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Lewisham Gateway:

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This development has a long and troubled history.   As far as cyclists are concerned, the massive roundabout which has dominated the area since it was installed in the early 1990’s, will not be missed.  Only a few hardened risk takers will attempt a circuit by bike and it’s no more popular with motorists.  For pedestrians, it turned a fairly human sized simple T junction, with pubs, cinemas and shops in easy reach,  into an inaccessible, alien landscape.  I think it’s safe to say, Lewisham roundabout is universally unloved and despised.lewround5

It seems the planned new development is all set to go ahead.  It’s had its fair share of critics, for various reasons, some deserved, but it looks as though it will be a huge improvement on what’s there at the moment and it does look like the designers have done their best to create a liveable, much more human space, off the road, that everyone can enjoy.  The road system, which will surround the development in a kind of double T junction pattern , seems to be a bit of a retro fit onto an existing version created when nobody really bothered that much about cycling.  Since then, London, apparently, has been hit by the “cycling revolution”.  But it came too late to have any appreciable effect on the original planning for Lewisham Gateway’s road system.

That’s not to say that there is no commitment to attempting to make this design safer for cyclists, now.  There definitely is, and the development company, Muse,  along  with TfL,  and Lewisham Council met with us, Lewisham Cyclists, and were genuinely interested in our comments and keen to accommodate our suggestions, but only if possible within the constraints of the existing plan.  It’s not all bad news for cyclists by any means: the new road system looks better than what we have at the moment and there look to be some great shared routes possible, through the new developed space.  However, there are still some difficult junctions without adequate provision for cyclists who wish to make a speedy commute to work, rather than meander gently through the shared space areas and along the off road routes.   The will is there to change this, but each solution hits the problem we come up with time and time again… traffic flow must be protected at all costs.  We understand and appreciate the importance of this junction in London’s road system, for all road users.  But, at the moment, our fear is that the ghost of the old roundabout looks like it might still be hovering over us long after it is ripped out and replaced.    But, we are trying our very best to make sure that once gone, it stays well buried.