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Updated: 2 min 35 sec ago

Response to High Court ruling on TfL Streetspace plans and Bishopsgate scheme

4 hours 12 min ago

We were naturally disappointed to see the High Court decision yesterday that the Mayor of London and TfL acted unlawfully and look forward to TfL's appeal. In the meantime this should have no impact on current schemes - there is no requirement to suspend or remove any Streetspace changes while the appeal is in progress. Judicial Reviews look at the process of decision making and how it is recorded and we believe, like TfL, that Streetspace is both necessary and justified. 

TfL, the Mayor and boroughs should of course consider the needs of disabled and elderly people in every scheme. However, these represent a minority of trips by taxi, and while they are important to consider, it is also imperative that we give increasing priority to public transport, cycling and walking for the sake of all Londoners.

Why Streetspace is so important for London

There has been a particular urgency to enable more people to walk and cycle, and reallocate road space away from private motor traffic, during a respiratory pandemic and at a time when many Londoners are avoiding crowded buses and tubes. TfL’s Streetspace programme has been key to doing this, with the additional benefit of addressing London’s air pollution crisis and the climate emergency, tackling the negative impacts unnecessary motor traffic visits on Londoners, and particularly on the elderly, disabled and poorest among us.

This approach was consulted on and approved in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, and in the guidance on Healthy Streets. Its urgency has been further underlined by declarations of climate emergencies by boroughs across London, and is further bolstered by every new bit of evidence on the climate crisis, and by the output of the government’s scientific advisors and panels.

In other words, the more we learn about the climate crisis, the more clear it is that bolder, more urgent action to cut unnecessary motor traffic and boost walking and cycling is required than has been managed to date.

What LCC wants to see next

Our “Climate Safe Streets” report is clear on what needs to be done going forward, and why. But it is also clear (as are the metrics put out by the Healthy Streets Scorecard coalition) that before Streetspace, neither London nor any individual borough was moving rapidly enough to deliver the current Mayor’s Transport Strategy core targets, let alone a zero carbon roads transport system by 2030, as current Mayor Sadiq Khan has effectively pledged to deliver.

Streetspace schemes have enabled many Londoners to exercise and carry out essential journeys safely when our transport options have been reduced. Similar schemes supporting cycling and walking must continue, not only in response to the pandemic, but the climate emergency, air pollution crisis and to ensure disabled and elderly people have access to a range of mobility options, not just taxis.

Summing up

This legal challenge is the latest in a long history of the taxi industry opposing any scheme that seeks to cut car use and boost walking and cycling. We look forward to TfL’s appeal of this judgement because it is in the best interests of Londoners, including the elderly and disabled, to reduce motor traffic across the capital. And we urge TfL, the Mayor, boroughs and indeed the taxi industry to work collaboratively to ensure appropriate access for disabled and elderly taxi passengers to their destinations, while also ensuring we rapidly reduce motor traffic journeys, including those in taxis, that could be done by other, more sustainable modes.

Categories: London

A "Safe London Cycling" map

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 14:38

As we noted in our Review of the Year Blogpost one of the few positives of 2020 was a recognition of the importance of safe cycling facilities and how they will be critical to helping Londoners travel during the COVID19 crisis and during the recovery from it. 

We’ve been working with Aydin Crouch (@SafeCycleLDN) to show this visually. These are the new LTNs and new, or upgraded, cycleways that were delivered just in 2020 via the Streetspace programme only. This is years, possibly decades, of progress in months.

One of the questions that keeps coming back to us from new cyclists using our CycleBuddies scheme, which puts new riders in touch with experienced riders in their local area to advise on routes and riding, is how to work out where there is safe and comfortable cycling. 

Previous Blogposts highlighted that wayfinding desperately needs work, that current routing apps are poor, and that there is no really good cycling map. TfL’s map shows only the recently signed Cycleway routes that meet their quality criteria. At the moment the OpenCycleMap shows anything that has ever been considered a route, even if there was no infrastructure  or signage is poor (or was never there in the first place).  

But the reality is there is lots of safe cycling in London - on the now-quiet roads within the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, in parks, on shared paths and on some sections of old London Cycle Network route as well as on the TfL Cycleways.

Aydin’s “Safe London Cycling” map (bit.ly/SafeLondonCycling)  shows all of this and we think a lot of people might find it useful.  If you see any mistakes or updates get in touch with Aydin via Twitter or email us and we’ll add them. 

Categories: London

Kensington cycle tracks: council case gets even flimsier

Mon, 01/04/2021 - 16:40

The case made by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea against its own cycle tracks on Kensington High Street looks more and more flimsy, less and less sane, with every day that passes.

The latest news comes from traffic counts taken from traffic-cams on the road using Google machine learning algorithms by the #BikeIsBest national campaign, and a series of Freedom of Information requests by Institute of Cancer Research scientist Steve Pettitt. ICR has two sites relatively near to Kensington High Street.

The story so far

RBKC council declared its intention to rip out cycle tracks it had used TfL funding to install on Kensington High Street, despite copious evidence the tracks were working well and using a very flimsy basis to do so in late November, which triggered widespread condemnation of the borough, potential legal action and XR protests. Almost immediately after the tracks came out, RBKC’s decision-making process and reasoning for removal came under fire.

A group of local activists (including some local LCC members), Better Streets for K&C, have been putting time and energy into picking apart the flimsy case made by the council to rip out the cycle tracks. Following legal advice, they have written a "pre-action protocol letter" to launch a Judicial Review of the decision with help from the Environmental Law Foundation.

What do the traffic counts show us?

According to The Guardian’s coverage

  • Since the tracks were removed, the space they took up has been blocked by parked cars up to 80% of the time (as visible on this hilarious and infuriating twitter feed). During the Christmas week the space was blocked nearly 64% of the time, but daytime 29 December, the space was blocked nearly 82% of the time, with some vehicles left on double yellows even for over 10 hours. Even during tier 2 from 14-18 December, the space was blocked over half the time.
  • As a result of the few cars constantly parked, congestion worsened after the scheme came out, despite London going into higher tiers. While the scheme was in, the average motor vehicle journey along the street was 5 minutes, 48 seconds; after its removal, this rose to nearly 6.5 minutes. Fears that the track was causing congestion was cited as one of the key reasons why the track was removed by the council at the time. Yet since its removal there appears to have been very little to no attempt to enforce illegal and inconsiderate parking that has led to worse congestion.
  • No “criteria or metrics” to assess the cycle track scheme were “developed” to assess the scheme prior to its removal.
What do the new FOIs reveal?

According to Steve Pettit and Forbes coverage of the FOIs…

  • There was no meeting among councillors and/or officers to make the decision to remove the cycle tracks – and no minutes of any meetings therefore.
  • That no public consultation took place to ascertain what residents, road users, indeed anyone, actually thought of the cycle tracks. There was no formal opportunity for anyone to raise issues or concerns. Just an email address that was circulated to residents’ associations etc. by those campaigning largely against the tracks.
  • The council did hold a meeting with some stakeholders regarding the tracks on 12 November, but notably didn’t invite any of those voices they knew would likely be positive about the cycle tracks. Better Streets for K&C, who had been consulted on the decision to put the lanes in, were kept in the dark about this meeting. And by 17 November emails show the council effectively disowning the scheme – suggesting that if they hadn’t done it, RBKC may “have lost control of roads”, saying the council was looking at the option to “modify or abandon” the scheme and even going so far as to tell one stakeholder “If you had a position, and do oppose the scheme, then we will take that very seriously indeed.”
  • A council comms officer went so far as to edit the words of the Kensington Business Forum’s chair for the press release on the removal to ensure the words “reference the removal of the lane directly”.
  • As TfL and RBKC counts already show, the cycle tracks were very well used. Cycle flows accounted for nearly a quarter of all vehicle journeys along the corridor in October.
Categories: London

An unprecedented year In London cycling: LCC's 2020 in review

Mon, 01/04/2021 - 14:47

2020 is over - it's been a challenging year for everyone. Because of LCC's campaigning, London has seen a huge surge in cycling. Here are some of the highlights from an unprecedented year in London cycling, and a short preview of our aims to make cycling safe, enjoyable, and accessible across all of London in 2021.

LCC wins trebling of protected cycle tracks from Sadiq Khan

In 2016 LCC won three commitments from Sadiq Khan - to remove the most dangerous lorries from London's streets, to make funding available for Liveable Neighbouhoods in every borough, and to treble the mileage of protected cycle tracks on London roads. In February the mayor announced that the last of these had been achieved, marking a significant departure from the “blue paint” era on London's main roads.

