Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Improvements to the junction of Whitmore Road and Hoxton Street

Many of you – particularly those who live in the south of the ward and the cyclists among you – will by now have seen the new road layout at the junction by the Britannia Leisure Centre.

The new set up removes the roundabout that previously sat where Whitmore Road, Hoxton Street, Hyde Road, and Pitfield Street meet and creates a layout that is far more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians.

As you can see in the plan below, once the works on the pavements are also complete it will also create additional open space by the side of the road where 16 new trees will be planted improving the area for those that live and work nearby.

The main funding for the works has been provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government and they are designed to improve the flow of traffic which travels along Whitmore Road onto Pitfield Street and into Shoreditch. The road is a key cycle commuter route (as anyone who has travelled along it at 8.30 in the morning will confirm!) and these improvements will make the journey far easier for those cyclists who travel down this route into the City and beyond, as well as for the cars and pedestrians that use this route.

Some residents have contacted us with concerns about the consultation that occurred prior to this work starting. We have raised these concerns with the council who have promised to use this feedback to improve future consultations.

We can also assure those of you that have been in touch with us about ‘the family’ sculptures that were in the centre of the previous roundabout that once the works are finished they will be put back into the new layout in a new location in front of Hobbs Place estate, just south east of where they were previously found.


i hammonds said...

What is very upsettting is that the roundabout has been taken away mainly for the saftey of cyclist,but they are the ones who caused danger to pedestrians when the main bulk off the work was carried out by persisting on driving along the pavements around the junction when signs clearly told them to dismount,and eventually the police had to man the junction one morning because the problem became so bad!surley for a project that no one wanted to be done and then told it is for cyclist the they are not helping thier cause by carrying on the way they did.

Anonymous said...

As a cyclist who travels across this every morning, it has made life far more
dangerous for me. I cross the road across pitfield street going north to south (the way the cycle route runs) and instead of joining a round about I’m forced to stop on an upward slope, as visibility is poor. It makes it very hard to cycle and it feels far more dangerous than previous as cars make their way over the junction from Hoxton street without pausing.

Are there further changes planned to it?

The old roundabout seemed like a local landmark it now just seems depressing.

Cllr Tom Ebbutt said...

We've been in touch with the Council about the issue around how the junction is currently set up. They've spoken to TfL.

TfL say the current markings are temporary and will be removed in two to three weeks.

The current markings have been put in place in order to control traffic while the work is being completed, as having no markings is not an option. They say the lack of a completed kerb on the east - west route means that a line cannot be marked there at present.

So, whilst the current situation is not perfect, hopefully everything will be in full working order in a few weeks time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the speedy reply. Guess we will wait and see =) Also I didn't read the part about the kids returning. That is also good news.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the new junction has made the route less safe for cyclists. I have been cycling this route for well over a year now and have never seen traffic so backed up as it is now. I would like to know how much has been spent on the project. Also, to address the comment made by i hammonds, cyclists should not have been cycling on the pavement (I personally dismounted); however, I question why an alternative cycle route was not set up as it is known that this is such a busy route and also why it took four to five police officers to hand out fines. Not a good use of our tax money, in my opinion. It would be great to get some answers to the above.

Anonymous said...

The answer to the person who asked what it costs - £490,000. The councillors don’t want to acknowledge the cost, and in saying it is paid by TfL, they are contradicting the council’s own report, which says that £390,000 comes from central government and £100,000 from our council tax. It’s a ridiculous waste of money and was rushed through without proper consultation.
I used it as a cyclist for the first time yesterday and my fear that it will make me feel less safe was justified, as I negotiated the backed up traffic and tried to look two ways at once when turning right.

Emma Bartholomew said...

I also use the junction every day in a car and think that although the council claimed these changes were made for the safety of cyclists, it has in fact made the junction a lot more dangerous.
I'm a reporter for the Hackney Gazette and wonder if any of the cyclists who have posted here would be willing to contact me and we could write something about this in the paper. My number is 078237 912078 if anyone would like to contact me. Thank you.

Unknown said...

How can anyone say that this junction is now safer for cyclists?! It has to be one of the busiest cycle routes in Hackney and is now a nightmare.I'm afraid someone will get badly injured at this junction soon.It was 500% safer and quicker with roundabout in place.

Anonymous said...

Hi Emma,
I am a cyclist and left the fifth comment down under Anonymous. I would be happy to contribute to any story as long as we can get answers to some questions; in particular with whom the council consulted about cyclist safety. I will text my name and number in the next day or so.

i hammonds said...

Not wishing to sound like a persistant moaner but as i live on the junction i am finding the whole situation frustrating,not only did no one want the roundabout taken away,it is taking an eternaty to be completed ,it is in a very dangerous state fro cars cycles and pedestrians and is an accident waiting to happen.But the most worrying is that the road markings in place at the moment are not the way the road will be set up on its completion,so people will get use to haveing right off way in one direction but on completion it will be completly opposite to what is in place at the moment

Anonymous said...

