Westminster Cycling Campaign News - October 2016

Bow Street: Royal Opera House hits the right note

Westminster Cycling Campaign:   website    events 

The Royal Opera House has done the right thing in maintaining cycle access while it carries out a construction project.

Photo of Bow Street

As part of the Open Up project, works on the Royal Opera House have taken over part of the public highway, restricting the width of the carriageway. As a result, motor traffic is temporarily restricted to southbound-only, but a northbound cycle lane has been provided. Temporary traffic signals stop all traffic when vehicles are entering or leaving the site.

The current arrangements contrast with those put in place during the Royal Opera House's earlier reconstruction project in the 1990s. On that occasion, all traffic was restricted to northbound-only and southbound cyclists were sent on a long diversion via Wild Street.

When the current project is completed, there could be a case for leaving the temporary arrangements in place. Bow Street is part of a Quietway between Bloomsbury and the South Bank, but it has higher volumes of traffic than would be appropriate for a Quietway. Before the works began, the evening peak flow was about 500 motor vehicles per hour - slightly less than the flow of cyclists, about 525 per hour.

Cyclists in Covent Garden have also benefited from the recent installation of a large cycle parking area in Catherine Street (see photo below). Cycle parking in Covent Garden has always been difficult, but the Catherine Street site usually has places available. We could do with more similar sites.

Photo of Catherine Street