It’s Like Oxford Circus Here!
Actually this is Oxford Circus. Until now, it’s been a victim of the "keep the people away from the cars by fencing them in" logic that traffic planners love.
You know the sort of thing - put fences between the people and the cars, so the drivers feel that it’s "safe" to drive faster than they might otherwise. And make sure those fences are on bends / at junctions so that they can act as cyclist graters when a lorry cuts the corner off.
Anyway. There’s a plan afoot to revise all this, and make it a more person-oriented location. Check out the ideas, as shown in this video which I found via Tom Vanderbilt’s How We Drive :
I found this particularly interesting to watch, as big parts of my engineering degree were about discrete event simulations & industrial dynamics flow modelling (believe me, those long winter evenings just fly past), which is the sort of stuff used to generate the animations of how things should work in the new design of the junction.
The only problem I have with the proposed new design is one of practical law enforcement.
With fewer railings and barriers in place, it’ll be harder for the police to contain legitimate protests - "kettling " will become a logistical nightmare. Bring your own fencing, or have to pay even more police overtime to ensure enough police are present to contain the unruly masses? That’s the problem with these experimental traffic improvements - they don’t take account of the total cost to society of their so-called people friendly ideas.