There was a public consultation - last August! They say they sent leaflets to 2,000 properties in the area and got 32 replies. Twenty-four were in favour. It would be interesting to know whether i hammonds got the flyer.
And the budgeted cost is actually £590,000, with £100,000 from the Hackney council-tax payers.
The remark about the markings is right - quite bizarre.
Perhaps Cllr Ebbutt can explain them.
And it is taking an age with no consideration for cyclists; there are unmarked raised manholes where a cyclist would go. A bit ironic since they used cyclists' safety as an argument.
My theory: an excuse finally to shift the embarrassing statue to somewhere less prominent.

Trevor Parsons said...

I'm chair of Hackney Cyclists, which is the local branch of London Cycling Campaign (1,000-plus paid-up members in the borough). I've lived in Hoxton since 1984.

I hope I can provide readers of this blog with some background and reassurance about this junction, which has long been on our wishlist for change.

Years ago, there used to be a thriving little centre here, with a pub, a post office and a bakery.

Wartime bombing and post-war demolition put an end to that, leaving a big empty space. Perfect for a nice fast car-friendly roundabout, thought the planners.

Roundabouts certainly are great if you are in a car, because you don't have to slow down much. But if you're on foot, they make you walk further, and if you're cycling, they double your chance of a crash, compared to an ordinary crossroads.

There have been various proposals for improving this junction, but until now they all involved keeping the roundabout. We held out for a bolder solution that was worth the public investment.

Last year, the council's engineers came up with a design for a simple crossroads that we could support wholeheartedly. We are pleased that it was also supported by councillors and by residents during consultation.

The streets will be raised up to pavement height so as to slow approaching traffic, with crossing points for pedestrians right on their 'desire line', and the priority in favour of the north-south route that leads into the City. (So you'll no longer have to give way half way up the hill when you're pedalling into town).

The space that was previously wasted on the roundabout is going into wider pavements around the street corners, with new trees, and places to sit.

I'm no engineer, but I can appreciate that making a big change like this takes months of work. While the job is being done, naturally it's a bit of a mess. First we had the full closure, and now we have this awkward arrangement with huge wide carriageways, rough surfaces, and temporary give-ways.

But the contractors are getting on with the work, and it should all be done by April. I hope you can bear the pain in the meantime, and that you will be pleased with the result.

Best wishes,

Trevor Parsons
London Cycling Campaign in Hackney

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr I'm-no-engineer, what's all this tosh about a pub and a bakery got to do with it? And where's the evidence about roundabouts being dangerous? The council admits there haven't been any accidents there in recent years. This cyclist feels less safe and that won't be changed when they get around to raising the junction table. It's to do with the narrow access, where we fight with vehicles, and the need to look two ways at once. And do you also defend the idea of using a set of priorities while it's temporary that will change when they finish taking their sweet time over it? And what about the cost? How many Hackney services could have been saved for that money? And supported by residents? That'll be the 32 people living close by in a consultation that was done in August! You sound like a mouthpiece for the council.

i hammonds said...

dear mr Parsons i have lived by the roundabout since 1966 and i am a little confused about the the pub and the post office,but my point is it is 23.00 on the 07/02/2011 and i have just witnessed a serious accident on the so called better junction,in the last 44 yrs can not recolect seeing more than 1 accident on the roundabout,but on the so called better junction an accident in its first 2 months,well done mr parsons,london borough of hackney and transport for london,keep up with your wonderful ideas.Prehaps you should stick with the old fashioned statement if its not broke do not fix it!

Anonymous said...

Personally I find this 'improvement'a disaster. I regularly ride my scooter home this way and previous to the removal of the roundabout, there was no congestion and I always saw free flowing safe traffic. Only today I saw a cyclist almost get knocked off their bike with the driver of the car hooting madly at him. I honestly don't think he saw the cyclist. A road rage incident cannot be far away...or something worse. A complete waste of our money.

Anonymous said...

They quietly changed the markings yesterday to rearrange the priority. It would be a joke if it weren't so sad - and dangerous.
And isn't it funny that the councillors don't actually reply to anything here? They seem to think that a blog is for propaganda, lies and shouting at people, not for a dialogue. What price accountability?

David Altheer said...

I've published a small story about the sculpture at the junction http://tinyurl.com/5wwtxs6

Anonymous said...

I use this junction sometimes in a car and sometimes on a bike. The new cross roads is much more dangerous for both. Regarding cost - we the public paid for it. TFL & LBofH get their money from us. £600,000 on this junction is £600,000 less for schools, hospitals etc. It has however increased the value of the new block of flats as they now have a nice paved area in front of them and council trees to come later. The developer must be very pleased !

Anonymous said...

Okay, so it seems like its almost finished now.

What a total waste of time and money. It feels so dangerous every time I cycle over it.

Also they've finally put back the kids who point towards the market. Their new placement is not nearly as visible as it was before. It's turned what was once a memorable roundabout to one which is dangerous to all involved and looks like every other run down crossing surrounded by council estates.

Yeah, nice one guys.

Unknown said...

Anyone fancy adding their comment to a Hackney Gazette story about this for this week's edition? Please contact me by the end of Monday March 21 if you do...
Emma Bartholomew
07827 912078

Anonymous said...

yeay - its finaly completed. sorry guys but it does look greatttttttttt!