Matthew Butt

TfL: “Sorry you didn’t like our shit plans for Elephant; we’ve responded by making them shitter”

Posted in cycling by bnathyuw on 21 August 2014

I responded to TfL’s consultation on improving Elephant and Castle. I criticised the inconsistent and confusing layout for cyclists, and the lack of consideration for pedestrian’s desire lines.

Here is their considered response (emphases mine):

Dear Stakeholder

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your views on our proposals to transform Elephant & Castle Northern Roundabout.

After carefully considering all of the feedback received, we have made the decision to proceed with the scheme. This will include taking forward the design for northbound off-carriageway cycling provision along the Elephant and Castle Link Road as outlined in Option B. However, following feedback from the consultation and further traffic modelling, we will be making a number of modifications to the design.

A full report detailing the responses received during the consultation, our response to many of the issues raised, and a full explanation of the changes to the proposed design is now available at www.tfl.gov.uk/elephantandcastle.

In summary, the key changes we are proposing to the plans consulted on include:

  • Progressing with the design in Option B but with a widened footway and a commitment to carefully consider the materials used to build the off-carriageway cycle lane in order to manage the risk of pedestrian/cycle conflict
  • Considering additional improvements for cyclists who wish to remain on the carriageway, such as widening the bus lane on the Elephant and Castle Link Road northbound to 4.5m to offer space for cyclists to overtake buses, and introducing a new cycle feeder lane on the approach to St Georges Road to offer better protection to cyclists approaching the junction
  • Following concerns about the safety of the proposed cycle lane with segregated kerb southbound on the Elephant and Castle Link Road, we will instead offer a 4.5m bus lane and use road markings to encourage bus drivers to exit in agreed places. This should provide more space for cyclists overtaking buses and also make the potential conflict points clearer to cyclists
  • To address concerns about the right turn cycle movement into London Road, a two stage cycle crossing will be provided which will enable cyclists to cross in parallel and on the same signal phase as pedestrians
  • Following concerns about congestion and queuing we will add an additional right turn lane into St Georges Road to ensure traffic can clear through this turn. We will also add an additional lane on the approach to the junction from New Kent Road. The space for these additional lanes will be taken from the peninsula and will not move the highway closer to residential buildings
  • We will reduce London Road from four to three traffic lanes. This will retain the three mature trees, ensure the road does not significantly move closer to residential properties and will also offer a better road layout for cyclists
  • Following concerns about waiting and crossing times at the new pedestrian crossings we will increase the ‘green man invitation to cross’ times on a number of the crossings. However, most journeys will have increases in average travel time from waiting at signals, which will be similar to other crossings at busy junctions in London

We are also exploring implementing a 20mph limit through the junction. This would help to regulate traffic speeds and improve overall safety conditions for all users of the junction.

We are still considering the re-location of the bus stop for services towards Camberwell. Discussions are on-going with the owners of the new shopping centre regarding their design and the plans for the new London Underground station entrance. Once more is known we will be able to make a firm decision.

Now the decision has been taken to proceed, the updated design will be subject to a detailed design process and  more detailed safety audits. It is expected that construction work will commence in late spring 2015. The main highway works are scheduled to take approximately one year to complete.

We have commissioned urban design specialists to design the new areas of public space that are being created, as well as looking more broadly at the design for the wider urban realm across the interchange area. We are working closely with LB Southwark, the new owners of the shopping centre site and other key stakeholders to ensure plans evolve jointly. We will engage with local residents and users of the interchange on these plans later in the year.

Please feel free to email us at STEngagement@tfl.gov.uk if you wish to discuss our plans in further detail.

I can’t say I’m impressed.

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.

My response to Camden Council’s proposals for Royal College Street

Posted in cycling by bnathyuw on 11 January 2013

Another one: Camden Council are proposing some pretty impressive improvements to the already good cycling provision on Royal College Street.

I dropped them a quick email to Brian Deegan at Camden Council to support this work:

Dear Brian,

I would like to voice my support for the proposed improvements to Royal College Street.

I live in West London, and cycle to work in Shoreditch via Bloomsbury. I support this work not because of its direct effect on my journey, but because it is a significant step in raising the standard of cycle provision in London, something that is all the more relevant now TfL are showing willingness to adopt new best practices in cycling infrastructure.

Camden council already has some of London’s best cycle provision. I use the Bloomsbury cycle route every day because, despite its weird chicanes, it is possibly the most pleasant way to cross central London. It is great to see that, with the plans for Royal College Street, you are still at the forefront of cycling provision in this city.

On your specific questions

1. I agree entirely with the installation of a southbound cycle lane, and the resulting provision of two wide cycle paths, and I hope this can serve as a blueprint for future implementations of segregated cycle infrastructure.

