East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

calling all cyclists using the Elephant and Castle

Southwark Cyclists are going to "audit" the infrastructure changes at the Elephant to see how they are working out. If you are a cyclist with an opinion (is there any other sort) then please let me know. You can pm me or reply here.

If you want to help with the audit which will mostly be counting while keeping an eye open for conflict with motors or pedestrians -- similarly get in touch
I cycle from ED, along Walworth Road, round E&C and up Newington Causeway to London Bridge and onwards.


I think the segregated cycle lane that skirts the outside edge is excellent and makes it feel much much safer. It may slow the journey down by a fraction, but it definitely improves safety and anyone that feels miffed about adding an extra minute to their journey is probably more of a problem than the motorised vehicles anyway.

Surprisingly, i've never had a pedestrian step out in front of me or get in the way. Perhaps because it's so well marked. Would love to see more of these.
thank you so much. How do you find the Walworth Road?

There's an alternative route via Surrey Canal Path, Burgess Park, Portland St, New Kent Road, E&C bypass which you might like to look at. Basically the Bike Train route with a right turn at the end

[www.google.com]

Sally
Sally Eva Wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------
> thank you so much. How do you find the Walworth
> Road?
>
> There's an alternative route via Surrey Canal
> Path, Burgess Park, Portland St, New Kent Road,
> E&C bypass which you might like to look at.
> Basically the Bike Train route with a right turn
> at the end
>
> [www.google.com]
> j3Ylf1S9eg44QbGvAD4qSbM&ll=51.49830130383333%2C-0.
> 0878830999999991&z=12
>
> Sally

I use that route regularly too, although I find the surrey canal annoying and almost feel like i'm intruding on the pedestrians. I'd hate to be a pedestrian using that route, particularly with kids.

I find Walworth Road mostly fine, It can get a bit snarled up at the end where it meets Elephant, but mostly I fly along in the bus lanes with no issues.
I use as little as possible of the canal path when we're not Bike Training because I know just what you mean about it.

There are alternative routes via Sumner Road (pretty much the full length of the canal path) and Glengall road. I turn off as soon as I can and use Glengall Road when I'm going to Bermondsey (or to QW1)
I often use the route through Surrey Canal, down Glengall, over Old Kent Road, then backstreets to the crossing at Tower Bridge Road, up Bermondsey Street, left on to Tooley Street, right over London Bridge.

One of the underpasses on Surrey Canal is closed at the moment, so I sometimes turn right off the canal, cross Peckham Hill Street, up Colegrove Road and onto Glengall Road. But, the road surface along most of Glengall Road is terrible.
I wish more people would take this route away from the underpass. It's sooooo much safer. The road surface is terrible, I couldn't agree more, but the visibility is good, traffic levels are low etc

glengall road is due to be used as part of QW83 so I reckon they are delaying all road maintenance till then. I would hope that the speed cushions get turned into full road-width humps too. However, for right now, anything is better than risking your neck on willowbrook road
I agree. It's surely only a matter of time before someone doesn't pay enough attention to the right and a vehicle comes over the bridge straight into them,
I use E&C all the time and I love what's been done with the junction for cyclists - having had several near-death experiences round the old system it's like paradise! I get the impression when I ride the bus through there that the motorised traffic flows better throughout the area as well, though this is purely subjective.

Two things I think could be done: firstly, there could be better signage on the shared space round the Faraday memorial to show that it is shared space - I've been shouted at a few times when crossing the plaza, which doesn't bother me but it's a shame if people think cyclists are breaking the law when they're not. In similar vein, as one turns into Walworth Road from Newington Butts there's a very useful pair of dropped kerbs to allow cyclists to bypass the lights, but apart from a small cycle symbol on the ground (which is in any case the same colour as the pavement) there's nothing to indicate this - again, I've had drivers shouting at me thinking I'm illegally using the pavement to jump the lights.

The other thing is the lack of a junction between New Kent Road and the Elephant system - during the week I ride round from Burgess Park via the NKR so it doesn't affect me, but with Mrs H at the weekend she prefers the quietest routes, so we take the Portland Street-Rodney Place-New Kent Road route, so leaving Rodney Place one can cycle along the pavement path (though it's not in the best condition) but then at Elephant Road one has to join a busy bus lane before reaching the lights and riding onto the plaza. Maybe if the two kiosks under the bridge could be relocated, assuming there's an equally good location for them so they won't lose out, the cycle lane could run all the way along to the plaza?

But these are minor problems with a terrific scheme; like TJ, I'd love to see more of these.
thanks Rendel. Mrs Harris sounds like my sort of cyclist and I always use the bypass (Meadow Row etc)around the E&C so it's too terrible for me altogether.

