East-West Cycle Superhighway Section 12: Parliament Square / Great George Street

Closed 9 Nov 2014

Opened 3 Sep 2014

Overview

 

Section 12 – Parliament Square / Great George Street

Parliament Square is used by thousands of cyclists each day. Cycles make up nearly a third of all vehicles in the evening rush hour. However, there is currently very little dedicated provision for them, and some cyclists have to move across as many as five traffic lanes to pass through the junction. We are therefore proposing a segregated, direct and convenient route across the junction for cyclists on the East-West Cycle Superhighway. We would also provide dedicated facilities for cyclists who approach Parliament Square from Parliament Street, St Margaret’s Street and Broad Sanctuary, with early-start signals and a segregated route around the roundabout.

Parliament Square is also a very busy pedestrian environment. Our proposals include wider footways to create more space for pedestrians, as well as two new pedestrian crossings to improve access to the square itself. However, the proposed changes to traffic signals in the area could mean longer waits at some signalised crossings at times.

We would accommodate the new cycling and pedestrian facilities by reallocating road space from other vehicles. We would also close Horse Guards Road at its junction with Birdcage Walk and Great George Street to general traffic (except cyclists and official vehicles) and ban the right turn from Storey’s Gate onto Great George Street and from Birdcage Walk onto Storey’s Gate.

Proposals include:

  • Segregated two-way cycle track replaces traffic lanes
  • Segregated and separately-signalled one-way cycle track around the inside of the roundabout
  • ‘Early-start’ signals for cyclists approaching from Broad Sanctuary, St Margaret Street and Parliament Street
  • New signalised ‘two stage right turn’ for cyclists to access Parliament Street
  • Wider footway and reduction in traffic lanes on St Margaret Street
  • New pedestrian crossings and wider footways
  • Segregated two-way cycle track on Great George Street
  • No loading on Great George Street at anytime
  • Horse Guards Road closed at junction with Birdcage Walk except cycles and authorised vehicles
  • No right turn from Storey’s Gate onto Great George Street and no right turn from Birdcage Walk onto Storey’s Gate

 

For a larger version of this map click here

 

Segregated two-way cycle track replaces traffic lanes

  • A segregated two-way cycle track would run across the north side of Parliament Square, meaning cyclists on the East-West Cycle Superhighway would not need to go around the roundabout and could move directly between Bridge Street and Great George Street
  • Dedicated traffic signals would allow cyclists on the track to cross the junction without coming into conflict with other traffic
  • The cycle track would be at carriageway level and would be between 3 and 4 metres wide, allowing cyclists to overtake each other in each direction
  • No coloured surfacing would be used
  • On the north side of Parliament Square, the 3 metre track would replace one of the five existing traffic lanes
  • We would need to slightly narrow the footway by between 0.7 and 0.9 metres on Great George Street to make room for the cycle track. However, the footway here would still be at least 5.5 metres wide. We are also proposing to substantially widen the footway in various other locations nearby (see below)

 

Visualisation of proposed segregated two-way cycle track and pedestrian improvements at Parliament Square

For a larger version of this visualisation click here

 

Segregated and separately-signalled one-way cycle track around the inside of the roundabout

  • A segregated ‘cycle gyratory’ would offer a physically protected route around the southern and western sides of Parliament Square for cyclists who approach from St Margaret’s Street and Victoria Street / Broad Sanctuary
  • Dedicated traffic lights would allow cyclists to join and leave the track without coming into conflict with other traffic (including other cyclists)
  • The cycle track would be at carriageway level on the southern and western sides of the Square, and would be between 2.4 and 2.6 metres wide
  • The track would be separated from other traffic by a kerbed island at least 0.5 metres wide
  • No coloured surfacing would be used
  • The new track would replace one of the four existing traffic lanes on these parts of the roundabout

 

‘Early-start’ signals for cyclists approaching from Broad Sanctuary, St Margaret Street and Parliament Street

  • ‘Early-start’ signals would allow eastbound cyclists to wait ahead of other traffic at the junctions before moving away a few seconds earlier, significantly reducing the chances of conflict between cyclists and turning vehicles
  • At Broad Sanctuary, an 18 metre area would be provided for cyclists to wait ahead of other traffic. A new 2 metre wide cycle lane would feed into the early start signals.
  • At St Margaret Street, an 18 metre area would be provided for cyclists to wait ahead of other traffic. A new cycle lane between 1.5 and 2.7 metres wide would feed into the early start signals. The new facility would replace one of the three existing traffic lanes on the junction approach
  • At Parliament Street, an 18 metre area would be provided for cyclists to wait ahead of other traffic. A new 2 metre wide cycle lane would feed into the early start signals. The new facility would replace one of the four existing traffic lanes on the junction approach
  • ‘Early-start’ signals are used at Bow roundabout. Monitoring has shown them to be effective at addressing the left turn conflict that they were designed to address. A video demonstrating their operation is available here.

