Saturday, 19 July 2014

Location, Location, Location

Achieving 'Behaviour Change' essentially comes down to making the desired behaviour an obvious and effortless (lazy) choice.

Lambeth Council's website included the fact that secure temporary cycle parking would be provided at this year's Country Show, and today a couple came over to the Lambeth Cyclists' stand and said they'd decided to come by bike having been reassured about the cycle parking. That's brilliant.

I was pleased because I'd recommended installing additional temporary parking after last year's event. It's the sort of thing that makes sense to do if, as Lambeth Council were advertising at the event, you want cycling to be normal for everyone.

Isn't that a great message to put out.

But I was puzzled because, despite knowing it would be present, I hadn't spotted the parking via the Lido entrance though the usual racks were full. Nor had I noticed the temporary cycle parking at the Herne Hill entrance below.
There were no signs advertising secure cycle parking at the entrance, above, but to the left the normal bike racks were full as were the adjacent railings

To the right of the entrance the railings were almost full
In front, the tree supports were full (by a convenient location for temporary cycle parking)
 So I went into the park and asked at the information tent just by the entrance (next to a prominent and convenient place to put temporary cycle parking)

 and the helpful volunteer referred to his map and pointed me several hundred metres along the path away from the Lido or Herne Hill entrance to a minor entrance. Unsurprisingly when I got there the parking was under-occupied
 Lambeth's Safer Transport Team were on hand in force to offer free cycle security marking to the handful of people who found the cycle parking
 I retraced my steps to the entrance and there, on the way out, I spotted a sign (below right) advertising the cycle parking.
 It would be great if Lambeth can continue with the temporary additional parking next year, but it needs to be located by the entrance(s) so obviously that no signage is needed.

A further improvement would be for the No Entry signs, used to restrict motor traffic in Railton Road for the event, to have 'except cycles' added.
 






Monday, 14 July 2014

Draft thoughts on London Cycling Design Standards draft

Not a pretty read, but I've posted these in case it's useful for tonight's Cycling Embassy of GB twitter debate from 8 - 9pm #LCDSHour

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Overall I don't find the document intuitive to use and it can be repetitive.

I would prefer to see legal and technical construction/maintenance aspects separated from design, with a superscript linking to relevant legal/maintenance aspects.


CHAPTER 1
Fig 1.2a
1 Safety:
Change ‘and address negative perceptions about safety’ to ‘and make cycling feel safe and appealing to all’.

Remove ‘for the majority of cyclists’.

Fig 1.2b
4 Coherence:
Add, after consistent, ‘link seamlessly to other routes’
Image and text of a ‘bad example’ seems to show a clearly marked cycle track of reasonable width paralleling a major road. I don’t think this is a good example of lack of coherence to use here. I don’t know where pedestrians are meant to walk though.

5 Attractiveness
I would prefer this to be used mainly in the Dutch sense of ‘Attractive or appealing to cycle along’ – for example inviting sociable side-by-side cycling. ‘Enhancing the public realm’ can be a secondary aspect.

1.1.11
Requirement 1 box: ‘Must’ must replace both uses of the word ‘Should’

1.1.11.1
Para 1 – Most current cycle provision is shared space with motor traffic, reflecting a belief that people who want to cycle will ‘man up and keep their wits about them’, rather than take a less challenging transport option.
Add ‘Our streets must be made appealing and accommodating to children, the disabled and the elderly to travel on by bicycle’

para 2 – remove ‘especially in the centre’


1.1.11.3
Bicycles must be treated as a class of vehicle, not as pedestrians

1.1.11.6
Quietways will normally only work as alternatives to main roads when the route is as obvious, convenient and quick as the main road. Convenience includes provision of cash machines and convenience stores.

1.1.11.8 Add ‘However where quiet routes can run parallel to unfriendly roads, there needs to be provision to access facilities on the unfriendly road and to cross them in a safe and appealing way.