When you use the plaza where do you go next and how do you get there?
We ride across the face of the Faraday memorial to the Toucan crossing, cross over to join the path in front of the College of Communication building, cross over the next Toucan and join the cycle path up St.George's Road, from where we either go on to Lancaster Gate or down to Greenwich without sharing the road with motor traffic for all but a few very short stretches - it's an absolute joy!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 10, 04:14pm by rendelharris.

Hi Sally Eva, I haven't used the new lanes on the roundabout (as was) itself, I use the bypass over Newington Causeway. I have noticed that since the changes the route for cyclists to cross over the road is quite often blocked by traffic. This means I have to weave around cars etc, which is a bit unsafe as they clearly are unaware that cyclists might be trying to do so and are past the lights so could end up moving again when the lights change up ahead.

I'm not sure if that's because the light phasing now causes cars to back up further along that road than before, but I wonder if it could be solved by a yellow box junction?
Yes, I certainly know what you mean. When they did the roundabout TfL seemed to completely ignore the bypass. The bit of infrastructure on the Meadow Row side of Newington Causeway puzzles me to this day.

We probably should include it in our observations even if not in our count because it is still a very important bit of the jigsaw. Possibly more people use the bypass than use new lanes on the roundabout.
It's all a dog's dinner. I had no issues before as whilst busy it was fairly predictable and the light sequencing worked well.

It's added time to my journey, bus journeys and those tin boxes.

The cycle path next to the new development and the coronet is just bizarre, being so peacemeal and as with all cycle paths on a pavement people just walk out in front of it without looking.

The dogs leg where you come back on yourself heading from the gryratory is weird. I don't use the segregated bits either way on the gyratory as I don't see any need for them.

Going further into town Lambeth Bridge south is a disaster, and again the light sequencng makes things worse. Oddly all the attention is on the Lambeth Bridge South roundabout. The flows were fine with just one set of lights.

What's good? I'm very fond of the canal path and unsure why others aren't fans. Generally co-exist with the pedestrians with no issues.

Chourmert Road area, but haven't quite memorised that one. In is a quiet route but lots of junctions.

Southwark cyclists - I am sure that you are active with regards to air quality. A good driver is a safer driver, sharing road space, not wasting fuel, and causing less pollution. Fortunately you can hear the poorer drivers, as they are racing in a low gear, and you istinctively know to get closer to the curb. It happens once or twice a week.
thanks Malumbu, I know what you mean the bits and pieces of infrastructure on the roundabout don't seem to be designed to fit together. We will be trying to work out how well the "on-pavement" bits work. We stood at the New Kent Road cycle crossing leafletting before Christmas and about 10% of cyclists went straight on (didn't cross the road and use the bypass). I went to have a look to see if they had spotted a brand new route but I couldn't see anything that looked particularly wonderful.

Yes, we are very interested in air quality. The acting director of public health Jin Lim addressed our meeting last week and he emphasised the importance of clean air (for everyone) and exercise (for all our personal health) smiling smiley
Sumner Road, Burgess Park, Portland Street, Rodney Road, Meadow Row and the EC bypass for me. I join the segregated cycle paths towards Blackfriars at Webber Street. I tried following the cycle way across EC once, and it was fine, but in the end, I didn't feel it was any quicker from Rodney Road than using the bypass. The cycle lanes to Blackfriars and along the Embankment are fantastic.
I am incredibly conservative on my routes. For 15 years I did Dulwich Village, Red Post Hill, Herne Hill Road, Loughborough Junction, Brixton Road. Essentially as I once lived off Herne Hill Road and knew the route.

Then I did a bizarre one - Champion Hill, Grove Lane, Camberwell, through a bit of Burgess Park, coming out near the Elephant where I went behind Southbank Uni and eventually onto Blackfriars Road. Funnily enough never experienced danger on either Blackfriars Bridge or more recently the Elephant, even though they are known accident hotspots.

One day I saw that a colleague had beaten me and I found out that she went down the canal path, OKR etc. Looking at the map this was the flatest and straightest route. Embarassingly I was worried about Peckham at the time - despite having no issues in going through Loughborough Junction which was far more dangerous.

On dangers, the main one from my Brixton Road route was road rage; something I am far more aware of now. The other was the hit and run on Red Post Hill that slammed me into a back of a parked car. No helmet in those days, and very lucky at the bike was a write off not me. Now - as I discussed above the odd vehicle that runs a bit close - not always men, and a mix of vans, cars and taxis at say once a month. And genuinely you can hear them coming.

