Response to the consulation on safety improvements at the Waterloo (IMAX) roundabout

We write in response to the consultation on initial safety improvements at the Waterloo (IMAX) roundabout, part of Transport for London’s process of junction reviews.

The review does contain some marginal improvements, particularly the reduction of the four-lane southbound section of the roundabout to three lanes, and the reduction of the entry into York Road from two lanes to one, with a wider ‘feeder’ cycle lane. A 20 mph speed limit is also welcome, although without enforcement it is unlikely that this will have any effect on the typical speeds of vehicles at this roundabout.

The proposed pavement build-outs, aimed at reducing traffic speeds, will have the detrimental effect of creating ‘pinch points’, squeezing motor vehicles and cyclists together. This appears to be a particular problem with the proposed Stamford Street entrance to the roundabout, a further narrowing of the existing single lane entry.

While we acknowledge that these are only initial works at the roundabout, the suggested improvements will do very little to change,and may even amplify, the hostile and intimidating conditions for cycling at this location. Right turns will still have to involve manoeuvring out across one or more lanes of heavy, fast-flowing traffic. This is a particular problem cycling up the slope towards the Waterloo Bridge, where turning right involves moving into the third lane of traffic. In addition, the existing and proposed cycle lanes may lead cyclists into dangerous conflict with left-turning vehicles, notably on entry into Waterloo Road.

A serious, long-term solution at this roundabout must involve the structural separation of cyclists from motor vehicles, by means of wide, high-quality separate provision, and dedicated light phases. This could, and should, form part of more general improvement works to civilise the streetscape outside Waterloo station.

The consultation is open until the 14th November - responses can be submitted here