Cycling Wasteland No. 2 is dealing with a major obstacle for cyclists in Central London. This one annoys me particularly because it has been built on purpose and it is utterly unnecessary. It’s not only a missed opportunity but a man made nuisance for cyclists.
I’m ranting against the fact that Lloyd Baker Street is a one way street.
Probably you’ve never heard about this street. It’s a small and quiet road in Clerkenwell crossing Amwell Street. It’s an important street for cyclists who want to go from Angel towards Tottenham Court Road.
As you can see on the map the most direct route on quite roads from Angel towards the West leads through this tiny street. Lloyd Baker Street connects the cycle path on Tavistock Torrington with Myddelton Square and the triangle St. John Street / Goswell Road / City Road.
Again, as with Bath Street, I’m only talking about 50 meters of road. After having entered Lloyd Baker Street one can turn right on Lloyd Street and then left on Lloyd Square / Wharton Street.
However, a law abiding cyclist coming from Myddelton Square who wants to get to Ampton Street (which leads to the Tavistock-Torrington cycle path) would have to make a significant detour. I suspect that a lot of cyclists just stick to busy main roads.
As you can see on the second picture there is a nasty barrier which currently blocks westbound traffic. However there is absolutely enough room to build a contraflow system.
The only sensible argument opening Lloyd Baker Street for westbound cyclists could be that the next junction (Wharton Street / King’s Cross Road) is a little bit difficult to cross. It is a little bit hard to see the traffic on King’s Cross Road while standing on Wharton Street. If this was a concern, it could easily be addressed: just install traffic lights at this junction.
Major Boris Johnson has pledged to ignite a “cycling revolution” in London. The city is spending million of pounds on the cycling hire scheme and “cycling superhighways”. However, there are a lot of small things which could be done to significantly improve safety and convenience for cyclists in London. In this section named “London’s Cycling Wasteland” I’m going to present some examples. They are coming from my own daily experiences on London roads.
I’m starting with an example that annoys me each time I’m cycling towards the City from Highbury. It is all about the northern end of Bath Street in Clerkenwell and the Old Street roundabout aka “Junction of Death” in Shoreditch.
The collision has reignited safety concerns over the busy roundabout – one of the worst for crashes in the capital. Thousands of cars, cyclists and lorries use it every day. Cyclist Leo Chapman, who lives nearby in Finsbury, said: “I wouldn’t go around that roundabout, it is just too dangerous. “You could easily get squeezed by somebody and there are too many lanes.”
He suggested cyclists avoid the roundabout by using Shepherdess Walk, Bath Street and Bunhill Row.Charlie Lloyd, cycling development officer of London Cycling Campaign, told the Gazette: “The roundabout has a bad track record. It is among the top three for crashes in London.”
Leo is talking about this area and he is absolutely right: In theory Shepherdess Walk, Bath Street and Bunhill Row are perfect for avoiding the Old Street roundabout. Legally, however, this works only for northbound cyclists. Southbound cyclists, unfortunately have to break the law if they want to avoid the “Junction of Death” – the northern end of Bath Street currently is a one way street without any contraflow system.