Matthew Butt

Response to Shepherd’s Bush Town Centre (West) Major Scheme consultation

Posted in cycling by bnathyuw on 4 October 2013

My local council is consulting on changing two of the major roads in Shepherd’s Bush.

They claim that this scheme offers several improvements for cyclists. I disagree.

You can find the consultation at https://www.citizenspace.com/lbhf/transport-and-technical-services/sbtcconsult/consult_view. It closes on Sunday 6 October, so there’s not much time left.

And here is my response; I have sent it to the council officer, copied to my local councillors and MP, plus Jenny Jones and Andrew Gilligan at the Greater London Assembly.

Summary

  • The proposals for Shepherd’s Bush Town Centre make utterly inadequate provision for cycling, are inimical to broadening the appeal of cycling as a mode of transport in Shepherd’s Bush, and site completely at odds with the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in London (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/roadusers/gla-mayors-cycle-vision-2013.pdf), despite the fact that TfL is committing £2.5m to this project (http://democracy.lbhf.gov.uk/documents/s33513/Item%2019%20-%20Shepherds%20Bush%20Town%20Centre%20West%20CMD%20Report%20v2.pdf, s6.1).
  • I ask both LBHF and TfL to reject the current proposals, and conduct another consultation once plans have been drawn up that fit with the mayor’s vision, and can accommodate the levels and diversity of cycling are projected for the next twenty years. The standards of cycling provision in these proposals are already decades out of date, and not fit for today’s levels of cycling, and they are certainly not suitable to take us up to 2033; to implement the plans as they stand would be a gross waste of resources, either condemning this area to substandard provision for the next two decades, or requiring further, costly intervention to bring the area up to standard.

Key points

  • Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road are two important corridors for people commuting by bike. At the moment, many existing cycle commuters are fairly fast, assertive cyclists, but the carriageway narrowing and inset loading bays will make conditions worse for even these cyclists, as they will increase conflict with motor traffic.
  • These two roads are amongst the few crossing points of the Hammersmith and City railway, which otherwise forms an impermeable barrier to cycling across the borough. It is vital that they are safe and inviting for all people on bikes.
  • Uxbridge Road forms part of Ealing Council’s Mini Holland Bid (http://www.ealing.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/7010/ealing_councils_mini-holland_bid p10), and the proposals for Shepherd’s Bush fall far below the standards outlined in this document. TfL should not be committing money to a project that will could compromise the quality of another flagship project.
  • There are two primary schools in the consultation zone, and children already make their way to school by bike—on the pavement. These plans will do nothing to improve conditions for young children, and will do nothing to support more families choosing sustainable, active travel.
  • There is also a fair amount of pavement cycling by adults in this area, which demonstrates a latent demand for safe, inviting space for cycling. Again, these plans will make no provision for people unwilling or unable to cycle in heavy traffic, and pavement cycling is likely to continue.
  • The proposals for contraflow cycling on Lime Grove and Pennard Road are more welcome than the rest of the plans, and offer better access routes for residents, and students at the London College of Fashion; however these plans have been drawn up with inadequate provision turning onto these roads, and these routes will be of limited value if they are not incorporated into a decent network of quiet streets by opening up streets such as Hopgood and Richford Streets to contraflow cycling.
  • Finally, the treatment of the junction of Goldhawk Road and Hammersmith Grove is very poor for cycling and needs complete revision.

Survey Response

About you

  • I have been a resident in Shepherd’s Bush for 9 years, and hope to remain in the area for the foreseeable future. I have been cycling as my primary form of transport since early 2008. My daily commute to work in Shoreditch takes me along either Uxbridge or Goldhawk Road, so I am very familiar with the conditions they currently provide for cyclists, and will be directly affected by these proposals.
  • I am an experienced cyclist and am capable of cycling quickly and assertively, although this does not mean I always want to ride like this. For example, I might be tired, or carrying shopping, or have met a neighbour and want to cycle slowly and chat. In responding to this survey I have done my best to put myself in the position of a less assertive cyclist, as these are the people we should be encouraging to choose cycling as a mode of transport.

Improve the look and feel of the area

4. Widening of footways

I do not support this proposal

  • With the exception of the railway arches, the footways in this area are not unduly narrow. Extra provision for pedestrians would be nice, but I cannot see this as a priority, and should not be done at the expense of vulnerable road users. Narrowing the carriageway without dedicated, separated provision for cyclists will increase conflict between them and motor traffic, and for this reason I do not support this proposal.

5. Raised entry treatments

I can give this proposal my qualified support, as it has some effect at taming the traffic turning into side streets.

