Roger Khanna meeting

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Cycling Meeting
Tuesday 28 January 2003 at 6.30pm in LBHF Town Hall

Notes written by John Griffiths. Checked / corrected by Roger Khanna. The notes summarise the points made and views expressed. Not necessarily the words used.

Roger Khanna, Head of the Highways Division. LBHF
Chris Bainbridge, Head of Transportation Policy Team, LBHF
Cllr Charlie Boyle, Conservative, Fulham Reach ward.
John Griffiths, co-ordinator hfcyclists / London Cycling Campaign.
Matt Dunkley, chair H&F Local Agenda 21
[Chris and Matt had to leave after about 45 minutes, the meeting lasted about an hour]

This meeting was called by Cllr Charlie Boyle and John Griffiths. It followed a meeting with Charlie Boyle and the subsequent motion to the Council.

ROGER: Welcome, who will start?

CHARLIE: We have come not to be critical of the past, but to see what can be done in the future. This is following on from my Council motion supporting cycling that was passed unanimously [ref 1]. The council reaffirmed its commitment to developing a continued programme of improvements. I would like to see some concrete improvements. Particularly at Hammersmith Broadway.

ROGER: We have been fully supportive over a long period of years to the use of cycles. As Chief Officer I have cycled to work on journeys of more than 6 kms and so did my previous Director. This borough was the first to put in a borough wide cycle network. It is flat which makes it very suitable for cycling.

However there is the corollary that there are more cycle casualties. And often the casualties are young healthy persons. Some of the worst from left turning lorries.

Hammersmith Broadway is possibly the 4th busiest junction in London. If you take into account the pedestrians it is possibly the busiest [100K/day pedestrians].


JOHN I am worried about the council's commitment to cycling. As an example I have been trying to get the Holland Park roundabout people [TfL] and LBHF to co-operate on the plans around Shepherds Bush green. Junctions have been planned and are being built with no overall plan. A detective would deduce that at a high level there is no great commitment to cycling at the moment.


ROGER: SBG is currently a bit of a dog's dinner. It has been planned by architects as a major environmental improvement.

CHRIS: We discussed working with TfL at our meeting with Rose [Ades] a few months ago. However it was left off the minutes of the meeting. But we will see her again soon. I think John's main concern is the north side. Here uncertainty with the tram means we cannot make any plans at the moment.

JOHN: There are also problems with the Goldhawk rd junction and the Rockley rd junction. And with the area going west from the roundabout to Rockley rd where cyclists want to get onto the green. Cyclists use the roadways around the Green and the roundabout and they should be made safe for cyclists. I think the TfL and LBHF engineers would like to talk to each other.

ROGER: New schemes would have a full audit before being put in.


CHARLIE: Can the pavements around Hammersmith Broadway be used for cycle lanes.

ROGER: No, they are too narrow and used by pedestrians.

JOHN: I am not happy about the planned cycle route that takes a cyclist down a pedestrian subway to cross under the Fulham Palace rd. What can be done about surface level crossings?

ROGER: The traffic flows there are on a knife-edge, the capacity is fully optimised, and any changes are likely to make congestion worse. We have a motto "Don't play with the traffic". All the timings were set by complex computer modelling and it is difficult and expensive in time and costs to experiment with the models.
Your plans for surface level crossings on the south side of the Broadway [ref 2] mean the roadway has to go over the present subway ramps. It might cost £200K or £300K. The traffic in Fulham Palace rd is the critical thing. A surface level crossing would interfere with the flows creating congestion over a wide area.

JOHN: Fulham Palace road going south soon narrows to one lane and there is a crossing 100m down the road.

ROGER: Yes that is the pinch point. But it is the traffic going North that holds every thing up in the Fulham Palace rd.

JOHN: The plans for the temporary bus station have 0.5 buses turning right out of the bus station rather than the present 1.5 buses /minute light change. In our plans the traffic coming north up the Fulham Palace rd does better as it does not have to merge with the bus flow. I would like to see a seminar on the possibilities.

As with SBG the Broadway should be made safe for cyclists using the roadway.


CHARLIE: What about cycling on the pavements of Hammersmith Bridge. The roadway is very threatening.

ROGER: Too narrow and there are blind corners. 5mph limit no use. I have been hit in the back on King street by a cyclist doing 5mph. A cyclist even at low speed has a lot of momentum and even the bulk is very threatening.

CHARLIE: What about having one side for cyclists.

ROGER: If it was shared the same applies. If it were cycling only, you would have problems with the pedestrian lobby. Some would have to cross the road twice if one side was cycling only.