1.1.11.10
First line: Cyclists, including children - and other road users -….
Last line: replace ‘should’ with ‘are to’

1.1.11.12
Line 4  - add ‘some’ after ‘anti-social behaviour by’

Para 2 – detail to include later

1.1.11.18
Designers should have undertaken Bikeability cycle training to level 3 and have taken a child along on a ride. A regular cyclist is needed to be involved in the design process.

1.1.11.19 sentence starting ‘In winter…’ needs an ending, such as ‘when they should normally be the first to be cleared’.


1.3 – Local Streets may have a medium or high movement function for pedestrians and/or cyclists – e.g. LCN3 or are streets on Quietways designated as ‘Connectors’ in the matrix?

1.3.4 – Makes sense for Quietways to be designed to minimise effort and strain on the elderly and the young, so likely to be attractive to the fast and confident cyclist too. All the more so if they are tidal commuter routes (1.3.5)

1.3.9 redundant in design manual. Ditto 1.3.10, 1.3.11. Isn’t all this in Mayor’s strategy?



CHAPTER 2
2.1 The Tube Network for the Bike – implies there will be much better provision north of the Thames than south of it;-)

2.1.25 Are Green movement junctions sure to be child cycle safe and appealing?
Fig 2.5 – Area-wide speed limit/reduction belongs in Amber box.
2.2.10 Accessibility Classification
Undertaking a classification of roads should not be done on the level of experience needed to ride it comfortably, but on the ease of riding without conflict on the road. This classification needs to be done during peak hours of travel for children and adults.
Children will not be permitted to ride or enjoy riding on many of London’s ‘secondary’ roads, especially during peak travel times.
Suggest:
Dark Green – off road routes suitable for all
Light Green – roads suitable for almost all (e.g. Trinity Street in Southwark – light volume of motor traffic, low speeds, rat-runs blocked)
Amber – secondary road but with more traffic / speed / rat-running / pinch-points than makes for a mellow, child friendly environment (most secondary streets)
Red – primary road used to carry through motor traffic in volume, without it being segregated from children cycling (when it would be Dark Green)
Red Plus – multi-lane gyratories and roads with large volumes of queuing motor traffic that cyclists have to sit amongst (e.g. The Strand) or battle to filter through.

Classifying junctions into Level 2 or Level 3 Bikeability is to be avoided. Traffic lights feature in Level 3, so not taught to most school children. However the principles of traffic lights are dead easy to grasp and they are often used on secondary roads to cross major roads (e.g. Thorne Road to Aldebert Terrace on LCN3 in Lambeth). Those roads could be made Light Green and the lights would not be an issue in themselves.

2.2.11
Line 5 – pleasant and efficient crossings.

The next 2.2.11 (Porosity)
Green should only apply when gateways are on principal desire lines. Not green for example if there are two gateways but both on the same side of the box if people want to cross through the box and out the other side.

Figure 2.13
Need to distinguish between Pedestrian Streets and No Motor Vehicle Streets (where cycling is allowed).

2.4.5 Standing water can conceal potholes and other hazards, and glass etc. will wash from centre of road to area where water is standing.

2.4.5 Replacement covers must be badged identifying the owner – e.g. of extraneous level of detail that clogs this guide.

CHAPTER 3
3.1.5 line 1: all types of cyclist ‘including children and people with disabilities’
3.1.7 Are pedestrians not road users?
3.1.8 Worth emphasising that cyclists use most energy slowing and accelerating; whereas maintaining a speed is a low energy activity.
3.1.13 Remove ‘ideally’

CHAPTER 4
I would like to see advice on staggered junctions, including use of nearby pedestrian crossings to facilitate crossings. Is a right to left stagger better than left to right, other things being equal?

4.2 Crossings (to cross a road between shared pavements or cycle tracks)

4.3.2 Photo shows 1057 symbols in wrong place with regards to Bikeability teaching - maintain a straight line past the parked cars (the width of the door and a little bit more) and the minor road.

4.4.27 line 2: a particular what?

