Old Street roundabout to be made safer
Plans to radically redesign Old Street roundabout, transforming the area for cyclists and pedestrians and creating a new public space for all to enjoy, have been announced by the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) for consultation as part of the £4 billion Road Modernisation Plan.
The new design for the roundabout, a crucial gateway to Tech City, proposes to introduce two-way traffic by closing the north-western 'arm' between the west side of Old Street and the north side of City Road.
This would create a large new public space which would be pedestrianised and include improvements such as seating and tree planting and a new entrance to Old Street station.
Cyclists make up almost a third of all the vehicles at the roundabout in the morning rush hour and new cycle lanes - segregated where possible - along with separate cycle signals, will be created through the junction for cyclists.
The proposals are aimed at dramatically improving road safety in the vicinity of the roundabout, which saw 44 people injured in collisions between February 2010 and January 2013, 80% of which involved a pedestrian or cyclist.
Subject to the results of the consultation work on the improvements would begin next year.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: `We are progressing at full steam with our plans to redesign some of London's most dangerous junctions, and Old Street roundabout is next to be completely overhauled. These plans will dramatically improve safety for the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians using the junction, and also make it easier to access Tech City, which continues to nurture upcoming technology and creative talent from around the world.'
One of the current subways would be replaced with new surface level pedestrian crossings, and a new station entrance to Old Street London Underground station would be built in the centre of the new pedestrianised area. This would also lay the groundwork for more improvements to the station in the future. The creation of new public space would also provide the potential to expand the number of already successful pop-up retail units currently in the station.
Preliminary assessments suggest that the changes would mean a much safer junction for cyclists, but would result in some changes in rush-hour journey times for buses, cars and coaches. Journey times would broadly remain as existing for the majority of routes, with the only significant increase being to traffic heading northwest on City Road, which may take up to two minutes longer in the morning and afternoon A wider traffic management plan for central and inner London is currently being developed to help reduce the traffic impacts of this scheme and others. This will include investing in advanced traffic signal technology to better manage traffic in the area.
Updated information would also be provided to satellite navigation companies so that devices can incorporate changed routes through the area. Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: `80% of all accidents at Old Street involve a cyclist or a pedestrian and it's our priority to address these issues. These new plans reflect the changing face of traffic in London, where more and more people are travelling by bicycle and it's incumbent upon us to make it safer for them.' Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council's executive member for environment and transport said, "We welcome the TfL public consultation on improvements at the Old Street roundabout. Old Street is not only a valuable part of Islington but an iconic landmark of London, yet in its current form it's not fit for purpose. Positive changes to the access and roads at Old Street are badly needed to improve safety and travel. The council, local residents, cyclists and businesses have long campaigned for the radical transformation to this extremely busy, complex roundabout.
`It is exciting to see this project finally coming forward, providing a new public open space and safer pedestrian and cycling routes, improving pupil access to local schools as well as enabling local residents to access new employment opportunities. We want local residents and businesses to have their say on the proposals, and will ensure that TfL listen very carefully to these views.'
TfL's Road Modernisation Plan is a £4 billion scheme to upgrade London's roads by 2021, and is the biggest investment in the capital's streets for a generation. Hundreds of new projects will transform the look, layout and safety of the existing road network. The schemes will harness state-of-the-art technology, and radical, innovative thinking to make London's roads safer, greener and more attractive. For more information on the Old Street roundabout consultation and to find out how to leave comments, please go to www.tfl.gov.uk/old-street-roundabout before Sunday January 11 2015.
- Drop-in sessions for more information on the Old Street roundabout proposals are being held at The Great Hall in Central Foundation Boys School, Cowper Street, London, EC2A 4SH on Saturday 29 November, 11am - 4pm, and at Spin Xmas at Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES on Friday 5 December 6pm - 9pm and Saturday 6 December from 11am - 4pm.
- In March 2013, the Mayor launched his Vision for Cycling in London, which detailed his £913m programme to improve infrastructure and safety for cyclists in the capital - www.tfl.gov.uk/cyclingvision.
- The proposed changes to Old Street roundabout would form part of the wider work being carried out across London as part of TfL's Road Modernisation Plan. With a budget of over £4 billion from now until 2020/21, this overarching plan represents the biggest investment in London's roads in a generation, including hundreds of transformational projects within the existing road network. Using radical ideas and innovative designs, the plan will make London's roads greener, safer and more attractive for the benefit of all road users. For more information about TfL's Road Modernisation Plan please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/roads.
- A wider traffic management plan for central and inner London is currently being developed to help reduce the traffic impacts of this scheme and others. This will include investing in advanced traffic signal technology to better manage traffic depending on differing conditions at any given time. Updated information will also be provided to satellite navigation companies so that devices can incorporate the changed routes through the area. Further traffic modelling will be carried out during 2015 and provided as part of the next stage of consultation.
- London's roads account for 80% of all journeys and 90% of all goods moved in the capital. As the engine of the British economy, London's population is set to grow by almost 2 million to 10 million by 2031 - equivalent to absorbing the population of both Birmingham and Leeds
- To help deliver this wider programme of work, TfL has already begun to expand its innovative SCOOT technology, which can change traffic signal timings based on traffic levels second by second, from half of all signals to three quarters of all signals. Hundreds of staff are already working 24/7 to monitor the network.