Category Archives: News

Help Us Help You Win Space For Cycling

hfcyclists is the Hammersmith and Fulham Branch of the London Cycling Campaign. Our three key aims are to encourage more people to cycle, improve conditions for cyclists and raise the profile of cycling.

Our Space for Cycling campaign is only one borough’s part of the whole London Space for Cycling Campaign, please refer to the wider campaign’s Space for Cycling site to see the whole campaign and search for wards by postcode.

We are seeking commitment from candidates in the council elections to a detailed demand in every ward, all of which would improve the local area and provide for increased levels of cycling. We have also made a mini-manifesto to help provide a set of more general borough wide goals that we feel need to be met to enable cycling to be a genuine option for many more in the borough. This campaign is not just about making things better for existing cyclists but rather to enable a better street environment as seen elsewhere in the world in urban centres. We strongly believe that this will provide for many more possible journeys by bike and build on changes already seen here in recent years.

Alongside our pages on each of the wards we have provided some statistics that we feel provide some support for our aims. It is notable that car ownership and car use are declining in our borough even though the population as a whole has risen. In some wards as many as 65% of households have no access to a car or van, and in most wards a third or residents who used to commute by car no longer do so. We will continue to add to our pages on each ward with more detailed imagery and explanation of each demand in the next few weeks.

The key thing is that we ask you to take the following three actions:

  1. Look at our mini-manifesto and details on the demands in each ward.
  2. Support your local ward’s demand. Either search by postcode on the main site, or find your ward on the map of the borough.
  3. Tell your friends and family to take part as well!

If you live outside London, CTC are helping run a wider campaign in the rest of the UK targeting local councils.

If you are interested in helping with the campaign in the run up to the election we have a list of ways you can help. Alternately, if you’d like to get in touch as a local resident, worker or even (prospective) candidate drop us a line.

Serious collision on the Uxbridge Road

There has been a serious collision on the Uxbridge Road between a 46 year old on a bike and a skip lorry. They collided at around 4:45PM on Wednesday 9th April whilst the skip lorry was turning left from Uxbridge Road into the Askew Road. According to the Evening Standard the cyclist was trapped under the lorry for an hour and has received life changing injuries to their chest and legs. Other eyewitness accounts stress a high risk this collision could have been fatal, and we hope the cyclist is able to recover as fully as possible from their injuries. There have been three other serious collisions involving cyclists receiving similar injuries since 1999, and in the past five years we have seen serious injuries at one location or another along the Uxbridge Road. The junction currently has no cycling facilities that prevent such a left hook from having such disastrous consequences.

This section of the Uxbridge Road sees around 3000 cycle journeys per day passing along it, and around 500 movements per day of the kind of vehicle like the skip lorry or larger that present a major danger to vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists). There are many cyclists who avoid this road because it is considered too dangerous. It presents a barrier to increasing the numbers who cycle.

Our thoughts are with the rider of the bike and their family. We remain concerned that there are too many junctions without safe space for cycling in the borough and beyond, and encourage everyone to look at our Space for Cycling campaign to push for change.

Hammersmith Broadway, funded for change

On Wednesday last week the Mayor of London’s office issued an announcement of the 33 junction across London which were to share in major funding to make them safe for cyclists. This had been widely trailed, to the extent that Andrew Gilligan, cycling commissioner had specifically said Hammersmith Broadway was on the list in December.

The section concerning Hammersmith was a single paragraph:

At other intimidating gyratories, such as Hammersmith and Vauxhall, safe and direct segregated cycle tracks will be installed, pending more radical transformations of these areas in the medium term.

This is still not a full announcement but we now know the following things. The junction review for major infrastructural changes for cycling will now focus on only 33 junctions rather 100. Of the original 100 list only one was in Hammersmith and Fulham, which was Talgarth Road / Gliddon Road on the A4 by Baron’s Court. The new plans share about £290m between 33 junctions or an average of £9m per scheme. These should not be small changes. Actual funding will vary by scheme but it is fair for us to have strong expectations of the changes for Hammersmith Broadway. TfL’s own comments are explicitly talking of segregation. It also sounds likely given the phrasing that Hammersmith is in an initial set of 10 junctions where there will be changes by 2016.

