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E&C: back to the drawing board?

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Tuesday 4 November 2008 3.20pm
A good summary, Luke. I was there too - I hope to turn my notes into a news story by tomorrow morning.

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Wednesday 5 November 2008 10.21am
"The issue is apparently that Lend Lease's scheme allows 6 seconds more green time for pedestrians than TfL feel is right. And that TfL have reviewed there previous models and reckon that their previous work underestimated car traffic impacts. "

Excellent post, Luke. You have got to the nub of it. TfL's priority in opposing the Southern roundabout scheme is to keep Elephant and Castle as a clearway for motor traffic, whatever the costs to pedestrians and other road users. On (former regen director) Chris Horn's figures motorists represent 17% of those travelling through E&C and yet the whole enterprise is held hostage to their interests. This goes against many of TfL stated aims, for example in "Improvising Walkability", TfL's best practice guide to improving pedestrian conditions as part of development opportunities:

"The Walking Plan for London (TfL 2004,
Objective 4), says that the needs of
pedestrians should be fully considered
in all public and private development
proposals and that designs should
maximise pedestrian access and
convenience and minimise crime risks.

"The Mayor of London's Transport Strategy,
TfL, 2001, says that TfL will work with the
London Boroughs and others to make
London one of the most walking friendly
cities for pedestrians by 2015."

You can find more here

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/improving-walkability2005.pdf

Who is holding TfL accountable to their stated policies in this connection?
Wednesday 5 November 2008 11.18am
It's interesting to look at the transport 'direction of travel' document Boris published today in the light of the E&C wrangles:

http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/publications/2008/11/way-to-go.jsp

He is pledging to give longer green phases for motorists at junctions across London. There are lots of warm words about 'shared space' and walking and cycling too, though.

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Wednesday 5 November 2008 12.31pm
The document also rejects (as Boris himself has done publicly a number of times) the concept of a "hierarchy of road users" that placed pedestrians' needs at the top of the agenda though. That might explain a difference in approach but, of course, TfL has been dragging its feet on this since well before Boris was elected.
Wednesday 5 November 2008 1.00pm
Precisely., And I have written to Boris saying that the people in TFL sitting warming their chairs and racheting up fees is nothing short of a disgrace. I dare say that Ken was not pressured, he was sure he would be elected. But now Boris is the one who's going to get the flack if this project is delayed further, punishing the residents of the E&C.
Wednesday 5 November 2008 3.54pm
Mark, try crossing new kent road from driscoll house side to the garage, you take your life in your hands, about 6 seconds to go to the traffic island, then when you wait for the green to cross, the shutter obliterates it, and you still get 6 seconds...lethal..
Friday 7 November 2008 4.55am
Hi James, reading "Way to Go" you have to give Johnson credit for a lively prose style. The policies, though, appear to have been made up by Johnson on the spot based on, well, based on how Boris FEELS.

He observes "A culture where adults are too often terrified of the swearing, staring in your faceness of the younger generation. ... A feeling of oppression is compounded by the thought that public transport is the only option."

"Traffic lights seem to linger an unconscionable time in red ..." he moans.

"Why is it that so many buses seem half-empty?" he exclaims.

Johnson nails the issues: "London's biggest villain, the biggest enemy of smooth-flowing traffic [is] the hole in the road ... The bendy bus is a famed blocker of traffic ..."

No actual evidence is offered for any of these observations, no surveys, no statistics. Johnson's transport decisions will apparently be decided not by the facts, not by a review of best practice, but how one man FEELS about things, perhaps filtered through a couple of newspaper columns. This is amateur hour.
Friday 7 November 2008 5.10am
Jan the old one wrote:
Mark, try crossing new kent road from driscoll house side to the garage, you take your life in your hands, about 6 seconds to go to the traffic island, then when you wait for the green to cross, the shutter obliterates it, and you still get 6 seconds...lethal..
Jan: whatever the Mayor's warm words about the public space, his blocking of pedestrian-friendly schemes speaks for itself. When I was out door knocking in SE11 asking locals about the impact of the congestion charge, the thing I noticed was how many people on the estates spoke of their children, or neighbours' children being hit and injured by traffic. (I have not been able to find any evidence about this, I don't know if hospitals report injuries this way.) You have to judge people by their actions and Johnson's actions are unambiguous: in the hierarchy of road users he (like TfL) represents the driver. The inner city - E&C especially - is somewhere to be negotiated as quickly as possible. Without stopping.
Friday 7 November 2008 9.55am
Jan - I often cross the NKR there. If you press the button, the traffic stops within seconds. I also regularly cross the ringroad on Marylebone Road. It can easily take 5 minutes to cross the two carriageways.

Bendy buses definitely cause extra congestion. I followed one on Tuesday morning over Lambeth bridge and through Westminster. There was never any chance to pass it when it stopped at bus stops, because it's great fat rear was stuck in the road. A double decker would have tucked into the bus stop. It took up both lanes at roundabouts.
Friday 7 November 2008 10.20am
From transport commissioner Peter Hendy's report to the TfL board this week:

Peter Hendy wrote:
The southern roundabout at Elephant and Castle is an important node on the Inner Ring Road. The scheme for this junction was re-examined to ensure that all had been done to smooth traffic flow, while retaining benefits for cyclists and pedestrians and in terms of the urban realm. As a consequence, TfL has developed a more balanced solution to meet the requirement, which is now being worked into a detailed design for discussion with Southwark Council and key stakeholders.

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