Westfield have published their plans for the Northern extension to their shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush today. There is a form of consultation for them. It is surprising having reviewed the plans for the White City Opportunity Area as a whole how little cycling content is within these plans from Westfield. They already have outline planning consent to build up to 1,522 new homes, new leisure facilities and shops, including a flagship department store (John Lewis).
The White City opportunity area plans (into which this development should fit!) spoke of “permeable and inclusive public realm to encourage walking and cycling” and said “The majority of new trips in and out of the area will be made by public transport, walking and cycling, to avoid adding to road congestion.” However, the cycling content of the plans on Westfield site is:
- A bullet point on the cycling facilities provided by Westfield described as “new connections for pedestrians and cyclists to improve links between Shepherd’s Bush and White City” on a page of Westfield’s 5 year history in the borough
- An image of a cyclist on their transport page.
This simply isn’t good enough. There are no plans presented for new cycle routes. There isn’t even talk of extra cycle parking. Existing cycle parking at Westfield is typically fully utilised except for the racks at the far north of the site which are too far from any useful destinations. Those near the library and the southern interchange are typically full or nearly full at all times. No covered bike parking is provided. No secure bike parking is provided. It is also typically a 400m or more walk from the cycle parking to the average shop in the centre.
Existing cycle lanes at Westfield look like this:
They need to be completely reworked into usable widths and alignments and made into routes that go where people want to go, not simply locations for cyclists on top of potentially spare pieces of pavement. We have long complained about this. A solution should be found that reduces the distance cyclists need to walk from a parked bike to the facilities of Westfield. As it is, car drivers have closer, covered and secure parking where cyclists have distant, open and insecure parking. Cyclists using the Waitrose need to walk a long distance with groceries (I cheat and put a folding bike into my trolley).
Naturally many cyclists use the roads (Westfield Way and Ariel Way) which go around the East and North sides of Westfield rather than the disjointed, narrow and awkward cycle path on the pavement. On these roads there is a 20mph speed limit and a large number of painted lines used to try and calm speeds. Those who use these roads regularly say that they are often cut up by buses and other traffic. Quite simply the existing routes to the north of Westfield are poor and their claim to have improved the links between Shepherd’s Bush and White City presumes that the quality of these links is irrelevant.
The only survey to date of travel mode to Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush has recorded a share of 0.5% for cycling but even that wasn’t statistically sound as it only recorded 1 cyclist in a survey of 200 shoppers. (source: LBHF review of Westfield) If you build it wrong, people will not cycle there in sizeable numbers. Remember, this is the same borough that claims to have the second highest cycling modal share in London at 5%. Why should Westfield only achieve 1/10th of the average?
We didn’t manage to attend their session to see their exhibition on it today but will attend tomorrow (open 10AM – 4PM near The Village area of the existing centre) and update this post if we see any more encouraging (or worrying!) details…
Assuming we find some cycle plans to respond to we’ll critique them. Otherwise, we suppose we shall have to consider Westfield’s lack plans for cycling a clean sheet of paper onto which a proper standard of cycle provision should be demanded.