Monday, 21 April 2014

Scandalous new scheme at Holborn Circus

Holborn Circus is a six-armed junction, which used to have a statue of Prince Albert on a horse in the middle. The Corporation has removed the statue because it was deemed to be "a significant contributor to road accidents". But have they made the junction safer for people cycling? The North South axis (Hatton Gardens - Fetter Lane) is the most useful for cycling because it allows people to avoid the dangerous and ugly Farringdon Road. Holborn Circus is now no longer reachable from Hatton Gardens. The Southern end now has a No Entry sign:


The pavement on the left has now become "shared space" with small bicycle signs faintly painted. However there are no signs or indications of what one should do. If one continues ahead (and there are no signs saying one cannot), then one has to negotiate this incredibly complex junction without being able to tell who has a green light, because the Hatton Gardens arm has lost its traffic light. The engineers do not expect you to take such a suicidal route. But look what they have in store for you: Somehow you are meant to understand that the curvature in the small paving is a recommendation for you to turn left, around a blind corner (still on the pavement):


So you follow the snake, around a blind corner, with only 40cm of pavement, make a sharp right and stop at Charterhouse Street:


You are now supposed to cross the street, but there are no lights for cycles here, only for pedestrians further to the right. This means you have to guess which arm of the junction has green and whether that traffic will come down Charterhouse Street:


Do you see, now there is a vehicle turning into Charterhouse Street from High Holborn; when High Holborn gets a red, the lorry waiting at Fetter Lane may drive down towards you. During the day, it will be very difficult to guess when it is safe to cross:


As you and a few others play this Russian roulette, you are of course blocking the pavement for all pedestrians.

Moreover, notice how the advisory cycle lane down Charterhouse Street begins only AFTER the pinch point:


This is a criminally deficient scheme. I will be writing to the Corporation to take immediate remedial action, before someone gets seriously injured.

Finally, with the removal of the signal at Hatton Gardens, the engineers should have installed a zebra crossing there.