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Wood Lane – Notting Hill Gate scheme: our view

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 17:48

TfL has a current consultation to massively improve walking and cycling conditions in four linked neighbourhoods stretching from Wood Lane, through Shepherd's Bush, along Holland Park Avenue and ending beyond Notting Hill Gate at the Westminster border. We think the scheme is excellent, and it includes continuous safe cycle tracks along it's length. So please support it: you can read our brief take on it and how to respond to the consultation here and see our full response here.

Despite it being a really good scheme, there have been many concerns raised from some residents, some businesses and some local politicians. It is absolutely important that the Mayor, his team and TfL take these concerns seriously and listen to them. But it’s also very important that they move forward on the basis of evidence and policy, not hyperbole, hearsay and myth – which do seem to be at play with some of the issues raised, and in the tone and tenor of many emails we’ve been sent and tweets we’ve seen.

It’s also important that residents, businesses and politicians listen to the evidence – politics doesn’t go well when we don’t listen to each other, and when decisions are made on whom shouts loudest, rather than the actual evidence available.

Of course, the reality is only a relatively small proportion of residents, and businesses in the area are putting forward these concerns – over and over this is the case. It is important to understand the issues raised, but it is also a failing of the current system that many voices are often missed in this dialogue – the scheme passes many educational institutions and it is interesting that the voices of the young, the students and pupils, are largely silent in the debate thus far.

Change is difficult and often scary – and it is an understandable human reaction to fear it. But in a growing city, rocked by climate, inactivity, congestion, collision and pollution crises, it is no longer acceptable to make decisions based on fear of change. And it is no longer acceptable to delay needed change, based on evidence, because of fear. Or are our very real and well-evidenced fears of the climate crisis, of air quality, of a struggling NHS, really outweighed by fears based on very little evidence (or often no evidence at all)?

The concerns raised, and our view:

Below we cover in detail how and why the scheme will not increase road danger, but rather reduce it; why the felling of trees associated with the scheme, while far from ideal, is worth it; why the scheme will not create gridlock, increase pollution or delay emergency services (rather, in the latter, the opposite); why fears of displaced traffic into residential streets should not derail the scheme (but might mean further mitigation is needed after monitoring); why shops along the route are likely to thrive rather than suffer and how impacts to buses will be minor and can be best addressed.

Road danger will increase

The picture above is the Crashmap results for the last five years of collision data available for the route the scheme passes along, just for serious injuries and fatalities. The roads covered by the scheme are manifestly hostile and dangerous. In the last five years, over 150 injuries have been recorded between Shepherd’s Bush roundabout and the scheme end alone. Serious and fatal injuries come approximately one every three months on that stretch of Holland Park Avenue alone.

That’s an unacceptable toll by any standard – and anyone who raises safety concerns about the scheme, particularly anyone suggesting things are fine as they are, needs to think long and hard about how to square their opposition to the scheme with the data.

Several people have raised the issue of faster cyclists, of a gradient, of behaviour of cyclists at lights, but again, across London the data tells a very clear picture – while poor cyclist behaviour is common, it is no more common than poor driver behaviour, and poor pedestrian behaviour. But far more importantly, the overwhelming and disproportionate majority of road danger – of collisions, of injuries, of fatalities – is caused by poor driver behaviour (see the studies from Transport Research Laboratory, summarised here and work by the West Midland Police Road Harm Reduction Team among others).

This scheme is set to reduce road danger dramatically – that is clear from any clear-eyed assessment of the plans. It is likely to result in slower, calmer driving, less motor traffic-dominated environments, improved pedestrian crossings and far far safer cycling.

Similar schemes across London, and internationally, again, demonstrably don’t result in increased danger, but the opposite. And again it is worrying that many residents and politicians seem keener to make claims than use evidence and data to assess the issues.

Trees are being felled for the scheme

Two mature trees and several other large trees, as well as some smaller and indeed struggling trees in the central reservation are proposed to be felled. That is far from ideal. But we have to weigh up the pros and cons of a scheme that is set to dramatically boost walking and cycling rates, enable many more people to walk and cycle in the area and will overall increase tree planting versus those mature trees lost.

It’s important to understand that many schemes that affect our roads across London involve the loss of trees. It does appear that many of those raising trees as a primary concern now weren’t raising concerns about other highways changes in the area and beyond before. And the question must then be asked – is this about trees? Or is cycling just less important than trees to some people (while HS2 is far more important, for instance)? We believe that each scheme needs to minimise tree loss, but that the amount of tree loss here is far outweighed by the potential good the scheme will do over time.

The scheme will cause gridlock

Simply put, there is no evidence it will. Indeed, TfL’s modelling shows the impact on buses and private motor vehicles is very small for schemes of this type.

On top of that, we are a growing city, with congestion increasing, where the Mayor’s Transport Strategy aims to nearly halve the proportion of private motor vehicles compared to other modes by 2041. If that is a serious aim, we need to stop opposing schemes that evidentially are likely to enable people to shift away from private motor cars because one junction gets a bit worse.

Similarly, claims the scheme will worsen air pollution don't seem to be based in any evidence or data. The same claims are routinely made about the East-West Cycle Superhighway CS3 and indeed the Tavistock Place scheme, however air quality appears to have improved along these corridors, not worsened.

Some have also raised the issue of traffic “displacement”. It does not appear that TfL believes much of this will happen. But if it does, that does not mean the scheme should be cancelled. The answer to ratrun/through motor traffic on residential streets is not solved by simply doing nothing as motor traffic congestion increases and apps such as Google Maps and Waze increasingly encourage drivers to avoid lights and congested main roads. The answer is to build what we call “low traffic neighbourhoods” (see more here). We would support residents, TfL and Kensington & Chelsea council working together on this where needed or wanted.

The scheme can be rerouted

The scheme is directly along the alignment of two of TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis top 25 highest potential for cycling routes in London. These are routes where TfL has used data to identify corridors where many current motor traffic journeys could and should easily be cycled. Any other route would have to be designed to fulfil this potential, to be high-quality and attractive for people who currently drive but might cycle here and would need to pass through key destinations along this potential route.

LCC is always open to conversations about route alignments – and is in this case. But those routes we’ve seen thus far suggested are really not in any way viable – either they don’t fulfil this key desire line and its potential, or they avoid key destinations and amenities, which are really important to fulfil the potential of the route, or they do not enable a complete route without significant diversion and loss of coherence (in other words, we have copious data and evidence to demonstrate expecting people to wiggle all round the houses doesn’t work in enabling large numbers of new people to cycle) or are far too far away from this potential corridor. You can see TfL’s SCA maps in zoomable format here.

