please empty your brain below

One good thing about that roundabout is that it keeps undesirables away from my side of it. Not you, of course, DG!

One suggestion I can think of though is to add pelican crossings to the East-West route a short distance from the roundabout itself, where the gap under the flyover starts (like at the junction of Cook's Rd on the eastern side). That way, vehicles coming off the roundabout will have room to queue for the short pedestrian phase, and it's the closet crossing option to the bus stops, which will minimize jaywalking.

No idea what to do about the other crossings though, or how to handle cyclists...can they use the flyover? Can't be more dangerous than sitting in an HGV driver's blind spot.

How about underpasses to cross the A11 and footbridges to cross the A12?

How to handle cyclists?
Make the pedestrian crossings "Toucans"

There's a lot of Boris bashing going on here... I lived on the Bow Bridge Estate in the early 1980s, while I was a student, and crossing to anywhere was a problem even then. It's not a new thing. One wonders why the problem wasn't solved years ago?

As a pedestrian I found there were very few occasions where I would walk up to the roundabout junctions - usually I'd plan a route that meant I crossed to the side of the road that lead to a foot-route further along the road that crossed to the other side. (sorry - you know these roads I don't know how to describe this simply). Going east on the north side of the roundabout is easier than coming west on the south side - in fact, I'd move to the north side to do that - or even take a detour as far at Bromley By Bow.
I wonder if the solution is 4 foot/cycle bridges onto the central wasteland from the corners roughly where you've put your black arrows?

You mean a bit like the one on the Chiswick High Road / M4 / Great Western Road (A4) / North Circular? That works OK, IMHO.

Similar cycle/footbridge setup at Staples Corner (M1/A5/A406 North Circular), I've used it, works OK. A much bigger junction than the Bow roundabout though, so more land available in which to place the base of each footbridge - Bow looks squeezed for available footpath area as it is.

See the google map I drew yesterday:

This is just like yours except I just did East-West (since that's the dominant flow).

The crossings would all be junction crossings (ie green man, but buttons don't do anything except illuminate a "wait" display). These could have bike traffic lights adjacent (ie red bike/yellow bike/green bike). The SE corner is a bit tight, but do-able.

Even though a given set of traffic lights may be red for 75% of the time, what makes you think the green man would show for 75% of the time? Round my neck of the woods, there are traffic lights like that all over the place, with pedestrian facilities fitted, and the green man only shows up during a specifically allocated slot (which is much shorter than the cars' slot), and never when the programming of the lights calls for traffic to stop anyway. It's perfectly safe to cross halfway, but the traffic controllers refuse to allow pedestrians to do it. I have no doubt any similar facilities fitted to half of a Bow roundabout crossing would do exactly the same.

You'd think the design of pedestrian timings would have improved in forty years, now traffic lights are so much more sophisticated, and deploy so many more techniques for making sure cars can move as quickly and conveniently as possible, but even new crossings are still the same rigid pattern they have been for decades. Just another of the frequent reminders from Transport for London that walkers and cyclists are second-class citizens where it's concerned. Instead of realistic improvements - like, say, the Bow roundabout - Boris showers wealth upon gimmicks like cycle hire (to make it easier to procure cycles, as opposed to ride them) and cycle lanes (which are a paint job and nothing more). But what bailed-out bank would want to benefit sensible, practical, effective pedestrian and cycling facilities with its largesse?

I think the Green Man Roundabout has a system similar to the one you describe, complete with bicycle paths. It's wonderful.

BW, it is Boris Bashing because (1) he - in te shape of the notsosuperhighway - has made it worse(2) he (or TfL under his watch) ignored the potential to improve it (3)He is on record as putting cars and traffic flow as his highest priority, above cost (bendy buses) above safety (reduced crossing times) etc etc. He therefore deserves all the opprobrium.

Green Man makes use of the space between the surface and the underpass, probably not possible to engineer after the event.

And I (and most of the cycling advocates I have seen and heard) have been arguing for better treatment for all vulnerable road users, not just cyclists. It should make no difference that the majority of users at this point are likely to be cyclists, especially with the Olympics next year likely to change that balance for a few months.

I'm familiar with the Bow junction and agree it's a nightmare (I can't imagine even motorists could find it pleasant). I'm also familiar with the Green Man and Chiswick flyover/roundabouts and agree this is the way to go.
The bus anecdote reminds me of Wandsworth Town Centre - basically a Bow style interchange but instead of a flyover they've gutted a community instead. You get a lot of people (not just with prams) using buses to take journeys much shorter than any able bodied person should be taking.

I wonder how long this took to research and write. An amazing effort.

I have going on walks that start from nearby at Three Mills for many years. The towpath crossing is good for North / South routes. You can indeed cross at the lights, and cross from any point to any other point if you walk in front of the cars stopped at a red light. This means that you might have to use the central area.


I'd like to disagree that there's a lot of Boris-bashing going on here.

» There's a cut-and-pasted Mayoral response.
» There's a comment that Boris disagrees with slowing the flow of traffic, which he does.
» And there's a reference to Boris's policy of removing street furniture, with no negative comment at all.

Not especially Boris-bashing at all.

But it is absolutely true that decades of politicians could have upgraded this roundabout but have chosen not to. Boris's bad luck, or culpability, is that two cycling deaths have occurred so soon after a much-publicised upgrade.

Blimey, trying to negotiate that lot in an effort to highlight the problems goes above any beyond!! Respect.