You could have a new cycle Bridge somewhere, but it would be rather expensive.

JOHN: If there were any police activity I would rather see it being directed against a reckless cyclist rather than a considerate cyclist.

ROGER: The police cannot make distinctions like that to avoid illegal activity completely.


JOHN: I would like to see the roadway made safe. The problem is that the bridge narrows between the stanchions. What if you put green paint down in those places and made that a cyclist priority zone.

ROGER: A splodge of green paint won't make it any safer for cyclists. I would cycle in the centre of that lane so that I would not get squeezed.

When the bridge was closed you could just see cyclists and buses on it. It reduced the through traffic in the Borough. I fought to keep it closed, but lost that argument.

CHARLIE: What about a 20mph limit on the bridge.

ROGER: No, that would be no use. Unenforceable.


ROGER: This is one of my main worries. I fend off letters from people concerned about problems caused by cyclists.

JOHN: The trial shared-use in Kensington Gardens has been shown not to cause problems. And it is now permanent. Rik Andrew has sent us a copy of the report.

ROGER: But that is much wider.

CHARLIE: It is for the diagonal path going near the Serpentine gallery. It is about the width of this desk.

JOHN: There are signs saying pedestrian priority, cyclists please warn pedestrians of your approach.


JOHN: I am concerned that we are only consulted on schemes after detailed plans are drawn up, and sometimes little notice is taken of our input.

CHRIS: This is somewhat unfair. We have, for example, co-operated and listened over cycle parking. I walked with Jane [Knight] looking for sites.

ROGER: John represents a pressure group, and you would expect them to concentrate on the problems. The best time to enter consultations would be when things are introduced at the Borough Spending Plans level.

MATT: I would hope that the input from the hfcyclists is taken seriously.


ROGER: There is a cascade of influence. Elected members, UDP, traffic plans, Borough spending plans.

JOHN: I thought that the inspector said that the UDP was restricted to land use.

CHRIS: That is mainly so.

JOHN: Do you have any responsibilities or duties under the UDP. For example the UDP includes something like "keeping essential traffic flowing". In that list of essential traffic cycles come above cars. Also there is stuff about sustainable transport and Air Quality in the UDP. Are you influenced by that.

ROGER: I don't have any "duties or responsibilities" prescribed under the UDP. I am bound by things like legislation and performance indicators.

I do not think that Air Quality is any longer on the political agenda. In the 90's I was involved in producing an Air Quality Management report for London, but since then I think that it is receiving less attention. A lot of our pollution blows in from Ealing.


JOHN: Are you God, i.e. is there any control over your decisions?

ROGER: If the Elected members decide, then I do it.

JOHN: So if, for example, the Council says put cycle lanes around the Broadway, you would have to do it?

ROGER: It is not as simple as that. They would defer to professional advice before expressing something like that. [only an example]. Members are liable and would not do something unsafe against such advice. The members have to consider finance / probity / safety when they act.


ROGER: The best way forward is to look at Best Practice. If there is a problem look for somewhere were it is being done better. In London, elsewhere in the country or abroad. Then it will get done.

The other thing is to use Performance Indicators. The way forward is to have targets. Set them and then we have to achieve them. If we don't then I can be sacked.


JOHN: The official LAAU accident figures do not include the accident where a girl was killed at Hammersmith Broadway a couple of years ago. I have written to the officer at Hammersmith police about it. These figures are used in political debates.

ROGER: You should write to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police saying please make sure in future that all "stats 19" forms are forwarded to the accident people.


JOHN: What about vehicles parked illegally in cycle lanes, ie in conflict with the warning notices.

ROGER: Businesses need loading. If you know of a regular problem area, the best action is to write to me, or Chris or Simon, but do not just say cycle lanes are blocked. Say "At this time several vehicles are regularly parked in this cycle lane near this place" for example. Then we can send officers to deal with it.


JOHN: Can the liaison between the Transportation Policy team and the Highways Dept be improved? What seems to happen is that they suggest something and you say no.

ROGER: No. It is how things work in all organisations. The policy people make the policy and the implementers do it.


JOHN: Would you support King street being used for Car Free Day.

ROGER: I would not support the pedestrianisation of King street. Pedestrians and buses do not mix well together.


ROGER: You have to safeguard what you already have. You are in danger of losing cycling facilities to motorbikes.

You have an uphill struggle. Car owners have a much greater lobby than cyclists. You need to convince the Councillors, who can then press the officers to do something.

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