Other commenters have suggested other approaches - even a one-way reversible cycle track - that appear primarily aimed at retaining motor traffic lanes on Holland Park Avenue. We have yet to see credible scheme diagrams or explanations. Cycle schemes and highways changes require complex modelling and careful design around junctions etc. There are good design and engineering reasons why TfL propose the schemes they do. Of course, reversible one-way schemes also would not enable the broader range of cycling and the shorter journeys, and out of peak journeys, that TfL's Strategic Cycling Analysis identifies as switchable from car journeys.

There is also another issue that must be addressed – whenever a major new cycle scheme comes forward, particularly involving cycle tracks on main roads, it’s always the "wrong alignment" or the "wrong approach". We can’t have a sensible conversation about cycling schemes if every resident assumes they have more cycle infrastructure expertise than TfL engineers and all the other cycle infrastructure planners and experts involved in this process. And while overall and general support for more cycling schemes in London has repeatedly shown to be huge (repeated surveys show an overwhelming majoprity of Londoners support cycling), when it comes to the main road at the end of your street, many residents, it would appear, suddenly get cold feet.

The scheme will delay emergency services

This is incredibly unlikely, and again there is no evidence to make this claim at all. Other schemes haven’t seen delays to emergency services increase. And indeed the main stated delays to emergency services generally, across London are poorly parked cars, motor traffic congestion, cars not moving out of the way. Existing Cycleway schemes in London regularly see emergency services vehicles using the cycle tracks to avoid congestion.

Shops will suffer

Again there is very little evidence this will come to pass, and the likelihood is trade will improve instead. Over and over across London, on just about every scheme going, traders vastly overestimate the importance of delivery spots directly outside their shopfronts, overestimate by an even greater factor the amount of money drivers spend in their shops, and underestimate the positive impact of changes to the streets their shops are on with these types of schemes. See TfL’s case studies for more information.

In Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland schemes, vacancy rates for shops have gone down markedly, despite dire predictions of the “death” of the shopping high street, and footfall is up dramatically. Similar results can be seen across London, the UK and internationally – as can similar fears voiced prior to changes.

That said, again, it is clear some businesses will need to adjust practices and some will need deliver, loading bays etc. It is important that businesses have an honest and open dialogue with TfL about their needs and that TfL listens. But that conversation doesn’t begin with doom-mongering.

The scheme will affect buses

Bus journey times aren’t set to be dramatically impacted by the scheme, and the moving of some bus stops is not in itself a reason to cancel a scheme – all bus stop movements should be carefully considered and balanced against the improvements the scheme makes by TfL, listening to residents.

Categories: London

Local Group News June 2019

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 11:41

London Cycling Campaign has a network of over 30 Local Groups across London, one per borough.

Find out what they've been up to in their latest Newsletters.

If you're an LCC member, you'll receive your borough Newsletter in your latest edition of the London Cyclist  Magazine. 

If your borough hasn't produced a newsletter this time, you can always find out what they are up to by checking their website and social media pages. Or sign up to receive email updates direct from your local group.

Want to do more? Find out how to get involved with your local group: getinvolved@lcc.org.uk

Categories: London

Royal Parks says no to through motor traffic

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 13:57

The Royal Parks, custodians of eight of London’s most iconic green spaces has launched a public engagement exercise into its future long-term strategy on movement and transport. And the strategy contains several very exciting principles at present.

The Royal Parks manages Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’s Park, Green Park, Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park. It acts independently to the boroughs the parks are in, but as the strategy discussion paper launched today points out: “parliamentary approval is required to implement changes to speed restrictions and car parking charges within our parks”.

You can comment on the draft strategy here. Its main aim, according to the discussion paper is to “protect the park environments and enhance the park visitor experience”. To do that, the strategy proposes seven “movement principles”, as below.

The most interesting one on initial read is 4 – The Royal Parks wants to discourage through motor traffic from using park roads. This could have a massive impact on the parks, and on cycling and walking in and through them. Presently, there are clear and massive through motor vehicle routes (or “ratruns”) through Regent’s Park (with the Crown Estates Paving Commission continuing to reject closing its gates around the Outer Circle as was proposed, and supported by them, during the Cycle Superhighway CS11 consultation) most obviously, but also Richmond Park and others.

Removing through motor traffic from these parks would not only make them far far better for people walking, cycling, playing, lounging in them, but also vastly improve the parks as places to cycle in, to and through potentially. Roads inside parks simply shoudn't be alternatives to main roads for thousands of drivers heading for central London daily - if the only motor traffic in these parks were visitors, the roads would be far nicer places to cycle and walk along.

So far, these are just principles in a strategy - it remains to be seen how exactly proposals would evolve. But the potential to improve these iconic parks is huge.

LCC will be formulating a response and letting people know about it asap. You can feed into our thinking at our Cyclescape thread. But most importantly, if you want to feed in to the consultation before we’ve worked up a more full response, get online and support the principles here.

The Royal Parks’ draft movement principles:
  1. We will protect and conserve our parks’ special qualities: “Any changes or developments that affect the way visitors move within our parks should be sensitive to the heritage, character, biodiversity, wildlife and listed landscapes of the parks and must result in no net loss of trees or green space.”
  2. Our parks are for people: “Our parks are places that people visit for relaxation and recreation, and to escape the busy city. To make that possible, we will prioritise walking within our parks.”
  3. We will encourage the use of more sustainable ways to access our parks: “How visitors arrive at our parks plays a significant role in how they use and experience them. We will promote and encourage visitors to use active and sustainable modes of transport for park visits whenever they can.”
  4. Our park roads are not intended to be commuter through-routes for motor vehicles: “Park roads are primarily for the use of park visitors coming to the parks, not for commuters travelling through the parks. Over time, we will discourage the through-movement of motor vehicles within our parks.”
  5. We will achieve more by delivering key projects through partnership and collaboration: “The transport and movement decisions of our visitors do not begin and end at our park boundaries. To deliver positive change we will collaborate with key partners on projects, both within and outside of the parks, to achieve the best possible outcomes for the benefit of our visitors.”
  6. We will make evidence-based decisions: “To make appropriate decisions concerning movement, we will use all available and relevant evidence and data. We will monitor and report outcomes against objectives and embed continuous improvement into our approach.”
  7. We will be proactive in our approach to future transport challenges and opportunities: “The future of transport is quickly changing, and user-expectations play an ever-increasing role in influencing decisions and solutions. We will ensure that we are prepared for these changes and opportunities, so that we can anticipate and respond to change in an informed, considered and prompt way that aligns with our charitable objectives.
Categories: London

London masters honored at Bespoked show

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 18:10

 

London newcomers and old hands both attracted the attention of judges at this year's Bespoked custom bike  builders' show in Bristol.

Saffron Frameworks, a repeat winner at Bespoked, took an award for some very exotic paintwork. Paint maestro Billy says it took severeal days to apply the complex colour scheme.

