Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Much to admire in Isabel Street transformation to Van Gogh Walk but...

Isabel Street is a little back-street adjacent to Durand Primary School in Lambeth SW9 which has just been transformed by Lambeth Council from the above to the below. 
As part of the makeover, Isabel Street is being renamed Van Gogh Walk which even has its own blog. Van Gogh Walk is just off Hackford Road, below, where Van Gogh lived for a year at number 87. 
 As you can see, there's a 'no right turn' sign into Van Gogh Walk. But it's not because the Walk is car free. The new Walk is being made one-way, with added signs advising caution as there might be children and parents with push-chairs. There won't be a load of traffic on this street. All in all it should be a perfect street for children to cycle through to or home from school for example.
 Except that, like motor traffic, the plan is that cyclists can only use the street in one direction.
I can see no reason why this street (especially now it's named after a Dutchman) shouldn't be two-way for cyclists. Luckily there's still time to get the signage changed as, despite having been installed, consultation on the traffic order for the signs is still open. Please drop a polite email to hgame@lambeth.gov.uk asking for the proposed traffic order 'to ban vehicles in Hackford Road from entering Isabel Street' to be amended to 'ban vehicles, except cycles,....'

There are a number of planned changes for the Stockwell out for consultation, following the Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme, which are due shortly to be implemented.  Come to Lambeth Cyclists meeting on Tuesday 16 April to see the plans and suggest improvements.


Unknown said...

Thanks for alerting us to this issue.

I will be writing to the Council as you suggested.

Most one-way streets should be 2 way for cyclists as a matter of course, especially if named after a Dutchman!

Unknown said...

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I can confirm as the scheme designer that it was never intended to prohibit any cycling movements in Van Gogh Walk.
We have tried to keep the signage clutter to a minimum. Initially we did not install any "no-entry" signs stopping traffic to enter Van Gogh Walk from Hackford Road. The "no left turn" and "no right turn" signs on Hackford Road should have been enough. However some motorists were observed violating those signs. Since then we have decided to implemented our back up plan of "no-entry" signs, giving the motorists benefit of doubt that they did not see the banned turn signage.
Not having the exception for cyclists to "no-entry" signs was an oversight rather than intentionally banning the cyclists.

The traffic order can be modified to include such exception. Unfortunately, this will need not only "except for cyclists" sign under the "no-entry" sign, but also a sign on the other side advising motorists to expect cyclists. We are very reluctant to increase signage clutter.

One suggestion is to have the "no-entry" sign only on the right hand (northern) side which will prohibit motorised vehicles. If the cyclists enter from the other side of the raised planting area, then all this extra signage clutter can be avoided. A small cycle sign on that side can also be put low on the wall.

Any other ideas are welcome. If we can't find any agreeable alternative then we'll just have to put those extra signs.

Ideally, cyclists should be simply exempt from the "no-entry" signs, and there should be a new sign for "no-entry to cyclists" for cases where it is really needed. That would mean a lot less signage clutter, and not having to spend a lot of money on changing the traffic orders and new "except cyclists" signs.

Haibat Abro

The Ranty Highwayman said...

The banned turn signs also need the except cyclists sub plate. If there is no entry (except cyclists) do you actually need the one-way?

Point no entries are fine as prescribed routes orders and the road behind tend to operate as one way anyway. The no entry signs and banned turn signs also need to be lit from memory.

One ways are not good for pedestrians as they are not always aware from which way traffic is coming;you need lit terminal signs and unlit repeaters which are larger of course. The little sign warning of pushchairs is unlawful by the way.