If I understand the diagrams and video correctly, the roundabout would close between the New Kent Road to the East, and Elephant & Castle to the South.
The remaining road (by then non longer a roundabout, would allow for traffic travelling in both directions.
This would mean that the 53 bus, for example, instead of turning South from the New Kent Road into Elephant & Castle, would turn North, past Newington Causeway, the Bakerloo Tube station and London Road and continue past St. Georges Road and finally joining the Elephant & Castle by the London College of communications.
The implications of the plans unveiled on 10 July 2013 are sinking in. The muppets at TfL with their cheer leaders of Boris, Peter and Fiona have actually managed to increase the length of the inner ring road for westbound traffic, they've concocted a plan that will mean more traffic spends longer at the Elephant and Castle, with more of it trundling closer to the two residential blocks of Metro Central Heights and Perronet House.
The peninsula is the key problem. This plan dates from a time when not only was 30% of the traffic not going to be passing through here due to new trams and new bypass roads, but a time when the peninsula actually went somewhere, to a vast pedestrian space linking to the Walworth Road through what is now the shopping centre. Instead as proposed it:
- Adds a dog leg to the inner ring road
- Cuts off passing pedestrian traffic from the basement of the shopping centre (will retailers down there welcome this?)
- Creates vast two way motorways at the foot of Metro Central Heights and Perronet House, of up to six lanes.
A better plan would create a space of equivalent size of the peninsula below the road there linking the new underground station to the basement of the shopping centre, thereby preserving the most direct route for the ring road.
Ideally another portion of the roundabout could be peninsularised creating a space that wasn't a massive thoroughfare for underground passengers but could actually provide a newer amenity.
I have campaigned for saving subways for a while. These plans make it even clearer that the pressure for space here requires us to make good use of subway space if we're to avoid some really nasty consequences for all users.
The new plans are impressive for having moved the tube station, far more audacious than what was shared last August. But given this bold engineering is possible, surely a more imaginative use of the land is possible too which does not increase the ring road?
I continue to try to www.saveoursubways.org
Please sign up and share ideas about how to improve the plans for the roundabout.
The ring road is being increased in length by a negligible amount, and only in one direction. The principal traffic flow is not on the ring road anyway, it is from Old Kent to and from St Georges and London Roads. Much of the traffic will therefore be on new, more direct, routes.
There will be no 'motorway', it's heavily controlled with traffic lights. Traffic will be slower, safer, and less of an obstacle to people's enjoyment.
We've basically no idea what will happen to the centre, St Mogdewns latest information is that they were exploring a sale. With the prospect of peninsularisation the benefits to a rebuild (rather than a refurb) are increasing, so hopefully no one will be shopping in the basement in the medium term future.
It's very important that people who do welcome these plans, as I do, write to the Mayor and Council and make it known. Otherwise it the impression could be made that were all against this change.
The ring road increase is for all westbound traffic, and 'negligible' by what measure? In multiples of what's there now it's X4 at the very least because it's crudely four sides of a pentagon shaped junction. For anyone living or working here a X4 increase is not neglible, especially not for MCH which is largely single glazed!
As for where the principle traffic flow is. The Old Kent Road is at least a mile away for starters and doesn't reach the Elephant and Castle. The inner ring circles the Congestion Charge Zone and flows along the New Kent Road and splits at the roundabout with east bound traffic passing around four sides of it and westbound passing along one side of it onto the motorway outside The Tabernacle.
It's a motorway in terms of scale. The lights make the consequences of noise and air pollution worse because traffic will be stopping, revving and starting. It will not be flowing as it, usually, does now.
Please come and watch the traffic from the revealing advantage of a high rise property overlooking it. It's amazing how this new perspective can change the opinions of people previously very familiar with the area. I've lived in both the fifth floor of Metro Central Heights, the 6th floor of Perronet House and today the 10th floor. It's a perspective no one involved in these plans appears to have bothered to seek as they claim to want to make the area a 'nicer place'.
Your dismissive reaction to the consequences of these plans only goes to remind me of your previous cavalier hope that "pedestrians should be forced to jostle with the traffic" in support of subway destruction. Rather than being a single issue campaigner - for which I support your aims - please appreciate the wider complexities. You are welcome to call by and see for yourself from Perronet House, either soon or during Open House weekend.
It's hard to tell from the artist impressions that have been released so far, as you can't make out the detail, but the new plans don't make me very confident that Elephant will become easier to get around.
The bike lanes still seem to be just painted stripes, rather than separating bikes from the traffic. The road's 8 lanes wide - I can't see any reason not to reduce the number of traffic lanes to make more space for bikes. Heck, there's room for a central reservation that seems to make some drivers believe they're on a motorway.
The pavement in front of the shopping centre really needs to be wider to accomodate people waiting for buses - it gets really congested at the moment. Surface level crossings are a good thing, but without reducing vehicle speeds and decreasing pedestrian crossing waiting times, it's not enough.
Given how much space there is currently at Elephant, I feel disappointed that there hasn't been a serious attempt to reallocate space. I think it's time the planners got serious about prioritising people on public transport, on foot and on bike and start taming the traffic here.
- Dig out between and below the vile old subways, to create underpass for cars and small lorries (big trucks get sent further south).
- Put a lid on it.
- Restrict surface transit to buses and emergency vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, separated by kerb-high micro-barriers as needed.
- Greenify, prettify, but most of all make it logical. Ensure the most direct above-ground route for everyone not in a private vehicle, and the Elephant will work.
Apart from anything else it's commercially advantageous in a good few ways:
- TfL buses move through more quickly, reducing fuel bills and improving reliability.
- E&C shopping centre gains the access from the north that's needed for any internal rejuvenation to bring the best returns.
- Walworth Road retailers benefit too from better access for SE1 and the City beyond.
- Southwark council gets extra income from business rates, easing pressure for further cuts.
Whatever dogs dinner TfL proposes for the surface making use of the space below for something seems blindingly wise in a city where those who value their land assets are investing in building ever taller or burrowing ever deeper. So yes Jules62 your plan makes sense, there are even ramps in place already, all be it with some rather tight slalems for anything other than a Brompton (do I sound like I've tried?) Tunnels make sense. Boris is even bold enough to talk of burying portions of the north and south circular in his all important political constituency of the suburbs, so why not tunnel some traffic at the Elephant, even if it's people on foot because they're the simplest to put there, especially when subways are already in place!
Destroying this space and squeezing everyone into the space that remains, without removing any of the traffic volume seems potty, until you view the world through the lens of traffic engineers bullied into doing anything that will satisfy the political cravings to be seen to be "doing something" about the much promised Elephant roundabout improvement. What's on the table is a clumsy bodge.