Petition launched to make Bow Roundabout safer and prettier

A campaign has been launched to improve Bow roundabout by making it safer for pedestrians and more attractive for residents.

Submitted by local resident Martha Sedgewick to Tower Hamlets Council, the petition attempts to make the roundabout’s busy interchange safe and easy for local pedestrians to cross. It also seeks to change what is currently a grey industrial space into something more colourful and artistic.

The petition titled ‘Road Safety Measures Urgently Needed on Bow Roundabout connecting the A12, Bow Road and Stratford High Street’ argues that: ‘the roundabout… is very busy… and there are regular instances of cars driving through red lights over pedestrian crossings’. 

‘Overall the roundabout feels unsafe for pedestrians using it and road safety measures are urgently needed to communicate to drivers that the roundabout is also a pedestrian zone.’ says Sedgewick.

The petition is calling for better signage to warn drivers of children crossing as well as fencing or planting around the roundabout to keep children away on their way home from nearby local schools: Phoenix, St Agnes Primary School, School 360 and Old Palace Primary School. 

The petition also calls for the brightening up of crosswalks to make them more visible to deter cars from driving through. 

The petition which has 156 signatures so far also states:  ‘Better crossing would encourage more walking and cycling, and improving links will benefit the local economy and residents moving into new developments’.

Sedgewick, whose six-year-old child attends School 360 on Sugar House Island just off the roundabout, says: ‘As School 360 grows and as more new blocks open up in Tower Hamlets and Newham the pedestrian traffic over the roundabout is only going to increase and I fear there is going to be a terrible accident one day.

‘I believe one of the real difficulties for drivers coming up from A12 is that there are very few visual cues to indicate they are in a pedestrian zone.’

However the campaign has divided opinion, Darius Kaan commented on the neighbourhood social network Nextdoor: ‘Absolutely nothing wrong with Bow roundabout since they introduced the cycle lanes. Bet they have a budget to use up.’ 

Another user Jimmy Hyland commented: ‘Another anti-motorist strikes again, they spent billions creating a cycle superhighway which the cyclists seem to never use… there are ample crossings for pedestrians to use.’

The extension of the CS2 cyclist super highway between Bow and Stratford was opened in November 2013. The bikeways were developed under Transport for London’s £4bn road modernisation programme.

In light of such comments, Sedgewick said: ‘I’m not proposing to add new crossings or slow traffic down… I think they believe I want to pedestrianise Bow roundabout and disrupt or slow down motorists… I just want drivers to be more aware that there are pedestrians including children’.’ 

The petition also seeks to make aesthetic changes to improve the presentation of Bow such as introducing new colourful lighting to illuminate the ‘Bow’ sign on the roundabout as well as working with the local artist community to create a graffiti mural on the underside of the flyover.

Sedgwick said: ‘There have been some fab wall murals emerging across the borough… let’s showcase more local artists and brighten up our environment so that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can feel prouder.’

The petition comes after further changes were made to Bow roundabout in 2016 following the death of three cyclists, Venera Minakhmetova in 2013, Brian Dorling and Svitlana Tereschenko in 2011. 

Changes involved a new signalised pedestrian crossing across Bow Road and Stratford High Street, as well as crossings to link Bow Road and Stratford High Street via the Bow Roundabout traffic island. They also created a new public space under the Bow Flyover and Toucan crossings to provide a connection for cyclists between Cycle Superhighway 2 and the River Lea towpath.

The petition closes on the 13th of February.

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