Old Street Roundabout cycle tracks not to be built until 2018

In Nov 14-Jan15 Transport for London consulted on a scheme to make Old Street Roundabout safe for cycling and walking.
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More than 1,300 comments were received. The headline results:

  • 87% of respondents believed that the proposals would improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists
  • 63% believed that bus and tube passengers would also benefit

In May 2015 TfL concluded

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Two years have passed and nothing has happened. If one looks at the TfL website, there is no mention of when the cycle tracks will be built. Moreover the Roundabout was NOT included in the new list of  73 dangerous junctions.

So, what is going on?

We are grateful to Caroline Russell, LAM to ask the following questions to TfL:

1. Why has the scheme not gone ahead, and why is TfL still “working on proposals”?

Following the conclusion of the public consultation on Old Street roundabout in January 2015, we also considered an integrated proposal that included an upgrade of Old Street station and potential commercial development. Consideration was given to both sets of proposals to ensure we secured the best value for our customers with minimal disruption.

It was not prudent for us to continue with detailed design of the roundabout project during this period, as there was a risk of work being aborted if the integrated proposals went ahead. Having decided to progress the original roundabout proposals, we have now issued a tender for the detailed design and construction of the project and expect to award this contract at the beginning of September, with a view to commencing enabling work by the end of the year.

2. Why hasn’t the Roundabout been listed in the 73 junctions to be improved for cycling, walking, motorcycling, under its new safer junctions programme?

The 73 projects recently announced as part of the Safer Junctions programme have been included as they all saw a higher than average collision rate in the three most recent years analysed. Old Street has also had a higher than average number of collisions in previous years, which was one factor that led to it being identified as a key location requiring the improvements we are now looking to deliver.

However, whilst we recognise there are safety improvements to be made, the Old Street project also seeks to transform the public realm and promote active travel, so is included in our new Healthy Streets programme. The project will provide increased cycling facilities, including segregated cycle routes where possible, and will replace three of the four existing subways with surface-level crossings. A new station entrance will also provide a place where people can stop and rest and a new lift will provide step-free access to the retail concourse in St Agnes Well.

The Safer Junctions programme will be reviewed annually to monitor changes and trends, and will include additional locations if and when they are identified.

3. How much has TfL spent so far in preparing the proposals and consulting?

At the end of the last financial year the total value of work done was £2.9m. This includes, but isn’t limited to, preliminary, feasibility and concept design, surveys and modelling of pedestrians and traffic, structural surveys, ground investigations, public consultation and staff time. This represents just over 10 per cent of the estimated final cost of the project, which is £26.6m. As a general rule across the industry, design and development costs usually make up between 15-25 per cent of a total project budget.

At the time of writing, the TfL website says:

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… which seems to be another potential spanner in the works and possible further delays to the start of work.

We are also concerned of this phrase:

segregated cycle routes where possible

This is in line with the shoddy approach to cycle safety by the present Mayor.

No Sadiq, you need to install cycle tracks WHERE NEEDED, not where possible.

Contrast this lethargy with the speed they installed the safety barriers on bridges (in the wrong place) after the London Bridge incident.

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