2. I agree with the raised junctions, as this will slow traffic down and reduce the risk of cyclists being cut up.

3. I agree with the replacement of traffic signals with a raised junction, again as a way of reducing the risk of cyclists being cut up.

4. I have no direct opinion on the changes to parking, but support them as part of the overall scheme.

5. The segregation proposals look generally very good. I would like to raise two notes of caution: first, that there is enough separation between parked cars and the cycle path to avoid risk to cyclists from car doors being opened; and secondly, if a stretch of parking is entirely empty, then there is the possibility that drivers will use it as a second lane, possibly for overtaking, and that the segregation along this stretch should still be significant enough to reduce the risk of drivers erring into the cycle path.

6. I have no direct opinion on the removal of road humps; if you feel that other measures will keep speeds under control, then I am satisfied with that.

I wish you all the best in implementing this scheme,

Yours,

Matthew Butt

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Update: TfL reconsider plans for Lambeth Bridge Northern Roundabout

Posted in cycling by bnathyuw on 11 January 2013

Back in October, I responded to TfL’s Lambeth Bridge Northern Roundabout Consultation, criticising their plan to make cyclists and pedestrians “share” the pavement at this busy and awkward junction, and encouraging them to put in place a proper, Dutch-style junction with segregated cycle lanes.

Well, today’s my birthday, and it seems TfL have prepared a little surprise birthday present for me.

I first heard about it through a few tweets from Mark Treasure:

I then opened my emails to find this message from TfL:

Dear Sir or Madam

Thank you for responding to our consultation on the proposed early benefit scheme for cyclists at Lambeth Bridge northern roundabout. Following consultation, TfL has decided not to proceed with this scheme.

The scheme was designed to provide improvements for cyclists, whilst also allowing TfL to continue exploring further, more radical improvements to improve facilities at this location. The proposals were developed following careful analysis of casualty statistics at the roundabout and a thorough review of the current physical road layout. However, having considered responses to consultation, and following concerns voiced by Westminster City Council, we have decided not to proceed with these planned initial improvements at Lambeth Bridge northern roundabout. Instead, we will concentrate our resources on developing more substantial improvements that meet the expectations of Westminster City Council and other stakeholders.

Some of the measures suggested by respondents, such as a segregated cycle track around the outside of the roundabout with cyclist priority at slip roads, would be new features on London’s roads, and therefore require off-street trials. We have started building the infrastructure for these trials at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire, and we will work with our stakeholders to ensure their views are considered as part of this work. Suggestions made as part of this and other consultations will be considered by the team planning the trials.

A summary of the consultation and TfL’s response to it can be found online at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/streets/betterjunctions-lambethbridgenorth.

Yours sincerely

Oliver Birtill

(The full consultation report gives more details of the responses, as well as details of future proposals, and is well worth a read.)

What I find significant about this is that not only have they agreed not to make the situation worse, but they are working on off-street trials which should in future allow them to make the situation much better. On top of the (for the UK) revolutionary plans for the Bow–Stratford extension of CS2, this suggests that TfL are really listening to the voices of cyclists and experts in cycle infrastructure.

What is particularly gratifying is the feeling that we spoke, and TfL listened to us. As a cyclist in London, and indeed as an ordinary person in our modern plutocracy, you get inured to the attrition of powerlessness, so to find that just for once your voice is being heard is like seeing a shaft of sunlight through a storm cloud.

It is also instructive to see how the consultation report accounts for the responses given: for each element of the scheme, the responses for, partially for, and against are added, but those that do not mention this feature are not taken into account. This suggests that in responding to a consultation like this, it is well worth specifically mentioning that you support a particular feature—raised zebras, for example—, rather than just mentioning your criticisms.

So, some final thoughts:

  • Respond to these consultations: we everyday people on bikes will be listened to as well as the experts.
  • Be specific, cover all points in the proposal, and be positive about the good points: this will make it into the report.
  • If we keep up the work on this, there is every chance we can make London’s roads safer and more pleasant for cyclists, pedestrians and even drivers.

This final point is vital: we must remember why we are doing this. First, 14 cyclists died on London’s roads last year, and hundreds were seriously injured. This has to change. Second, for cycling to take off as a serious means of transport around this city, we need to make it pleasant and convenient for everyone, and we can only do this with infrastructure that respects the needs of ordinary people on bikes; today’s news suggests that this has just got a step closer.

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My response to the Cycle Superhighway 2 Extension consultation

Posted in cycling by bnathyuw on 8 January 2013

If you’ve been paying attention to the twitters recently, you’ll have seen that TfL have released their plans for the Cycle Superhighway 2 extension. I think they’re rather good, and wanted to tell TfL. Here’s my response to their consultation:

Wow! I am really excited to see these plans, and hope that they are the beginning of the “step change” in planning that Boris Johnson recently promised.

