Comments by Bruce Lynn Healthy rides Co-Ordinator, Southwark Cyclists
This report from Southwark Council in August 2013 followed 3 walkabouts along the Old Kent Rd (OKR). I have been cycling in this area for several years including leading 50+ group rides for less-confident cyclists. Cycling along the OKR is unpleasant for cyclists due to the high traffic flow, high pollution and many parked vehicles. This is all mentioned in the report but it is not clear that any solutions are likely in the near future. To get cyclists in to the OKR need to use side roads and, crucially, need to be able to safely cross the OKR itself. This is a problem for cyclists, but also affects all the communities that lie along this road as it serves as a major barrier to cyclists and pedestrians. It will be hard to really improve the street environment until this issue is addressed. So here are a few comments about OKR crossings and some modest suggestions for improvements.
At Bricklayers Arms there are proper cycle crossings. However, these do not really feed people into the OKR area itself. One request to me was for a route from the south west to the Aldi on Massinger St. It would be helpful to allow dual use of the pavement from Bricklayer’s Arms to this store.
The crossing from Surrey Square to Penry St and Marcia Rd is good for cyclists going SW. But in the NE direction Marcia Rd is one way in the wrong direction. Although narrow with parked cars, Marcia Rd could allow a safe cycling contraflow as there is very little traffic. This route is part of London Cycling Network route 2.
The report mentions on page 8 a quieter parallel route to the OKR. This does not exist as far as I know!
On page 8 the entrance to Burgess Park is mentioned. I agree very much with the point that a crossing from Humphrey St to the Park entrance is much needed. A cycle crossing, plus improved pedestrian crossing phases, would really help here.
On page 16 the crossing from Glengall Rd to Mawbey St is mentioned. This is a very useful cycle crossing and is on London Cycling Network (route 22) and the National Cycle Network (route 425). Note is not on a “cycle superhighway” as stated in the report. Occasional conflict occurs with turning motor traffic. A signalled cycle crossing phase would help. This could coincide with the pedestrian crossing phase as pedestrian numbers are quite low on this junction.
The final section considered was from St James Rd to Brimmington Park. Nothing about cycling was mentioned in this section of the report. However there is a need to provide a cycle crossing from Ilderton Rd into Brimmington Park (and to improve the pedestrian crossing phases as well). There is an excellent cycle path through Bridgehouse Meadows north of the OKR and cycle paths across Brimmington Park on the south side, but no cycle crossing to safely link them. In fact the very top end of Ilderton road on the west side is really horrible and detracts from the OKR environment as well.