There appears to be literaly nothing Boris won’t claim as part of his committment to ‘smoothing traffic flow‘ – new Routemasters, putting in traffic lights, pulling out traffic lights, keeping gyratories and of course removing gyratories.  It’s like the Hokey Cokey on asphalt:

The latest project to smooth traffic flow in the Capital will go live next weekend, when the gyratory system in Brixton town centre will be removed to convert Brixton Hill from a one-way to a two-way traffic system.

Now people using Brixton Hill will be able to drive in both directions on Brixton Hill for the first time in decades.

Now, obviously this is very welcome, gyratories are the classic example of bad road engineering prioritising speeding the motorist over aesthetics and pedestrian comfort and are also extremely disliked by cyclists, but really, claiming as part of your ‘smoothing traffic flow’ initiatives things like…

…pavements in the town centre widened, the installation of a signalised pedestrian crossing and improvements to bus lanes in the area.

does rather beg the question as to where the note of consistency is to be found.  As Kulveer Ranger says:

‘Brixton gyratory was an unpleasant relic of the past and going back to two-way is simple common sense. It should greatly smooth the flow of traffic through the area as well as improving public space.’

or as he previously said:

The mayor’s decision not to proceed with the old administration’s plans for Parliament Square was a bold victory for common sense.

Kulveer’s special common sense there, stretchy like a piece of good elastic and about as reliable.  Gyratories were *put in* to speed traffic flow, so removing them will do what, precisely?

Of course, the Brixton scheme isn’t a Boris scheme, he’s just claiming it, as usual.  Claiming it while simultaneously advocating the opposite policy elsewhere is also hardly new, but this is a late-era Ken project and the well of those will run dry soon enough, and then what will Guto Harri claim?  HIV cure?  World peace?  Saving British Airways from bankruptcy?  We await developments.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s Surface Transport Panel meeting considered this highly revealing paper which confirms that TfL is attempting to increase the capacity of roads for motor traffic at the expense of pedestrians by cutting the green man time markedly (to the DfT minimum of 6 seconds, in fact).  This bit was particularly good:

‘Smoothing traffic flow may cause pedestrians to feel unsafe’

What they mean, of course, is ‘speeding up traffic, encouraging people to drive faster and reducing the safe time for crossing the road may cause pedestrians to feel unsafe’.  Well, like, durr, brainy TfL people.  More on ‘smoothing’ here in Item 11.

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