Cycling and walking: sharing not segregation

You probably haven’t noticed that small sign
on that tall post, pointing down the wrong path
MUG has negotiated a redesign of the Black Path aimed at making it more comfortable for walking and cycling. 

The Black Path is the diagonal path across south Millfields. It forms part of the London Cycling Network, and some years ago was widened and marked to segregate cycling and walking. 
Since then it has been realised that segregation may not produce the most comfortable shared use. The solid white line markings tend to suggest that the path is an extension of the street and some people behave accordingly. Better results can be obtained by removing the line, restoring the look of a park path, and making it clear that users are expected to share, with walkers having priority.
Temporary signs will
introduce the change

A study of this method in Kensington Gardens shows that desegregation does indeed reduce conflict. For some people this seems contrary to common sense, but, as so often, common sense is not what guides human behaviour.

The group decided back in 2008/9 to go for desegregated shared use. At that point the master plan consultations came along and put everything on ice for a couple of years. But with that out of the way, we reminded Streetscene earlier this year of this outstanding demand. Streetscene agreed that some of the borough’s TfL sustainable transport allocation could be used.

There has been a fair amount of negotiation about the exact method. Currently we expect the white markings to be burned off, leaving the fading green surface which people can be expected to overlook. But there is apparently a slight possibility of affording a complete resurfacing and we are waiting for an update about that.
Permanent markings
will be something
like this


Temporary signs will introduce the change, and be removed later to reduce visual clutter. While they are up they will be more noticeable than the current signs, which are small and perched eight feet up on poles. The only permanent marking will be a stencil on the ground at each end of the path.

We have had good advice and support from the Hackney group of  London Cycling Campaign. In late September we’ll hold a joint stall with LCC to publicise the change to cycle commuters. That’ll be at commuter time – a Cyclists’ Breakfast – and any sturdy souls willing to join the committee and LCC in the park with leaflets, coffee and juice at 8 o’clock will be very welcome! 

Leaflets, coffee etc will be funded by our Grassroots Grants award for summer stalls.

A welcome by-product will be the elimination of a hazardous depression in the path surface towards the south-west end, which becomes a large puddle after rain and an ice sheet in cold weather. At least one person has been injured on the ice — I know because I picked her up and took her indoors to recover. Streetscene assure us that the camber can be restored during the works. 

A nuisance in the wet, a hazard when iced up


One thought on “Cycling and walking: sharing not segregation

  1. emmajack

    I have been shouted at by cyclists speeding through the park to ‘get out of the way’. which I think is unreasonable but understandable with the path segregation. I think anything that helps to make both cyclists and pedestrians more aware and considerate of each other would be great.


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