Transport for London (TfL) has begun work on a series of safety improvements to Bow Interchange. The interim project, which ties in with the upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2, is expected to be completed by the summer with a more radical overhaul due to be consulted on.
Bow roundabout has been the location of a number of cyclist deaths over the years and became sufficiently notorious that London Cycling Campaign saw fit to hold a flashride there in 2013.
Low-level traffic lights aimed at making the junction safer for people on bikes were installed in 2014, but campaigners were divided on their effectiveness, with one saying that cyclists should consider jumping red lights to remain safe.
The current work will see the creation of a new public space under the Bow Flyover and Toucan crossings to provide a connection for cyclists between Cycle Superhighway 2 and the River Lea towpath.
Cyclists’ 'early-start' facilities at the roundabout will be repositioned to make space for new pedestrian crossings and the layout of the eastbound facility will be changed to be similar to the layout on Stratford High Street, which will mean an increase in the length of the cycle waiting area on Bow Road from 12 metres to 18 metres.
Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:
“These improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at Bow Roundabout will help make a real difference for people living in the area, while we plan further improvements to overhaul this vital junction in the future. The works are part of our £4bn Road Modernisation Plan, the biggest investment in London's roads in a generation to transform our streets and make them safer for all.”
The scheme is an interim measure ahead of the Bow Vision Programme, which TfL, together with the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham, are looking to complete by 2025.
Proposals for this will be consulted on in the summer. One option being considered involves redesigning Bow Interchange and removing the roundabout, giving pedestrians and cyclists more direct access across the area.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said:
“Bow Roundabout was one of the first junctions we set out to tackle when we started our new roads modernisation programme. It was not fit for purpose, especially in light of the dramatic growth and change in east London. We have already made improvements, but more is needed and these changes – and the longer term proposals being consulted on in a few months – will transform the junction and the area.”