Photo above - Varonha custom seat cluster

One of London's most experienced frame builders (formerly of Holdsworth and Roberts but now with his own workshop in Hither Green) Winston Vaz of Varonha received an award from The Cyclist magazine. 

Several London-built classics were also on display notably an immacualte Hetchins (originally based in Tottenham),  a Bill Hurlow (who built for London firms Claud Butler, Condor, Holdsworth) and a giant Ken Bird (once in Crystal Palace).

 

 

 

Isla Rowntree, best known for her innovative range of bikes for children, was displaying her children's bike leasing project (currently at trial stage) that  allows parents/carers  to lease/rent a series of very high quality bikes for a child that are swapped as the child grows bigger. The high grade construction (includuing stainless tubing) ensures the bikes last for many years.

And, as you might expect, ebikes turned up in customised versions. Among them a heavy duty off-roader from London's Auguste and an all black design for a cycling exec from Weymotuh's Sven.

Auguste above, Sven below

 

 

 

 

Categories: London

Hundreds join “Climate Strike on a Bike” through central London

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 14:10

 

London Cycling Campaign and Parents for Future have been joined by hundreds of families and adults riding in solidarity with today’s school strikers to demand global action to avert catastrophic climate change.

 

In conjunction with today’s global School Strike for the Climate, campaigners from LCC and Parents for Future cycled with hundreds of others from Russell Square, down and around Aldwych, across Waterloo Bridge, past the Imperial War Museum, over Lambeth Bridge and onto Milbank.

 

The large turnout sends a powerful message that urgent action on the climate emergency is desperately needed by politicians. The climate crisis is the biggest threat facing humanity, and with 20% of London’s carbon emissions coming from road transport, massively reducing motor traffic and rapidly expanding the network of high-quality cycling infrastructure is vital and achievable.

 

There is a clear roadmap for how we decarbonise London’s road transport. Now we urgently need the Mayor and Borough Council Leaders to deliver it.

 

Doing so will create a better city for everyone - one with fewer cars, less pollution, greener streets and much, much more high-quality cycling infrastructure – while helping cut carbon emissions, protecting the future of the planet and millions of people.

 


Dr Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of London Cycling Campaign said:

 

“I have worked on climate and the environment for decades. Never during this time have I seen a movement have so great an impact, in so short a space of time, as the school climate strikers. Young people are least responsible for the climate emergency but have most to lose; LCC is proud to be riding in solidarity with them, and Parents for the Future, to demand radical action by our political leaders to stop climate chaos and build a better, zero carbon future for all.”

 

Millie Guest, Parents for Future said:

 

Everyone wants clean air and a safe future for their children, but somehow we collectively have been unable to secure that for the young generation. This must change. We must be bold and ambitious for our children. That is what the youth strikers are asking of adults - for ambition and to build the city of our dreams and not our nightmares.”


Categories: London

Mayor doubles London’s cycle tracks

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 14:57

Speaking at the London Walking & Cycling Conference, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and his Walking & Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, have made a series of announcements regarding cycling. The key one being that they have successfully in this term doubled the mileage of protected space for cycling on main roads in London since his election in May 2016. This puts him on track to fulfil the promise he made to us all during LCC's "Sign for Cycling" election campaign.

TfL says that 116km of “protected cycle lanes” are now “complete or under construction” since the Mayor’s election in May 2016, and that 53km where in place at that point. This means the Mayor has to deliver a further 43km before the end of this term – and he is on track according to TfL to achieve that.

The Mayor used his speech at the London Walking & Cycling Conference (co-organised by City and Hackney councils) to tell a “tale of two cities” where boroughs including Enfield, Hackney, Camden, Waltham Forest and City of London were pushing forward on cycling infrastructure, while opposition and inaction from boroughs including Westminster is “harming the health of Londoners”.

The Mayor also announced the Healthy Streets TfL budget has increased to over £2.3bn despite increasing pressure on its finances, and full detail was unveiled for TfL’s quality criteria now being applied to ensure the authority won’t “build or fund new routes that aren’t up to scratch”. The Mayor said the criteria would mean new cycle routes are “for cyclists of all ages, all abilities and from all walks of life”. Also at the conference it was finally confirmed that Quietway and Cycle Superhighway branding is being replaced with a unified “Cycleway” branding – with some routes being re-numbered to create a unified numbering system.

Cycle tracks

It’s great news that Sadiq is on track to fulfil his pledge to our members and all Londoners to triple the mileage of protected space by the next election. With less than a year to go, it’s vitally important the Mayor, TfL, and particularly the boroughs, pull out all the stops to deliver the cycling network Londoners deserve and need to ensure the city can keep moving sustainably and healthily.

However, while the Mayor’s mileage claim is very welcome, it bears some scrutiny. The Mayor and his team are being somewhat coy thus far about exactly what he is and isn’t counting towards this tally – it appears that the Greenway Quietway getting lighting doesn’t count as a new scheme, but do minor works to existing A40 shared space? More worrying, nearly all of the distance delivered thus far comes from schemes well underway during Boris Johnson and Andrew Gilligan’s term – schemes that were already consulted on, have had no substantial redesign, and just required a sign-off to begin construction.

20km comes from Cycle Superhighways, 5km from Quietways, 17km from other schemes such as Stratford gyratory, Highbury Corner and Westminster Bridge south and 21km from the mini-Hollands – notably Enfield’s semi-segregated network and Waltham Forest work on Lea Bridge Road. All of these schemes were already in train under Sadiq’s predecessor as far as we can tell. Even Cycle Superhighways (or Cycleways as they are now rebranded) CS4 and CS9 had been extensively worked on before the election – and they are yet to begin construction.

The routes Sadiq can confidently claim as his own include the replacement to Boris’ proposed Westway flyover cycle track – a set of neighbourhood schemes running from Wood Lane, through Shepherd’s Bush and on to Notting Hill Gate – and the scheme from central Hackney to the edges of Canary Wharf, both currently in consultation.

Also set for consultation in 2019 are routes taken from TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis of highest potential corridoors: Camden - Tottenham Hale; Dalston - Lea Bridge Road; Rotherhithe – Peckham; Ilford - Barking Riverside; and Wembley - Willesden; as well as potentially the proposed Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge, that would link Cycle Superhighway CS4 and the Rotherhithe - Peckham route to Canary Wharf and on to Hackney.

All of these routes, however, are yet to get through consultation – which can be a bumpy ride, as the Kensington & Chelsea schemes are certainly experiencing already. Unless Sadiq gets lucky, and pushes hard, he could still yet easily miss his targets. After all, he has taken three years thus far to add 63km, now he has less than a year to add 43km more. On top of that, there are worrying signs he hasn’t been made aware that what he is set to build isn’t what is required to really deliver on cycling.