Of our neighbouring boroughs, Hounslow has a pair of junctions at Kew Bridge and Chiswick Roundabout carried over from the 100 junction list, and Wandsworth have the town centre in Wandsworth up for review. Kensington and Chelsea have no major junction in this scheme, so no improvements here for Earl’s Court or their side of Holland Park Roundabout for example. With the demise of Superhighway 9 looking almost certain to be confirmed that also means junctions such as at Olympia where Hammersmith Road/Kensington High Street cross the A3220 on Holland Road / Warwick Road and Addison Road/Warwick Gardens may linger without change for some time.

Therefore we cautiously welcome this development, as it does sound like the right level of investment and scale of change necessary to change Hammersmith Broadway.  It should help reduce the collisions that continue to take place there and also unlock cycling as an option for many more in the borough and beyond by removing a key barrier to cycling. We look forward to seeing proposals and hope they do deliver a step change, using segregation to permit 8-80 cycling through this crucial junction. Our key concern is to see how these changes on the Broadway can deal well with approaching roads and help deliver real changes to the cycling environment and town centre of Hammersmith in the coming years ahead of any prospective Flyunder.

For the other key gyratories, junctions and roundabouts in the borough and beyond that need to be addressed, we shall continue to campaign. They range from the  pair at Shepherd’s Bush and Holland Park Roundabout to other junctions along the A4 and Westway to simpler T-junctions, crossroads and roundabouts.  The model of funding being adopted by TfL using major schemes and developer funding alongside cycle funding can be reused to help deal with these major junctions. We will start to make that case as part of our Space For Cycling campaign in the coming weeks.

We continue to study plans around the Flyunder and how in the longer term Hammersmith Broadway might return to two-way traffic and cease to be a gyratory. We hope to share more detail on this in the coming week.

Hire Bikes Come to Hammersmith and Fulham (but mostly Fulham)

After many months of work, and some years of planning the London Cycle Hire scheme is coming to Hammersmith and Fulham, launching on Friday December 13. The council have a very cheery piece of news heralding this which has been well picked up, which we’ll quote from – this is Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler:

We have worked hard to bring this fantastic scheme to H&F and our residents can now enjoy the benefits of these bikes which are easy to ride and offer low-cost alternatives to other ways of travelling around the borough. We hope more people will be encouraged to get on their bikes and this could help cut congestion on our roads, which has been central to our Get H&F Moving campaign

The ambition she states is good, but we have reservations. As easy as the bikes may be to ride, the roads in Hammersmith and Fulham are much the same as ever. We continue to have two major gyratory systems at the centre of Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush, and the narrower and more windy roads of Fulham where the bulk of the bikes will be docked are not a pleasant cycling environment. Even the newer roads around Westfield where hire bikes first appeared in the borough are not a pleasant cycling destination, and need complete overhaul as it celebrates five years and looks to be expanded. Westfield cannot cope with Chistmas peaks using cars and public transport alone, as the follwing reports from TfL’s own traffic team show.

 

 

 

 

Hire bikes came to Westfield in March 2012, however issues with the car parks being full around Christmas have happened repeatedly before and since their arrival. Clearly the addition of hire bikes alone was not enough to deal with congestion at Westfield.

CTC have made their own investigations into the bike hire, and believe that the London scheme is currently the least used and most expensive scheme in Europe.

We are keen to see changes in Hammersmith and Fulham that make cycling on main roads safe, attractive and direct, and link appropriately into local neighbourhoods. The council is right to link the possibility of more people cycling to helping cut congestion, but we don’t believe any reduction will be meaningful until major barriers to cycling are tackled.

