CHANGES in the layout of the streets around Dalston junction are causing problems for pedestrians and cyclists, if not also for traffic.
In Dalston Lane, next to the new library and archive, pavement width swells to several metres, a spacious footpath even by the standards of Oxford Street, London’s busiest shopping thoroughfare.
The space could have been used to accommodate both a wide passage of walkers and a dedicated cycle lane, but planners failed to provide for cyclists.
Rather than try to find a way through the squashed-in traffic on the road section, cyclists have taken to the pavement, as the picture above shows.
Further east in Dalston Lane are gaps for traffic between islands. On the north side of the street, one gap is reserved for buses and cyclists, on the other side the gap is for all vehicles. In neither case, again despite on one side of the road a pavement wider than will conceivably be filled with pedestrians, is a cycle gap provided.
In Kingsland High Street, the footpath is also being widened, and no provision has been made for two-wheeled pedallers, even though the A10 (the street’s other name) is part of the planned supercycle highway from the City to Tottenham.
Loving Dalston asked Feryal Demirci, a Hackney councillor responsible for neighbourhoods, whether provision would be made for cyclists in Dalston Lane. She emailed: “It is not accepted that the needs of cyclists have been ignored at these locations.”
A council official admitted, however: “Ideally, the road could be wider to better accommodate cyclists.” The council had looked at widening it to help both buses and cyclists during the design, but “the cost of moving utility apparatus made this prohibitive”.
The official cited London Cycling Campaign (LCC) guidance that questioned the effectiveness of cycle lanes because “they imply that cyclists should be positioned to the kerbside of streets, not in the primary position advocated by cycle-training courses.”
Trevor Parsons, LCC’s Hackney co-ordinator, told Loving Dalston that the campaign group “would support a review” of this section of the road layout at Dalston Junction. “Unfortunately,” he added, “I can’t imagine any great appetite to revisit this.”
“As to the bus pre-signal arrangements on the eastbound carriageway of Dalston Lane approaching the Queensbridge Road junction, I can’t see a great problem here. The pre-signal provides priority for buses over private motor traffic, which we of course support. Cycles can use the bus lane and benefit from the priority signal.
“There is no room in the carriageway to provide an additional lane for cycle traffic. As on most streets in London, buses and cycles have to share the available space. Buses and cycles in this case have to pass through the pre-signal one at a time.
“These days bus drivers receive specific training in how to behave around cycles, and they generally behave well.
“A well-trained and assertive bicycle rider will in any case take the primary position when approaching a narrowing such as this pre-signal, to ensure that the driver of the vehicle behind him or her is not tempted to pass too closely.
“We encourage everyone who cycles, or who wishes to cycle, to take up the council’s offer of one-to-one professional cycle-skills training, free for people who live, work or study in the borough.”