[Group 02] Safer Crossings
With a very fruitful and productive 4th critical session under their belts, GreenLight were in top shape and performed admirably in both the final report submission and final presentation delivery. The presentation was concise and clear and the project manager successfully fended off predatory questions from the panel in a cool and impromptu manner. The 70 page report was finished on time and the client was so impressed with the quality, that a meeting was arranged with the City of Westminster to address the possibility of implementing the solution.
The team readied themselves for the final critical session. This would be their last opportunity for feedback until the final presentation, so it was paramount that they had a working design. Thankfully, they got the simulation model working in time and this aided in highlighting the poor performance and hazards of the original junction, and the benefits of the improved layout.
Week 3 was GreenLight's most productive and fruitful week yet. Day after day, they slaved over over the design boards, throwing out idea after idea and finally, a solution was born. This solution integrates proposals 1 and 3 from the previous week and combines them with optimised traffic signals to provide a safe and efficient junction. The design features a circumferential cycle lane for cyclists to perform two stage right turns and to have a safe, protected space to wait in, a lane adjustment on West Carriage Drive providing high quality cycle lanes and a double stopping line for pedestrians.Our traffic guru, Bill, managed to generate an entire signalling plan in LinSig in little under a week, complete with optimisations and manual extensions in order to customise it for our junction. Furthermore, the gate design was finalised and drawn.
The group also introduced an improvement for Alexandra Gate, which would provide a smoother transition between Exhibition Road and Hyde Park.
Week 2 saw the group consolidate a lot of ideas. First, the more structurally complex options presented the week before were deprecated as they would impose a financial burden that would take the project in quite a different direction as the one identified as achievable. This yielded three integrated proposals which each featured a different operating philosophy, but all emphasised concepts like safety and efficiency.Proposal 1 considered a Dutch-style roundabout with a lane adjustment. This separates cyclists and pedestrians from traffic flow in order to increase safety. Proposal 2 considered an X-style crossing, similar to that in Oxford Circus on a reduced scale. Proposal 3 involved a clever way of configuring traffic signals in order to consistently provide a gap in traffic for pedestrians to cross through.
After the briefing on Monday, Group 2 started working at an excellent pace.
The project is to produce a feasibility study of the redevelopment of the junction of Exhibition Road and Kensington Road, at the Alexandra Gate entrance to Hyde Park. The emphasis is on increasing the safety of the junction, especially with regards to cyclists and pedestrians.
The first stage involved a site visit for data collection, and some brainstorming. Both these activities yielded excellent results, and our work started to take form. Our initial ideas included a suspended roundabout for cyclists, reconfiguring the traffic lanes in a more optimised set-up digging and underground roundabout, the application of an Oxford Circus-like crossing and the implementation of Dutch-style roundabouts that give priority to cyclists. After some discussion, we discarded the solutions that were costly or impractical.
After the client meeting, a plan was laid out for the project that will carry the team through the rest of the 6 weeks. This includes drawings, construction sequences, provisions for traffic during construction, a cost-benefit analysis and and economic, social and environmental appraisal of the project.
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