The borough’s newest MP has resorted to walking to the Houses of Parliament every day as recent roadworks have brought Elephant and Castle to a standstill.
Neil Coyle, elected to the Bermondsey and Old Southwark seat in May this year, has had first-hand experience of the traffic chaos in his constituency as Transport for London embarked on multiple projects around the Elephant roundabout earlier this year.
A burst water main on Kennington Park Road last week compounded the gridlock which has been a recurring issue since works to transform the northern roundabout and create the north-south cycle superhighway both started in the area in March.
“TfL have chosen to redevelop the northern roundabout at the Elephant as well as St George’s Circus – and parts of Tower Bridge Road,” said Mr Coyle. “All are causing backlogs and delays. Many of the works are needed but have been badly handled. They affect thousands of people every day – including me on the way to parliament – I’ve taken to walking,” he said.
But Alan Bristow, Director of Road Space Management at TfL, said recent changes to the roadworks layout and traffic signal timings have improved journey times in the last week – burst water mains and kebab shop fires notwithstanding.
“We are working to transform the area around Elephant and Castle to deliver benefits for all road users, but appreciate that this is having an impact on journeys through the area,” said Mr Bristow. “We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact and apologise for any delays these are causing. As the works are completed, traffic will improve and, where we can, we are working hard to finish these improvements as quickly as possible.”
The works on the roundabout are due to be completed next summer and the cycle superhighway will be finished at St George’s Circus next month, Blackfriars Road in October and St George’s Road in November.