  

Read about the trebling of protected cycle tracks

 

Streetspace - Keeping London moving through the pandemic

LCC campaigned publicly and behind the scenes for emergency measures to help even more people cycle safely during the pandemic. The Streetspace programme that LCC supported eventually resulted in nearly 90km of cycle tracks, nearly 100 new 'Low Traffic Neighbourhoods', over 80km of bus lanes going 24/7, and over 300 new School Streets. This represents a radical leap forward for London streets - it's meant more people walking and cycling, it's helped maintain social distancing, and it's helped stave off a potentially disastrous car-led recovery to the pandemic.

 

Find out more about LCC's campaigning during the pandemic

 

 

Climate Safe Streets - LCC's most important campaign yet

In March we fired the starting gun on our mayoral election campaign by publishing our landmark Climate Safe Streets report. This is our manifesto for Climate Safe Streets and it sets out an urgent plan to de-carbonise London's road network by 2030. The groundbreaking report spans cycle tracks, shared mobility hubs, low-traffic neighbourhoods, smart road user charging, and much more.

 

Read about the Climate Safe Streets report here 

 

LCC Cycle Buddies supports new and returning cyclists

As lockdown eased, LCC’s local groups really came up trumps by launching Cycle Buddies schemes all over London. Volunteers accompanied new and returning cyclists on rides to help them build cycling confidence. With Cycle Buddies now running in 17 London boroughs, we’re excited to continue to expand the programme in 2021.

  

Find out more about Cycle Buddies

 

 'Gear Change' includes many policies from Love London, Go Dutch

In October we welcomed a step-change in the UK government's approach to cycling. The landmark ‘Gear Change’ report was heavily influenced by Love London, Go Dutch policies that LCC won support for in 2012. We hope it will mean councils and activists all over the country will now get more opportunities to create safe space for cycling in their areas.

 

Read more on Gear Change and watch the webinar here

 

Looking ahead to Climate Safe Streets in 2021

 

LCC changed the game for cycling at the past two mayoral elections and in 2021 our aim will be no different. Climate Safe Streets will be the most important campaign we have ever run. It's up to LCC to champion the long view - a COVID-19 recovery that transforms London into a greener and more resilient city. We can’t do it without the support of people like you - so if you can, please give generously to our Climate Safe Streets Appeal to help make sure we succeed.

Please support our 2021 London election campaigning - donate to the #ClimateSafeStreets appeal today

 

Categories: London

Last chance to see the lights

Sun, 01/03/2021 - 16:38

Its your last chance to see some festive spirit this winter season.Usually the devoted Newham group lead a ride to the West End to see all the Xmas lights but sadly Covid put a stop to that. So we ventuired out on a family bubble  ride and were delighted to see the display at the Tate Britain and the many arrangements in Bond St. Most of the route was on cycle tracks or through well established 1980s low traffic neighbourfhoods. Route guide at bottom.  

 Bond St

Bond St

Bond St

Regent St

Carnaby St 

Oxford St 

Route guide: Ride west along the Embankment cycle lane past the London Eye to the Tate Britain. Turn back and head back to Parliament Sq. Take care crossing the square to reach Birdage Walk and St James's Park. Turn right into the Mall at Buckingham Place, then left at St James's Palce to reach Pall Mall. Left into Pall Mall then right up St James's to each Picadilly. Turn right then left into Old Bond Street - walk enjoying the lights to Conduit St where you turn right to reach Regent St and its hosts of angles. Straight across to Carnaby St where a left turn takes you to via Gt Marborough  St,  Argyll St and Oxford Circus. The End. 

Categories: London

Travel In London Report 13 - Travel trends and developments

Wed, 12/16/2020 - 17:00

TfL publish the Travel In London report annually and it's full of data.  Below we've just pulled out what think are some of the highlights. 

There are two distinct datasets in the report - what was happening up to March (when the pandemic hit) and the impact of TfL's Streetspace schemes and the response to them. The exceptional increase in leisure cycling during lockdown, up to 200%, confirms what surveys have shown before - that a large number of Londoners are interested in cycling but are deterred by percieved road danger. 

Pre-COVID trends

Active travel growth was below the Mayor's Strategy targets: "slower than expected progress towards the Mayor's aim of an 80% mode share for active, efficient and sustainable travel" and only "42% of Londoners achieved 20 minutes of active travel per day (up 3 percentage points)".

Cycling was down slightly (report notes unusually poor weather when the counts were taking place) though up where new high quality infrastructure was built.

There was a clear need to take bolder steps to deliver against nearly all the key strategy aims - the pace of change up to now simply wasn't quick enough.

Streetspace

Delivery under the programme has been impressive. Only 11.5% of Londoners lived within 400m of high quality cycle network in 2019. Works, including streetspace has increased this to 17.9% now. That's impressive in one year and while the target is 28% by 2024 though LCC's view is that is too slow.

Has Streetspace worked?

Worth caveating that these are early results and in the case of the surveys based on small sample sizes. However, evidence so far is that, yes, these schemes are having a positive impact.

All Healthy Streets indicators showed improvements at Streetspace sites. 

Even more significantly both Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and School Streets were changing behaviour in a positive way for around 70% of people surveyed - people said they would walk and cycle more, and use their cars less. This data is consistent with the local counts and research we covered a few days ago.

Cycling and the pandemic

Obviously travel patterns have been significantly disrupted with large numbers of people working from home and thus greatly reduced commuting flows into Central London. Despite this TfL's automatic counts have recorded cycling volumes consistently above 2019 levels throughout. And we know this is a significant underestimate - TfL only has 27 automatic counters and they are concentrated on main roads and in central London so will not have registered the significant increases reported anecdotally on minor roads and in outer London.

 

What is our takeaway from this report?

Prior to the Streetspace programme, change was too slow and too timid. Streetspace has shown how quickly effective schemes can be rolled out if the political will is there. The survey data shows that even relatively low cost, temporary or tactical, schemes have a positive impact on Healthy Streets measures and drive positive changes in behaviour.

As we highlight in our Climate Safe Streets report, futher rapid change is needed to address the climate crisis. We'd like to see TfL learn from Streetspace implementations so that future active travel schemes are designed and rolled out much more quickly than they have been in the past. 

We cover these and other issues in our "London in Lockdown - what we need to do now" seminar. 

We'll add to this post as we find more data of interest.

Categories: London

LTN's Work! New research shows evidence of success on multiple criteria

Sat, 12/12/2020 - 16:05

There have a number of recent studies produced by the University of Westminster’s “Active Travel Academy”  and other sustainable transport researchers published over recent weeks and this blog summarise the key findings. It’s great to see this sort of academic rigour applied to looking at the impact of Active Travel schemes. There’s a natural focus on Waltham Forest - simply because there is nowhere else that’s got such a wide area covered by interventions that have had time to bed in so that study can take place over a meaningful period. However, as seen by the Dulwich scheme (and from initial reports and follow ups from Lambeth’s LTNs) significant increases in active travel are often seen within a matter of just months - even before the schemes are fully implemented and with just temporary measures in place. 

All this is why we're seeing strong support for these type of schemes from health service professionals, with Guy's and St Thomas's Charitable trust to directly fund three LTN schemes in Southwark as the most cost effective way to deliver agasint their public health objectives. 

Active Travel infrastructure  and, even more so, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, reduce car ownership 

This study used vehicle registration data to examine whether active travel interventions in Waltham Forest between 2015-2019 affected motor vehicle ownership, compared to other neighbourhoods. 

"The Impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and other active travel interventions on vehicle ownership: findings from the outer London Mini-Holland programme" 

 

The chart shows they found statistically significant reductions in car/van ownership in areas introducing ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ (-6%, or 23 cars/vans per 1000 adults, after two years).  They also found statistically significant but smaller reductions in areas introducing other infrastructure such as cycle tracks (-2%, or 7 cars/vans per 1000 adults, after 2 years).  These effects increased after adjusting for the changing age profile of the intervention areas. 

Dr Anna Goodman, one of the authors said  “This is such an impressive effect. In our evaluation studies we quite often see increases in active travel, less often a mode shift away from cars. An effect of this size is unprecedented in my own sustainable transport research. It is also striking that, although LTNs show the largest effect, non-trivial reductions in car/van ownership are seen in areas that got other active travel infrastructure like cycle tracks"

This report adds further to their earlier study which showed a consistent trend towards people in an LTN becoming less likely to own a car and a consistent trend towards reduced car use (which also, to some extent, counteracted the frequent claim that reducing permeability would increase total driving) and of course builds on the now considerable body of evidence around WFMH.

