Tag Archives: Kensington and Chelsea

What hope now for Superhighway 9?

After seeing that Superhighway 9 wasn’t included on the recent Central London Grid consultation by Transport for London(TfL), our coordinator made a Freedom of Information request to TfL and Kensington and Chelsea council to try and understand why. This was by no means a preferred option to understand how decisions had been reached, but with only blog posts sharing emails between other campaigners and the council and no detailed text explaining Kensington and Chelsea’s grid forthcoming it seemed a reasonable response. We have so far only had a response from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with TfL currently expecting to produce a response in another week or two, conveniently after the final Superhighways announcement is likely.

Even from the Kensington and Chelsea response alone, we have gained significant new information:

  • It confirms that plans for Superhighway 9 have focussed on the issues of Kensington High Street
  • When the cycle vision was launched it was assumed by Andrew Gilligan that Superhighway 9 would not go ahead due to RBKC’s lack of support
  • In the cycle vision as presented to RBKC the only superhighway into the West of London was cycle crossrail up on the Westway
  • Kensington and Chelsea’s original objection to the superhighway was to blue paint on aesthetic grounds
  • It was presumed without creating mockups that Kensington and Chelsea would object to segregation
  • Mockups were then created both of segregation on Kensington High Road and of cycling in Holland Park to try and get these features onto the Central London Grid
  • It was felt by RBKC that a quietway route using Holland Park and Holland Road would be a viable alternative but it also failed to make it onto the Central London Grid
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 objecting

We continue to await details from TfL to get their side of the conversation but it is plain that Kensington and Chelsea are not fully on board with the Mayor’s Cycling Vision and are not interested in any large scale changes to their roads. In their own words “The Central London Grid will not mean any significant interventions and certainly no segregation on RBKC roads” – in which case, what is it for? As such, we are now even more sceptical of their commitment to the Central London Grid and even though there are clearly efforts in here to create a route using Holland Road and making better crossings even in this correspondence it is admitted that it is highly likely to have at least one dismount section even without Holland Park not permitting through cycling.

We stand by our comments on the Central London Grid, that it is vital to make an intervention on the main roads in West London, as by RBKC’s own words on Kensington High Street “there are no continuous alternative east-west routes nearby”. It is very disappointing that segregation is being blocked without so much as a consultation or open conversation with the people who ride upon it and their own numbers are being used as justification not to segregate. This is not thinking that will lead to an improvement in conditions on the roads or a further reduction in collisions in the streets of Kensington and Chelsea. It should be remembered that Kensington High Street is very effectively paralleled as an East-West route by the A4 which provides a much greater capacity and safety for motor vehicles than anything presented to vulnerable road users in the area.

For history on the earlier stages of Superhighway 9, please see our page on the earlier shared designs. We will work hard to uncover more details of what would have happened with Superhighway 9 were it built, should the cancellation of it as a route from Hammersmith into London via Kensington and Chelsea now be confirmed. This could well be in the coming days.

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 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