Plans to radically redesign Old Street roundabout, transforming the area for cyclists and pedestrians and creating a new public space for all to enjoy, have been announced by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
The new design for the roundabout, a crucial gateway to Tech City, proposes to introduce two-way traffic by closing the north-western ‘arm’ between the west side of Old Street and the north side of City Road. This would create a large new public space which would be pedestrianised and include improvements such as seating and tree planting and a new entrance to Old Street station.
Cyclists make up almost a third of all the vehicles at the roundabout in the morning rush hour and new cycle lanes – segregated where possible – along with separate cycle signals, will be created through the junction for cyclists. The proposals are aimed at dramatically improving road safety in the vicinity of the roundabout, which saw 44 people injured in collisions between February 2010 and January 2013, 80% of which involved a pedestrian or cyclist.
The plans are currently under consultation but improvements could begin next year.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We are progressing at full steam with our plans to redesign some of London’s most dangerous junctions, and Old Street roundabout is next to be completely overhauled. These plans will dramatically improve safety for the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians using the junction, and also make it easier to access Tech City, which continues to nurture upcoming technology and creative talent from around the world.”
One of the current subways would be replaced with new surface level pedestrian crossings, and a new station entrance to Old Street London Underground station would be built in the centre of the new pedestrianised area. This would also lay the groundwork for more improvements to the station in the future.
Preliminary assessments suggest that the changes would mean a much safer junction for cyclists, but would result in some changes in rush-hour journey times for buses, cars and coaches. Journey times would broadly remain as existing for the majority of routes, with the only significant increase being to traffic heading northwest on City Road, which may take up to two minutes longer in the morning and afternoon
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London, said: “Eighty per cent of all accidents at Old Street involve a cyclist or a pedestrian and it’s our priority to address these issues. These new plans reflect the changing face of traffic in London, where more and more people are travelling by bicycle and it’s incumbent upon us to make it safer for them.”