TFL has announced its proposed 'improvements' to the Deptford Broadway/Deptford Church St junction of the A2; full details and the consultation page are up on its website.
Campaigners have been trying to get this junction improved for several decades so TFL's consultation is well overdue.
The proposal to add signal-controlled pedestrian crossings across three of the four main arms of the junction is welcome, but why has the opportunity not been taken to relocate the existing toucan crossing next to Deptford Bridge station to a position where it might actually be useful, at the junction itself? TFL claims it rejected the idea 'because of junction capacity and low pedestrian flows'.
I wonder if it has low pedestrian flows because it is in a place where no-one wants to use it? People may find it more convenient to risk crossing at the junction itself because that's the route they want to take.
And the provisions for cyclists, which include 'advisory' cycle lanes and no measures to reduce vehicle speeds, have already been criticised by Lewisham Cyclists as 'seriously rubbish'.
It's not easy to re-imagine a junction layout when you have become accustomed to its perils over the decades, but I only have to ask myself why I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have used the junction on a bike to know it is not a layout that makes me feel safe. I regularly go out of my way to avoid it, and I would consider myself a confident and experienced cyclist. I rarely attempt to negotiate it on foot because I don't need to, but I'm sure I would find it seriously annoying if it was part of my regular route.
Just look at the layout on the plan - a cursory glance reveals the main problem with this junction.
Why does a junction connecting the vaguely dual-lane Blackheath Road to the definitely single-lane New Cross Road need so many traffic lanes? It balloons up into an enormous swollen racetrack - not just left and right turning lanes, but two lanes for the traffic going straight ahead, which then has to squeeze into a single lane within yards of the other side of the junction.
All this type of junction design does is encourage drivers to jostle for position as if they are at the start of a race, then roar away when the lights change in an attempt to jump ahead one or two vehicles. It creates the kind of space that encourages aggressive, competitive driving, a space in which cyclists are regarded as an inconvenience and expected to be safe in 'advisory' lines of paint in between the lanes.
Updated: Lewisham Cyclists have posted a full response to the plans on their website.