 

New signalised ‘two stage right turn’ for cyclists to access Parliament Street

  • Cyclists turning right from Bridge Street onto Parliament Street would wait at a signalised turning pocket on Parliament Square
  • A dedicated signal phase would allow cyclists to cross the junction and enter Parliament Street

 

Wider footway and reduction in traffic lanes on St Margaret Street

  • We would widen the footway outside the Palace of Westminster to provide extra space for the large numbers of pedestrians here. An extra 2.3 metres would be provided, giving a total width of 8.5 metres
  • The wider footway would replace one of the five existing traffic lanes on this part of the roundabout

 

New pedestrian crossings and wider footways

  • TfL commissioned a report which identified significant pedestrian desire lines at two locations on Parliament Square. We are therefore proposing  two new signalised pedestrian crossings which would allow pedestrians to cross:
    • from outside the Palace of Westminster to Parliament Square, where 3,269 pedestrians were seen crossing between 10:00-19:00 at the weekend and  1,654 pedestrians were seen crossing between 07:00 – 19:00 during the week
    • between Parliament Square and Great George Street where 1,098 pedestrians were seen crossing between 10:00-19:00 at the weekend and 1,152 pedestrians were seen crossing between 07:00 – 19:00 during the week
  • We would widen the footways in various locations, including at the junctions with Parliament Street, Broad Sanctuary and St Margaret Street. This would provide more space for the many pedestrians in this area, as well as creating shorter pedestrian crossings

 

Segregated two-way cycle track on Great George Street

  • The cycle track would be at carriageway level on the northern side of the road, and separated from other traffic by a 0.5 metres wide kerbed island The track would be between 2.5 and 3 metres wide
  • The existing traffic lanes would be narrowed in order to introduce the cycle track. The reduction in traffic lane widths means loading would not be allowed at any time on Great George Street
  • One eastbound traffic lane would be removed on the approach to Parliament Square
  • No coloured surfacing would be used

 

No loading on Great George Street at anytime

  • The introduction of the cycle track would reduce the available carriageway space. Any vehicle stopping to load on Great George Street would block ahead traffic
  • Loading would therefore be prohibited along this section to give enough room to moving traffic

 

Horse Guards Road closed at junction with Birdcage Walk except cycles and authorised vehicles

  • The segregated two-way cycle track would pass through the junction with Horse Guards Road and continue on Birdcage Walk (proposals for Birdcage Walk subject to future consultation)
  • The introduction of the segregated cycle track would require all turning movements to and from Horse Guards Road, Great George Street and Birdcage Walk to be banned for all vehicles (except cycles and official and other authorised vehicles), to prevent conflict between cyclists and turning motorists.
  • Owing to the space required to introduce the cycle track, it would not be possible to retain a right turn pocket for traffic. Vehicles waiting to turn would block westbound traffic, resulting in increased queuing and delay
  • Introducing an additional traffic light stage to allow the turning movements at this junction would also create delay and would increase queuing on Birdcage Walk and Great George Street
  • Cyclists would be able to travel to and from Storey’s Gate and Horse Guards Road using dedicated cycle turning pockets
  • Pedestrians and visitors to St James’s Park would benefit from a significantly quieter ‘low traffic’ Horse Guards Road
  • Our latest traffic counts show a maximum of 400 vehicles per hour turning right and 10 vehicles per hour turning left onto Horse Guards Road the morning and evening peaks (excluding cycles)
  • Our latest traffic counts show a maximum of 17 vehicles per hour turning right and 244 vehicles per hour turning left out of Horse Guards Road the morning and evening peaks (excluding cycles) 

 

No right turn from Storey’s Gate onto Great George Street and no right turn from Birdcage Walk onto Storey’s Gate

  • The introduction of the cycle track would reduce the available carriageway space, meaning it would not be possible to provide a right-turn pocket for traffic on Birdcage Walk
  • If the right turn onto Storey’s Gate was not banned, vehicles wanting to turn would block eastbound traffic, resulting in increased queuing on Birdcage Walk and Great George Street
  • The reduced carriageway space would mean the turning circle of right-turning vehicles from Storey’s Gate onto Great George Street could no longer be accommodated
  • Banning the right turn would also enable the introduction of a new cycle crossing between Storey’s Gate and Horse Guards Road, which is a proposed Quietway route
  • Our latest traffic counts show a maximum of 42 vehicles per hour turning right onto Great George Street and 27 vehicles per hour turning right onto Storey’s Gate the morning and evening peaks (excluding cycles)

 

Impact of these proposals on traffic capacity and pedestrian crossing times

Our latest analysis shows the proposals would mean longer journey times for motorists and bus, coach and taxi passengers along most of the route, both during construction and once complete. There would also be longer journey times for users of many of the roads approaching the proposed route and longer waits for pedestrians at some signalised crossings.

 TfL is developing wider traffic management plans for central London to help reduce the traffic impacts of this scheme and others, including those proposed by London local authorities and developers. This will include investing in advanced traffic signal technology to allow us to better manage traffic depending on differing conditions at any given time. There will also be customer information to enable road users to make informed journey choices and campaigns to encourage road users to check before they travel.

Please click here for a summary of the benefits and impacts for other road users on routes through the proposed scheme area, including predicted changes to journey times.

 

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