4.4.38 Denmark, where there is normally no separate pedestrian phase as turning traffic must give way to pedestrians continuing.

4.4.48 photo and similar photos and diagrams throughout:
 ASLs are about vehicular motoring and their inclusion in this manual should be in doubt. Should they remain the large 1057s straddling lanes may be better replaced with a regular 1057 in the centre of each lane, nurturing ‘Bikeability’ positioning.


CHAPTER 5
I expect lane width to feature in this section.

5.8
Line 2: in such a way as to make minimise risks and stress to cyclists

5.6.2 A segregated side for cyclists works best when one side (the one the cyclists travel along) is off a pedestrian desire line – e.g. adjacent to railings as shown in Hyde Park image, or near the edge fence/hedge of a park as dog owners are likely to throw the stick into the field, and children kick the ball that way.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Cycling update from Lambeth Council at next Lambeth Cyclists meet

Come along next Tuesday 15th July to Lambeth Cyclists monthly meet at Stockwell Community Centre, 1 Studley Road, Stockwell SW4 (behind Stockwell tube station) at 7:30pm to find out from Lambeth Council what's happening on the cycling and related transport front.

I've put together a list of topics of interest, below, and suggested a briefing note would be useful so we can concentrate on questions and answers.

2011-2014 Lambeth Transport Plan: Outcomes against targets and reasons. How does the Council monitor this and when/where are outcome reports published?
LIP programme of investment for 2014/15 to 2017/18.
Central and South London Sub Regional Transport Panels update re sub-regional transport plans
Councillor(s) responsibility for transport and for cycling, and reporting/scrutiny measures
Lambeth staffing structure and outsourcing principal contractors for design/build etc.
Implications of borough funding cuts and of losing revenue due to ‘spy’ car camera ban

Principal capital development/works over coming two or so years:

Cycling Superhighways
CS7 upgrade

Major Junctions
Stockwell Gyratory
Vauxhall Gyratory 
Tulse Hill Gyratory
Waterloo Imax Roundabout
Lambeth Bridge South Roundabout
Loughborough Junction


Inner London Grid
•             The Central London Grid (covering Waterloo and Vauxhall) – the network and funding are due to be confirmed in the summer, but Lambeth has been told that the network it submitted for the consultation at the beginning of 2014 was too dense, and that only a few key routes will be funded.

Quietways and Greenways
•             Quietway 2 – Waterloo to Greenwich – this route mainly passes through Southwark, with a short section in Lambeth, is one of the first two Quietways in London to be funded by the Mayor.
•             Quietway Waterloo to Clapham to Croydon will be in the second wave of 8 Quietways
•             Greenway from Ruskin Park to Archbishop Park – we had already started to work up designs for this route.  It is not yet on the Mayor’s Quietway programme but we believe it should be as it could be progressed quite quickly.
Tyers Street linear park extension

Town Centre development
Clapham Old Town cycling works timetable
Streatham High Road A23 improvements.
Future Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme

Public Transport Development
Northern Line extension
Crossrail/Tube for Streatham
Lambeth Council commissioned study of options for upgraded stations at Loughborough Junction and Brixton
Bus/cycle lane hours extension

OTHER
20mph implementation timetable; any exemptions
Developing plans for ward asks made by Lambeth Cyclists (http://action.space4cycling.org/data/borough/63)
Sustrans – Granton Primary project; Vauxhall Street Project and any others
Cycle Parking – hangars, stands and major transport hubs
Lambeth Physical Activity and Sport Strategy
September 12th, Lambeth hosted London Cycling Show ( http://landor.co.uk/londoncyclingshow/home.php)
September 13th, Made in Lambeth cycling event
Thurs 25th September:  Lambeth Sustainability Forum – sustainable transport review and forward plan
One-way to two-way for cyclists: Crescent Lane etc.
Road resurfacing schedule and taking advantage to improve cycle markings
Reason for failure to install sinusoidal humps on LCN3 in Turret Grove SW4 and when will remedial action take place?
Lambeth Cycling Festival, cycle training, cycle loan

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Local secondary school the day after the Tour de France in London

Cyclists in the City has challenged the £6m spend for London to host the Tour de France coming from TfL's cycling budget in his blogpost: titled "Should TfL bosses have taken £6million from the cycling (safety) budget to spend on Tour de France promotional work? Would it be acceptable for the Highways Agency to sponsor Formula 1?"