TfL’s Quality Criteria

LCC has had early sight of TfL’s cycling quality criteria, and we have a major concern around it. Its launch confirms this – it simply doesn’t set the bar high enough to guarantee, as Sadiq says, that only schemes that will enable “cyclists of all ages, all abilities and from all walks of life” will be funded.

The biggest issue is of the six interlinked criteria, that the one for motor traffic volume is set far too high. As currently set, the criteria falls far from Dutch CROW manual guidance, far from LCC policy that is based on that guidance, and far from what is clearly needed to enable cyclists “of all ages, all abilities” to cycle in comfort.

The criteria gives a green light to motor traffic volumes where people cycling mix with motorised traffic “where there are fewer than 500 motor vehicles per hour (vph – two-way) at peak times, and preferably fewer than 200vph.” 500 motor vehicles in the peak hour means people of “all ages, all abilities” would be expected to mix with up to eight motor vehicles a minute passing them. Or, put another way, 500 vehicles in a peak hour generally translate to around 5,000 vehicles a day – which is lower than most main roads, but makes for a very busy and hostile ratrun.

As the criteria are currently set, TfL’s approach will remove the worst cycle schemes that previously would have been funded – blue paint Cycle Superhighways, paint and sign only Quietways down mega-ratruns. But “all ages, all abilities” cycling will remain far out of reach for many schemes that will pass the criteria with flying colours.

Already we’re seeing schemes come forward that are indirect, that go down ratruns with no interventions, and that use shared space crossings of main roads that presumably pass this criteria. If the Mayor wants to truly deliver on his promise to make cycling something for people “from all walks of life”, these criteria will need urgent revision.

Categories: London

Join the Climate Strike on a Bike

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:19

 

On Friday 24th May, LCC is organising a family friendly ‘Climate Strike on a Bike’ with Parents for the Future. Ride with us through the streets of London in support of School Strikers, on what’s anticipated to be London’s biggest school climate strike yet. 

Join the ride

Since beginning her ‘School Strike for the Climate’ in August 2018, Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of other school children to join her protest. Collectively, they have been demanding global action to avert catastrophic climate change. And LCC will be joining them on 24th May.

Main start point: Russell Square (south side) 10:30 for 11:00 ride start

Second start point: Waterloo Roundabout (east side, in front of St John’s Church) 11:00 for 11:20 ride start

Finish: Milbank aprox. 12:00 – people can then join the students strike in Parliament Square

Let us know you are joining the ride.

Cycling and the climate crisis

For decades, LCC has been working hard to turn London into a world class city for cycling. Given the organisation was born out of the environmental movement over 40 years ago, one of our fundamental reasons for this has been to tackle climate change.

Of course, climate change hasn’t always been front and centre of people’s minds, but recent events have changed that. From the most recent IPCC report, to Greta Thunberg’s challenge to world leaders and the Extinction Rebellion protests in spring, the message that urgent action is now necessary to respond to the climate emergency is being shouted loud and clear.

In London, the Mayor and some boroughs have already taken the positive step of declaring a climate emergency, but what will that mean in practice?

Our roads and streets are one of the key sectors that both the Mayor and borough councils have direct control over, and with 20% of all carbon emissions come from road transport in London, decarbonising our roads will be a be a vital and achievable step towards a net zero emission city.

Taking that setp will mean massively reducing motor traffic and rapidly expanding the network of high-quality cycling infrastructure so that anyone who wants to cycle can - exactly what LCC have long campaigning for.

Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity. LCC has the road map for the rapid, achievable and necessary way to decarbonise London’s road transport. It’ll create a better city for everyone - one with fewer cars, less pollution, greener streets and much, much more high-quality cycling infrastructure – cutting carbon emissions, protecting the future for the planet and millions of people.

Want to be part of our campaign? Let us know you are interested in hearing more by signing-up here.

Categories: London

Richard Balfe completes London Marathon, raising over £2,000 for LCC!

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 13:00

Huge congratulations to Richard Balfe, the very first person to complete the London Marathon with an official LCC charity place.

Richard is a long-time LCC supporter and cycling advocate. He also owns and manages one of south London's best loved bike shops, Balfe's Bikes, which has branches in East Dulwich and in Streatham. Richard's heroic efforts meant he completed the 26.2 mile event in 4 hours 52 minutes and raised over £2,000 for LCC. As with all LCC challenge events, all money raised supports LCC campaigning efforts.

There's still time to donate to Richard here

Or, if you'd like to find out more about taking part in a running or cycling event for LCC please visit: https://lcc.org.uk/pages/teamlcc

Categories: London

TfL walking & cycling scheme in Kensington & Chelsea

Wed, 05/01/2019 - 17:55

TfL and the Mayor have announced a consultation today on walking and cycling improvements in Kensington & Chelsea across four neighbourhoods.

The schemes include 3.8km of protected cycle route and pedestrian improvements to reduce motor traffic dominance and make Wood Lane and White City, Shepherd’s Bush, Holland Park and Notting Hill Gate far nicer places to not just walk and cycle, but also live, shop, work, study and linger.

These schemes clearly represent a major leap forward not just in making west London nicer, but also in providing for cycling and walking and residents in Kensington & Chelsea.

Cycle tracks in Kensington & Chelsea, not Westminster

The cycling element of the scheme (“rwo-way segregated cycle track throughout”) would connect at one end to the current work on the A40 establishing a cycle route all the way to Acton in west London, but at the other end it currently isn’t set to reach even a paltry 120m into Westminster to get to the edge of Kensington Gardens, much less go a further 1.2km along Bayswater Road to directly reach cycle tracks at Lancaster Gate that would fully connect the route to the East-West Cycle Superhighway CS3.

Neighbourhood improvements

TfL says the scheme also provides: “upgrades to public spaces, creating more welcoming streets for people to spend time in and enjoy; new and upgraded pedestrian crossings; a new two-way segregated cycle track throughout, which will keep people cycling separated from motor traffic; some side roads entry or exit only to help the safe and timely movement of traffic; changes to some bus stop locations and new bus stop bypasses for people cycling.”

Quotes from the press release

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said in TfL’s press release: “These improvements would enable many more people to walk and cycle which is vital to reduce car use and clean up London’s toxic air. By creating new pedestrian crossings, moving bus stops to better locations and making it safer to cycle, we will make streets much more accessible and welcoming for everyone who lives, works or visits the area.”

Casey Abaraonye, Coordinator at Hammersmith and Fulham Cyclists, said: “These improvements are a brilliant opportunity to create a healthier and happier west London. They will create neighbourhoods where people working or visiting the many schools, hospitals and shops will be able easily walk or cycle their journeys, reducing air pollution and supporting the town centres, making them better to enjoy and experience.”

