Response to the London Bus Initiative Consultation on Route 55 in Hackney
London Cycling Campaign in Hackney
(1) Bus lane hours of operation
We support 24hr operation for all bus lanes. Where bus lanes are currently envisaged to operate
7am to 7pm, we support extending their hours of operation to as close as possible to 24 hrs. The
same goes for the many cases in which bus lanes are envisaged to operate during peak hours only
(7am-10am and 4pm-7pm). It is now a commonly recognised fact that private motor traffic
spreads throughout the day outside of peak hours, with the 'rush hour' phenomenon having
become less and less distinct. Therefore, we urge that all bus hours operate outside of peak
(2) Waiting and loading restrictions
We support all waiting and loading restrictions along bus routes. As with bus lanes, we support
their extension to 24hrs.
Enforcement is vital for the success of the two above measures, and we are in favour of
prioritising it strongly.
(4) Narrow bus lanes
Several narrow bus lanes (i.e., narrower than 4 metres) are planned. This will not provide
sufficient space for a bus to overtake a cycle while staying within the lane, so patience and skill
will be required by bus drivers. We would like to see briefing and training of bus drivers to
discourage them from overtaking cyclists dangerously or driving too close behind them. Cyclists
have equal priority to buses in bus lanes, and where highway engineering alone cannot reduce
conflict, other measures are needed.
We support bus lanes wide enough so that a bus can overtake a cyclist without having to
leave the bus lane. These should be implemented wherever possible. Our support for bus lanes is
therefore conditional on some consultation about lane widths (absent in the present
consultation), as well as briefing and training for bus drivers.
(5) Wide kerb lanes
We support the introduction of 'wide kerb lanes' over cycle lanes and narrow bus lanes where
possible. A wide kerb lane is designed to leave enough space for cyclists on the left side of the
road. A good width for a wide kerb lane is about 3.5-4 metres. This usually discourages motorists
from forming two adjacent queues. The result is less starting and stopping, as well as improved
traffic flow. Cycle lanes have a tendency to be badly swept and to be used as parking by
(6) On-street parking
There should be no on-street parking along any bus route.
Many stretches of the routes being consulted on feature guide railings. In our view, it is
contributory to Bus Priority Measures to remove the railings everywhere along the routes. It is
well known to every pedestrian and cyclist that railings reduce the quality of the street
- They make people take long detours, and any reduction in permeability for pedestrians and
cyclists leads to a reduction in passing trade for local traders and shops.
- They create conflict between pedestrians approaching or waiting at pedestrian crossings when
cyclists stop near their destination and cannot stop anywhere but pedestrian crossings or bus
stops, which tend to be the only places where there are gaps in the railings.
- They have been the cause of several cyclists' deaths and severe injuries when long vehicles
turned left across them and squashed them against railings. Had the cyclists concerned been able
to escape onto the pavement, they could have avoided death or injury.
- Railings lead to motorists speeding up, which in turn leads to more congestion and uneven
speeds (i.e., too fast from one set of traffic lights to the next, then stationary again at this set of
traffic lights) cause queues to build up, delaying buses. Railings should therefore only be used, if
at all, for those short stretches where the sightlines are particularly bad, but removed everywhere
else. Cases in point are the Lea Bridge roundabout, Lea Bridge Road, Lower Clapton Road near
the junctions with Urswick Road and Mare Street Narroway, as well as long stretches of Mare
Street. All of these roads have good sidelines for long stretches where railings are superfluous
(8) Bus stop improvements
It would be highly desirable for us to be informed about what bus stop improvements are
planned. There was a suggestion that they might include altered kerb lines at bus stops, and these
are of particular concern for cyclists. Of course, we are in favour of any new bus shelters and no
doubt other aspects of bus stop improvements, such as electronic bus time displays. We would,
however, like to respond specifically to any measures that might affect cyclists.
(9) Pedestrian crossings
Too often pedestrians are chased from one pig pen into the next, fenced in by railings, hurried
on by inadequate pedestrian phases of traffic signals, etc. Pedestrians are bus passengers, if not
existing then potential, and an increase in pedestrian amenity has a knock-on effect in making the
buses more attractive. It is therefore of particular importance to provide for pedestrians in the
context of the LBI.
- Pedestrian crossings should be oriented along pedestrian desire lines wherever possible. Having
to take long diversions all the time is worst on foot, especially for the elderly, disabled, and
people with children, who ideally should feel able to take the bus.
- Pedestrian crossing should not be 'dog legs'; i.e., they should cross the road straight rather than
be split into two separate sections with a pig pen between them.
(10) Standardisation of hours
We generally support the discernible drive by the LBI to standardise operating hours of bus
lanes, as this will make public awareness easier.
(11) Consultation information
The consultation leaflets gave us, as a group with a keen interest and some expertise in highway
engineering, too little information on the details of the proposals. There was no information on
proposed lane widths, for instance, which is vital to gauging the impact of the measures on
Specific sections of the route consulted on by JMP:
(1) Amhurst Road between Aspland Grove and Pembury Road.
- We support all proposed bus lanes. However, their hours of operation are insufficient. They
should operate 24 hours, like the proposed segregated stretch between Marcon Place and
Institute Place, and waiting and loading restrictions should be increased accordingly.
- We assume that the proposed segregated stretch between Marcon Place and Institute Place is
designed to allow buses a head start to get to the Pembury junction; if this is so, we think it is a
good idea and support it. However, it is a shame that the leaflet (as in other cases) does not
explain the reasoning behing the measure. Will cyclists be able to use this stretch of bus lane?
(We are asking because some segregated non-contraflow bus lanes exclude cyclists. Of course, in
our view, cyclists should be allowed to use it.)