I thought it would be interesting to check how many bikes are in the racks at the local Lilian Baylis secondary school this sunny day after England's section of the Tour de France ended. The school is situated within a couple of miles of the finish line.

There are many reasons why children may not cycle to school (proximity of housing; secure cycle parking at home; hostile roads etc.) and I don't have time to go into the ins and outs of that for this school just now, so I'll just put up the following pictures without comment.

Here are the racks within the school (there used to be twice the number of racks but seating has now replaced them)


Below, the cycle racks in the school's (staff?) car park.

and, finally, the cycle racks by the front entrance to the school


I also tweeted the Evelyn Grace Academy in Lambeth





@ARKEvelynGrace would like to know if Tour de France has resulted in many more bikes in school racks this week? - 08 Jul




@KenningtonPOB not that we've noticed so far but will keep an eye out and let you know. We do have a v active bike club here at EGA








I'm really heartened by the fact that the Academy has a v active bike club and hope there are no budget constraints against it continuing and growing.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Time to refine school cycle training?

Floating an idea here that I've been mulling over the past week as I've been teaching year 7s for a change (albeit ones with Autism Spectrum Disorder)

I teach a lot of Bikeability, what used to be called Cycle Proficiency, level 2 in schools. The first session is in the playground, checking pupils' bikes are in okay condition and a reasonable fit, that the pupils can cycle competently, and that they will follow instruction when taken out to the roads.

The following few days are on local roads, progressively developing until the pupils are turning right from a major road, wide enough to require moving across their lane and with some traffic, into a minor road. Children are trained and assessed for competency, consistency and confidence in undertaking the maneouvres.

This is almost always done in primary school, ideally in year 6 before the pupils leave for secondary school. In practice Year 6 is SATs year, so many schools are reluctant to take a chunk of time out for this. In consequence there is a mad demand for courses between the end of SATs and the end of the summer of the summer term.

The alternative that many schools like is to run the course in year 5. At this age most children struggle to achieve consistency, competence and confidence. Their ability to judge speed and distance is fairly weak and they often have a delightful sense of playfulness at odds with mixing competently with traffic. This quite often continues into year 6. I get the sense that neither parents nor the schools expect the primary pupils to cycle on-road to their school

So, it seems to me that year 7 is the logical time to do on-road cycle training. Old enough to judge speed and distance reasonably, at a school that is likely to be further from home than the primary school, more likely to be travelling independently, and without any exams that year. Year 5 or 6 in primary school should focus on off-road cycle control skills.

Being older the pupils should pick up the basics of on-road riding to level 2 standard quickly, and additionally can be taught about roundabouts, traffic lights and lorries. A route to school could be rehearsed with the pupils. There can also be buddy systems arranged with older pupils and a range of other measures, such as cycling as a class on outings.

There could then be a refresher and consolidation of the skills at the end of year 12 after pupils, aged 16 or 17, have taken their AS levels and before summer term ends when schools struggle to find useful activities for the pupils to do. This would serve two purposes, firstly to remind them of the ease of moving around their local area by bicycle, and secondly, to brush up their on-road skills which would be of benefit to those aiming to acquire a motor-cycle or driving licence.

What do you think? I'm particularly interested in the views of secondary school teachers and pupils, and also the views of other cycling instructors.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Designing for blind corners


At a location where there are blind corners, like the one above coming off a bridge which meet a path running across it, there is the potential for a near-miss or collision.
So the tendency is to install barriers as shown. These however can prove problematic to users


 The woman with her children in a Christiania trike above or a mobility scooter user will have considerable difficulty and may be unable to proceed. 
An alternative approach is to try to use bollards, as above, with the same problems likely to occur.

