Having seen the improvements to the southern roundabout, I am very happy with the design for the north section. The subways are horrid. Yes they can be improved upon, but they will never be as nice as a normal street level crossing. Seeing as I nearly get run over every time I currently try to cross the road, I am frankly elated by the thought of a conventional crossing.
The subways absolutely have to go. The only way to control the traffic and lower the number of cars on the street is to prioritise pedestrians. All modes of transport can coexist but pedestrians, buses and cyclists must take priority.
My forcing people underground into subways you send out a clear message that driving into town is acceptable and encouraged, whilst the subway system has proven to fail time and time again.
This plan is far from ideal, and the original plan was far superior, yet it's a big strep in the right direction. Now if only we could get the shopping centre destroyed and some development on the hey gate in construction.
The thing is AdamLondon, the plan proposed doesn't lower the number of cars on the street, it just makes more of them spend longer chugging around the Elephant & Castle, and removing both a portion of road and the subways removes transport capacity from a city that any viewers of ROUTEMASTERS on BBC2 will have heard is at breaking point. With no plans to reduce population numbers, but with plans for them to sky rocket at the Elephant, it strikes me that the proposal is best suited for a luxury flat brochure's context setting graphic design and not for actually living or passing through here.
All this guff about 'forcing people underground'... where's the protest about the 150 year old Underground System? Just because you have to use your feet in a pedestrian subway shouldn't mean it's any less useful method of getting somewhere in a crowded city without room to put cars underground if that pedestrian space is clean, illuminated and clearly signposted - which the subways at the Elephant haven't been for a very long time, or perhaps ever. It doesn't mean they can't be, or the principle applied to a new pedestrian subway space here - I suggest a vase wide subterranean entrance to the new tube station linking it to the moat outside the shopping centre to preserve the quickest route for traffic along the Elephant's ring road and increase pedestrian flow into the shopping centre.
1) TfL have consistently been adamant that "pensinsularisation" will affect traffic flow. As far as I know they are still of this position, guided by the Mayor's vague "traffic smoothing" policy. We know from the congestion charge that when traffic has to pay more - in time or £s - some of it will find alternatives. These are often to use buses, cycle or walk. We don't know what the split of local and "long distance" traffic is at the Northern Roundabout, and TfL probably don't either given how fast cycle use is rising and how long ago the data their models use was collected. So it is arguable that the current traffic won't remain, delayed longer. The delay itself will spur change - perhaps some using other routes, but some not travelling, or choosing alternative ways of travel travelling, or even changing destination - shopping locally perhaps. Clearly Perronet house is currently next to two 4 lane roads, and the plans show one of these widening to 5 or 6. However those crossing from Walworth to the Bakerloo Line station will have two, perhaps even a single, wait at a crossing, rather than steps, a subway and two crossings, or four crossings. There are winners and losers, and there needs to be more analysis of this, which I hope there will be when we see plans and not architects pastels. The only plan on the table hitherto was that of Lend Lease, who wanted to increase the roundabout to 5 lanes anyway.
b) as a Walworth resident I, and probably many other people who live south of the Elephant, want to have a way of walking or cycling across the Elephant which doesn't mean making circuitous deviations underground around huge roundabouts. The existing subways will always do this, and signing is only any use to people who read signs. To me having to put signs to explain which way to go is a indication of failure: that the current infrastructure is not easily understood. If your suggestion above is to have a massive underground plaza connecting the shopping centre and the tube, that is a totally different suggestion to keeping the existing subways. But I would still prefer fewer cars, and if that won't work, people on top. People don't navigate on foot by signs, they navigate by visual stimuli - the sight of the Shard, Strata, a tube station, a road you know. The subways as they are will never permit this because they are designed to fit round a huge roundabout and so use circuitous routes.
Consultation announced on the Northern Roundabout by TfL here for the end of February next year.
Our proposal would create a major new public space, extending from the site of the shopping centre, by replacing the roundabout with a two-way signal controlled layout. This new layout would provide a better Balance between pedestrians, cyclist and motorists and allow for improvements to the interchange environment. The key design principles are:
Pedestrians – replacing subways with wide signalised crossings which allow people to cross directly between transport links and local amenities. This will make it easier and safer to move through the area at all times of the day.
Cyclists – creating dedicated and direct cycle routes through the junction to reduce areas of conflict and improve road safety. Helping to deliver a key part of the Mayor’s cycling vision which seeks to prioritise major and substantial improvements to London’s worst junctions.
Drivers – reducing manoeuvres which have historically resulted in collisions and using traffic signals to smooth journeys through the junction.
Bus users – improving the interchange between transport types and upgrading bus stops for easier access.
Public Space – Creating a high quality space that is attractive, accessible and flexible. This will enhance the local vitality of the area and the interchange environment
Looks like there will be no more details until then.
One of the main offenders in the scandalous delay in the Regeneration of the E&C has been TFL, all of the "consultants" warming their chairs for YEARS regarding the traffic flows and the crossings. IMHO the total abandonment of the underpasses is a bad idea. As someone pointed out, having everything, people, buses, cars and bicycles all above ground is a mistake. Either send the traffic underground (great idea) or keep the people going underground in a less labyrinthine network of tunnels. I personally like staying out of the rain and the traffic by using the underpasses, but they could really be simplified and better signed.
Eager as I always am to criticise TfL, it's rather unfair on the officers to blame them on a series of political decisions, made at mayoral level, that have caused their side of the delays:
1. let's have a tram (ken)
2. Let's remove the roundabouts (ken)
3. Let's cancel the tram (boris)
4. let's downgrade the planned upgrade of the southern roundabout, and cancel the northern one (boris)
5. Let's upgrade the tube station and remove the roundabout after all (boris).
The officers have done what they have been told to do.
All in favour of surface crossings, part of the necessary deal is using the space created by removing the elaborate ramps down to the subways for other things. It's done wonders on the south, and will in my opinion be good for the north.