Stephen Edwards, Director of Policy and Communications at Living Streets, said: “The improvements to pedestrian crossings and other walking infrastructure between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate proposed by TfL are encouraging and will boost the walking environment across the area… Research published today shows that almost 40% of older people worry about pedestrian crossing provision in London, highlighting the importance of these proposals.”

At present, it appears Kensington & Chelsea council are taking a fairly neutral stance towards the scheme. Cllr Will Pascall, Lead Member of Streets, Planning and Transport, Kensington and Chelsea Council, said in the press release: “We know improving air quality is a huge priority for our residents. We would urge everyone to share their views about the advantages and disadvantages of these proposals.”

Get involved

So it will be absolutely vital that TfL and the borough hears from residents, visitors, workers and everyone that they support moves to make these neighbourhoods better for walking and cycling and therefore air quality, climate change, inactivity and just hanging around in.

The consultation is here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/wood-lane-notting-hill/. This blog will be updated once LCC has assessed the proposals with some ideas on how to respond.

LCC is using Cyclescape to discuss the neighbourhood schemes and will use ideas put there to inform our consultation response covering the good and bad bits of these very welcome proposals. Click here to add your thoughts on the proposals.

Categories: London

Temporary works – grabbing the big opportunity of small change

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:10

Photo: Steve Cadman

The last few weeks have seen significant, sudden and temporary changes to London streets that can be powerful demonstrations of the type of city and scheme LCC is pushing to happen all over London and permanently. These events represent an opportunity to demonstrate to Londoners, politicians and engineers that more and better is possible.

Extinction Rebellion

The Extinction Rebellion (XR) direct action climate change campaign, involving and supported by individuals from many active travel organisations including LCC, took over several key sites in London over the Easter holidays.

Parliament Square, Oxford Circus and perhaps most dramatically, Waterloo Bridge, were taken over by protestors who occupied space previously taken up with motor traffic. On Waterloo Bridge a skate ramp was erected, greenery was added and lectures were held. At all sites, those cycling and walking weren’t just enabled to pass through peacefully but actively encouraged.

A special XR/Critical Mass ride passed through the key sites, a bike swarm hosted a bee-themed die-in and cyclists and pedestrians mixed peacefully crossing the bridge and along a motor traffic-free Oxford Street.

All of these iconic locations forcefully demonstrated what a better London looks like – in reality. But also they look, to a limited extent, to have delivered real world data too. Air pollution was measurably down, according to Kings College researchers, along not just Oxford Street, but across the wider west end. Of course, schools were out and traffic levels were lower than usual – but the result certainly wasn’t wildly choked side streets.

Similarly, the result of a motor traffic-free Oxford Street was wildly successful, despite pedestrians spilling off pavements into roadspace now used by loads of cyclists. Everyone got along just fine – demonstrating a real potential for a pedestrianised future Oxford Street without a cycle ban.

Hammersmith Bridge

Even more sudden and unexpected was the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to motor traffic. The bridge has long been known to need structural repairs and has been deteriorating – the buses that use the bridge were already only allowed on one at a time. But no one expected Hammersmith & Fulham council’s sudden closure of the bridge to all motor traffic on engineer advice.

Now, while the bridge remains a political football and possibly £50 million long-term headache for the council, TfL and the government to deal with, the bridge remains open to those walking and cycling, but not buses or motor traffic. As a result, there is a real and long-term opportunity to not only consider the pros and cons of reopening the bridge to motor traffic (and/or buses only) ever again versus the pros and cons of keeping it shut to all but those walking and cycling (and potentially some form of public transport).

We understand there is a widespread push from TfL and the borough to do traffic monitoring – and this may indeed already be happening – but it’s certainly something LCC and our local groups are pushing hard for.

Traffic counts over time will help us see how much the motor traffic from the bridge has displaced to parallel routes, other crossings; but also how much that settles with time, how much motor traffic “evaporation” occurs over time and even potentially where from and to – how many drivers switch modes, how many continue driving but on nearby routes and how many drive out of the area completely.

One local has already also surveyed Barnes peninsula shopkeepers on the road running up to the bridge – where motor traffic levels will have dropped dramatically. Nearly half already say there’s been no change to business, and over 20 percent say business has improved already. And remember, businesses are infamously unwilling to admit to increased takings.

Of the 35% who do currently report fallen revenue, apparently most are businesses that rely on car deliveries into Hammersmith & Fulham (for instance takeaway businesses). Many of them are now apparently looking at using cargo bikes to cross the bridge. Obviously it will also be important to monitor the impact for businesses here and see how they adapt and hopefully prosper over time too.

Temporary works

Such temporary changes to roads – whether from climate change direct actions, a gas main that needs repairing or just roadworks - represent a real opportunity for councils and campaigners to achieve two aims at once.

They offer a chance, as do more planned trial schemes (such as the Waltham Forest trial of its “Village” low traffic neighbourhood or Camden’s trial of a semi-segregated Tavistock Place extra cycle track), to not only viscerally demonstrate what a different London looks and feels like – what it’s like to cycle along a previously hostile street – but also to study how it might work in practice.

So please, if TfL or your council are closing roads, digging trenches or otherwise messing with usual road layouts in your borough for more than a couple of weeks, ask for monitoring before, during and after, at the very least!

See our infrastructure pages here for more advice on doing your own traffic counts and on how trials should work.

Categories: London

Direct Vision solution in sight

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 18:33

European Union safety regulations requiring all lorries to have significantly improved direct vision (directly through the windscreen and windows rather than via mirrors or cameras) are set for initial approval in mid-April. This follows strong support for the measures from London Cycling Campaign, Transport for London and the Action on Lorry Danger group. 

Along with better direct vision on HGVs the regulations will also require new cars to be fitted with Intelligent Speed Adaptation (aka speed limiters) and a range of other safety measures.

LCC has championed better direct vision in all lorries ever since such vehicles, which eliminate most of the so called ‘blind spots,’ became the norm for refuse collection and airside use. A vehicle like the one in the photo above affords the driver a direct view of pedestrians and cyclists near to the vehicle. It means the driver can react more quickly in the event of a possible collision than when he/she has to rely on mirrors.

Once the European Parliament has formally approved the direct vision measures (the fully translated legislation is set to be passed in September 2019) they are expected to become mandatory for all new lorry types in 2023 and all lorries in 2027.  

This should enable all lorry operators to have a choice of vehicles with good direct vision at more affordable prices (currently lorries with good direct vision are made in smaller numbers and trade at a premium) leading to reduced road danger for pedestrians and cyclists.

Transport for London has created a zero to five star Direct Vision Standard for lorries that will operate (at one star level)  from October 2020 though initially lorries with low ratings will be able to work in London if they install mitigating measures that include both a camera system and an alert system.  A three star standard will follow in 2024.