The solution below removes the risk of collision at the blind corner itself and improves sight lines giving people time and space to adapt their position or speed to avoid a collision where the rails end.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Forgiveness and Civility

The new London Cycling Design Standards have been published in draft form for consultation. I haven't had a full read of the 350+ pages yet, but I have been considering what to think about when reading it. One thing I will be doing is replacing the word 'cyclist' with 'child' and seeing how reasonable the measures appear in that light.

I will also be looking for designs that have 'Forgiveness' built into them.

Forgiveness is a key thing that cycling instructors assess when considering which streets to use, whether working with an adult or a primary school group of 9 - 11 year olds. We consider how much space is available, how much deviation from a line will be required (due for example to double parking), what the volume of traffic is and its speed (is the street a motor traffic rat-run). We are assessing how much latitude there is for a trainee to have a wobble or make an error of judgement, and we are assessing how stressful the street is for the trainees to use.

Today I was working with pupils in Trinity Street and Trinity Church Square, a wonderfully forgiving environment primarily because it is blocked to through motor traffic at one point. The children were relaxed and most of the other road users were on bicycles too. Traffic is light and speeds are low.

The likelihood of a collision and, due to the low kinetic energy of the other traffic, the likely severity of a collision are both low in such a location.

The question then is how to achieve a forgiving and appealing cycling environment on a more major road. Countries with a high modal cycling share which includes children and grandparents tend to provide a segregated space where there are substantial vehicle movements, traffic speed and/or many heavy vehicles.

Here's an example near Trinity Street where cycling infrastructure provides a forgiving space for cycling. It doesn't get parked on and the traffic is kept away from the cyclist

However the painted part of Cycling Superhighway 7 along Southwark Bridge Road - an unprotected cycle lane - is a disaster.

On the right side of the road in the photo above there's a short stretch of car parking instead of a cycle lane. Unsurprisingly a bordering taxi garage routinely parks taxis on the short stretch of cycle lane that leads into the parked cars as you can see above .

Having passed the taxis and the legitimate car parking, then illegitimate car parking, there's a Cooperative supermarket which occupies the cycle lane for deliveries during morning rush-hour. Here's a delivery this morning.

Here's yesterday. You can see a child (not one I am training) cycling to school, turning right from Scovell Road - but the Coop has stolen his cycle lane. 

When not being used for Coop deliveries this lane is currently used as a waiting zone for construction vehicles.


The other side of the road should have no such issues on the stretch between Great Suffolk Street and Borough Road. There are no shops on this side and no on-street parking (during specified hours). It should be clear space for cycling, somewhere adults and children can cycle away from the lorries.

Unfortunately there's a police building located here. The police can disregard yellow lines I am told, and they do.

Today this police vehicle was parked on the cycle lane at 12.15 when I went to lunch and was there at 3pm after I had left the school. I doubt it had been moved between times.

Yesterday at 12.42 a Patrol Supervisor was parked here




At 8.52 yesterday morning, as the child is cycling to school, this police car was parked in the cycle lane


while the previous day at 12.48 this police car was parked in the cycle lane

While the police may have the right to park here it would be civil of them not to. If they need cars to be ready to roar away Sweeney style then this is the wrong location to have those staff. If there isn't any parking then this is the wrong location for them, but I suspect the blue doors shown below lead into a police yard.

A significant part of cycle training involves teaching young and old cyclists to have respect for and give space to other road users, particularly more vulnerable ones. This is civil behaviour.

I think adults and children who wish to ride bicycles should have space away from heavy, fast or large volumes of motor traffic. I think that responsible retailers like the Coop and our enforcers of civil behaviour, the police, should respect the provision that has been put in place.

Failing that it seems that London's new cycling design standards need to prioritise more substantial measures to segregate motor traffic away from people riding bikes.