Your solution sounds like the only option, and if that means adding more street furniture then so be it. It could be made quite pleasant, with bushes and/or plants along the railings etc, if anyone could be arsed!

The thing that I find strange is that a great deal of money has already been paid by developers of nearby schemes in order to install crossing facilities at this location, both the McDonalds resturant and the development at Taylor Place Payne Road had to pay money in advance of their schemes being built in order to gain planning permission, On 24/06/02 McDonalds signed a legal agreement with LBTH that in Schedule 3 stated they had to pay to TFL a sum of £25,000 which was to be used only in order to construct a pedestrian crossing that had to be adjoining their land and was to cross Bow Road, this legal agreement further stated that the work had to be completed within 48 months of the payment being made or would have to be returned with interest, there was also a further clause that stated if after being open for 12 months it was calculated that more than 50% of the people using the crossing were going to McDonalds then a further payment could be requested by TFL from the McDonalds owners. No work has taken place so are we to assume that TFL have had to give it back?
Furthermore the developers of the huge building at Taylor Place Payne Road signed a legal agreement with LBTH on 08/11/06 and acording to schedule 10 of that agreement had to pay £30,000 pounds to Tower Hamlets Council towards "The Bow Road Gateway Improvement Scheme" and this payment was acording to the signed legal Agreement to be used only "To Provide Pedestrian Crossing Facilities at Bow Roundabout.
All the above information is from Tower Hamlets own Website, why has nothing been done yet?

"Boris's bad luck, or culpability, is that two cycling deaths have occurred so soon after a much-publicised upgrade."

It's also true that there are an ever-increasing number of cyclists in London. It amazes me that one doesn't need any form of basic training, or insurance, or safety awareness/equipment, to ride a bike.

The biggest thing that any Mayor could do to cut the cycling accidents/deaths in London is to offer low-price training in cycling proficieny/ safety/ hazard awareness, and cost-price lights, helmets, and hi-vis jackets. It's amazing how many cyclists don't use any of these.

I cycled in London in the 80s. I wouldn't cycle in London now. And (or maybe 'But' is a better choice of word) that's with over 30 years' driving experience, and 14 years' motorcycling experience (somewhere around 300,000 miles woth as a driver, many more as a passenger).

Sitting in a vehicle, in traffic, in a busy centralish London street at dusk recently, just as the working day was finishing, and watching the many hundreds of cyclists darting around in the traffic was one of the scarriest experiences of my life (no exaggeration).

Someone should make a TV documentary about it - I'm sure that the majority cannot have realised just how vulnerable they were making themselves with their lack of lights, lack of refelctive clothing, weaving in and out of lanes, creeping between lanes of traffic, jumping red lights or pedestrian crossings (we even saw two collisions between cyclists!), cycling on and off pavements without checking approaching traffic etc etc. It was as if the majority of them had never even heard of the Highway Code, let alone read it, or understood that they should be following it.

The biggest thing that most cyclists could adopt to help themselves is the 'lifesaver' - a glance over the relevant side shoulder before moving position or turning. It's the most fundamental part of motorcycle training. And one is a lot less vulnerable on a motorcycle than on a pedal cycle.

Focusing attention on training and visibility equipment, and getting cyclists to take more responsiblity for their own safety, would undoubtedly save injuries and, ultimately, lives.

Boris didn't research and decide where the blue lanes were going - he was advised, presumably by experts. If the experts' advice was wrong, and the many, many campaigns aimed at getting motorists to 'think bike' haven't worked, then one needs to approach the problem from a different angle, on a big, and immediate, scale.

DG, it damn well should be Boris Bashing, as it was not his bad luck, it is his bad judgment. The "upgrade" has been a massive downgrade, that is the issue. The small decisions made, each eminently justifiable in their own context add together to create an environment where vulnerable people die. The fact that two people have died in such short order is testament to that, not an unlucky twist of fate.

It is ALL about priorities - what is more important, cars or lives?

Could be done quite cheaply - a bit of paint to mark out the crossing points (they used to use studs, but little white squares seem to be normal now) and to mark (separate!) cycle and pedestrian routes across the middle.

We've had guerilla gardening - what about guerilla white line painting?)

Ped/cycle lights could be fitted to the existing traffic light heads, but most people have the sense to cross when the traffic lights are red anyway.

Further to Blue Witch's comment (three comments back), I recently sat and watched a Trafalgar Square webcam at a peak traffic time. In the space of less than five minutes I saw several cyclists behaving in a reckless manner, just as BW describes. The camera's bird's eye view gave the full alarming picture.

Does the UK *still* build monstrosities like the Bow Roundabout ?

Shanghai has excellent pedestrian routes
I tried to find photographs of an intersection in Shanghai - don't seem to have Google street view.

Or Google maps: Yan'An road, Xizang road, Shanghai, China

On the sat view you can just make out overhead walkways going under the overhead bridge from the parks.

A network of pedestrian walkways is threaded over/through the intersection.

Would make great skateboarding...


The Bow junction is nearly forty years old, one of the few parts of the "motorway box" project to actually get built.

BW, it exists (free training). Ken set it up, Boris (amazingly) hasn't canned it: and I would recommend ANY cyclist, however experienced to take advantage of it.

TfL have a report called Potential for Cycling on their website. It reckons around a conservative 20% of people who currently drive could cycle. That is there is capacity for cycling and walking routes without the general traffic backing up. Also when capacity is reduced ovr a long period, closure of Hammersmith flyover, closure of Albert or Hammersmith Bridge, the predicted gridlock does not occur

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