Significant increase in Cycling measured after Streetspace modal filter interventions

Examining the impact on cycling levels of Streetspace modal filters: a controlled before-and-after study in Dulwich Village

 

Photo Credit - Crispin Hughes

Conducted by residents but with guidance and methodology from Dr Anna Goodman, this work compared the number of people on bikes with pre-intervention ‘manual’ Department for Transport counts (DfT perform traffic counts at locations across the UK. Some years are manual counts, others are estimates based on trends.)

These are impressive increases in the numbers cycling and the report concluded that “the large increase in cycling at the Streetspace site demonstrates the substantial potential to increase cycling if infrastructure is provided that allows people to travel safely and comfortably….installing modal filters is a very effective way to make this happen”.

This work futher builds in the evidence from a decade of modal filter interventions in Hackney.

Fire Service response times in Low Traffic Neighbourhood areas do not get worse. 

The impact of introducing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood on fire service emergency response times, in Waltham Forest 

The report summary says:

“There is sometimes concern that low traffic neighbourhoods slow emergency vehicles. We test this using London Fire Brigade data (2012-2020) in Waltham Forest, where from 2015 low traffic neighbourhoods have been implemented. We find no evidence that response times were affected inside low traffic neighbourhoods, and some evidence that they improved on boundary roads. However, while the proportion of delays was unchanged, the reasons given for delays initially showed some shift from ‘no specific delay cause identified’ to ‘traffic calming measures’. Our findings indicate that low traffic neighbourhoods do not adversely affect emergency response times, although while LTNs are novel this perception may exist among some crews.”

That last point is interesting - emergency service vehicles are held up by traffic congestion, and poorly parked vehicles, all the time. The problem is always too many motor vehicles but now every monetary hold up is blamed on Streetspace schemes, frequently when there have not even been any local changes to the road network. 

Social equity impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods  

LTNs for all? Mapping the extent of London's new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

This study looked at equity in the rollout of LTNs. Notably it found that:

"Differences between residential street and main road/high street residents by age group, income group, ethnic group, and disability status are relatively small, and relate more to Outer than to Inner London. Therefore implementing LTNs in itself is not likely to pose major social equity issues (by benefiting those living on residential streets more than those living on main roads)."

 

Categories: London

Webinar round-up - how to build a more resilient London

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 12:36

You can watch a recording of the webinar on facebook here

London, like all other mega cities, faces a set of interlocking crises (climate crisis, covid crisis, public health crisis and credit crisis). The speakers all discussed how to build resilience in ways that addresses these crises simultaneously.

What is London doing well and what can it learn from other cities? What needs to be put in place to plan for the combined effects of pandemics, climate change and air pollution.

·       Covid has sharpened the focus on existing challenges and spotlighted urgency and consequences of inequality and overall physical health. The pandemic has also brought new features and challenges: mass working from home, changing travel habits, and increased economic stress

·       A more resilient city means greater quality of life for people living and working in London. Active travel in particular emerged as a way to build health resilience, economic resilience and community resilience

·       London faces three ongoing (Covid, Brexit, and decarbonisation) – all of which are linked to global forces. As chair Malini Mehra pointed out, London is one of the biggest cities among the world’s top megacities (alongside Tokyo and New York) and this presents particular governance challenges. Nevertheless many megacities are facing similar challenges and we can learn from each other, demonstrating the importance of case studies and scenarios.

·       Rob Whitehead, Director of Strategic Projects, Centre for London, focused on how London has historically responded to shocks and how it could so in the future. He spoke about their latest report, London Futures, which explores different case studies and lays out five scenarios that address the question of how to think about the future in the absence of past certainties. Each scenarios has a different emphasis (15 minute city; cohension and inclusion etc)

·       Will Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner for London, gave the context for Streetspace:  the first lockdown experience confirmed that if people feel safe they will change their behaviour. Gave us a glimpse into that the Healthy Streets strategy is working towards, but also Covid has brought a greater risk of gridlock (bad for our resilience in relation to all the crises highlighted). He discussed examples and spoke about the importance of making some of the innovations introduced over the covid period more permanent and learning from this experience. He highlighted three elements as key: political commitment, technical expertise, community campaigners.

·       Dr Lucy Mahoney, Network Manager, Walking and Cycling, C40, pointed to the greater ambition and action we have seen globally in the past year and discussed several international case studies of what cities have done to shift car-dominated spaces to people-centred places. This has been done in through a set of policies that go hand in hand with improving urban spaces, public health and economic resilience 

You can find out about LCC's past and future webinars here

Key Links

LCC’s Climate Safe Streets Report
Centre for London - London Futures: Building a new vision for London to 2050 and beyond
TfL Streetspace for London

C40 – Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery

Categories: London

Good news: a step closer to smart road-user charging

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 12:20

 

The Evening Standard has announced this morning (and we’ve just seen the press release come in too) that the Mayor and TfL are considering charging drivers from outside London coming into the capital £3.50 in order to plug a financial hole that has been caused by the government cutting revenue funding to TfL and of course the massive reduction in fares from people avoiding public transport during this crisis and likely beyond it for some time.

“The London Cycling Campaign strongly welcomes the Mayor’s announcement of a potential new charging scheme for London’s roads. But our support is conditional on the new revenue raised being spent on greater provision for walking and cycling, and on expanding access to public transport. The climate emergency, the huge damage to public health created by air pollution and inactivity, and the blight of congestion all demand decisive action to reduce London’s reliance on motor cars. This new charge, if invested in green and active travel, will help address all of these huge problems in one go. And, alongside the planned ULEZ expansion, it will be an important step towards a comprehensive, smart road pricing scheme for the whole of London. However, we are very concerned at the axe hanging over the Santander Cycle Scheme. This scheme has played an important part in increasing cycling levels and reducing congestion. We need more on-demand cycle hire provision, not less.” Dr Ashok Sinha, CEO, London Cycling Campaign.

London cannot sustain an ever-increasing population and its demand for daily travel without cutting back private car use. Road pricing (alongside massively boosting cycling, walking and public transport provision) is the only effective way of achieving this. The fewer cars enter London the more inviting the capital is for walkers and users of cycles and public transport, and the more space can be devoted to other modes on our streets.

Climate Safe Streets

LCC’s Climate Safe Streets report spelled out in detail the urgent need to introduce smart road pricing across the capital and , in due course, the Mayor must integrate the various emission and road charges into a smart system. It also highlighted the need for a range of shared vehicles whether electric cars or shared cycles to enable more trips with fewer emissions.

We know that successive London governments have put road pricing on the agenda. Ken Livingston introduced the congestion charge and, his successors as Mayor, Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan, have both have included road pricing in their versions of the London Plan. More recently, London Councils, the body that represents all 33 London local authorities specifically endorsed a road pricing proposal to: “Radically reform the focus of the road network in London by working with the mayor and TfL to introduce a London-wide road pricing scheme that can underpin fair contributions by people using our roads, and supporting significant enhancement of strategic interconnection of walking and cycling routes across borough boundaries”.

As experience from other cities demonstrates, efficient and popular public transport systems require a degree of subsidy whether that money comes from road pricing, taxation, excise duties or government subsidy. London remains a lone exception where public transport fares are expected to pay for an extensive transport system to serve 8.5 million people. That has to change and road pricing appears to be the solution.

Categories: London

Kensington High Street: bring back the tracks

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 17:14

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea removed its Kensington High Street cycle track scheme last weekend, despite strong opposition to the move from all quarters, and using what is an increasingly flimsy basis for its decision.

We believe the council has taken a deeply retrogressive step in removing the cycle track. We urge it to reconsider the full range of evidence and case for the scheme, and reinstate it rapidly. We also believe the council, in the manner in which it has acted not just on this scheme, but other recent schemes, such as TfL’s Holland Park Avenue proposals, is actively and deliberately undermining progress on the Mayor of London’s transport strategy, its own climate emergency declaration and acting directly against its duties to protect its own residents as well as Londoners in general.

As such, we urge the Mayor and TfL, as well as government, to take all actions available to ensure the tracks are reinstated and progress is made in the borough, with or without support from councillors.

We also urge London’s business community, politicians and residents to actively support schemes such as Kensington High Street that provided protected, comfortable cycling routes for thousands of new people cycling, including children. It’s vital we don’t allow our fear of change to cloud our assessment of evidence and impact on the need to get more people swapping cars for bikes to help deal with our climate crisis and London’s issues with pollution, congestion, road danger, inactivity and pollution.