Vehicles that already meet or exceed the three star standard include the Dennis Eagle Elite, Mercedes Econic, Scania L series and some versions of the Mercedes Actros. Versions of these vehicles are available for construction, urban deliveries, refrigerated transport, long haul and as tractor units.  

 

Categories: London

We need to talk about congestion

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 13:35

While cycle infrastructure is steadily improving, congestion remains a thorn in the city’s side. Richard Dilks from London First argues we’re long overdue a fresh strategy.

Many positive things have happened to London’s roads in recent years. They have become quieter and less polluted; it is easier to cycle on at least some of them; it is more pleasant to walk along them or stop for a coffee by them. Road space has been repurposed away from motorised traffic, speed limits cut, many junctions made safer.

The experience in London and other developed global cities shows that these trends are here to stay — which is not, of course, to say it is ‘job done’ on any of them.

Yet there is something else that, left to its own devices, is also here to stay. And it’s the bane of city-dwellers everywhere — congestion. This has not improved in recent years, in fact it has got worse. Indeed mixing with heavy traffic is a major reason why many people feel it’s not safe enough to switch to cycling.

Average traffic speeds on main roads in central London are now barely above pedestrian pace. And peak congestion in central London is forecast to increase by 60% by 2031.

Let’s not forget roads matter hugely to London’s economy. They carry 80% of passenger trips and 90% of freight trips. We see congestion as an issue that bears down upon both companies and the economy more broadly. The uncertain and lengthy journey times that congestion imposes on the city drives up prices, causes stress and degrades air quality. It can also lead to more congestion: because to maintain service levels, operators of freight, waste or bus services may need to put on extra vehicles — inevitably adding to the problem.

Buses carry more passengers than any other public transport mode in London by far. And yet bus passenger numbers have gone down, particularly in central London, in recent years — the see-saw effect from congestion going up. One of the major beneficiaries of improving congestion would be the bus. From being a success story that was the envy of the rest of the country’s bus networks, London bus usage has stuttered badly. Something does indeed need to be done — and more intelligent charging would help clear traffic out of the bus’s way.

There also needs to be a fresh look at what more bus infrastructure London needs for the 2020s: options to expand bus lanes; how to turn more bus garages over to zero tailpipe emissions; how to get more responsive bus services that take people where they want to go.

Growing trends

There are many nuances to London’s traffic and how it behaves, but fundamentally there are simply too many vehicles competing for too little space, especially at peak times. As the city’s population continues to grow and road space continues to be taken away from motorised traffic, it is logical to agree with the forecast of significantly increasing congestion.

While the Mayor has a committed plan of action on emissions charging for central London, which is then planned to expand to the North and South Circulars if he is re-elected, there is no such plan to tackle congestion.

We do, of course, have our existing Congestion Charge. The rather gloomy picture we’re painting here does not mean that the Congestion Charge is no longer working. Instead, it points to the stark need to modernise it. It has been notably effective in cutting private car traffic in central London, with the number of private cars entering the charging zone falling by almost a third since 2000.

However, it only covers some hours of the day; it’s a blunt on/off charge with no penalty for repeated use of the zone; it covers only a small area of London; it exempts significant numbers of vehicles; and it carries several discounts, for example for residents.

The recent decision to end the exemption for private hire vehicles from being charged illustrates this. TfL’s own modelling anticipates a congestion improvement of just 1% from this move — partly because there will be an incentive for private hire vehicles to make the most of the zone once they have paid to be in it, balancing out the deterrent effect of being charged to enter it in the first place.

What are other cities doing?

The world has moved on in many ways since the Congestion Charge’s introduction in 2003 and it is time to look again at what congestion charging could do for London as part of a suite of policies to improve on congestion in the city, pollution and quality of place — something London First will be exploring further with its member businesses.

Other global cities such as Stockholm, Milan and Singapore have stolen a march on London’s early lead in this area, and to their benefit as their levels of congestion have come down, air quality improved and revenue been raised. That revenue is typically reinvested in public transport, as happens with London’s existing Congestion Charge — which brings in about £150 million per year (net). In Stockholm, public opinion switched from being against to being in favour; and in Milan a majority voted for expanding the scheme.

The great benefit of price is that it is an effective deterrent to those journeys that can be made in other ways or at other times — judged correctly and kept up to date in all aspects, it tips those marginal journeys away from using a non-shared motorised vehicle.

Yet we also have to recognise that some vehicles can’t be priced out. You only have to look at the traffic mix in central London on a weekday to see that deliveries, servicing and collections vehicles of all kinds make up a significant proportion of traffic. Freight traffic is predicted in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to increase by 10% during the central London morning peak over the next decade if nothing more is done. We need freight. We need our waste collecting, buildings built, those coffee beans delivered. So the push now has to be how the city (which means TfL, London councils, boroughs, clients and the industry itself) can make freight even more efficient, retimed and remoded — where possible. This will mean some detailed, concerted work from all involved to lower the barriers to doing this. The art of the possible has been proved in so many small-scale examples, from the retiming of over 500 sites by TfL’s retiming deliveries programme, to the consolidation of waste collections on Bond Street.

The challenge now is to scale up and spread these practices across central London — something London First is playing a part in and will continue to do so. Planning permissions, building leases, staff availability, political nerves about resident’s reactions, traffic regulation orders — the list goes on — but this is the nittygritty that needs to be tackled collectively to achieve change for freight.

Parking problems

And this isn’t all just about the traffic — co-ordination of roadworks is a key driver of congestion too, and is something London still needs to make further progress on, despite the big strides taken in the last few years.

Last but not least, parking needs a rethink. Central London currently dedicates around 8,000 hectares to parking — the equivalent of 56 Hyde Parks! This has long been seen as a political minefield, but the opportunities are there, including the rise of technology that enables booking parking to be a lot easier (and kerbside to be used more efficiently). Likewise the growth of electric vehicles and the increased use of shared vehicles — ranging from private hire to car clubs — that spend far less of their time parked than private cars. And that’s all before any automated vehicles glide towards us from over the horizon.

You will have noticed only one brief reference to two-wheeled traffic so far. But bike travel is a key part of this overall jigsaw. It can be part of the solution on freight, with bike freight a growing and welcome presence across the city.

Most importantly, cutting the amount of motor traffic is critical to getting more people on their bikes — and getting more people on bikes helps cut motor traffic. In turn that frees up more space for the freight that can’t be retimed or remoded, for the bus of all kinds, for London to be a nicer place to be. So we need to continue to improve the on-the-ground realities for cyclists in London.

A prime way we can do that is to tackle congestion systematically. It is time for a congestion-busting strategy for our nation’s capital city — one that is bold, thought-through and is then kept fresh. That would be an investment in London’s future economy and society that will return dividends to us all.

