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New E&C road layout appears to be working?

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Saturday 12 December 2015 8.53pm
John C, when I look at the map I am so pleased that I no longer sit behind a wheel, I was not safe fifty years ago to handle the roundabout, let alone now!
Monday 14 December 2015 3.33pm
Between Rockingham Street and the entrance to MCH the road has been made into one lane with a massive island inbetween the road and the cycle lane about 20 m long.

I'm not sure what this island is for. The cycle lane then appears to trumpet out to the rounabout whilst the traffic lane is one lane shared with buses.

I [email protected] know if this is the final layout but are TFL really going to merge all traffic into one lane here ? Prior to this there were three lanes, two for traffic and the bus lane at the junction of the roundabout.

The tailbacks currently down Newington Causeway are awful, plus people are cutting through Gaunt street now and then blocking the Northbound traffic on NC in their effort to join the southbound traffic. The same tailbacks are at St Georges Circus and that's finished now and quite categorically a disaster.

I'm all for preventing cyclists dying at the E and C but this is not the way to do it.
Monday 14 December 2015 3.49pm
No one has mentioned Blackfriars Road lately. It's a deathtrap for pedestrians and cyclists at the moment and there will be only two lanes of traffic instead of four. Presumably when buses stop, or a vehicle needs to make a turn, everything behind them has to stop as well. I can't get my head round all this chaos!
Monday 14 December 2015 4.04pm
It's shown on the 'final' design. (though this and what is being built seem slightly different).

Hopefully the Newington Causeway tailbacks are caused by two things:

(1) unfamiliarity with the 'no turn left' rule, caused in no small part by a lot of people relying on out of date GPSs, so that London Bridge - Kent traffic is destined to be on Great Dover Street in future.

(2) narrowing the junction to one lane, from the intended two, during construction.

Both of these are temporary, so until it's settled in, we won't get a proper sense of the outcome.

As you say, before there were three lanes, Buses, Left and Right/Straight-on. After we'll have two, both for right/straight on, and no left turning traffic.

I'm going to be doggedly enthusiastic, I'm already greatly enjoying my surface level walk to the Bakerloo Line from Strata. No doubt this phase of the build has been very disruptive, and some of the communications failures are really poor (not having the right road signs up, for example, one day 1), but we'll get there.

Edit - I find it heartening that the plurality of voters in the internet poll also back 'it's too early to say'.
Wednesday 23 December 2015 12.14am
Quarter past midnight, and traffic is still backed up down Newington Causeway.
Wednesday 23 December 2015 11.30pm
It's nearly Christmas, and the optimism about The Bend peppering this thread is almost contagious, but I'm sorry, reality and scepism cuts through the seasonal spirit and I have bad news to report

Everyone I've spoken to working at or for TfL so far, whether that's street guides, bus inspectors or many of the contractors building it, have described the new system in phrases like this "cock up", "almighty balls up", "disaster", "I can't sleep at night worrying what will happen", "they wouldn't listen", "you called many of these", "do tell the call centre, we need this logged", "it looks weird to me", "there's no way we're opening the new cycle paths until we've got our head around this chaos" etc. The main project sponsor at TfL left the company the week before it open. When I met Hugo Terry's replacement she was eager to reassure me she both knew little about the project she'd taken on, and that she was a temp. Hugo was a shrewd rodent (I'm sure he'll excuse me for saying that, he was always pleasant to converse with in our adversarial encounters, a tremendous optimist).

You don't need to walk, drive, cycle or ride through The Bend to know something's wrong. Just linger there by whatever method you arrived and keep your eyes closed. Your ears will tell you. The frequent bleating of horns says something's wrong. It continues 24 hours a day. Perronet House residents know this.

Open your eyes and take in the spectacle of the new "urban motorway". This is the very thing our councillors and TfL's Leon Daniels talk so proudly of having removed. But it has been enlarged, to make real the misperceptions of the old less generous provision of tarmac and lanes. We now have a 7 lane road (8 including the unopened cycle path) at it's vastest stretch, a bend that mutates during a 24 cycle from clog to race track. Pedestrians can no longer pass beneath the fray but are now forced to wait around for their brief seconds to cross it. The terrible congestion in the early days of the Bend was most efficiently solved on day 3 when TfL slashed green man time to the minimum on the West Bound ring road and obscured the countdowns. What we have doesn't satisfy the old desire line of the previous surface crossing, so people are already wandering across and taking the diagonal.

The unease and frustration from users, whether bus passengers, drivers, taxis, cyclists or pedestrians, that I'm registering on social media (@roundaboutnews) and Facebook.com/elephantandcastleroundabout confirms the concerns I've expressed for many years about this project. Creating a pointless piazza as a sap to developers should never have been prioritised over safe, efficient pleasant travel. Leon Daniels quotes in the South London Press and at the GLA reported via @SE1 on Twitter confirm that 'beautiful' place making is his aim. TfL and the council knowingly made in more congested for every user. While that may deter some from passing through and encourage shifts in method of transport, it seems a foolish cost in return for a piazza when the same leaders are so eager for this area to attract more people to live, shop and work here.