The council's case

The case the council has made to remove the cycle track appears to rest on the following reasons. With each reason, it is also clear that the council evidence basis for removal is beyond weak. Indeed, it is clear the council has specifically sought out evidence to back its decision, rather than used evidence to inform it:

  1. Residents supposedly oppose the scheme – while some residents’ associations clearly do oppose the scheme, the picture is not in any way indicative of widespread opposition. Some politicians locally who opposed the scheme had specifically asked residents to write in on the scheme. Despite this, and prior to both London Cycling Campaign and Better Streets 4 KC beginning to actively seek responses from residents in support of the scheme, responses to the scheme to Kensington & Chelsea’s email inbox were 58% in favour, with those identifying specifically as residents over 30% in favour. Since the actions, Better Streets K&C suggest it is highly likely resident respondent numbers are majority in support. Either way, this is hardly a scheme that is generally opposed by residents, despite local politicians attempting to whip up opposition specifically.
  2. Businesses supposedly oppose the scheme – the local Chamber of Trade & Commerce does oppose the scheme, and it would appear the Business Forum did initially too (although at least two board members appear to have disowned the opposition, and the Chair later clarifed the stance of the organisation as neutral). However, from work by the Better Streets Kensington & Chelsea group contacting shop managers on Kensington High Street itself, it is increasingly clear that businesses were not widely consulted by their representative bodies, and that many were supportive of the scheme (one has said their custom increased due to the tracks), while others were shut throughout most of the scheme’s life. Similarly, the group has contacted many large employers in the area and employees of other large employers have independently come forward to confirm widespread support for the scheme outside of the retail stores directly on the street. While The Daily Mail has run numerous condemnatory pieces on the tracks, one employee of the group has come forward publicly to say that hundreds of employees cycle and were supportive of the tracks. Indeed, in the past, the Mail group has asked publicly for cycle tracks.
  3. The primary concern raised appears to be increased congestion. The scheme was in for less than 2 months, when most such schemes are expected to take over six months to bed in, and significant roadworks were carried out during at least two weeks of the scheme’s operation. Despite this, the borough’s own data shows the scheme hasn’t caused additional congestion to Kensington High Street. The data also shows the scheme had resulted in a huge rise in cycling journeys: “over 3,000 bikes a day on most days”.
  4. Much of the business concern beyond congestion appears to be centred on lost revenue from lack of parking. Since removal of the scheme it has been perfectly clear that parking on Kensington High Street is not heavily used by shoppers, nor has more car parking on the street radically improved retail footfall etc.
  5. Throughout the decision making process from the council, no effort at all appears to have been made to consider the case and evidence for the scheme (such as the horrific collision record of the street prior to the scheme, cycling volumes, air quality etc.), nor is there any effort to consider the needs and benefits to anyone bar business stakeholders, residents and, it would appear, the owner of the Mail group. The scheme represents an absolutely key link for cycling for much of west London – but concerns of anyone bar some residents associations and business forums are ignored, and have even been arguably derided by the politicians involved.
  6. Much of the decision making here has been done in secret and without transparency. For instance, a meeting of “residents association and business group representatives” with the council on 12 November, is cited as a reason for the scheme being removed. Yet representatives of active travel organisations in the borough, or those supportive, weren’t invited. And at that presentation, the council revealed its own figures showing congestion wasn’t being impacted – yet the representatives weren’t apparently swayed. Similarly, it appears that the decision to remove the tracks was taken as an “emergency meeting” just two hours before the planned council meeting on them, it would appear to avoid scrutiny from committee.
  7. None of the evidence weighed up to decide on the merits of the scheme included any data on the very real issues the scheme sought to alleviate, including road danger to those walking and cycling; pollution levels, the health outcomes for residents of the borough or the strategic nature of the street in London’s cycling network.

For more background on the tracks and the lead-up to their removal, see our previous blog here.

Categories: London

Don’t rip out K&C cycle track says LCC

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 14:35

 

London Cycling Campaign urges Kensington & Chelsea to look at the evidence, stop listening to a small number of anti-cycling voices and keep the massively successful cycle tracks on Kensington High Street.

Kensington & Chelsea council is set to act against the interest of Londoners and its own residents and businesses, as well as its own policies, and at a huge financial and reputational cost, rip out its recently and partially installed Kensington High Street wand-protected cycle track scheme. This, despite evidence that it is a huge success.

Click here to take action now, urgently

And if you want to show support, ride Kensington High Street tomorrow 8am, and socially distanced share the tracks for your daily exercise with parents, staff and children of Fox Primary School in Kensington.

The case for

The Walking & Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman has already revealed figures showing cycle use doubled almost immediately after the scheme went in. According to The Standard it is now being used by 4,000 people a day, tripling usage prior to the scheme. And the scheme was due to begin its second phase of building, with junction changes, to further improve Kensington High Street.

The road has long held a horrific safety record not just for those cycling, but also those walking, and action was long overdue – it has been site to well over 130 fatal and serious collisions in the last 20 years. It is an act cynical and callous politics on the part of Kensington & Chelsea to not only deliberately endanger the many new and existing people cycling there, but also to fail to provide alternatives to motor vehicle use in a respiratory pandemic. And this is despite the scheme not demonstrably adding to congestion on the street, according to Better Streets for K&C’s own analysis.

The council seems content to avoid any genuine public consultation, ignore what reliable evidence there is and listen solely to the richest and loudest of voices – including it would appear, the proprietor of the Daily Mail, Lord Rothermere, whose journey has apparently been slightly disrupted by roadworks that happened at the same time as the scheme was going in.

Once again Kensington & Chelsea council appears to shamefully be ignoring ordinary, less resourced residents who need to use bikes to get around in favour of those with money, power and chauffeurs. And ludicrously, this time, K&C not only appears to be ignoring the evidence, but also many many public bodies supporting the scheme.

Not only has the local hospital called for more such schemes, but Imperial College and now the Royal Albert Hall have directly supported the Kensington High Street scheme, as well as several schools in the area, – one of which is promoting the idea that children, keyworkers and parents as well as anyone else supportive should ride along the tracks Tuesday, 8am!

 

In six short weeks the @RBKC cycle lane has started to inspire the next generation & show what is possible

We have to ask @jthalassites @Tony_Devenish @FelicityBuchan

Were these the people you asked?

Clearly not, but we are.

Tell us what you think at https://t.co/qTu03AxzTo pic.twitter.com/trcOACWTK6

— betterstreets4kc (@betterstreetskc) November 29, 2020


Did the scheme work?

We know not only did the scheme work in terms of hugely increasing cycling numbers, but the evidence is it was likely to work in terms of reducing road danger along this previously horrifically dangerous street – which since 2000 has seen over 130 serious or fatal injuries – and particularly this number would have come down if TfL had been allowed by Kensington & Chelsea to begin and complete its junction works.

Better Streets Kensington & Chelsea have also looked at the congestion and motor traffic volumes on the street since the scheme went in. Their conclusion is motor traffic volumes have remained broadly similar to prior to the scheme, with travel times through the area unimpacted also (except for two weeks when heavy roadworks were occurring also).

There has been much talk of K&C doing “Quietways” on its residential streets instead. Except, there are no parallel residential routes that are viable – with any such route adding hugely to the distance travelled and turns made. On top of that, we know that Kensington High Street, just like Holland Park Avenue before it, is where most people choose to cycle already – it is the “desire line”. And, of course, we know K&C and Devenish etc have zero track record of supporting or delivering high quality routes of any kind. This is yet another smokescreen to cover for callous inaction.

Why is K&C acting now?

So if the scheme worked, why is the council leadership taking this wilfully self-sabotaging action? (And according to The Standard, facing the cost of installing then ripping out the scheme, and repaying £300,000 to TfL too!)

The official line from the cabinet transport lead, Councillor Johnny Thalassites is “more than two months after installing temporary ‘wands’ on the road – it is clear that large majorities of local businesses and residents do not think the experiment has worked”.

His letter announcing the council’s decision lists opposition from Kensington Business Forum and Kensington & Chelsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Action Disability K&C, and MP Felicity Buchan and London Assembly Member Tony Devenish. Much of the letter focuses on a supposed need to ensure businesses have a prosperous Christmas trading period on the street.

Cllr Thalassites’ action appears to have been primarily triggered by lobbying from long-term cycling opponent London Assembly Member Tony Devenish. Devenish’s letter with Buchan states the scheme “needed a fair period of operation to prove itself” (it hasn’t had that “fair period” yet).

