The Polygon seemed to work quite well as a one-way system. At least as a pedestrian or a cyclist you knew where the cars were coming from, and there was a conveniently-sited zebra crossing just outside the old library.
Now there's two way traffic on this road, the crossing has gone 50 metres north - not far, but still a pain if you're in a hurry or in any way disabled - and the third side of the polygon (the bit that goes past Sainsburys is still open to traffic going south - sometimes - and bikes going both ways).
|A cyclist having just crossed this busy road in Clapham Old Town, and |
now being directed to cross it, again, might well ask: "wtf??"
In fact for cyclists the new layout seems particularly mad and maddening.
There's one of those classic London cycle lanes that comes to an abrupt stop when it has to cross the combined streams of traffic heading south on the Pavement road. Then the lane continues occupying apparently half the width of Old Town road. But there is traffic coming straight at you! (See what one Lambeth cyclists' group has to say here).
As for the repaving, the plantings of sad trees in little yellow plots, silly street furniture, and the taming of the far north-east corner patch of common grassland - well, it all looks just like that terribly bland "regeneration" stuff you see around every new luxury housing project.
Mooching around the vomit-coloured "public space" or "piazza" or whatever they want to call those strange bits between the old pub, the smart restaurant and the old public loos, I can't help but wondering who the hell this is all meant to please.
Two final ironies here: the bit of the road here that really desperately needs work - Rookery Road and North Side between Macaulay Road and the old library - the resurfacing has still not happened. And - well, maybe this is the cleverest thing so far here - they have installed a set of benches, or seats: but they are single seats. Not park benches where three or four people can sit together.
Single seats - for the modern Clapham resident, single-mindedly making the millions they need to live here. Think on it.