08 December 2009

Elephant by-pass gets a paint job

Aha! Some good news for a change. Not much, but it's good. This is the Elephant and Castle by-pass heading towards the Elephant along New Kent Road. They've just repainted the markings - perhaps in preparation for the Cycle Superhighway that will be coming this way? - and as you can see the new 'give way' lines give the cyclist through-priority over the various entrances cutting across it.

Now, I know this is only a few hundred yards, and it only makes a significant difference over a distance of say a mile or two. And that in the Netherlands you get cyclist-priority cycle paths stretching all the way from one side of the country to the other, which is probably even further. And our Elephant by-pass is only crossing minor entrances, not full-on side roads.

But it's a start. And to judge by the amount of white paint at their disposal, resources are plentiful.

I'm still not entirely sure about this phone box further up, though.


  1. That is good news. The only thing I'd criticise (apart from the phone box later on) is the amount of paint.

    I guess that the amazing number of bike symbols is supposed to demonstrate to drivers where the cycle path is. However, I think it would perhaps be better and more obvious to drivers crossing the route if the cycle path simply looked more solid. If it looked more like a road than the paths crossing it do. Maybe that comes later with the red / green / blue tarmac ?

  2. It is good that they've dedicated some attention to this particular path, but it hasn't been very well done. I use the part just south of the phone box most days. Whilst they've managed to repave a long stretch of New Kent road the cycle path remains in poor condition - dotted with drains, manhole covers, and potholes, and is generally a pretty rubbish surface. The ribbed paving has also been set down the wrong way in many parts. And the crossings still don't really seperate cyclists from pedestrians, who vie for space at the lights while the cars wait for a couple of seconds.

    I guess it's a start though.

  3. I think you'll find this has nothing to do with the Cycle 'Super' Highway. The 'Super' Highway will be on the west side of the Elephant (Churchyard Row/ Elliotts Row/ Princess St/ Ontario St/ Southwark Bridge Road.

  4. Well, if the actual Cycle Superhighway is just half as good as this stretch, then this stretch will be twice as good as the Cycle Superhighway. Which is probably what'll happen...

    Yes, my remark about it 'coming this way' was a bit throwaway; I didn't mean it literally was taking this route. Not enough coffee this morning, I think.

    Maybe they were practising their painting of cycle symbols and SLOW signs in preparation for the actual Superhighway. They should be pretty good at it by now.

  5. The phone box is a listed structure so the cycle path has to go around it. The box can't be moved (it was tried years ago and the planning application failed).

  6. Listed? Wow. Now many of the boxes are just shells, aren't they? So we can't make the joke about so many public toilets having phones in them.

  7. I am slightly worried that if you complain to TfL about any cycling related issue which is near the a planned Cycle Superhighway, they tell you that the Superhighway will solve the problem.
    I complained about the junction of the A3/A202 at Oval as there is a cycle lanes thtas doesn't lead to an ASL. There is a good clip on youtube:
    The reply I got back simply stated that this was on the path of a Cycle Superhighway (it isn't that running along the A3) and it would be improved then.

  8. Yes, that A3/A202 cusp is just up the road from me. The whole junction system is appalling for bikes.

  9. A ridiculous thing about this is that on the western end (nearest to the Elephant) the route to cross over the New Kent Road and onto Meadow Row (the eastern Elephant bypass) involves going over a traffic light crossing and back along the pavement or the road. They need to move the crossing a few yards east, so that the cycle lane crosses the road in line with the junction with Meadow Row.

  10. @Jack - yes, it's a funny old set-up they've got there. I blogged about Meadow Row last week: someone was arrested for cycling correctly along the shared-use path there.

    And, @chrishansenhome, I found out more interesting stuff about phone boxes yesterday at a meeting with the police. (It was a proper scheduled meeting - I don't mean I was being arrested for doing something in a phone box.) I'll blog about it in a day or two.

  11. I tried the new lanes out on Thursday. Not very impressed to be honest. The newly re-surfaced bus lane is soooo much smoother with far fewer people wandering about on it. The only benefit that the cycle lane has is that you don't get slowed down by the 3 or 4 pedestrian traffic lights along the road.