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New E&C road layout appears to be working?

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Current: 8 of 22
Tuesday 5 January 2016 10.19pm
It's a confusing mess designed it seems to cause more delay and little benefit for anyone.
Wednesday 6 January 2016 9.53pm
Two interesting conversations over the last 48hrs to report from senior roundabout people, who both concluded (all be it as a fairly empty gesture), that if this new design isn't liked, then it will be changed.

1. I collared Mayor Johnson after spotting him as we both walked along Bermondsey St yesterday lunch time and got a 3 min one to one. After my preamble about the increased dangers and tangible frustration expressed online and with incessant honking he responded by saying 'give it a chance', and described how he'd cycled through recently and it wasn't really open or ready to judge. Warning him that the roads were very much almost complete and that I'd been told some cycle lanes were not yet open due to anxieties from TfL's contractor Ringway Jacobs and TfL running the project as well as local cyclists, I encouraged less optimism and more analysis. After some guffawering about having to do something, that at least it was worth a go, he pushed with the rhetorical, "so we've ballsed up at the Elephant have we" - yes Boris, you have, "then we'll just have to fix it won't we". I encouraged him to enthuse this more pragmatic approach amongst his TfL people and friends in the Tory party like Peter John who run Southwark Council who were remaining bullishly optimistic. And off he went.

2. Between Leon Daniels of TfL's Surface Division on BBC London Radio today, and the host Eddie Nestor and an angry local caller... listen again here from 52mins in:
A few noteworthy moments worthy of a gasp:
1. He bizarrely compares chalk with cheese by suggesting the southern roundabout removal should give us confidence that the same trick can work again in the north... despite it having 3 roads not 5, fewer bus routes, barely any bus stops, and surely far far fewer pedestrians too. No mention of the cyclist's death there since his improvements either.
2. He talks of removing the urban motorway cutting through the 'church, university and shopping centre'. a motorway he's barely touched in the new scheme, only narrowing the carriageway slightly, but giving that space over to cyclists on the other side of the pavement. Pedestrians lose out here on the western side by being squeezed onto an island pavement with fast moving traffic on both sides.
3. He's determined that familiarity and the final works will sort out the reported problems... the emphasis of the conversation was on the headline grabbing congestion, not pedestrian or cyclist issues at all.
4. He once again peddled the cliches of aesthetics about the subways and wasn't challenged about their precious segregation, safety, efficiency or shelter relative to slow and sometimes indirect surface crossings.
5. "We won't sentence you to 50 years.... give us to the summer and if you don't like it we'll fix it". Well that's an admission of sorts we should welcome. It's just a pity all the experts on site now will have left by then. It'd be better they started listening to critics and working with us to fix problems now.
Tuesday 12 January 2016 11.23am
OMG it's all FAR worse than we ever dreamed. TFL in its wisdom, having dispensed with a chunk of the roundabout, and put in a two way traffic flow with innumerable lights, having done away with the underpasses hence necessitating lots of pedestrian crossings, has turned the entire place into one huge traffic jam. Furthermore, acres and acres of new paving (already, of course, littered with chewing gum) are supposed to enable the community to sit outside on benches under the trees (amid the roaring, belching traffic, in pouring rain). When will TFL realise that a CGI of sunny, tree besprinkled piazzas with happy residents lolling on the benches is something that may be suitable for BARCELONA, not central London. What it's all costing doesnt bear thinking about and it is far from being any kind of improvement. UGH!!
Tuesday 12 January 2016 12.48pm
i must admit i have been waiting to see how it is going to work but now part of me is thinking if we do not let congestion for london and the powers that be know it is not working the workmen will disappear and we will be stuck with the mess and putting it right in the long term will cost a fortune so maybe we are better off screaming now whilst the workmen are still there and can still chanage things
Tuesday 12 January 2016 2.10pm
I encourage everyone to pressure the local politicians who pushed TfL into a piazza as well as TfL directly. Patrick Kelly, the Ringway Jacobs Public Liaison Officer (an ex policeman), attended a Residents Association meeting at Perronet House late last year and encouraged us to point out issues sooner rather than later because he believed there was a better chance of getting things fixed while his colleagues were on site. Our politicians and the headhonchos at TfL are not conveying this message but see no evil, hear no evil, at least not until the summer once Ringway Jacobs have packed up. Please do share concerns with Patrick Kelly, he's a really considerate and diligent chap, but just a messenger between us users and the decision makers at TfL and new to the project since the autumn, replacing Glenn Tobin who some of you may have corresponded with.

Judging by the continued noise on Twitter and Facebook I'm reading, from pedestrians, cyclists, bus users, cabbies and at last one lonely local opposition party councillor (@adelecathedrals thank you), there are a lot of people screaming, but we need a few more.

Screaming does work. Ringway Jacobs have just recently, in response to several voices of criticism, intervened to try and prevent a couple of new pedestrian dangers, first by fencing off the blind corner by LCC with the sharp red metal beam sticking out of it (an effort which has the unhelpful effect of guiding pedetrians directly into the corner of the cycle lane), and secondly by installing pedestrian guard rails on the pathetically small island over Newington Causeway that will open in a few weeks - guard rails are deeply unfashionable with the designers of this scheme, and not part of the original specification, but are another visible concession (and new cyclist danger) to the failure of the planned layout for pedestrians. I'm keen they remove the two pairs of dropped kerbs for shared space on the left turn out of Newington Causeway and onto the southern side of London Road where cyclists are put into direct conflict with pedestrians at crossings... just for starters.

dee dee wrote:
i must admit i have been waiting to see how it is going to work but now part of me is thinking if we do not let congestion for london and the powers that be know it is not working the workmen will disappear and we will be stuck with the mess and putting it right in the long term will cost a fortune so maybe we are better off screaming now whilst the workmen are still there and can still change things
Tuesday 12 January 2016 2.38pm
With reference to James' nicely detailed report today of the closure of the subways, ( it's worth noting the article is strangely truncated in 1957 with a tale of the 100 year history missing commentary about any of the subsequent 59 years and the all important recent path to demolition.

