Category Archives: Consultations

A rolling listing of consultations in our area

London Cycle Grid – response from the West

We have earlier posted at length on the London Cycle Grid, here is our current proposed response which you are free to draw inspiration from. There have now also been responses from the Kensington and Chelsea group, on the London Cycle Campaign website and from Rachel Aldred which we reccomend you review. The deadline for the consultation is the 14th of February, but we’re not in love with what we’ve been given to respond to.

We are focussing our concerns on the lack of high quality East-West cycle routes. As we have shown already, there is much poorer linkage of the grid into West London than any other area. This appears to be the responsibility of the decisions made by Kensington and Chelsea in designing their section of the grid.

West London Combined Map

The grid linking into West London is shown above – as you can see the West London Line forms our Eastern boudnary and has very few good quality crossings for cyclists. Superhighway 9 would have provided a higher quality link on the main desire line. However, Superhighway 9 has not appeared on the Central London Grid, and is presumed to be cancelled. We find it simply deplorable that no-one has stood up and commented officially on its status before this consultation closes. The closest we have are the by now standard comments from Andrew Gilligan that:

On the dozen superhighway routes: as I’ve been saying for months, some of the routes proposed pre-Vision were on wholly unsuitable roads, or on roads where the local authority wasn’t comfortable with intervention to post-Vision standards. Those will be rerouted or cancelled, but there will be other entirely new routes to replace them. In other words, the number of routes will be (at least) the same, but they won’t be in the same places.

from the London Cycling Team Blog

We’re sorry Andrew, but it’s no comfort to cyclists who have issues with cycling on Hammersmith Road, Kensington High Street or Kensington Road that the 1 in a column for Superhighway 9 there is being added up somewhere else. More should be being done by the Mayor and TfL to examine how to make Kensington and Chelsea respond to the need for safer cycle routes in their streets. Encouraging people to cycle into London through a borough with no 20mph zones, no safe space for cycling on its main streets and the odd contraflow route here or there is not a viable strategy. It appears we are left to pray that the political will in Kensington and Chelsea – and it is that political choice, by the councillors of Kensington and Chelsea that is setting the agenda – changes.

With no clear indication of what happens. We must therefore consider out loud the possibilities:

If we take the grid as an indication, Superhighway 9 is gone and it is built somewhere else in London. There would therefore be no Superhighway between the Thames and the Westway. We count that there are at least 12,000 East-West cycle movements a day in this zone on main roads in official figures. That’s a lot of cyclists to try and focus onto 2-3 quiet road routes which don’t provide good mass cycling conditions.

Alternately it may be that Superhighway 9 is realigned along TfL roads rather than borough roads. This would presumably place it on the A4. This would link in somewhat with the proposed central london grid, but as Kensington and Chelsea’s feedback to their council has shown there are many gaps and round the houses routings in their grid which present serious issues.

Here is our response focussing on the issues we see most local to us.

Download (PDF, 107KB)

Hammersmith Grove – raised table

[osm_map lat=”51.498″ long=”-0.227″ zoom=”15″ width=”350″ height=”300″ marker=”51.49816,-0.22753″ marker_name=”bicycling.png” type=”CycleMap”]

We’ve received a brief proposal from Hammersmith and Fulham council for a raised table and the removal of an island in a zebra crossing on Hammersmith Grove. This is in response to problems with through vehicles – especially lengthy ones – regularly blocking this street. Though Hammersmith Grove is not a main road it is a designated C road and due to the configuration of nearby gyratories is used along with Trussley Road both for access to nearby homes and as a rat-run by many other motorists and taxis.

HammersmithGroveRaisedTableJan2014
This is the plan above from the council’s own PDF document.

Their accompanying letter has the following text

We propose to carry out highways improvements in Hammersmith Grove, between Amor Road and Trussley Road, following concerns raised by residents as well as observing frequent traffic conflicts along this section of road. Please see the plan overleaf.

As part of the proposal we will remove the existing traffic island at the zebra crossing to help facilitate traffic movements from Trussley Road. We will also raise the area in order to highlight the location of this crossing to approaching motorists and encourage lower speeds on their approach. We also plan to remove excessive and outdated street furniture around this location and plant more trees, in order to aesthetically improve this area and support the retail and restaurant environment. Some additional parking spaces will also be created.

We will aim to maintain access to the area throughout the works. Temporary diversions may be required during the works. Businesses and residents will be informed of any diversions in advance of them taking place.