  • However, this provision should take measures to mitigate the risk to cyclists of left hook manoeuvres from motor vehicles. A separated cycle track at or near the footway level could continue across the raised entry, and would be protected by the same slowing effect as the pedestrian route. Also, kerbs or other physical barriers could be used to prevent drivers cutting the corner across the route of cyclists.
  • Second, an even better treatment would be to continue footway paving across the junction; this would make it clear to drivers that they are entering a completely different type of street, and would have a more pronounced effect on speed; again, this should be combined with protected tracks for cyclists.

6 Moving the bus stop

I support moving the bus stop from the railway arch, but do not support the proposed layout, as it continues to present conflict between cyclists and buses.

  • The bus stop under the railway arch is the most significant pinch point for pedestrians along this route. When I walk past here I often have to step into the road to pass people waiting for the bus, and when a bust is stopped here, it I have to wait till passengers have mounted and dismounted. Moving this bus stop makes a lot of sense. The one disadvantage will be to those making the connection between the tube and the bus, but I do not think this is a significant concern.
  • However, the treatment of the proposed bus stop is hopeless for cyclists, and I oppose the plans on these grounds. Allowing the bus stop to interrupt interrupt the cycle lane means cyclists will have to pull out into the motor traffic around stopped buses, which is an intimidating manoeuvre for less assertive cyclists. Furthermore, buses pulling into the bus stop will cut in front of cyclists on the cycle lane, which is also intimidating. A bus stop bypass should be constructed at each bus stop on this route: the cycle lane be brought into into the footway, and an island should be constructed to house the bus shelter and waiting passengers, along with crossing points over the cycle track. This has been done, for example, on the Cycle Superhighway 2 Extension, and could be done successfully here too. This is not just an issue with this bus stop, but with all the stops in this area, and all should be given a bypass.

Improve the pedestrian crossings, with signalised countdown crossings

7 Goldhawk Road/Hammersmith Grove

I oppose this proposal as it is inadequate for pedestrians, and hopeless for cyclists.

  • An ideal solution would be to close Hammersmith Grove to through traffic. This is a mostly residential road, with a small parade of local shops halfway down, and some office buildings at the south end; it is completely inappropriate for it to be a through road, and it would be improved enormously by removing through traffic and allowing only local traffic. However, even if Hammersmith Grove continues to be a through road, the proposed junction is not good enough.

Impact on Pedestrians

  • The proposed junction makes no provision for pedestrians to cross Goldhawk Road from the west side of Hammersmith Grove, and they will still have to make a two-stage crossing. A third crossing point over the west arm would fix this problem.
  • I support the proposal to replace the current pig-pen arrangement with a straight-over pedestrian crossing, but am concerned that countdown timers do more harm than good, by chivvying pedestrians to get a move on, rather than indicating that they have every right to cross the road.

Impact on Cyclists

  • Cyclists heading East along Goldhawk Road need not be stopped before the junction, as there are no conflicts with turning traffic.
  • Cyclists turning right into Hammersmith Grove will have to make an awkward right turn as part of the flow of motor traffic. If the lights are red, then they may be able to pull across the bike box (ASL), providing it is not blocked by motor vehicles, but if the lights are green they will have no choice but to cross two lanes of motor traffic to make this turn. This type of manoeuvre is intimidating to less assertive cyclists, and these proposals do nothing to address it.Cyclists should be allowed to continue through the junction up to the pedestrian crossing, and then make the right turn at the same time as the pedestrian phase; this way conflicts will be eliminated.
  • Cycling West along Goldhawk Road will be unpleasant, as there is no safe space for cycling, and no efforts to remove the risk of left hooks at Hammersmith Grove. The left turn will be fairly straightforward, but to continue straight ahead they will have to cycle at least in the middle of the inside lane, in order not to be cut up by left-turning traffic.
  • The approach from Hammersmith Grove will not be very pleasant, but is the smallest problem here.

8 Goldhawk Road/Wells Road crossing

I do not support this proposal, as it makes no provision for cycling.

  • At this crossing the cycle path has disappeared, and the carriageway is narrowed. The goal of slowing the traffic is absolutely desirable, but it is doubtful that the narrowing will be significant enough to achieve this, and there will be an increased level of conflict with cyclists, which will make these stretches of road feel unsafe. The cycle track should continue, separated, at the same width as along the rest of the road and any carriageway narrowing should affect only motor traffic. This could be achieved by placing smaller islands between the cycle tracks and the main carriageway: this would give the benefits of narrowing the carriageway for motor traffic, whilst giving an additional level of protection to cyclists.
  • Countdown timers offer little benefit for pedestrians: their main purpose seems to be to get pedestrians out of the way so the traffic flow can resume. I would favour puffin crossings, like the once recently installed across Goldhawk Road near Cathnor Road, as the smarter algorithms in these can reduce pedestrian waiting times.

