Monday, 7 September 2015

To cross a superhighway

A short section of the East-West Superhighway has opened on the Embankment in London. And it is fantastic.

There are plenty of informal crossing points for coach passengers, but this blog post is to focus on how TFL have designed the pedestrian crossings at junctions, since we now have one operational example of it.

And they are terrible.

Great to see TFL designing cycle infrastructure to the same standard as the road alongside, but we don't need
car specific infrastructure here.

TFL has opted for signalised pedestrian crossings where the road alongside also has one. I can see why this approach is necessary in some locations, such as on Cycle Superhighway 5, where space is limited

I can see why TFL would opt to signalise the cycle track here on CS5, even if I don't agree with the decision
But this treatment on Embankment is bad for cycles and pedestrians.

They are bad because they cause unnecessary delays for cycles and pedestrians. While cycles have to wait a short period for the signal to turn green after pedestrians have crossed, when I timed how long it took for pedestrians to cross it took 57 seconds for pedestrians to get a green man. With a zebra crossing here pedestrians and cycles would barely have to wait for each other at all.

Pedestrians who wait for a green man may have to wait up to 57 seconds to do so.
Also, few people wish to use TFL's stagger arrangement, because it is unnecessary and indirect. Most pedestrians vote with their feet and don't use it. This isn't some form of protest, it is just people following the most direct route. Fully expected behaviour that TFL attempts to deny the existence of.

Pedestrians who want to walk Eastbound here aren't going to go in the wrong direction to use a staggered crossing

Even for westbound pedestrians, the crossing is unattractive and off the desire line.

This is a negative blog post about an otherwise fantastic piece of infrastructure, but problems like this need to be addressed, because otherwise this will become the standard design for London. We can't ignore problems like this just because it is better than before.