The subways described in 1957 were replaced in 1959 by what's recently been demolished. These subways were given a big transformation in the mid 1990s with murals by David Bratby and Denise Cook (gallery here: as well as German porcelain mosaic tiles by LCC students. Cheerful to some, the big flaw was the new blue enamel signage installed at this time was hard to read, unnecessarily complicated and not updated as buildings and businesses came and went - (our video detailed these: The subways inevitably felt unnerving to anyone unfamiliar with the efficiency and safety they offered only once decoded!

Despite this TfL usage data and Met Police crime data showed that, unlike James' emphasis on a 1957 perspective, they were actually busy and far far less blighted by crime than the adjacent surface pavements. Perceptions sadly didn't match reality and Leon Daniels comments last week sum up the undeniable prevailing attitude that their grime and pungency was sufficient reason to fill them with cement. Although as recently as 2011 TfL said publicly that there was a case to retain at least one subway the prevailing local wish was for total demolition, backed up by a dodgy TfL survey offering their replacement with WIDE pedestrian crossings (as TfL mischievously sold them), as if a wide surface crossing offered any credible advantage over a narrow surface crossing, the important measure actually being duration and frequency of the green man which turns out to be stingy and already shaved to the minimum at one crossing to prioritise traffic flow. Despite a few hundred people got together under the banner of to try and shift these misperceptions and the long term council ambition of demolition, we failed.

The hard fought for case to have subways built here made by politicians 100 years ago (and found in Hansard by James) was ignorantly dismissed by critics a century later as the remnant of a crazy car-culture of the 1960s rather than a great Edwardian contribution to the area upgraded and modernised in the late 1950s in response to modernist reforming types like Herbert Morrison MP.

These words in Hansard from 1904 are devastatingly relevant today (except we have diesel buses instead of electric trams): "The necessity for these subways at this spot was even greater now than when the Bill was passed having regard to the very great danger to pedestrians through the advent of electric trains, which came from all parts, travelling very rapidly and thereby increasing the danger to foot-passengers at this crossing."
Tuesday 12 January 2016 5.06pm
TfL's Leon Daniels says:

We've put something in that people told us that they liked

Who? How many motorists said that?

How are you supposed to drive from New Kent Road into St Georges Road quickly and safely with this new layout? It's ridiculous!
Tuesday 12 January 2016 6.19pm
Leon Daniel's is quoting their fantastically manipulative consultation (it was online and advertised in the Standard, but focused on getting feedback from local cyclists and pedestrians who they were confident would mostly fall for their tricks) from April 2014. It was effectively a push poll with a few leading questions inviting agreement with the plans cooked up by the secretive Strategic Stakeholder Group over the preceding 18 months that comprised of only local landowners, no user groups (Southwark Council, Lend Lease, St Modwen, LCC and a possibly a few others, chaired by Pat Brown, a self proclaimed do-er rather than thinker They intentionally, despite protestations, excluded the two large adjacent residential blocks of Metro Central Heights and Perronet House and didn't seek out views from road user groups. The big role of the Strategic Stakeholder Group signifies the true intentions of the 25m investment, an intention since confirmed in writing by Cllr Peter John and in words by Leon Daniels - the investment was designed to beautify the area, to make an urban spectacle (piazza) that would entice developers to demolish and rebuild adjacent buildings neglected by complacent landlords. Given pedestrian safety at the roundabout was no worse than average and congestion has been knowingly increased by TfL for all on average, the only functional effort for improving travel was for enhancing cycling safety, but the verdict at consultation from London Cycling Campaign and since then by Southwark Cyclists is so far unfavourable. It comes across as complex, indirect and collision-enhancing cycle provision.

At this stage it's unclear who wins except the contractor and consultants employed to build it all. The Strategic Stakeholder Group have clumsily designed and funded a scheme that in my view is worsening the blight of an unpleasant junction, and undermining the reputation of the many local Labour politicians who trumpeted it's arrival.

CaptainBlue wrote:
TfL's Leon Daniels says:
We've put something in that people told us that they liked

Who? How many motorists said that?

How are you supposed to drive from New Kent Road into St Georges Road quickly and safely with this new layout? It's ridiculous!
Tuesday 12 January 2016 11.30pm
The bus services really suffer still even though the roads seem largely in place by now.
Wednesday 13 January 2016 2.37pm
Its a mess, the buses are competing down NC and London Road. If you come down London road there are three lanes, two straight and one left to NC and NKR.

However this left lane is an extension of the bus lane and has around 5m of normal lane so in order for private traffic to turn left they have to compete with buses to get into that last bit of left lane and the queues this is causing...... and then the masterstroke.......there is a small cycle lane between the left land and middle lane where all the traffic is converging.

A lot of the road surfaces being laid down have had areas dug up already and the resurfacing has been atrocious, the quality of the work to simply lay down a smooth level surface appears to be proving a problem. I also notice the camber of the roundabout has changed, its like the northern roundabout has sunk a bit so the whole thing is an up and down joyride.
Current: 8 of 22

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