The letter said 96% of Buchan’s inbox on the matter opposed the scheme, and the following Residents’ Associations were against: VRARA, KSRA, ESSA, ECSRA, KCRA, Melbury Court, Kensington Residents’ Group, and The Kensington Society. The letter mentions a petition against the scheme over 3,000 signatures, a survey by Kensington Business Forum, where the “vast majority of the local businesses are against”, and a survey by Tony Devenish which found 80% opposed.

Tom Frost, Chair of Kensington Business Forum, said the scheme “has not helped our High Street businesses attract customers at a vital time for them.” And Michael Stone, Chairman of Kensington & Chelsea Chamber of Trade & Commerce, said it was “detrimental to business on Kensington High Street and beyond.”

The business argument: bogus

The scheme installation began two months ago. The first phase of construction – with a “wand” protected cycle track along much of the street – is only just complete. And a second phase of junction improvements is yet to begin. Two weeks of the phase 1 construction time also saw several unrelated roadworks on Kensington High Street also – new developments and utilities works.

On top of this, a second UK lockdown has seen most businesses on the street shuttered for most of the scheme’s life. The idea the scheme has proven to be detrimental to business in the middle of a lockdown seems utterly bogus and unproven. There’s no way any of the few businesses on Kensington High Street or in the area can attribute a drop in takings to the scheme, particularly given the evidence showing it hasn’t impacted congestion or motor traffic volumes, and parking has been retained on side streets for visitors etc.

We will be following up with both the Chamber of Trade & Commerce and Business Forum as to how they have reached the conclusions they appear to have, and exactly which businesses on Kensington High Street agree the cycle tracks should be removed, and what evidence they based their decisions on. 

Did residents oppose the scheme?

If the business argument is bogus, the argument residents’ opposed the scheme is doubly so. AM Devenish has a long and documented history for opposing just about every cycling scheme of worth. His statement that he “has always been strongly in favour of encouraging active travel” is not borne out by any of his public record on such schemes, nor his on-street campaigning during the second lockdown to get residents to oppose the scheme.

His survey was designed to solely attract opposition. Similarly, it is unsurprising residents angry at change wrote to Buchan, who has opposed cycle tracks elsewhere in the borough before, while residents in favour didn’t. What we know is that in the last few days since the Better Streets K&C group asked for supportive emails to be sent to them and the council, they have received over 350.

We also know that the petition of thousands referenced by these politicians as evidence of opposition appears to primarily be from individuals who live far outside Kensington & Chelsea. The person who set up the petition, in flagrant disregard of GDPR rules has recently tweeted pages from it showing signatories from the US, India, Venezuela and Nigeria!

What would be the right and democratic way to gauge resident opinion? Not by putting in a partial scheme then pulling it out weeks later, while quoting opposition by a slew of tiny residents’ associations that are rarely representative of actual residents, and not with a bogus petition attracting opponents of cycle tracks globally, but by a consultation after a bedding in period. A consultation, which it’s likely K&C knew would actually show significant levels of support for the tracks from its own residents. Yet chose to pre-empt, undemocratically.

What next?

We’ll leave it to Devenish and Buchan to have the last word. They suggest: “anything that is done to promote active travel must be safe, fair and balanced for all road users, including the elderly, children and disabled.”

We would argue that continuing to ignore ordinary residents, and their health, wellbeing and safety ignores the elderly, children and disabled. It ignores the real risks to their lives that Kensington High Street has represented for decades in terms of road danger, pollution, and inactivity.

It also is hardly fair, balanced or sane to prioritise parking spaces used by a very few customers for businesses (and available on side streets anyway) over footfall and walking and cycling, when all the evidence backs the importance of the latter for retail.

Ripping out the cycle tracks on Kensington High Street is a huge reputational risk for Kensington & Chelsea council, based it would appear on nothing more than the toxic whispers of well-resourced stakeholders, and certainly taking no account of the evidence, policy or the duty of care of the council. If K&C doesn’t reconsider, woe betide it.

Click here to take action now, urgently

 

Categories: London

LCC x Dutch Embassy Webinar - Embracing the bike - building a greener and healthier recovery for London

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 13:29

14.00 to 16.30  26 November  - Register here

The event is to link up Councillors and council officers with Dutch and British  transport experts to give them the tools to successfully implement walking and cycling schemes. With keynote speech from Will Norman, London's Cycling & Walking Commissioner and chaired by LCC's Chief Executive, Ashok Sinha.

The shock of the pandemic has been keenly felt on London’s transport system. With the need to keep passenger numbers low on public transport for safety, the response from the Department of Transport and Transport for London is to release funding for specific walking and cycling schemes. Councils have subsequently rolled out emergency schemes at an unprecedented rate, and now need to start thinking about their next steps.

The event will cover how engagement with local communities can be enhanced during the trails, how to transition some schemes from temporary into permanent and how they can continue to support London’s Green Recovery. Alongside experts from LCC & TfL, we will here from Dutch experts from the Dutch Cycling Embassy and Witteveen+Bos.

The session will be rounded off with an on-line networking session where attendees can talk to the experts, or each other.

Register here

 

Agenda

14.00 – 14.30 Intro & Keynote Speaker – Will Norman, London's Cycling & Walking Commissioner

14.30 – 14.40 Workshop Overview

14.40 – 15.40 Workshops

Workshop 1 - Emergency consultation: how to communicate with the community about emergency schemes
Fran Graham, Campaigns Coordinator, LCC
Lior Steinburg, Urban Planner, Humankind

Workshop 2 - Temporary plus: how to transition from temporary to permanent cycling infrastructure
Neil Taylor, Director, ITP (Royal HaskoningDHV)
Sophie Edmondson, Principal Sponsor for Cycling, Transport for London
Simon Still, Infrastructure Campaigner, LCC    

Workshop 3 - Designing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: where to put them, where to place filters, what materials to use
Simon Munk, Infrastructure Campaigner, LCC
Matijn Akkerman, Active Travel Team Leader / Director, Wittevenn+Bos

Workshop 4 Supporting communities to discover new infrastructure: what projects and policies can help a diverse range of people to recognise and utilise the new infrastructure?
Shelley Bontje,  Mobility Advisor, Mobycon
Stewart Dring, Cycling Projects Manager, LCC

Workshop 5 -  Putting people first on the high street: how the use of timed closures, cycling and walking infrastructure can support local economic recovery
Kees van Ommeren, Partner & Founder, Decisio
Clare Rogers, Healthy Streets Campaigner, LCC

15.40 – 16.10 Wrap up Session

16.10 – 16.20 Final comments – Ashok Sinha, CEO LCC

16.20 Networking

Register here

 

Categories: London

Cycle buddies is helping Londoners start cycling through lockdown

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 11:20

Cycle Buddies helps people to make essential journeys safely and to keep active during lockdown.  The London Cycling Campaign project matches people who want to build confidence with experienced cyclists who will ride with them and help them expand their cycling horizons.  

Making Essential Journeys

Many people still need to travel during lockdown – to work, school, college or childcare, or for essential shopping or medical appointments.  At the same time, many are reluctant to use public transport, and they don’t want to add to congestion by driving.  But making a new journey and finding a comfortable route can seem intimidating on your own, and that’s where Cycle Buddies comes in.


Rebecca from Bromley contacted Cycle Buddies for help getting to work: “My cycle buddy Kat was great.  She found a great route that avoids all the scary, busy junctions and roads I'd been dreading. I was worried I might turn up to find a lycra-clad person who would be a bit intimidating but she was really easy to chat to and it was really nice that she was just a laid-back cyclist.”

Exercising Safely

It’s important to keep fit for general health and to fight the virus, but Sport England found that during the first lockdown, the proportion of the population classed as active dropped by 7.1%. This represents just over 3 million fewer active people.  Cycling is a great way to keep fit, and lockdown restrictions allow you to meet in a public outdoor place with one other person from outside your household to take physical exercise.


“I used to go dancing three times a week but I have had to give all that up in lockdown,” said Wandsworth-based Cycle Buddy Trish.  “Cycling has replaced my dancing.  I’m in my 50s, it’s so much better for me getting around like this. Cycling is fantastic for the heart, for your self-esteem and for your whole body.”


Trish’s experience also speaks to the mental health benefits of regular exercise.  “I felt so elated cycling with my buddy, Jo,” she said.  “Getting out on the bike has been good to deal with my emotions.  My father was ill, not with Covid, and passed away.   And I couldn’t see the grandchildren during lockdown.  Cycling is a relief from all that stress.”

People are signing up across London for help to do more cycling or to help others to start - you too can sign up to join Cycle Buddies here.

Categories: London

LCC observes the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 17:15

 The 15th of November is the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. Shockingly, being killed in a collision involving a motor vehicle is the global leading cause of death for people aged 5-29. Approximately 1.3 million people are killed in these preventable and tragic incidents every year, worldwide.