We note the following issues:

  • This table will be placed on the main quiet road cycle route between Hammersmith and Brook Green (which avoids Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith gyratories). As such the route must be safe for small children who are often seen cycling through the area accompanied and it presents a barrier to some already. The ramps will be a particular problem for them.
  • This follows a recent consultation on a neighbourhood scheme on the other side of Trussley Road – a more rounded plan needs to be made about dealing with through traffic, rather than two disjoined schemes.
  • With the removal of the width restriction at the zebra crossing vehicle speeds may increase, at present the zebra island helps slow vehicles prior to the turn many vehicles perform to enter Trussley Road
  • Kerb heights vary from around 10-15cm in the area
  • The raised table is quite short and does not extend sufficiently into the side streets to be of use to pedestrians
  • Ramps are of varying length on the side and main streets. All have the same speed limit of 20mph, so surely need similar approaches
  • Car parking is being extended onto the ramps
  • There is no improvement to cycle parking in an area with a severe lack of it, this is a good location to experiment with cycle parking in the carriageway.

Download (PDF, 60KB)

Central London Cycle Grid

Transport for London have now published a complete draft plan for  Central London Cycle Grid. This initiative follows many years of the London Cycle Campaign demanding a grid of cycle routes in central London.

The need for a grid is clear to anyone who regularly or even occasionally cycles in London and simply aims to get between any two points within it. The routes are complex, often of poor quality and rarely joined up. So, we have a network proposed, of superhighways (in blue) and quietways (in purple). Broadly speaking the idea is that superhighways are on main roads and involve more seperation from traffic, whereas quietways are in quieter areas. Except of course, where a quietway crosses a busy road or a superhighway is routed away from a major road. The quietways will be using bollards and other measure to help reduce some through motor traffic, and naturally will be more sophisticated than merely closing whole roads with posts. All modes should retain access but the route for that access may change. Broadly speaking the accompanying strategy is at least aware of these issues, and probably the main issue with this grid is about density and coverage.

Here are a few images to give an idea of the level of change and intervention envisaged to make these routes work.

Example of Superhighway (blue routes)

There is only one example of a superhighway in the document which is the new North-South Superhighway:

An example of segregation that could be used on Kensington High Street - at risk due to the council objecting
An example of a superhighway as Transport for London now envisages them

This is quite a change from how this road looks today:

TfL image of
TfL image of the same road above today, taken from the Cycling Vision video
Examples of Quietways (purple routes)

For quietways, use is made of photos of a couple of existing routes. There are no mock ups used, so harder to compare before and after.

Goldsmiths Row in Hackney, one cited example of a quietway. Through motor traffic is blocked by bollards.
Goldsmiths Row in Hackney, one cited example of a quietway. Through motor traffic is blocked by bollards.

There is a before shot of Goldsmiths Row on Hackney Cyclists blog (not the local campaign, but a local blogger) if you’d like to compare. Note that as to the rest of that blog, it’s worth reading Buffalo Bill’s comments on Goldsmiths Row for another local view on some of the issues raised about bollards versus segregation in the whole piece. These issues are important to the idea of the cycle grid. There are places where cycling can be given a good through route with bollards and paint it may make for higher capacity and better conditions than segregation. No one tool will work everywhere.

Black Friars Lane, City of London - another example of a quietway cited.
Black Friars Lane, City of London – another example of a quietway cited. Again, bollards mean only cycles can use it as a through route.

For full details of the current thinking about execution it is best currently to refer to the full PDF on the Central London Grid written by Transport for London (5.6MB) and the TfL video on the Mayor’s wider Cycling Vision (5:25 long). In a few weeks/months we should also see the new London Cycle Design Standards which will give more detail. If you’re very curious the Nine Elms Cycle Strategy draft gives a nice preview of the current thinking applied to a complete area of London.

central-london-grid-map-with-borough-boundaries
TfL’s map of the Central London Grid with borough boundaries. The bulk is in Westminster but as can be seen it covers 8 boroughs in all.

None of the Central London Cycle Grid is in Hammersmith and Fulham but elements of it reach towards our borough. More importantly there is a lot of concern to be expressed at what is not on the map. There is no Cycle Superhighway 9. It is either cancelled, or off the table at present. If you’re wondering why, you might want to look at what Kensington and Chelsea are proposing in the area of Kensington High Street…

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 18.04.09

…basically, nothing. Superhighways are marked in blue. You can see there aren’t any. On the map you can see the wide main roads in Kensington and Chelsea, both High Street Kensington and the A4 in white with almost nothing happening to them. The network in purple are the new quietways. It way be that these can use some quiet streets and make successful routes, but not east west as clearly Holland Park have refused cycling through their green space! We know that such things can work on the continent and we know that they can work in Hackney.  What’s wrong with West London? We are also puzzled by the quietway that appears to be on the A4 just to the left of the text saying Earls Court.