For a time I went down the back roads on traffic calmed routes. Two incidents - the funny one when a family ran out in front of me, I banged the anchors on, went 90 degrees and fell on one of the school kids. He wasn't hurt and I was angry at the parent for letting them run across. An no apologies to the zombies who walked across tonight on their phones without looking near Lambeth Palace. Yes did cycle at you on purpose. Perhaps you may look in future. Anyway I digress. The other bother was two accidents in quick succession when they relaid the roads around Heygate street, and the white lines were too slippy causing me to come off twice in quick succession in the rain, ironically on the cycle marking. Thanks to Southwark Cyclists - and particularly the late Barry Mason. Thanks to the cycling solicitors who gave me free advice. And thanks LBS for settling out of court.

And Southwark Cyclists, we had a good on line chat aobut a NKR cycle lane which I very much argue against.

So where does that leave us? I started cycling in London 30 years ago when there were far less of us. I have a small number of routes which I know off the back of my hand. Cycling super highways generally go in the wrong direction for me so I cut across them, only once gettng grief from a cabbie for not using the segregated route. I am out of my comfort zone when I go down the embankment and see zillons of cyclists hammering it - I prefer the road as the cars generally get less close to you than bikes coming the other way on segregated routes! I get confused on Blackfriars Road on which side I should be on. I get frustrated at the bottle necks, for example by the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and peed off when tubleweed and debris blow across the segregated routes making them more dangerous than the main road. But just because I am happy cycling with the cars, shouldn't mean that I don't see the benefits to the masses of some of the cycle routes.

My favourite useless cycle route is the A4 going out to Heathrow - cracked paving stones and junctions/drives every few yards whereas you can do 15mph on the nice road surface of the A4. And talking about pants, Heathrow access is exactly that, where I cycle through the tunnel waving two fingers up at the CCTV (did that in 1995 and returned last year to find still no cycle access.). Another great ride was the A13 cycle path, great cycling next to an urban motorway....

In case you couldn't tell I work in environmental transport and know shedloads. I had a 20 minutes conversation with Ashok, CEO LCC one summer, poor chap!

But I still drive occasionally, have a motorbike licence and only got back into cycling by mistake (as is most of my career) so understand that apart from London the masses aren't doing this elsewhere and on a cold wet day when I am going to a meeting and have the choice of sitting in my wet clothes or having to bring a change of clothes and change in the toilets I understand the challege.

Thanks LJC56 - I'll check it out.

And thanks to "you lot" (I mean this politely) for listening. Always enjoy the debate.
Not to argue malumbu, but because you obviously know your onions, what's your objection to a NKR cycle lane? I personally am more than happy with the excellent well surfaced bus lane there at present, but I can see why nervous/slow riders might benefit from an improvement to the pavement track currently in place.
I find the new E&C a bit odd. Yes, before the roundabout was very busy, but traffic flowed, and cyclists (I think) had plenty of room.

Now the traffic backs up along Walworth Road. Lots of cyclists use the cycle lane in front of the new Pret etc, then the wierd "hook" around the traffic lights to come back to Borough High Street, whilst a lot stay on the road and go through the lights for the same route.

Then, when exiting the E&C junction onto Borough H S, the cycle lane kind of merges with the bus stop, which can get quite congested, so people go down the cycle lane and also veer onto the car lane...etc...

I think it's a bit of a mess.
One thing I have noticed (as a bus user who goes round E&C) is how difficult it seems to be for cyclists to get from Walworth Road, round Newington Butts to St. George's Road. There may be an approved cycle route which I don't see but turning right from Walworth Road and onto the segregated cycle lane outside the Metropolitan Tabernacle seems really difficult for cyclists to do.

I've lost count of the number of times a cyclist has either cut in front of or been cut up by a bus as they are both trying to use the bus lane on Newington Butts. It's really bad there because the traffic gets very snarled up and the buses are trying to pull in and out of the stops there and there is a real temptation for cyclists to try and cut into traffic rather than across to the segregated lane.
bobbsy Wrote:

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> I find the new E&C a bit odd. Yes, before the
> roundabout was very busy, but traffic flowed, and
> cyclists (I think) had plenty of room.
>
> Now the traffic backs up along Walworth Road.

With all due respect Bobbsy this is what I find a bit odd about people blaming cycle lanes for congestion: before the lanes were added, coming from Walworth Road into Newington Butts traffic went from two lanes into three, and it still does. The only difference is that going north up Newington Butts traffic is no longer hampered by traffic coming in from the right from NKR, which is an advantage, isn't it? On the rare occasions I go through there on the bus it seems less congested to me than it used to be. I think too many people are just seeing new cycle lanes, seeing congestion, and saying there you are, cycle lanes are causing congestion - even when, as round Elephant, the lanes are on what was pavement and haven't taken lanes away from the road.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 14, 11:17am by rendelharris.

