Wednesday 10 February 2016

Inner London Primary School to Swimming Pool by cycle

While teaching Bikeability in primary schools I try to include local journeys to potential secondary schools or places of interest that the pupils can start to make with parental permission. In a perfect world schools would routinely make some local journeys by cycle, to inculcate an understanding of cycling as an everyday form of efficient transport.

Here's a journey that a teacher could make with a Year 4 or 5 class, supported by a couple of learning assistants. It's from a school just by Britain's busiest railway station in the centre of London to a new swimming pool on the Elephant and Castle unroundabout.

Leaving the school cul-de-sac, you turn left at the top of the alley into Lower Marsh market (one way for motor traffic, two way for cyclists)
You turn left into a one-way for motorists, two-way for cyclists, quiet road

At the bottom you wait for a good gap in the traffic on Baylis Road or walk across the zebra crossing (just in front of the AA van below)

Having crossed the road you continue down a one-way street (Frazier Street). Currently this is used as a rat-run, but hopefully as part of Quietway related measures motor traffic will be banned from turning right into it. It's one-way for all traffic currently, meaning pupils have to walk this section on the way back. Two-way for cycles will hopefully be allowed in Quietway related measures.

At the bottom, the class turns right into Morley Street
and goes to the left of the bollard to a cycle crossing over Westminster Bridge Road. This is tricky because you get a green for very few seconds, then there's a second set of lights in the guerilla garden in the centre of the road. It will take two or three light phases to get all the pupils across. This is largely due to the cycle lights being regulated to be at a different time from the yawningly long green light for pedestrians crossing (this is to avoid imaginary cyclist / pedestrian conflict, imaginary as no cyclist ever turns to go through the pedestrian crossing because it's a nonsense route). Achieving a long green light across one arm should be an easy fix by TfL - simply ban the turns across the pedestrian crossings as cyclists don't make them anyway.

You then continue down the quiet King Edward Walk

and across Lambeth Road, either with a gap in the traffic or using the Zebra crossing, and through the gate into the park

You turn left towards the front of the Imperial War Museum

Past the big guns

and exit the park

walking (or more likely cycling) across the Pelican crossing and turn right onto Cycling Superhighway 6

Straight down towards the Elephant and Castle

turning right at cycle only traffic lights just before the Elephant and Castle onto Cycle Superhighway 7 Elliots Row.

Left at the end onto Brook Drive (CS7)

Right (just behind the new pool)

left into the park

and you've arrived in front of the pool.

That's not too hard is it? Zone One, Congestion Zone, Inner London. No sweat.