Now, that’s not to say that there won’t be any superhighway reaching Hammersmith at all. No, thanks to TfL we do get a new East-West route along the Westway. You can see this blue route escaping from Hyde Park then jumping onto the Westway somewhere near Royal Oak. Given that this will be some distance up in the air, it will be of little benefit for local journeys in the area between White City and Paddington, unless a lot of ramps are provided. This superhighway, known also as Cycle Crossrail does have many merits on its own, but it is not enough for the whole of West London. There is no other superhighway planned between it and the Thames.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 18.03.49

We have been informally discussing this issue with local officers for some time. It would be best if Cycle Superhighway 9 were built, and improvements were made to Kensington High Street. Not all is lost without it, and indeed we know that Hammersmith Broadway is set to be reviewed perhaps as a replacement for Superhighway 9 addressing some of the issues there. However, there is no plan within Hammersmith for addressing any shift that might occur from people altering routes to utilise the new Cycle Crossrail Superhighway.

central-london-grid

This is just a quick overview of the Central London Grid. We continue to review the proposals and will make our response in due course. We encourage further discussion here and elsewhere and hope many others will respond to the consultation. The closing date is 14th February 2014, and we’d like to see proposals we can love and will genuinely change the culture of cycling in all of London. As it stands, West London is not seeing the changes or benefits it should, and the gap is political will in boroughs like Kensington and Chelsea.

central-london-grid-map

Update  – Joining the Central London Grid up to Outer London

As we made clear when we first wrote this, a key concern for us was how the new grid of cycle routes in Central London would join up with existing routes in Hammersmith and Fulham. Well, we’ve now had a go at looking at that. And we’ve had a look at how things are on the East side of town to compare.

West London Combined Map
LBHF existing routes on the left, new Cycle Grid on the right, click through for full size

As you can see, none of the new routes proposed in Kensington and Chelsea link to any existing East-West route. It is plausible that new routes will be made in Hammersmith to join them, but it means a number of routes sensibly placed on main roads in Hammersmith will continue to stop at the borough boundary.

East London Combined Map
new Cycle Grid on the left, with existing routes in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets linking in, click through for full size

Somehow East London has less of this problem, you can easily see how the Central London grid will link into their boroughs.

Now, if you’d also like to explore these issues yourself, we have a few tools to share. We’ve used Google Earth to make the maps above (along with some neat cropping in some image software). So, in addition to the TfL hosted details on the Central London Grid (which we urge you to look at first) you can also install Google Earth, then download our ‘kmz’ file of the Central London Grid and add it to your map (File–> Open in the Google Earth app). You can also add OpenCycleMap to Google Earth using the files at this site (free registration necessary).

All of this lets you look at the Central London Grid as an overlay and explore on Google Street View. Which obviously means we have yet more to report and that will probably go into a different post.

URGENT Consultation Watch – Hammersmith Cemetery Neighbourhood Scheme

The council has notified us somewhat belatedly of a neighbourhood scheme in an area defined as Hammersmith Cemetary. Comments for both are requested by tomorrow Friday 15th November, by phone on 020 8753 3084 or email to Mathew Veale at the council.

20mph limit for some roads in the area

Here is the consultation letter from the council.

There are two separate proposals. one is for a 20mph limit in the area defined by signage only (rather than a zone which would legally need traffic calming). This is not the first scheme the council have proposed to use a limit rather than a zone for, that was near Ravenscourt Park.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 14.07.48
Map of the area for the neighbourhood scheme, 20mph limit roads in red. Click through for a larger version.

My immediate view (all we can give in time frame) is that the 20mph limit is welcome, and actually matches the approach seen in some of the 20mph borough limits of signage rather than traffic calming. Given the issues cycles can have in navigating road humps, pillows and other deformations in the road for traffic calming a limit may be preferable. Experience locally will need to show us how this works, and issues of through traffic may be more important to resolve than speed alone. The other issue is that clearly the 20mph limit is only for a fraction of the roads in this neighbourhood area. No rationale is given for containing the changes to these roads, though it may be only residents in those streets requested 20mph. The roads chosen border the hospital and a school, but the S marks in the map above show schools are not just in the area concerned.

Margavine Gardens Congestion and Streetscape

Here is the consultation letter from the council.

Margavine Gardens Preview image
Plan of changes to Margavine Gardens. Click through for a larger version.