Siduhe Wrote:

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> One thing I have noticed (as a bus user who goes
> round E&C) is how difficult it seems to be for
> cyclists to get from Walworth Road, round
> Newington Butts to St. George's Road. There may be
> an approved cycle route which I don't see but
> turning right from Walworth Road and onto the
> segregated cycle lane outside the Metropolitan
> Tabernacle seems really difficult for cyclists to
> do.
>
> I've lost count of the number of times a cyclist
> has either cut in front of or been cut up by a bus
> as they are both trying to use the bus lane on
> Newington Butts. It's really bad there because
> the traffic gets very snarled up and the buses are
> trying to pull in and out of the stops there and
> there is a real temptation for cyclists to try and
> cut into traffic rather than across to the
> segregated lane.

The thing to do is hop onto the pavement outside the Strata Tower (permitted) and cross Newington Butts at the Toucan crossing and join the cycle lane there. I know some people think this adds time but a) thirty seconds to be 1000% safer is a fair exchange in my opinion and b) this actually allows one to bypass the lights outside the Strata and the ones at the end of Newington Butts, so eight times out of ten time is actually saved.
@rendelharris, that makes complete sense to me - do you think that route could be made clearer for cyclists? Given the number I see getting tangled up in traffic on Newington Butts, I'm not sure that many people are aware of it.
Siduhe Wrote:

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> @rendelharris, that makes complete sense to me -
> do you think that route could be made clearer for
> cyclists? Given the number I see getting tangled
> up in traffic on Newington Butts, I'm not sure
> that many people are aware of it.

Yes you're right - as I think I noted above in response to Sally Eva, the little grey cycle markings on the pavement showing this route not only don't let those unfamiliar with the layout see the route but also they don't do enough to let pedestrians know it's a shared space, so they get het up and shout at cyclists who are perfectly legitimately crossing the plaza in front of the Strata. Clearer markings would be a most welcome, and hopefully also inexpensive, way of improving understanding for all.
> With all due respect Bobbsy this is what I find a
> bit odd about people blaming cycle lanes for
> congestion: before the lanes were added, coming
> from Walworth Road into Newington Butts traffic
> went from two lanes into three, and it still does.
> The only difference is that going north up
> Newington Butts traffic is no longer hampered by
> traffic coming in from the right from NKR, which
> is an advantage, isn't it? On the rare occasions
> I go through there on the bus it seems less
> congested to me than it used to be. I think too
> many people are just seeing new cycle lanes,
> seeing congestion, and saying there you are, cycle
> lanes are causing congestion - even when, as round
> Elephant, the lanes are on what was pavement and
> haven't taken lanes away from the road.

Rendel, I'm not blaming cycling lanes as such (I cycle through there), I just find the layout odd. A roundabout is a simple concept and generally works. Now there is traffic flowing in many ways, cyclists use both the cycle lane and the normal road, traffic coming south and turning into St georges Rd frequently block traffic heading north, the cycle land going north onto Borough H S runs slam dunk into a bus stop, cyclists go every which way. I'm pro cycling, but I found the previous layout better. I'm fine if you find this layout better. OP asked for opinions, I've given mine. I feel this junction was redesigned to make it the area prettier, rather than more functional/safer.
The Elephant generally, seems to flow better since they closed one side of the roundabout.
(ETA reply to Bobbsy) Fair enough. I'm sure there are tweaks to phasing and layout that will need to be made over the years. All I can say is from my point of view as a London cyclist and motorcyclist for more than thirty years it was one of the very few junctions in London which actually worried me to the extent that I would ride out of my way to avoid it, whereas now I find it a pleasure.

Just a suggestion but if I wanted to go to Borough I'd follow the cycle lane round, left up St.George's and immediate right onto CS7 and a nice quiet route, rather than mix it all the way down Borough High Street. But each to their own!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 14, 12:52pm by rendelharris.

Yeap, that's a good route, but hundreds of cyclists each morning either don't know it, or don't like it.
Very good quiet routes seem to languish unknown. I don't know what to do about that. The best route around the Surrey Canal Path closure is via Colegrove Road and Glengall Road but as far as I can see no one is taking it.

A few people are going up Sumner Road which is a decent alternative although with tricky bits
Sally Eva Wrote:

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> Very good quiet routes seem to languish unknown. I
> don't know what to do about that. The best route
> around the Surrey Canal Path closure is via
> Colegrove Road and Glengall Road but as far as I
> can see no one is taking it.

Somewhere in the USA, can't recall where (somewhere near a seafront), I've seen a signpost for cycle routes with two arms, one said "Fast and dangerous" and the other "Safe and pleasant" - everyone was choosing the latter!

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