9 Stanlake Road crossing

I do not support this crossing for the same reasons as above.

  • In addition, it appears that the fencing will be retained between the footpath and the carriageway. This reduces the options for informal crossing when the road is quiet, and also presents a danger to cyclists, as there is a risk of being squashed against the railing by a close passing vehicle, and no option to jump onto the pavement.

10 Shepherd’s Bush Market crossing

I support the provision of better crossing facilities here, but do not support the proposed implementation for the same reasons as above.

Improve traffic flow and improvements for cyclists

11 road layout

I oppose this layout, as it is totally inadequate for cycling.

  • Cycle lanes are neither mandatory nor separated. This means they will be driven in and blocked by vehicles parked or loading by the side of the carriageway, and even when they are not, they will not feel safe, particularly to people who are not happy or able to cycle assertively in traffic. They should be separated from the traffic either by raising with a kerb or with wands, armadillos or planters (Camden Council have just implemented separation on Royal College Street using armadillos and planters, and this could serve as a model); they must also be wide enough (2m) to ensure that there is sufficient space for cyclists of different speeds to pass each other comfortably, and of continuously quality as faster cyclists will not use them if their progress is interrupted.
  • At every side street there is a risk of left hooks from vehicles. This could be mitigated a) by passing the bike track over the raised street entry and b) by ensuring that the protection of the track continues far enough to stop vehicles cutting the corner across the bike track.
  • I am neutral on the removal of the bus lanes, as they do not appear to provide much benefit at the moment; however, if the space reclaimed from the bus lanes is not used to create safe conditions for cycling, then I oppose their removal.

There are particular issues with right turns for cyclists:

  • Right turns are awkward for cyclists at all times. assertive cyclists who are happy to ‘take the lane’ and put up with abuse from drivers for being ‘in the middle of the road’ can make a right turn in the same way as a driver, but less assertive cyclists who prefer to stay in the cycle lanes are faced with having to cross two lanes of traffic.

12 Parking and loading bays

I oppose these plans, as they present a further risk to cyclists, and also negate much of the claimed additional space for pedestrians:

  • The entry of vehicles into these lanes will be across the cycle lane, providing a dangerous point of conflict.
  • The cycle lane is placed in the door zone of parked vehicles, which means that the occupant of a car can easily open a door into the path of an approaching cyclist, which at the very least will force them to swerve, and could knock them into the path of oncoming traffic. These incidents can kill (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3626604.ece).
  • The correct arrangement should be footway—cycle track—buffer—parking—carriageway. The buffer reduces the risk of a cyclist being hit, positioning the cycle track to the left of the parked vehicle makes these incidents less likely, as this is the passenger side, and if a cyclist is hit, they will be knocked into the footway, rather than the traffic, which greatly mitigates the risk of injury. This is the arrangement used by Camden Council on Royal College Street.
  • As for the effect on pedestrians, the claim is made that these loading bays will form part of the footway when they are not in use, but in fact the balance seems to operate the other way around: the claim is made that space is being reclaimed for pedestrians, when in fact it is being claimed for parking and loading.
  • However, I would tentatively support the provision of properly demarkated parking and loading bays, as the current situation, where the cycle lane becomes a parking lane as soon as 18:30 strikes, is useless.

13 Cycle provision

Two metre wide cycle lanes:

  • I welcome the proposal to increase the width of cycle lanes to 2m, but I cannot support these plans, as the lanes are discontinuous, unseparated and unenforceable, as explained above.
  • I support the introduction of contraflow cycling on Lime Grove and Pennard Road, although I believe this will have limited impact except on people who want access to these streets.
  • The small islands are not necessary at the entrances to these roads. Islands like these are frequently blocked by parked/loading vehicles, even when there are double yellow lines, and this forces cyclists onto the wrong side of the road. Clear paint on the road seems to be sufficient, and works very well in the City of London, which has implemented extensive contraflow cycling.
  • I have concerns about the treatment of right turns into these roads. At the very least, right turns into these roads should be made as easy as possible for cyclists who do not adopt an assertive cycling style, and the current plans do not do this.
  • As shown on the plans, turning right into these roads will involve pulling across the main flow of traffic. Extra space should be left in the cycle lane at these locations so people waiting to turn right don’t block those going straight on, and markings should be place on the road to make it clear that cyclists are expected to turn at these locations. I believe ‘elephant’s feet’ are approved for cases like these.
  • However, these roads would be much more useful as part of a continuous network. In particular, extending contraflow cycling along Richford Street and Grove Mews would provide an excellent parallel route to Hammersmith Grove. Therefore, contraflow cycling should also be permitted on the following roads as part of these plans; this could be as simple as adding ‘except cyclists’ to the no entry signs:
    • MacFarlane Road/Hopgood Street
    • Richford Street/Grove Mews
    • Sycamore Gardens
    • Titmuss Street