 

This article first appeared in our Spring 2019 edition of the London Cyclists – you can find out more about out magazine here. Illustrations: Boing Graphics.

Categories: London

Volunteer as a LCC ride marshal at Freecycle 2019

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 17:18

The Prudential RideLondon Freecycle is taking place on Saturday 3rd August, giving participants the rare opportunity to enjoy a motor-traffic free route around Central London. LCC will be leading rides from every London borough into the event, and back home again. These rides allow families and those less confident at cycling on London’s busy roads to make their way to the event at a relaxed pace. 

To make sure the event is safe and enjoyable for all, we need volunteers to help lead and marshal the rides, working as part of a team of local LCC group members, cycle trainers and volunteers. The rides will start between 08.30 and 10.00 and typically get into the event for about 11.00. The return rides will depart at 15.00 back towards the start point in each borough.

What we’re looking for:

• Experienced cyclists who are used to cycling in groups. This could be as part of a cycling club or more informal riding.

• Confident and friendly people who are willing to communicate with pedestrians and car drivers whilst cycling alongside less experienced riders.

• Your cycling skills should be at or above Bikeability Level 3

We are offering evening training courses if you want to build your skill levels and confidence so you can help out: more details here

We are actively looking for cycling clubs or groups of cycling club members to ‘adopt’ a ride from their local area. This is an excellent way to help other cyclists in your area and link your club into the local community. Ideally you would be able to provide a ride leader, back mark and a few marshals, and work with other marshals from the local community to support a large group of less experienced riders.

Individuals can register to volunteer here

If you are from a cycle club and want to link up your club with a local ride then e-mail us at cyclingprojects@lcc.org.uk

Categories: London

Fundraising dinner in memory of Filippo Corsini

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 12:38

On Thursday 14th March LCC attended an exquisite dinner kindly hosted by Petersham Nurseries. The dinner was in memory of Filippo Corsini, known to family and friends as Fico, who was tragically killed by an HGV in 2016.

This was a very special night as it marked the launch of the Fico Fund and raised an astounding £35,000 for LCC through ticket sales and a wine auction.

Ashok Sinha spoke about the work LCC does for lorry safety in London and Filippo’s father also made a speech. The dinner was on Filippo’s birthday and was seen as a celebration of his life, with friends and family.

LCC will be using the Fico Fund to increase our campaigning capacity around lorry safety so we can help prevent more tragic incidents like that of Filippo’s.

If you would like any further information about the Fico Fund please contact Lucy Cooper - lucyc@lcc.org.uk

 

 

 

Categories: London

The Great Escape 2019 returns to London this May!

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 11:43

Back for its fifth year, The Great Escape 2019 returns to London Sunday 19 May. 

This fantastic 200km route run by Islington CC will take you from the heart of London, starting at Look Mum No Hands into the rolling countryside of Essex and back via quiet roads and picturesque villages. 

LCC is thrilled to announce that it will be the nominated charity for the ride, and registered riders can choose to ride The Great Escape and fundraise for LCC. There's no minimum amount that we ask riders to commit to, but every single penny raised will support LCC’s work improving cycling across the whole city, in every borough, for everyone.

The event has sold out for the past four years running so book your place early to avoid dissapointment!

The Great Escape 2019

When: Sunday 19 May

Where: Look Mum No Hands

Registration fee: £10

Other info: pre-ride breakfast and post-ride food and drinks provided by Look Mum No Hands

Register for the event

Fundraise for LCC

Already a member of Islington CC?

As an affiliate cycle club of London Cycling Campaign, all current members of Islington CC are eligible to get 1/3 off Individual LCC Membership (£33, normally £49), which includes great benefits like…

  • Free third party insurance and access to our legal helpline
  • Priority places in RideLondon 100 and other sportives 
  • Subscription to London Cyclist quarterly magazine 
  • Discounts in more than 100 bike shops across London 
  • Savings and special offers with our partner brands

Learn more

Categories: London

Taking charge

Mon, 04/01/2019 - 16:24

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, explains why the new ULEZ will help clean up London’s toxic air

Half of London’s toxic air pollution is caused by road transport, which contributes to harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM), and it is a shameful fact that our filthy air causes dementia, asthma and harms children’s lung growth.

Across the country, toxic air leads to 40,000 premature deaths every year — imposing a financial burden of £20 billion on the economy every year.

This is one reason why the Mayor has been investing record amounts of money to change our streets to make cycling safer, easier and the most attractive option for Londoners on the go, especially for short journeys. From redesigning junctions at Old Street, Highbury Corner and Vauxhall to building high-quality cycle routes including Cycle Superhighways 4 and 9, plus new routes across the city, cycling is at the heart of Sadiq’s vision for London. Our new cycling infrastructure carries 46% of people at peak times, despite occupying only 30% of the road space.

Of course cycling alone will not clean up our filthy air and it is only one key part of the wide-ranging and ambitious plans the Mayor is putting in place.

A critical step towards reducing emissions by 45% takes place from 8 April in Central London with the introduction of the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

In the Zone

The ULEZ aims to protect Londoners’ health by discouraging the use of the most polluting vehicles and encouraging people to cycle, walk or use public transport.

It will operate in the same area as the current Congestion Charge Zone and will operate all day, every day, all year round. Most vehicles driving in the ULEZ will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries).

The Congestion Charge will be unchanged by the introduction of the ULEZ and will continue to apply for all eligible vehicles entering the Congestion Charge Zone.

We’ve got much wider plans ahead for the ULEZ too — and from October 2021 it will be expanded to include the inner London area, up to both the North and South Circular roads.

The Mayor is also focusing on cleaning up the transport fleet — we currently have 6,200 low emission buses on London’s roads and by December we’ll have 12 Low Emission Bus Zones in operation in some of the capital’s worst air quality hotspots.

Plus, since January last year, all new licensed black cabs must be electric, meaning new diesel cabs are no longer allowed in London. We’re also supporting the switch to electric vehicles, rolling out a rapid-charging infrastructure and funding a scrappage scheme to help micro-businesses prepare for ULEZ.

We expect these measures and the wider action we are taking will result in cleaner air for all cyclists and Londoners. A recent report predicted that, as a result of the Mayor’s action, no schools in the capital will be exposed to illegally high levels of air pollution by 2025.

We would like to thank London’s cycling community for its ongoing support for our plans to improve air quality and we promise to continue working tirelessly on making our city’s air much healthier to breathe.

This article first appeared in our Spring 2019 edition of the London Cyclists – you can find out more about out magazine here.   

Categories: London

Ride Leader Training 2019

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 17:11

LCC is running a series of Ride Leader training sessions to support people who are interested in leading rides with their Local Groups, particularly the RideLondon FreeCycle feeder rides on Saturday 3 August, 2019.

