Sunday, 9 August 2009

One-way street syndrome

So there I was yesterday evening, cycling up Lyttelton Road E10, heading for High Road Leyton. But half way down it I came to a NO ENTRY sign. The Council has determined that managing motor vehicle traffic flow requires sending drivers along York Road. But I didn't want to go down York Road, which would have taken me in exactly the opposite direction I wanted to go.

I was therefore obliged to use my Harry Potter magical powers to get me to the end of Lyttelton Road, where I paused to look back and take the above photograph.

The interesting thing about Lyttelton Road is that it has a park running down the entire length of one side of it. In other words, no pressure for residential parking (because as we know, the second major human right after the right to drive, is the right to park in the street outside your own home). It is not on a bus route and there are no bus stops. Therefore it would be perfectly feasible to run a two-way cycle lane along the whole length of Lyttelton Road, on the north side, adjacent to the park, separated from motor traffic by a concrete kerb.

This has not happened and I am sure it will never happen, because the provision of on-street car parking for people who won't walk, cycle or use public transport, is a greater priority than providing safe and convenient cycling facilities. Similarly, managing motor vehicle flow is achieved with complete indifference to the impact it has on cyclists. One-way streets continue to grow in number in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

This is just one of 753 reasons why I don't believe Greater London will ever be an attractive city for cycling in, and why there isn't going to be a massive shift to the bicycle. Not without these sorts of structural transformation, which are currently not on the horizon for either planners or politicians.