The local section of the hire bike stations map
The local section of the hire bike stations map

The perception of cycling locally is an issue, it does not readily appear safe. Despite recent deaths, it is hard to say that the activity of cycling is any more dangerous than it was, though we remain concerned. Figures locally show that driving in particular has got a lot safer during the last decade whereas cycling hasn’t, even taking growth in cycling into account. There remain few safe cycling facilities, and they are not joined up. Good quality facilities are the best advert for cycling. Without a ‘step change’ as called for in the Mayor’s Cycling Vision in Hammersmith and Fulham we will not see cycling become safer and grow as we and council would like it to. 

It’s worth also considering the issue of parking, for the majority of local people cycling who will be continuing to use their own bikes. Whilst the council is responsive in particular cases to requests for extra cycle parking there is no major cycle parking at any development other than some sheffield stands. A radical increase in parking locations, density and quality is necessary – consideration must be given to parking in the carriageway or under cover with direct access to key destinations such as supermarkets and cinemas.

Things could be worse of course, as our neighbouring borough Kensington and Chelsea features even fewer facilities for cycling. Kensington and Chelsea continues to block the proposal for segregated lanes on Kensington High Street. We are concerned that Superhighway 9 may yet not happen due to their obstruction, and Hammersmith and Fulham council are already planning on that basis with recent council papers saying “it is likely that TfL’s cycle superhighway [9] will now not go ahead”. We need to be joined to London, and our neighbouring boroughs need to think not just of their residents, but those work, shop and pass through by bike from boroughs like our own.

An example of segregation that could be used on Kensington High Street - at risk due to the council objecting
An example of segregation that could be used on Kensington High Street – at risk due to the council in Kensington & Chelsea objecting

Despite the council citing £2m of developer funding they’ve helped fund the scheme with, there is London tax payer money being used to fund the hire scheme. TfL itself funds ongoing and one-off costs and whilst Barclays sponsors  it covers only a portion of these. The cycle hire is not some treat, Londoners must bear in mind that a lot of money has been spent on the bike hire scheme. We need to see the oft quoted “near £1bn” (actually £913m over 10 years, not all guaranteed) used to fund meaningful changes to Hammersmith and Fulham and neighbouring boroughs thus enabling many more journeys to be undertaken safely in the area and beyond. The council needs to be bidding aggressively to get funds for schemes to tackle barriers to cycling in Hammersmith and Fulham, much as it did to get Cycle Hire. The effort they are so well practiced in using to get developer funding needs to be expended on cycling. They have a promising if basic start in their recent bid for cycling funds, but still show no ambition to tackle the major barriers.

Of course there are more barriers than those we’ve identified. We’re going to summarise the issues we know locally in a further post, but you can help us out now by identifying local issues in our Space4Cycling survey, or adding your weight to known issues like Hammersmith Broadway. We hope that we can make progress with making cycling safer in Hammersmith and Fulham and beyond from 2014.

Hammersmith and Fulham Cycle Funding 2014/15

The local council in Hammersmith and Fulham have announced “Millions of pounds for transport”, which is their summary of their Local Implementation Plan (LIP) for transport, a statutory requirement which aligns local plans with Mayor aims and funding. The LIP contains measures both for all transport, and for cycling specifically – though cycling can be funded in both. These are currently with TfL for approval or modification before becoming approved and funded plans.

It must be said that LIPs are unwieldy and often vague documents. Each council seems to do it rather differently. Fortunately for us the Hammersmith and Fulham one is rather readable and self-explanatory. The latest LIP is the first formal response by the borough to The Mayor (of London)’s Cycling Vision from the spring, and also contains some hints on what the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner sees as priorities in the borough. Hammersmith and Fulham has the unfortunate distinction of being neither a borough taking part in the Central London Grid nor an outer london borough able to bid to be a mini-holland. As such, the LIP, along with superhighway and quietway programmes are the best hope of seeing changes on the roads in the borough.

Continue reading Hammersmith and Fulham Cycle Funding 2014/15