traffic on the A2 and forces it to filter back into itself again. It is perfectly feasible for cyclists to share these tunnels with pedestrians, they would have to dismount of course, something they appear very unwilling to do.
TFL quite rightly prioritise road traffic at this junction as it is a major hub bringing in many of the goods and services consumers and businesses depend on. Tinkering with junctions to improve safety is one thing but trying to imply that it is wrong to prioritise road traffic at some junctions is as just wrong headed, there are other sites in Southwark where quite rightly a solution favouring cyclists and pedestrians has been implemented.
I would like to see a bigger flyover! in both directions, and a local road for people in this area to get to the Elephant without going into the CC zone.
@Jerry From my perspective, the reason that this massive, out-of-scale flyover needs to go is that it is totally out of scale with the surrounding neighborhoods. Bricklayer's Arms was never intended to be a major highway artery -- it is a neighborhood in Central London.
Consider the long term: with the flyover gone, redevelopment will occur on some of the empty space, and the likelihood that the Bakerloo Tube will be extended to the area will greatly increase. Now, all of those individuals suffering with the horrid 188 Bus -- another most-hated thing on this forum -- would stand up and cheer.
Removing the flyover, I think, is about having faith in a long-term vision for South London. It is absolutely inevitable that the density of this area will increase dramatically int he next decade, and a random highway flyover is not suited to that kind of future.
Further, Urban Planning 101 says that when you do something that you think will increase traffic congestion (like closing a road for a pedestrian plaza ala Times Square in NYc), it actually does NOT increase congestion as drivers find new solutions to get from point A to point B.
Southwark needs to do what's best for Southwark (in this case, the residents of Borough and Elephant) -- not what's best for commuters who do not have a God-given right to freely motor between Kent and Central London.
I think I am with Jerry on this one. The flyover represents one of the main London to Kent roads (hence name of Old Kent Road) and the flyover does its bit - however small - in easing this traffic. To my mind, there is not an alternative route for drivers heading to the A2 other than by clogging up Tower Bridge Road, Grange Road, etc.
I don't see how removal of the flyover will encourage extension of the Bakerloo line though. Surel Removal of the flyover will only encourage cheap development on the reclaimed land which is then sold at a exorbitant prices. Those living there will then have to contend with more traffic than the roads can cope with.
Point taken, but how many of the individuals living in close proximity to the flyover actually own cars (or, if they do, use them everyday)?
Removing the flyover would massively enhance the surrounding communities even if no tube is ever extended to that specific location -- I suppose this is about priorities and power. Those in the surrounding estates have very little, but wealthier commuters have quite a bit.
I understand the points made, but for me the subways are unacceptable - after dark they feel unsafe (and in winter that means you cannot walk to work this way without feeling at risk) and you have to go down and up twice to get across, inconvienient and even worse if you have shopping or a pushchair! At least there is now an alternative.
But in terms of junction capacity, the flyover actually takes up about three lanes of space in terms of its footprint, but provides only one lane of traffic. Providing huge capacity here doesn't do anything when the rest of OKR, NKR and Tower Bridge Road have less capacity - there are pinch points at E&C, East St, New Cross and all they way to Kent. If you increase capacity at one point the likelihood is you just move the traffic jams along the road, and vice versa.
We now know from James Hatt's post that this scheme was designed to be a major motorway junction. But it isn't, thankfully, so the capacity is providing very localised benefit to motorised traffic at a big cost to the local community and to those not using cars and vans. And many traders and customers of businesses also walk and use bikes. The flyover also means you cannot cross OKR or NKR for several hundred metres east or west.