Road danger in London

Some 60% of people in Britain, when polled, respond that they do not feel the road network is safe to cycle on. Though surveys by TfL show cycling has increased, especially in 2020, the deep-rooted perception that roads are not safe remains a fundamental barrier to cycling for many. In 2019, road deaths in London increased by 12% to 125, with many others injured and traumatised. This is not acceptable.

This year’s changes in  London, such as the TfL Streetspace Programme, are making a difference. This mirrors programmes around the world, from Bogata to Paris, which has allocated millions of euros to expand protected cycle infrastructure on an urgent basis. Our campaigning has continually pushed for projects and schemes that have been proven to reduce road danger, and that has informed the response from highway authorities we’ve been seeing. But we also know that the pace and financial investment needs to be significantly intensified to tackle road danger, as well as inactivity, pollution and climate change.

LCC’s work on this subject Promotion and advocacy of ‘designing out’ road danger

Protected cycleways such as this new one in Rotherhithe 'design out' road danger for cyclists. Image credit: Crispin Hughes

We strongly believe that all road danger is preventable, and our policy draws on input from experts on specific subjects, as well as the broader perspectives of the diverse groups of people who cycle, or want to cycle.

Our policy directory sets out some of the principal ways in which London’s leaders can most effectively protect Londoners from road danger. Our key recommendations are:

  • A city safe for cycling: ensure London is safely and enjoyably cycle-able, including the useof cycle freight, by rapidly delivering a high-quality cycling network across the city. Our proposals on how to do this are set out in our Climate Safe Streets report
  • Ending lorry danger: lorries and other heavy vehicles are disproportionately involved in deadly preventable incidents accounting for half of cyclist roads deaths,  though only 4% of vehicle mileage in the capital. Lorry movements must be re-routed and time-restricted to  protect cyclists and pedestrians during the rush hour and school arrival and departure times. HGVs must be made safer vehicles that have no blind spots and are ‘safe by design.’ Drivers must all be trained in Safe Urban Driving, in which HGV drivers experience for themselves how it is to cycle near them, and rogue HGV operators must be  held accountable.
  • Justice system reform: We recognise that the justice system itself is failing to protect cyclists. We are grateful to LCC Patron Federico Cosulich for starting the LCC Fico fund, that will help lobby for greater victim support and for a reduction in road danger, with more news on this to come.
How we are getting results

 'Direct vision' lorries, combined with  trained operators, restricted routes and movement hours, are significantly safer than normal vehicles for cyclists and pedestrians alike

 Our campaigning has contributed to several key successes in preventing road danger in London.

  • We have successfully influenced the Mayor and TfL to roll out a network of protected cycle tracks and low traffic neighbourhoods across London, and central government in drafting their ‘Gear Change’ strategy, published this year, which makes, on the whole, strong changes to the ways in which cyclists are protected from motor danger
  • The adoption by TfL of more robust safety standards for HGVs, including a new Direct Vision Standard to eliminate blind spots, as well as changes at the European level to ensure that future heavy vehicles are designed from the outset to eliminate the blind spots that can lead to collisions.
  • Local introduction of lower default speed limits in many boroughs including virtually all of central and inner London (both the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster are now committed to a 20 mph speed limit on their roads and TfL is introducing 20 mph on a large proportion of its red routes.)
  • Our community borough groups represent cyclists’ safety concerns to local government. LCC supports local groups with strategy, and with coordination across boroughs to ensure our influence on the relevant decision makers is maximised. We recently recognised some of our valuable community campaigners in our annual awards
How you can help

Please publicise that it is World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims on Sunday, and share this article. You can use the hashtag #WDoR2020.

If you aren’t a London Cycling Campaign member, please join. We’re running a special offer for a free set of cycle lights to all new joiners, or if you’re already a member, refer a friend and you’ll receive the lights too.

 

Categories: London

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods delivering public health outcomes across London

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 19:23

 

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and cycle tracks continue to generate hysterical newspaper headlines but it’s heartening to see just how much support there is for them from those with an interest in public health. 

The Chief Executives at hospitals across London have been calling on their local boroughs to support Streetspace plans including Guy’s & St Thomas’s, Chelsea & Westminster, Homerton, St Bartholomews, St Georges, and the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University hospitals. 

As reported by the Evening Standard, more than 120 Doctors and Nurses recently wrote to Sadiq Khan expressing support for Streetspace projects 

They highlighted 

  • There is “clear evidence” that segregated routes lead to significant reductions in deaths and serious injuries.
  • The impact of obesity and inactivity leads to its own epidemic of disease.
  • The fact that road pollution is the “principle source” in the capital of toxic air that causes the early deaths of thousands of Londoners every year.
  • The impact on reducing climate change.
  • The negative impact of people being unwilling to spend time outside in heavily trafficked neighbourhoods

Their letters notes that this is not just for their staff to get to work, but that: 

We need to make active travel a real option for everyone, not just the young and fit.... Infrastructure for active travel enables people to exercise as part of their daily routine and being physically active is an effective way to reduce rates of various chronic diseases including obesity. Public Health England has highlighted the importance of increasing the proportion of journeys made by bicycle or by foot.

Now we’re seeing a really bold step from the Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charitable Trust (GSTTC) to directly fund three Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in Southwark.

The Charity has a public health remit to address the health challenges facing Lambeth & Southwark - with particular focus on improving air quality, child obesity and long-term conditions such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes (issues that particularly impact on poor and BAME communities). They say:

The aim of the project is to improve the healthiness of the streets in the project areas so that more people can comfortably walk, cycle, and spend time on these streets...reducing inequalities is built into the project objectives

That they see Low Traffic as the most cost effective and impactful way to deliver their public health objectives clearly shows just how transformational these schemes are. The project will also build on the already strong evidence base that supports LTNs with extensive before and after monitoring of the Southwark LTNs. 

Final sign off from Southwark is still outstanding but we trust this will be forthcoming quickly so that these welcome schemes for deprived areas of the borough can be implemented ASAP.

Categories: London

How to keep cycling in London over Lockdown

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 15:27
Lockdown is here again. LCC team’s thoughts are with everyone finding difficulties. We’re writing this blog up to share information on how you might be able to maximise your wellbeing by cycling in and around London. Make the most of new infrastructure changes


In no small part owing to LCC’s campaigning, especially the work put in by our local groups, London’s streets have had rapidly-introduced improvements for cycling. The improvements are diverse, ranging from protected cycleways to low traffic neighbourhood schemes that make whole neighbourhoods much safer to cycle around. Transport for London are updating the ‘Streetspace for London’  changes on their Streetspace page here. There is more on the way, and we’ll be closely watching to ensure the authorities are protecting and enabling cycling all over London. 

To keep track of what’s happening in your local community, consider following your local LCC borough group.

You don’t have to go alone – join LCC cycle buddies


If you or a friend could do with some accompaniment to build confidence cycling, the free LCC cycle buddies service could be perfect.. Active in many London boroughs, we’ll help pair up newcomer or returnee cyclists with someone who can help with finding routes and getting around. We will continue to operate the scheme throughout lockdown unless the Government’s guidelines change.

The majority of cycle shops and maintenance services will remain open


In the first lockdown, the Government mandated that cycle maintenance and retail businesses could continue to stay open. This remains the case for the winter lockdown, and the majority of shops will continue to look after and sell cycles. Find your local LCC-affiliated retailers here.. We advise giving a shop a quick call before your visit, as some may prefer you to phone ahead if your cycle requires looking at to prevent queues forming.

Stay informed with what’s happening to make your cycling more safe and enjoyable

Cycling is important for our journeys, but it’s also critical for health and wellbeing, too. We will do everything we can to make London’s leaders make our city safe and enjoyable for cycling. Stay informed by signing up to the free LCC newsletter.

We will continue to offer advice and guidance for all cyclists – we’ve compiled a resource especially for new or returnee cyclists, and you can contact us for specific questions, too.

And lastly.. . Join LCC!

The most effective way you can support our campaigning is by joining LCC. New individual and household members are eligible for a free set of Cateye cycle lights, or if you’re a current member, you can get a set too, by referring a friend. Claim your offer here.

Thank you to Jon Bromwich for sharing his Railton Road photo with us.

 

Categories: London

TfL gets 6 months more DfT funding

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 15:05

Image credit: Myshoun, Pixabay

The DfT and TfL (and government and Mayor) have agreed terms for the next six months of funding for TfL. And broadly the agreement is good news for walking and cycling in London. But far from great news.