    And also these streets, which fall just outside the consultation zone, but could be included in such a traffic order:

    • Devonport Road
    • St Stephen’s Avenue
    • Godolphin Road
    • Stowe Road
    • Scotts Road

Additional cycle parking:

  • I support the introduction of more cycle parking, but there are no detailed plans for this, so it is difficult to comment further. The use of small rings (like these http://www.cyclehoop.com/products/cyclehoops/) on all lamp- and sign posts would be a very space-efficient way to achieve this.

SuDs and Pocket Parks

I have no particular comments on these proposals.

Surfacing, lighting and CCTV

I absolutely support the resurfacing of the carriageways. Uxbridge Road in particular has several dangerous potholes and should be resurfaced regularly.

Improved footways

I am happy to support this. A note of caution should be the lime trees outside St Stephen & St Thomas’s Church, which make the paving slabs very slippery; if paving can be found that avoids this problem that would be very useful.

Street lighting

I support better street lighting, particularly if it is more energy efficient.

CCTV

I do not support further CCTV coverage. We have quite enough already, and parking should be enforced by other means.

Appendix: each route in detail

Here is a brief summary of the problems that these proposals present to cyclists, following each of the routes.

Uxbridge Road West–East

  • Narrow, discontinuous, unseparated, unenforceable cycle lane
  • Awkward right turn into Coverdale Road.
  • Risk of left hook at Tunis Road.
  • Carriageway narrowing after Tunis Road.
  • Risk of left hook at Stanlake Road.
  • Conflict with loading bay after Stanlake Road.
  • Awkward right turn into Lime Grove.
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane.
  • Risk of left hook at Frithville Gardens.
  • Conflict with loading bay after Frithville Gardens.
  • Carriageway narrowing after Frithville Gardens.
  • Awkward right turn into Pennard Road.
  • Risk of left hook at Hopgood Street.

Uxbridge Road East–West

  • Narrow, discontinuous, unseparated, unenforceable cycle lane
  • Awkward right turn into Hopgood Street.
  • Risk of left hook at Pennard Road.
  • Carriageway narrowing after Pennard Road.
  • Conflict with loading bay after railway arch.
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane.
  • Awkward right turn into Frithville Gardens (blocked by bus stop).
  • Conflict with loading bay after Lime Grove.
  • Awkward right turn into Stanlake Road.
  • Carriageway narrows outside church.
  • Awkward right turn into Tunis Road.
  • Risk of left hook at Coverdale Road.
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane after Coverdale Road.

Goldhawk Road West–East

  • Discontinuous, unseparated, unenforceable cycle lane
  • Unnecessary stop for straight-ahead movements when the pedestrian crossing is not in use.
  • Difficult right turn into Hammersmith Grove.
  • Missing left turn into Titmuss Street.
  • Risk of left hook at Lime Grove.
  • Missing right turn into Richford Street (which should be treated safely).
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane after Lime Grove.
  • Cycle lane disappears outside the Market.
  • Awkward right turn into Woodger Road.
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane after Pennard Road.
  • Awkward right turn (through bus stop) into Bamborough Gardens.
  • Awkwards right turn onto shared island to get onto the common.

Goldhawk Road East–West

  • Discontinuous, unseparated, unenforceable cycle lane
  • Risk of left hook at Bamborough Gardens.
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane after Bamborough Gardens.
  • Awkward right turn into Pennard Road.
  • Risk of left hook at Woodger Road.
  • Cycle lane disappears outside the Market.
  • Risk of left hook at Wells Road (significant, as this is the entry to the bus depot).
  • Bus stop interrupts cycle lane after the railway bridge.
  • Missing left turn into Richford Stree.
  • Awkward right turn into Lime Grove.
  • Disappearing cycle lane approaching Hammersmith Grove, and then significant risk of left hook.

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] responses worth review: Matthew Butt and Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, both also with the benefit of good working knowledge of the […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: