Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Is this why Vauxhall Cross and the E&C roundabout fail our community?

Look at Vauxhall and the Elephant and Castle across the duration of a day and it is apparent that there is very much more road space than the volume of motor traffic requires. The following two paragraphs, from this American article, make me wonder to what extent both these gyratories were built to the size they are to facilitate the smooth passage during rush-hour, let alone the rest of the day, of a predicted massive growth of motor traffic.  
"Many designers size a road or intersection to be free-flowing for the worst hour of the day. Sized to accommodate cars during the highest peak hour, such streets will be “overdesigned” for the other 23 hours of the day and will always function poorly for the surrounding community. 
If that isn’t troubling enough, LOS (Levels of Service and Travel) is often calculated using traffic predicted 20 years into the future, even in urban settings. Until the forecasted growth materializes, the roadway will be overdesigned, even during the peak hour. Overdesigned roadways encourage motorists to drive at higher speeds, making them difficult to cross and unpleasant to walk along. This degrades public spaces between the edges of the road and the adjacent buildings, encourages people to drive short distances, and generally unravels a community’s social fabric."
I think that sums up the Vauxhall and E&C experience, and the current development of these areas to be heavily residential means it is now, beyond any question, time to put the community's social fabric first.

TfL consider that making radical change is likely to require/force a 20 - 30% reduction in motor traffic and, tragically, seem to consider that a problem rather than something to celebrate..

My guess is that the gyratories aren't carrying the volume of traffic that was predicted and and that they were designed to accommodate. In which case some reduction in road space allocation would make no difference to drivers for the great proportion of the day while improving life for pedestrians and cyclists.

Take more space away and eventually there will be an impact on the motorist. Great, bring it on and force drivers to revise their travel habits.

The reality is that many of today's motor vehicle journeys are undertaken because our society has spent decades making motoring the easy choice in comparison with alternatives that need less space, make less noise, create less pollution and make for a more sociable, liveable environment.

It's time to reclaim central London for people rather than the motor vehicle..

1 comment:

Mark S said...

Ah but there clearly isn't enough room at Vauxhall...if there was you wouldn't get the Tesco delivery vans or security vans parking on the shared use bike lane....;-)