Healthy Streets return

The funding terms include provision of £75 million for “Healthy Streets” schemes – this generally means walking, cycling and related bus priority improvement schemes. Included specifically in that provision is the reinstatement of borough “LIP” (Local Implementation Plan) schemes and the requirement for TfL to provide a walking/cycling ferry replacement service while Hammersmith Bridge is closed (the bridge is set to be shut for repairs until 2027 to motor traffic, but may reopen for walking and cycling prior to that).

What about Streetspace?

The £75 million for Healthy Streets is on top of the likely £20 million settlement for London boroughs and TfL from DfT’s second round of “Emergency Active Travel Fund” (EATF) disbursement, the first round of which paid for TfL and boroughs roll out of London’s “Streetspace” programmes in response to the crisis through the summer. Streetspace has so far resulted in nearly 90km of cycle track, nearly 100 new “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods”, over 80km of bus lane going 24/7 and over 300 new School Streets – a radical leap forward for London’s streets, walking and cycling to maintain social distancing and stave off a car-led recovery.

The funding for Streetspace round 2 has been held up waiting for the EATF announcement of its round 2 disbursements across England. And it seems likely the round 2 announcement got tangled up in the negotiations between the DfT and TfL. So it is also likely we’ll now see round 2 funding announcements for boroughs imminently (but we have heard that now for weeks).

It is vital the Streetspace funding comes forward quickly now for several reasons:

  • To ensure momentum on schemes is maintained to avoid a wholly car-led recovery from Covid (and the gridlock that is already bringing)
  • Because there is a smaller and smaller window for schemes to be delivered  given Mayoral elections take place in May and Christmas looms
  • Because it is increasingly clear that the crisis has seen budgets tightened
  • Because this round could, and should, include earlier engagement with communities to reduce backlash – and that means more lead-in time before delivery
What’s not in the deal?

Early on in negotiations, a letter from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was leaked that showed the government had pushed for an expansion of the Congestion Charging Zone to the north and south circular and removal of any free public transport travel for the young and old.

While smart road-user charging, the existing charging zone, and moves to reduce car use by charging more equitably for the negatives cars cause us all are welcome in general, the sudden and unexpected proposal to increase the zone seemed almost purpose-designed to be used as a political football prior to a Mayoral election, rather than designed to work well. It risked hardening opposition to the ULEZ expansion and indeed a more equitable move to smart road-user charging.

These proposals did not make it into the final settlement, however, the funding conditions do include a slew of things for TfL to investigate that send a clear signal that the government currently expects London’s transport system to be revenue-neutral in the long term – which stands in stark contrast to just about every major city’s transport network.

As LCC made clear in our Climate Safe Streets report, smart road-user charging needs to be on the TfL agenda, and we note that in a recent webinar TfL’s new commissioner, Andy Byford, was open to that option as a source of predictable, sustainable long-term funding.

Categories: London

Campaigner Award winners 2020

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 13:55

 


This year has been completely unpredictable and difficult, and through it all our campaigners have been incredible. We held LCC’s annual Campaigner Awards, celebrating the amazing work of our local campaigners who have adapted to the new ways of working, and thrown themselves behind the Streetspace programme, supporting the roll out of cycling infrastructure at a rate never seen before.

For the first time, there were awards from beyond the LCC network reflecting the inspiring work and coalition building that has happened around travel over the past year.

The awards represent a snapshot of the massive breadth of energy, time and passion our campaigners put into making London a place where everyone can cycle.

Almost every winner commented that they could not do their work alone, highlighting both how success is a result of collective effort and the ways that campaigners have supported one another throughout a difficult year.

So without further ado, here are our 2020 winners!

 

From the LCC network:

 

1. Best campaign initiative: To recognise a creative or successful LCC local group campaigning around infrastructure from the past 12 months.

Winner: Vision for Hackney (Hackney Cyclists)
https://hackneycycling.org.uk/
@hackney_cycling

The Hackney Vision is a plan to transform the borough and the way people move within it. The vision outlines how we can achieve these goals, benefiting everyone who lives, works and visits Hackney. The proposed changes will reduce health inequalities, increase access to clean air and green space and put walking and cycling into the heart of the borough’s communities. Vision for Hackney includes some really key and snappy asks as well as phenomenal images of what the vision could look like in practice. Every road in the borough has been mapped and categorised to make it easier to see the impact of new or proposed schemes on the area.

Highly commended:
Better Streets 4 K&C (@betterstreetskc)

 

2. Best community outreach: a creative of successful LCC local group activity to reach out to the broader community and engage them.

Winner: Wandsworth Cycling for Cycle Buddies
https://www.lcc.org.uk/articles/community-bike-buddies
@Wandscyclist

The Cycle Buddies scheme was started up by Wandsworth Cycling Campaign, putting new riders in touch with experienced riders in their local area. Seeing unprecedented numbers of new cyclists on the roads, they offered support to people who want to cycle more but lack confidence or want to expand their cycling horizons. They worked through the challenges of how would-be buddies could sign up, how to match compatible riders living close to each other and the advice to offer about safeguarding and road safety. Now this LCC volunteer-led scheme is operating across much of London up to 100 pairs of buddies have been introduced to one another.

Highly commended:
Lewisham Cyclists: Lea Green Cycle Bus (@lewicyclists)
Tower Hamlets Wheelers: Let Bow Breath (@THWheelers)
Ken McCosh of Hammersmith and Fulham Cyclists (@hfcyclists)

 

3. Best communication initiative: group or individual who has been working hard and in imaginative ways to communicate and boost community support for cycling.

Winner: Open Road Signs
@LambethCyclists and @LambethLivingSt

The adaptation of red ‘Road Closed to’ signs that had been installed in new LTNs into green ‘Road Open to’ signs attracted widespread press coverage from Newsnight to the Guardian and can now be seen in several boroughs. Better reflecting the spirit of LTNs, they promote the benefits of low-traffic neighbourhoods rather than red 'road closed' signs that can provoke hostility. Campaigners had the imagination and practicality to come up with something that shows LTNs are not about closing roads but allowing for more people in the community to use the roads.

Highly commended:
Clean Air for Dulwich (@CleanAirDulwich)

 

4. Rising stars: recognise groups/individuals who have made dramatic improvements in the last year, whether that is group engagement and organisation to council relationships.

Winner: Better Streets 4 K&C
https://betterstreets4kc.org.uk/
@betterstreetskc

Only established just over a year ago, after years of no LCC representation in RBKC, they are now a recognised stakeholder in the borough. They have built up a great relationship with the transport cabinet member and officers, created a strong positive voice for active travel, and built up connections with residents’ associations as well as growing their own group membership. All of this has helped RBKC council find the courage to put in the first protected cycle lane in the borough, on Kensington High Street. They have also helped support 20mph, school streets and a number of timed street closures to boost business during Covid-19. They are now working towards the borough’s first LTN by getting residents on board.

Highly commended:
Wandsworth Cyclists (@Wandscyclist)

 

5. Campaigner of the year: to celebrate an individual LCC member who has shown innovation, creativity or endurance in campaigning for cycling improvements in their area.

Winner: Sylvia Gauthereau (Brent Cycling Campaign)
@CricklewoodMum
@BrentCyclists

 In her two and a half years as coordinator of Brent Cycling Campaign, Sylvia Gauthereau has been instrumental in opening up numerous new conversations between the campaign and residents groups, schools and others in an attempt to broaden the group’s scope and influence, at the same time as working and bringing up a family.

In no small part due to her persistence and tactful lobbying, Brent announced a fairly ambitious COVID-19 Transport Recovery Plan, including 22 School Streets, 19 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, and three main road cycle schemes. She has been in the forefront of presenting and defending the ideas behind these schemes to often skeptical local councillors and other community leaders. Engaging tirelessly with people with all kinds of perspectives, Sylvia’s focus is always on designing for inclusivity, for people transporting children, heavy loads, or using cycles as mobility aids.


Highly commended:
Angus Hewlett of Croydon Cyclists (@CroydonCyclists)
Jonathan Kelly of Better Streets 4 K&C (@betterstreetskc)
Ali Fontbin of Wandsworth Cyclists (@Wandscyclist)
Alex Raha of Lewisham Cyclists (@lewicyclists)

 

Outside the LCC network:

1. Streetspace council of the year: Recognising councils that have had ambition and delivered bold cycling schemes in last 12 months

Winner: Lambeth Council
https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/better-fairer-lambeth/project/transport-strategy-coronavirus-covid-19-emergency-response
 @lambeth_council


Lambeth Council, after many years of good intentions and planning, were ready to hit the ground running when the COVID emergency decimated public transport capacity. The preparatory work done by a great team of officers meant they were ready to deliver and were the first council in the UK to present and sign off on an Emergency Transport Strategy. With robust backing from Cabinet Member Claire Holland who has faced down strong opposition, officers went on to deliver high quality schemes alongside clear consultation and communication materials.