- All railings along Amhurst Road and at the Pembury junction should be removed.
(2) Mare Street and Amhurst Road between Morning Lane and Aspland Grove
- The leaflet for this stretch of route is rather vague; we feel that 'junction improvements to
assist buses' is not informative enough for a propoer assessment of whatever measures may be
referred to by it, and we would appreciate being able to see the plans in more detail.
- Again, support for the proposed bus lane and extended hours of operation and waiting and
loading restrictions as close as possible to 24 hours.
- Strong support for the decision to relocate the pedestrian crossing across Amhurst Road so
much more along the desire line for pedestrians.
- As for the pedestrian crossing across the Narroway, it is probably of benefit to bus traffic to
signalise it, as at times a constant stream of pedestrians crossing the present zebra prevents buses
from getting on, and it would be desirable to make this more predictable and controlled for
buses. However, in our view the crossing is too far along the Narrow Way. It would be of much
more use if it was closer to the junction with Amhurst Road, where the road is wider and more
difficult to cross. The present crossing is not on a desire line, and further up along the Narroway
no crossing is needed, as crossing is very easy there. The crossing should therefore connect the
pavements south of the present crossing on the west side, and south of Bohemia Place on the
east side of the Narroway.
- It is not clear to us what is meant by the 'signalise junction' box pointing to both these
pedestrian crossings. Would there be any more signals apart from those directly associated with
the signalised crossings/pelicans, or does this box merely state again the proposed signalisation
of the crossing in the Narroway?
- We support the footway widening and raised entry treatment to Bohemia Place.
- We are much in favour of improved pedestrian crossing facilities at the junction of Morning
Lane and Mare Street.
- It is not clear to us why the kerb island should be introduced along Mare Street, and we would
appreciate it if you could explain the reasoning behind it. Is it to stop motorists U-turning? In
any case, no railings should be put in along the kerb island. This part of Mare Street is among
the most unpleasant for walking, and more railings would make it even worse. An example of a
kerb island that springs to mind is the Strand, where the kerb island down the middle that was
introduced a couple of years ago led to considerably improved, safe permeability for pedestrians,
as people could see a way of crossing two lanes at a time, between which they were sheltered on
the kerb island in the middle. However, this measure would not have the same benefit here
unless the railings along Mare Street were removed (which they should be). The drawback for
cyclists of such a kerb island is that it makes it more difficult for them to filter to the front,
where they can leave the junction more safely than if they had to remain stuck in the queue. The
lanes are quite narrow at this point, anyway, and the kerb island would only enhance that effect.
In summary, without knowing your detailed reasons for introducing it, we would only be in
favour of the kerb island if it was railing-less and the railings along Mare Street were removed;
otherwise, we would not be in favour, as the island would further reduce already severely limited
permeability here for pedestrians and have an adverse effect on cycling.
- Junction of Mare Street and Morning Lane: The leaflet is too vague to assess what
'improvements to assist buses' might be, and more information would be greatly appreciated.
However, what looks like an advanced stop line across the northbound lanes on Mare Street
catches the eye, and if our surmise was correct, we would be much in favour of this. There
should be a corresponding ASL across the southbound lanes of Mare Street, as well. A feeder
lane would only be needed if the kerb island was built.
- We are confused by the green ASL (?) and feeder lane drawn in the eastbound lane of Morning
Lane; there is an existing cycle lane, but we assume that what is drawn in green across the road is
actually the part of the dog leg pedestrian crossing across the eastbound lanes of Morning Lane?
(3) Mare Street between Well Street and Morning Lane - Again, support for the proposed bus
lanes and extended hours of operation and waiting and loading restrictions as close as possible
to 24 hours. 7-10am and 4-7pm seems inadequate especially along this stretch of road, seeing as
private motor traffic is heavy at all times of the day. It is not clear from the leaflet whether the
proposal here is to actually extend existing hours of operation or to extend them, though we
suspect that they are being extended to include Saturday. We are very much in favour of the
segregated bus lane between Darnley Road and Paragon Road operating 24 hours.
- We support the new pedestrians crossing near Morning Lane and Reading Lane, as well as
across Paragon Road, especially as they seem to go straight across the road rather than in dog leg
- We support the segregated bus lane between Darnley Road and Paragon Road if cyclists are
allowed to use it. We are also in favour of the pre-signal facility for northbound buses.
- All dog leg pedestrian crossings along the route should be straightened (i.e., near Richmond
Road, Well Street and Weston Walk). Near St Thomas's Square and London Lane, the proposed
relocation of bus stop and pedestrian crossing is confusingly mapped. The existing crossing is a
dog leg, but the dotted line indicating the existing crossing shows it as straight, whereas the new
crossing seems to be planned as a dog leg again. We strongly suggest making the new crossing
straight. There seems to be no justification there for a dog leg. The relocation otherwise seems to
be uncontroversial, and we would urge you to use it for an improvement in pedestrian crossing
(4) Mare Street between Andrew's Road and Well Street
- We are in favour of all proposed bus lanes and operating hours as close to 24 hours as possible.
As before, the gap between peak hours should definitely be included in operating hours, as well
as waiting and loading restrictions.
- We are in favour of the new feeder lane and ASL facility at the junction of Mare Street and
- It seems to be a good idea to combine the bus stops near Bush Road and Beck Road.
- There should be advanced stop lines for cyclists in all directions at the junction of Mare Street
and Victoria Park Road, as well as at the junction of Mare Street, Westgate Street, and King
- As mentioned before, all dog leg pedestrian crossings currently make the area very unattractive
for pedestrians and should be straightened.