The second proposal is to rework an existing arrangement of kerb build outs, car, motorcycle and cycle parking to provide more usable carriageway for vehicles and reduce congestion. It’s worth taking a look at the area as it is now. Note the car parked on the single yellow line in this google streetview capture.


View Larger Map

There is no increase to cycle stands here, some car parking would be removed near to Baron’s Court but many more spaces have recently been added in the overall neighbourhood. The council believes they have added 30 spaces for cars. Our concern is that there are not sufficient cycle stands in this area, by Baron’s Court tube station. The proposal presents no improvement to conditions on the roads for cyclists.

Consultation Watch – Two Neighbourhood Congestion Schemes

There are two consultations cyclists and local residents should be aware of, seeking to address congestion in the borough caused by through traffic in local neighbourhoods especially at peak times. As details are only in the surveys linked in the consultation we have extracted them and given you maps to help describe the changes proposed. Though we haven’t made a formal response yet our initial concern is that these changes are not strong enough to resolve the issues traffic and especially through traffic presents in these areas. Both of these consultations close on Monday 2nd December.

[osm_map lat=”51.5″ long=”-0.225″ zoom=”16″ width=”600″ height=”450″ marker=”51.49924,-0.22547″ marker_name=”bicycling.png”]

Sulgrave Road Neighbourhood consultation

Here is the consultation letter from the council, and here is the form for leaving comments with the council.

This covers Lena Gardens, Batoum Gardens and Sulgrave Road (map above). Currently the Sulgrave Road Neighbourhood does not have a 20mph limit or zone in operation. The 20mph limit starts as Trussley Road narrows to pass under the Hammersmith and City line. Though a contra-flow lane is proposed on Batoum Gardens, that would mostly help enable cycling very locally as it does not link onto wider links in the same way as Sulgrave Road and Lena Gardens do.

Option 1: One-way Batoum Gardens

Option 1 will convert Batomn Gardens to one-way in the eastbound direction (i.e. from Sulgrave Road to Shepherd’s Bush Road). It will have a contra-flow cycle route to allow cycling in both directions.

Option 2: Two-way system with passing spaces

Option 2 will retain the existing two way flow. Passing spaces will be provided along the roads to allow opposing traffic to pass. Each passing space will be long enough for a single vehicle and will be created by removing kerb build outs and installing double yellow lines. These passing spaces will be located at:

Sulgrave Road – north of the Trussley Road junction
Sulgrave Road – south of Batoum Gardens junction
Lena Gardens – at Loris Road junction
Batoum Gardens – at Osman Road junction
Possible Effects of Proposed Alternatives

Option 1, the one-way system, is likely to have a more significant reduction of congestion than Option 2 but it will result in a longer travel distance for many residents. The one-way system is also likely to result in increased traffic speeds along Batoum Gardens and higher traffic volumes.

These proposals seem remarkably timid but it should also be born in mind that with the Trussley Road the only two-way road between two gyratories (Hammersmith Broadway and Shepherds Bush Green) it has extra through traffic both motorised and not avoiding either the danger or complication those junctions impose on the local road network.

[osm_map lat=”51.502″ long=”-0.237″ zoom=”16″ width=”600″ height=”450″ marker=”51.50209,-0.23772″ marker_name=”bicycling.png”]

Cathnor Neighbourhood consultation

Here is the consultation letter from the council, and here is the form for leaving comments with the council.

Option 1: One-way system
Option 1 involves:

Converting Greenside Road between nos. 9 and 45 to one-way in the northbound direction
Converting Leysfield Road to one-way in the southbound direction
Removing redundant chicanes
Option 2: Relocation and upgrade of chicanes
Option 2 involves:

Moving the chicane outside 17 Greenside Road south to outside 5 Greenside Road and changing the priority (i.e. priority will be given to southbound vehicles). This will require the removal of parking outside 1-5 Greenside Road.
Changing all chicanes into road narrowings.
Effect of a one-way system
Option 1, the one-way system, is likely to have a more significant reduction of congestion except during periods when vehicles are manoeuvring into and out of parking bays. The one-way system will have the detrimental effect of causing a longer travel distance for many residents and it is likely to also increase traffic speeds and traffic flow in Leysfield Road and the east/west part of Greenside Road.

Again vehicle speeds are noted as a downside of a one-way system, though Greenside road is within an existing 20mph zone.

We have added an item to the agenda of our next meeting to discuss these proposals, after which we will post a public response.

What are Westfield proud of?

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 00.11.45

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:

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 14.37.29

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.
Continue reading What are Westfield proud of?