Southwark Cyclists have posted criticisms online and say it's now worse than what was there before. While much of the cycling provision has yet to open, when it does much of it is very indirect (and therefore not attractive to the cyclist in a hurry), and much of it puts cyclists into direct conflict with pedestrians on both unsegregated pavements and in segregations on very congested pavements. The new cycling provision is a PR spectacle to show TfL's enthusiasm to deal with the previous dangers, but I suggest is largely unhelpful and only riles other road users into blaming cyclists for their more inconvenient journey (Taxi drivers on Twitter especially).

It wasn't a dangerous junction for pedestrians. It was unpleasant and particularly confusing for new comers and occasional users largely because of the almost entirely inadequate directional signage. As a regular user now I can confirm I've had to avoid traffic crossing during a green man on three separate occasions. It's particularly prevalent when crossing to the island from the Bakerloo station as drivers who skip the lights coming out of London Road are thrust towards pedestrians crossing on the tight corner. Senior people have expressed their concerns directly too me, sadly off the record.

Instead of the complacent optimism from our local leaders we need scrutiny and pressure for changes to the design, from better signage and road markings to pedestrian traffic lights on the side you are crossng from so blocked buses don't obscure them). Sadly, like the optimists here, they probably assume the "62% complete" sign from Ringway Jacobs means 38% better new transport infrastructure is yet to be built. It's wrong. Most of that 38% is just on the landscaping job, the biggest part of which is outside Metro Central Heights. The new cycle provision is almost ready and the final new pedestrian crossing is virtually ready to open as well at the top of the link road. Ringway Jacobs expect to complete well before May.

Some residents at Perronet House, where we get a gripping bend-side view of the near misses, are taking bets on when the first fatality with be recorded. I logged 5 collisions between motorists in the first 10 days, witnessing two myself as if in a Final Destination movie. Given the bloodymindedness which with this scheme has been pushed through by our politicians and their developers (under the guise of the secretive "Strategic Stakeholder Group" which excluded all residents and user groups), and the enthusiasm with which pedestrian space has been shrunk overall (strange but true), it'll require real bloodshed for the instigators and cheer leaders of this project to realise their terrible legacy.

Council Leader Peter John is bullish it will turn out to be great when complete - we shared column inches debating this in last week's Southwark News under the headline "Elephant and Farcical". Cllr and MP Neil Coyle has been trying to make me believe he had nothing to do with this project, even though attendees of Community Council during 2014 will recall he chose not to speak out or support any of us who contributed concerns about the proposal for the roundabout. As a dutiful cabinet member he backed his Labour colleagues and their developer friends as they pressed TfL into delivering The Bend and not retaining the roundabout and a subway as TfL had insisted was wise as recently as 2011 (the video's on my YouTube channel). He never chose to question the dubious research methodology that secured TfL's strong show of public support, like turkeys voting for Christmas. If our MP and local councillor is so keen we believe he had no role in backing The Bend, perhaps he should publicly express concerns about it now, in advance of the inevitable tragedy here rather than complacently, optimistically hoping it doesn't happen? The pedestrian collisions don't need to clock up very many incidents for the data to show safety has deteriorated.
Sunday 27 December 2015 10.44am
TFL should have insisted on keeping the roundabouts and subways on safety grounds alone. Department for Transport statistics for the last 5 years show that roundabouts were the safest form of traffic junction. Google these reports if you want unbiased figures.

"Reported accidents by junction type, built-up and non built-up roads and severity, Great Britain, 2014", and the previous four years show the same trend.

You don't have to be much of a driver to know that it is far quicker and safer navigating a well designed roundabout than attempting to join from a badly designed junction. As for removing the safest form of pedestrian crossing, a subway, I was speechless, or rather I took to this forum at the time.

I am all for well designed simple fast bike lanes, but trying to shoehorn inappropriate designs into our existing roads smacks of the same politically motivated posturing as the introduction of Bendy Buses, how did that one go?

You cannot force London to be like Amsterdam, Berlin or Washington.
Sunday 27 December 2015 12.00pm
Jerry, figures for all of the roundabouts in the UK have absolutely no relevance to what the E&C roundabout was like to use.

You said yourself, "you don't have to be much of a driver to know that it is far quicker and safer navigating a well designed roundabout than attempting to join from a badly designed junction" - Elephant was never a well designed roundabout, it was badly designed and inappropriate for its location, and that had serious consequences.

TfL's stats at the roundabout and its approach system, which are relevant, are here in the (Living Streets Report on this matter, show that for the 30 months from 1st January 2010 and 30th June 2012 there were five deaths, four of them pedestrians, one motorcyclists. There were 38 serious injuries, effecting all types of vehicle, and 241 'minor' injuries.

The Mirror have some slightly different figures which are similarly damming.

You've every right to criticise the implementation of the changes, or like Perronettian, when chatting in person, argue that some subways should have been part of the redesign, but to say that this junction was safe is impossible to substantiate.
Sunday 27 December 2015 1.37pm
I've found the pedestrian experience pretty good so far with one very worrying exception - crossing from the Bakerloo station across London Road at a green man light I had a nearmiss with a bus which turned into London Rd- don't know where the bus came from or at what point it had missed a red light. Worrying though.
Monday 28 December 2015 7.41am
As an experienced cyclist, I could never argue that the E&C roundabout was ever safe. I've had a few hairy moments on it and am thankful that I'm not now just a stat in a fatalities report.
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