In July, Victoria Avenue was resurfaced between the Four Lamps roundabout and the bridge. The new surface is smooth, except for the occasional drain cover, so from that aspect, cycling conditions have improved.
However, the width of traffic lanes has changed significantly. Initially, the single southbound lane was very narrow until it widened into two lanes on the approach to the roundabout, but the dashed ‘central’ white lines were subsequently burnt off and re-aligned to make it wider. There is still the left-turn-only lane approaching the roundabout which the Campaign opposed when it was proposed in 2000.
The northbound direction still has a bus lane, but it is now narrower. When a bus travels at a normal distance from the kerb, its offside wheels are well over the white boundary line. Slow-moving cars often queue close alongside the line so that buses cannot get past. A debate on the Campaign’s email discussion list was divided as to whether the narrower bus lane is better or worse for cyclists. Some thought that buses and taxis would be more likely to try and pass too close to cyclists, while others thought that the narrow width would deter them from trying to pass. As before, the bus lane begins a short distance along Victoria Avenue, so there is still the problem of queuing cars leaving the roundabout blocking cyclists’ way.
There was also an email discussion about the lack of cycle lanes here. Several people said they would have liked cycle lanes to be introduced because they have found that vehicles pass them too closely, but others noted that bus drivers cross into cycle lanes anyway. The left bend on the descent from the bridge heading south was criticised for being a point where traffic is especially likely to pass too close to a cyclist, along with the islands at the Pelican crossings.