I live in West London and work in Shoreditch, so these changes won’t directly affect my daily commute; however, they will make a real difference to my experience coming to Stratford, and I hope they will be a great success, and act as a blueprint for future developments.

I have visited Stratford by bike, and was struck by the lack of pleasant, convenient routes to get there, having a choice either of a circuitous waterside route (pleasant but inconvenient), or the fast traffic on the High Street (convenient but unpleasant). If this new route had been in place, it would have been an easy decision.

I am particularly excited by two elements of this proposal:

a) The segregated cycle paths. I am a man in my mid 30s, and a reasonably fast, confident cyclist. I am absolutely capable of taking primary position in traffic, and of negotiating several lanes of vehicles. However, this is not to say that I enjoy doing this, and I find it stressful to constantly have to deal with the aggressive and dangerous behaviour of some drivers; furthermore, I don’t see why I should have to put myself in the way of aggression and danger just to get across town on my bike. I believe these segregated paths are a really important element in making cycling more pleasant and less scary, which in turn will encourage more people to get on their bikes.

b) The bus-stop bypasses. It is great to see these in the plans, and I hope they prove a success. Despite the long-established habit of telling cyclists to use bus lanes, buses and bikes really don’t mix very well: playing leap-frog with a bus as it overtakes you, only to have to overtake it in turn when it stops 100m down the road is a frustrating experience, and I have had several unpleasant experiences with bus drivers cutting me up or passing too close to me. Even when the cycle path is not on the road, it often gives up at bus stops, and cyclists either have to rejoin the road at the bus stop, or enter a “shared use” path behind it. Introducing bus-stop bypasses, which I’ve seen in several European countries, seems like a bold and sensible step.

All in all, I think these are very exciting proposals, and I hope this consultation receives constructive feedback to make them even better. My great hope is that these changes will prove a great success, and will lead to this quality of road planning being introduced across London in the near future.

Thank you!

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My response to the Lambeth Bridge Northern Roundabout Consultation

Posted in cycling by bnathyuw on 26 October 2012

I’ve sent a brief response to TfL’s consultation on ‘Safety Improvements at Lambeth Bridge Northern Roundabout‘. Here’s what I said:

I am a confident and experienced cyclist who uses this junction daily. Nonetheless, I do not find it an enjoyable junction to negotiate, and this influences my route through the surrounding streets. I believe the proposed changes would make the junction *less* pleasant to use, contrary to the aim of this project.

I usually approach this junction from the north along Millbank and turn left to cross Lambeth Bridge. There is frequently heavy traffic using the roundabout ahead of me, so I usually take—admittedly slightly illicit—advantage of the cross-hatched area to make my left turn. There is usually someone crossing the zebra on the approach to Lambeth Bridge, and as I pause to let them cross, I can re-enter negotiate my way back onto the carriageway to cross the bridge.

After the proposed changes, I will no longer be able to do this manoeuvre, as the cross-hatched area will have been removed. Instead I will be faced with a choice: either cycle on the pavement, or wait for a gap in the traffic to turn left in the carriageway section of the roundabout.

I am unlikely to make use of the pavement, as this looks like it would involve an awkward manoeuvre to get onto the pavement, and another to re-enter the carriageway on Lambeth Bridge. Furthermore, doing this would bring me into conflict with pedestrians, who, quite understandably, are rarely enthusiastic to share their space with faster-moving cyclists.

Hence, my journey through this roundabout will be made somewhat more stressful and less convenient by the removal of the cross-hatched area: the opposite of the desired effect.

On some occasions, I approach this roundabout from Horseferry Road, and continue across it onto Lambeth Bridge. On these occasions, I wait in the outside lane so I can join the roundabout in the appropriate lane. Because of the heavy traffic on this roundabout, this can take a while, and I often find myself amongst buses and coaches waiting to join the roundabout. Once a suitable gap has appeared, I have to cycle out swiftly and confidently to get round the roundabout. This manoeuvre is perfectly possible, but not very pleasant, so I usually plan my journey so I approach from the north, rather than the west.

The proposed improvements would do nothing to improve my journey across the roundabout from Horseferry Road: for the reasons given above I would not use the shared-use pavements, so I would continue to have to use the main carriageway as I do now.

I believe these proposed changes would make the roundabout less pleasant for cyclists to use, and I cannot see how they would constitute a safety improvement. I suggest you revise your plans and provide a proper Dutch-style roundabout with segregated cycle lanes separate from both the pavement and the carriageway; such a layout would be a joy to use, and would greatly improve this junction. The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, Rachel Aldred, and the Dutch Cycling Embassy have all given details of how this could be done, and it would be a significant day if you could be true to the Mayor’s promise to Go Dutch by heeding their advice.


27 October 2012: Updated with links; removed link to consultation, as the deadline has now passed.

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