Highly commended:
Southwark Council (@lb_southwark)

 

2. Cycling community initiative of the year: Recognising an initiative, activity, event run by a  group from outside of the LCC network to enable a wider range of everyday cycling

Winner: Wheels for Heroes
https://wheelsforheroes.org/

Wheels for Heroes enabled hundreds of healthcare workers to avoid public transport over the past several months by enabling them to get to and from work on a Brompton bike. The initiative now has plans for provision of bike docks at hospital trusts throughout the UK to support a permanent legacy of safe, low-cost travel for the country’s healthcare workers.
Wheels for Heroes is perhaps symbolic of the year we’ve had – and some of the silver linings, recognising the value of many whose work is perhaps sometimes under-recognised and helping them in a practical way beyond a bit of clapping.

Highly commended:
Enfield’s LTN groups: Bounds Green Healthy Streets group/ Fox Lane LTN group
Westminster Healthy Streets (@WestminsterSts)
JoyRiders (@JoyridersLondon)

 

3. Active travel campaigner of the year: A campaigner from outside the LCC network who has done most alongside us to improve cycling in London

Winner: Laurie Johnston
@JohnstonLaurie

Laurie Johnston, Dulwich and Herne Hill Safe Routes to School, has tirelessly to build support for Our Healthy Streets Dulwich. She has brought her great expertise and knowledge on how consultation on active travel schemes can go horribly wrong to create a positive, collaborative group of community groups together to call for safer, calmer streets for all. She works closely with the council, both officers and elected representatives and sits on the Southwark Walking Joint Steering Group. As part of this work, she brought the OHS consultation process into the community, organising events in schools and hosting stalls at local markets alongside the council team, in order to ensure a wider range of voices were heard and engaged with. She hand delivered the consultation notices to hundreds of households in the local area and called for the face to face consultation events to be held at 'family friendly' times. The response to the consultation was the strongest ever received by the council with the majority of respondents in favour of the healthy streets measures.

Since COVID, she has worked with other active travel organisations to make sure the measures were delivered as part of the SreetSpace programme. Since schools returned, record numbers of families have been cycling to school in Dulwich, with schools reporting overflowing bike racks and asking about overflow cycle parking, testament to the positive benefits OHS is having and to the many years that Safe Routes have put into building good relationships with schools and families in order to enable real behaviour change and healthy travel choices.

Highly commended:
Sarah Berry (@SarahJ_Berry)
Susie Morrow

Here’s to another year of inspiring campaigning.

 

 

 

Categories: London

Road testing the LCC Cateye lights on a 203 kilometre ride

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 10:22

We’ve just launched the new LCC membership promotion; if you take out a new individual or household membership, or refer a friend, we’ll include a free set of Cateye lights in the post.

This is a blog that sets out why these lights, specifically, are worth having for both leisure and transportation cycling. Before launching the offer, LCC Marketing Officer Calum Rogers took them on a test ride– a 203 kilometre Audax ride from London to Oxford and back, on October 17th 2020.

Why we chose these lights for the promotion

When looking at the range of lights on offer we had three main requirements:

A reputable manufacturer

Firstly we wanted lights that would be trusted on their brand’s reputation. Cateye have been making leading cycling products since 1954, and have been externally audited by German engineering standards agency TÜV Rheinland to the ISO 9001 quality management standard since 1999. No cheaping out here – we insist on the best.

Bright and long-lasting performance

Next, we wanted lights that provide steady mode lighting which will be good enough for both city commuting, and recreational cycling. Cateye specify that our front lights will last for three hours on the ‘constant’ settings, which will be more than enough for most people’s cycling in the dark, with a margin for safety (how did Cateye’s promises match with the reality? More on that to come). Cateye do make models in this series which have longer battery lives, but that’s where our next criteria comes in…

Convenient

Lastly, we wanted lights that that would be easily removed from your cycle when parked, and easily portable when not in use. Using this lemon for scale, you can see that they’ll easily fit inside a handbag or just your pockets. Their combined weight of 121 grams is slightly less than the lemon’s 129. Both lights use a simple and secure mounting bracket, which need no tools for fitting. 

How they performed on Calum's ride 

The lights were tested on the 'London-Oxford-London Steam Ride' audax, a 203 kilometre ride from Ruislip to Oxford and back. 

Battery life

The lights performed very well for the duration of the ride. I used the front light either on ‘low constant’ during the early-morning darkness, and then moved to ‘daytime hyperconstant’ on the front light, which is a low constant with ‘blips’ every few seconds, and ‘pulse’ on the rear. I’m pleased to say that I had rode for 130 kilometres before the battery warning light activated on the front, and the rear’s charge warning never came on at all. I am confident that far from optimistic sales literature, Cateye's estimates are reliable.

Visibility

The lights are bright, well enough to be seen, and clearly illuminated where I was going in darkness. If you do cycle on more remote and rural areas with less, or no, lighting, then the front ‘high’ mode will be more than enough. The four modes are very simple to cycle through, with a push of the large, rubberised button (which is also a battery level warning when 20% of charge is remaining).

The beam pattern strikes the right balance, neither too wide, inefficiently 'spilling' out lumens to where they are not needed, nor too focused and narrow. The light itself has 'cut-away' windows so that it's visible side-on, too. There is a flashing function, but you should take care if you choose to use it because flashing lights can be dazzling.

Convenience

Both lights stayed in place very well. A common bugbear with front lights is that they can be prone to slipping downward, especially lights with rubberised/elasticated straps. The Cateye bracket firmly kept the light in place, even on rough, poorly surfaced roads. This is equally valuable for ensuring the light is angled downward, so that while it's clearly visible, you aren't dangerously blinding oncoming traffic. As well as being fixable to a seatpost or other cycle component, the rear light fitted snugly to my saddlebag’s light loop.

In the last third of the ride (i.e. for the remaining 70 kilometres out of 203) I swapped the Cateye lights for ones I already owned, out of caution, because monitoring battery levels of a rear light while riding is difficult. Both lights fitted inside my saddlebag very easily owing to their compact size.

Summing up

Speaking as a cyclist here, these are a good set of lights and when packaged in with LCC membership, are excellent value for money. Assuming your regular riding is no further than 120 kilometres they will provide very good service and I confidently recommend them. Access the offer or refer a friend here.

Categories: London

Westminsters new plans for Regent Street fail on cycling provision

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 17:33

The Crown Estate and Westminster last week announced a bold plan to reallocate space away from motor vehicles on Regent Street, taking it down to a single lane for motor vehicles in each direction. Even more surprisingly work has started already with no plans published and no clear idea of what’s being done beyond the visualisation. 

Whilst we applaud the principle of reallocating space from motor vehicles to walking and cycling, the cycling provision is woefully inadequate.  This is a road busy with private vehicles, taxis making frequent pickups/drop offs and a high number of buses. Painted cycle lanes offer neither objective nor subjective safety - they do nothing to prevent vehicles over-running the lane, and will not feel safe, so will not enable more people to overcome their fear of traffic and ride a bike here.

Furthermore there are no bus stop by-passes, so at every bus stop there is a risk to cyclists from buses pulling in or out and a risk from other traffic as cyclists try to pass stationary buses. 

The government Gear Change report and accompanying Local Transport Note 1/20 is very clear on what standards are now required for cycling, and that includes proper separation from motor traffic (Principle 3 on page 10) and treatment at bus stops (paragraph 6.6.6 on page 68).

Stepped tracks would be the ideal solution here, with bus stop by-passes (or boarders) at stops. This would give safe space for cycling that would be clearly distinguishable by pedestrians, and the narrower motor vehicle lanes created would slow speed further when traffic levels were low. 

Regent Street was where 70 year old Michael Mason was killed in 2014 when a driver who claimed not to have seen him drove into him from behind. The arrangement shown on Westminsters visualisations would not prevent that happening again in future.  The work underway still looks like temporary materials - with top mounted kerbs infilled with tarmac over plastic sheet.  Cycling here is still going to be unpleasant and we're really disappointed that Westminster is again failing to build safe and comforatble space for cycling. However, their painted lane approach at least establishes that there *is* the space here to do it properly. If and when this scheme is made permanent it's vital that it done with protected space and doesn't lock in dangerous conditions for cycling on Regent Street for many years.

Categories: London

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