The London Borough of Merton has published a draft traffic order to remove an arguably poor contraflow cycle track in a one-way street with on-carriageway contraflow cycling. (Gazette link: “Proposed alterations to the parking and cycle lane layouts in Melrose Avenue, Wimbledon Park”, 1 March 2019).
Today, there is a northbound contraflow cycle track running for about 300m at the south end of Melrose Avenue, near Wimbledon Park underground station. The track runs at carriageway level between the pavement kerb and parked cars.
Today’s northbound cycle track is not great: the track is narrow (and too narrow for many types of non-standard/ adapted cycles), and clumsy parking means that cars often encroach on the track narrowing it further.
Melrose Avenue isn’t really wide enough to increase the width of the track. The pavement is already narrow and has cherry trees planted along its length. Moving parked cars outwards into the carriageway would likely reduce the carriageway’s width below that needed for service vehicles (fire engines, bin lorries etc.).
If I understand the traffic order correctly, Merton Council proposes to do away with the protected track, except for short 27m long stub at the south end. Residents would park their cars against the kerb, and anyone wishing to cycle northbound (against the one-way motorised flow) will do so on the main carriageway after the initial stub.
(Map/Streetview link to Melrose/Arthur Road junction)
The picture above shows the south end of Melrose Avenue at the junction of Arthur Road. I expect the current contraflow stub on the left will be tidied up and, if Merton’s residents are lucky, the council may even attach “Except Cycles” plates to the no-entry signs (and turn the one on the right around).
Normally, I have an opinion on these things, but I genuinely don’t know if this a better result or not. I think on the swings and roundabouts, it’s probably a neutral outcome.
As it the common practice in Merton, the council is using the draft traffic order as the public notice and consultation mechanism. (In other words, Merton Council isn’t doing the bells-and-whistles style of consultations with glossy websites and PDF documents that other boroughs often use).