Consisting of a short classroom session followed by a practical on-street session with an expert ride-leader trainer, the course teaches participants how to support groups of cyclists moving through roads with motor traffic.

Participation is free and the only requirements are being a confident rider and being able to bring a cycle in good working order on the day. We also encourage participants to brush up on their Cycle Skills before the course, preferably getting themselves up to Bikeability Level 3 or equivalent (informaton on free Cycle Skills training from local councils can be found here).

Details of upcoming sessions and how to register can be found below.

 

Upcoming sessions:

Ride Leader Training - April 27 - Ealing

Ride Leader Training - May 11 - LCC Office

Ride Leader Training - May 18 - LCC Office

Categories: London

Four new major east London cycle routes: respond today

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 17:04

Great news: TfL has announced the potential alignments of four new major cycle routes. And great news: they’re doing a first round of public engagement to tease out issues and concerns prior to a later public consultation – this is a really valuable way to ensure that concerns are argued before any “bikelash” gathers steam.

However, for some folks it might mean they’re a bit stuck as to what to say, confronted solely with a map and some vague lines. Click through to see how to respond and what we think are the key concerns with each route thus far, worked up by LCC’s infrastructure team and the borough groups.

But first please leave us your details so you get our newsletter and keep up to date with news on these routes and more cycling schemes across London.

Sign up for the newsletter

Camden – Tottenham Hale route details and how to respond Dalston – Lea Bridge route details and how to respond Hackney – Isle of Dogs route details and how to respond Ilford – Barking Riverside route details and how to respond
Categories: London

What’s next for Cycle Superhighway CS11? TfL lays out their plans

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 17:20

Road conditions inside Regent's Park

On Tuesday, TfL released a new statement on Cycle Superhighway CS11, the legal action against it by Westminster Council and the next steps it and City Hall propose.

The statement may be understated, but it barely conceals the fury clearly felt by Walking & Cycling Commissioner Will Norman and others – laid bare in follow-up tweets.

Will Norman calls Westminster’s action “shameful” in blocking a scheme that would have seen “lethal Swiss Cottage junction becoming safe for people cycling and on foot”. Norman pledges to “re-look” at the junction as soon as possible with Camden Council – a new scheme not linked to any Westminster roads would be unlikely to be subject to legal action by Westminster Council.

TfL’s statement is more measured, suggesting the body is “disappointed” over the judges’ decision on CS11 legal action, and continuing: “The Court’s decision did not determine that CS11 was a badly designed scheme, nor that it had an unacceptable impact on traffic, air quality or the environment, or that TfL had not engaged correctly with the public and stakeholders.”

Indeed, it is clear that the transport authority and City Hall view, (as we do), that Westminster’s stated reasons for continuing to seek delays to the scheme are unreasonable. The statement lists out the many measures TfL followed to progress the scheme, including: 

  • Listening to concerns about traffic changes and working to further minimise any traffic displacement, including revising the design at Swiss Cottage.
  • Undertaking detailed environmental assessments for the scheme, which concluded no overall significant impact was predicted on air quality or noise as a result of the CS11 proposals

The TfL statement even lays out how Westminster’s shock decision to scrap the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street had effected the scheme, stating: “We had also committed to complete traffic assessments for the southern section of the CS11 route and to work closely with Westminster City Council in doing so. The timing for these traffic assessments had been planned to coincide with similar traffic analysis for the Oxford Street Pedestrianisation scheme, which Westminster City Council has since decided not to move ahead with in the form previously agreed with TfL and the Mayor.”

Both Norman and TfL address not just the issue of Swiss Cottage, but also Regent’s Park’s Outer Circle – where four gates were only due to be open from 11am-3pm daily. It is now clear that it is the Crown Estates Paving Commission, a statutory body that controls the gates of the park on behalf of nearby residents, is actively blocking this scheme. 

Norman tweeted: “I’ll continue to pursue urgent safety improvements for Regent’s Park. The Outer Circle has nearly 3x more collisions than comparable roads. Half motorists break 30mph speed limit. We caught one doing 78 mph at 5pm. Our CS11 scheme would've reduced speeds & rat-running in the park… It’s unacceptable that the Crown Estates Paving Commissioners refuse to address safety concerns and extend the hours which they keep some of their park gates closed.”

The TfL statement reads: “The CEPC, who take responsibility for repair and maintenance of the streets, pavements and gardens of the Crown Estate around Regent’s Park, and for the current night-time closure of Regent’s Park gates, have recently indicated that they are not willing to progress the planned safety improvements in the Park, despite two alternative workable options being developed.”

The CEPC seem now to be the sole barrier to a safer and more enjoyable Regent’s Park, despite having publicly committed to the scheme in the past. Previous director Max Jack told The Guardian newspaper after pressure from LCC the four gate closure scheme would be a “really significant benefit” and suggested it was Westminster Council at fault: “they aren’t very keen on gate closures.” But it seems that position has shifted.

So what next? We believe TfL and City Hall are right to urgently move forward with their plans for Regent’s Park and Swiss Cottage as individual schemes. It is clear, for now, that Westminster City Council remain committed to blocking cycling improvements wherever they involve meaningful reductions in motor traffic capacity. Of course, LCC will continue to engage with borough Councillors and officers to try and shift their thinking. But we will also work with TfL, City Hall, Camden, and the Royal Parks and other key stakeholders to bring forward the urgently needed Regent’s Park and Swiss Cottage improvements.

Categories: London

Construction obstruction solution – the cycle tunnel

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 15:20

Construction obstruction solution – the cycle tunnel

Road works and construction works can hazardous, obstructive and a massive inconvenience for cyclists. But with a little thought and imagination obstacles can be addressed and resolved.

Midguard, working for the JRL construction group, took the innovative step of building a tunnel over the very popular cycle track in Cable St near Tower Bridge, to avoid diversions, cycle dismounts and hazardous conflicts.

The tunnel, built with scaffolding pipe, runs for a hundred yards above  the two way track in Cable Street. As an added incentive to promote cycling Midguard has posted small posters with timings from the Cable Street location to various East End destinations.

The well designed and well used (Cable Street is used by thousands of cyclists every day) temporary facility was not first choice for Midguard. It was the helpful intervention of Michael Barratt MBE at TfL and the assistance of a local LCC activist that persuaded Midguard to install a facility that is welcomed by users and shows how constructive thinking can deliver a high grade result.

Midguard’s Cable St scheme joins Thames Tideway’s Blackfriars Bridge project in setting a best practice standard for cyclists at construction scheme.

A new guide to best practice has recently been published by TfL – make sure your borough requires that the guide is  followed at local work sites and road works.

 

Categories: London

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