Saturday, 23 January 2010

Hope in Highgate hell?

CYCLISTS struggling in heavy traffic through a "dangerous" one-way system could benefit from plans to improve road safety.

The Wellington Gyratory, the main route into Highgate from the A1, is often jammed with motorists and blighted by traffic fumes making it almost impossible to navigate the busy network of lanes.

TfL had looked into various ways to ease traffic flow in consultation with residents and decided that removing the gyratory altogether would be too expensive.

Hundreds of millions of pounds are spent ‘improving’ roads for motorists but when it comes to improvements for cyclists and pedestrians, suddenly it all becomes far too expensive. And that toxic term ‘easing traffic flow’ usually means simply accommodating increasing amounts of motor traffic and promoting car dependency and fossil fuel addiction.

However, there is a possible little ray of sunshine:

A TfL spokeswoman said: "Transport for London is currently looking at whether a segregated cycle lane can be installed around the Wellington Gyratory to help improve cycle safety. This work is currently in the design stage and if approved, TfL hopes to be able to carry out the work within the next financial year.

I reserve judgement on what a TfL 'segregated cycle lane' will turn out to be like. In my experience British segregated cycle lanes are poorly maintained and usually involve the cyclists having to give way at entrances and side roads, slowing you down so much you might just as well stick to the main road. Which is precisely what most cyclists in Waltham Forest do on Lea Bridge Road (A104).