Monday 19 April 2010

My response to Cllr. Morgan


Thank you for your reply and it will be interesting to see what the council have to say. They are likely to be preparing their LIP submission to TfL and, in my view, seeking funding to make Princes Ward a cycling exemplar within the neighbourhood funding scheme would make a lot of sense to TfL.

I wonder whether the complaints you have had from pedestrians in Vauxhall Street are about it being two-way for cyclists or about general inconsiderate road behaviour. A clear advantage of making a street two-way for cyclists is that it likely to result in a reduction of on-pavement cycling.

I consider it important a safety audit is undertaken before effecting change and seek your commitment in-principle to making existing one-way streets two-way for cyclists on that basis.

I have to say that I am not convinced that it necessarily requires a wait for trials elsewhere. Taking your example of Wincott Street. Part of it is two-way currently, with residents' parking permitted on both sides and part one-way, with the same parking permisssion. The road width remains the same. So there would appear to be no reason why drivers would crash into on one part and not the other - apart from not expecting cyclists (or presumably pedestrians or cats etc.) to be in the one-way section. To remove the one-way expectation simply requires the two one-way signs at the Kennington Road entrance of Wincott Street to be removed; conventional two-way give-way road signs and markings; and the one-way arrow on the road to be painted out (leaving the two-way arrow a few metres further on). To permit cyclists requires a sign saying 'except cyclists' to be added below the no-entry signs on Wincott Street by Gilbert Road.

These are cheap highway measures which will help facilitate cycling thus saving council expenditure - fewer motor vehicle journeys means fewer potholes; cycling is a healthy activity reducing NHS costs; NOx and CO2 emissions are reduced resulting in less asthma (and NHS cost and European fines for air pollution) and help achieve Climate Change targets.

And, in the spirit of a 'John Lewis Council' I volunteer to take down/afix the metal signage in Wincott Street as necessary ;-)

You express your concern about accidents. The cheapest way to reduce the number of killed and seriously injured (and save the huge related on-costs to the public purse) is to reduce the speed limit where people live, work and shop to 20mph. This won't dramatically increase motor-vehicle journey times as the acceleration to 30mph normally just brings them to the next red light or traffic jam a little quicker. In terms of improving traffic flow 20mph can (counter-intuitively) have significant benefits on journey time. It also makes the streets much more conducive to walking and cycling.

So, a crucial question - are there people in Princes Ward currently who are not cycling but would like to? At the end of last term a questionnaire was completed by year 8 pupils at Lilian Baylis. 48% of the pupils said they don't currently cycle to school but would like to, with another 17% stating they currently cycle to school on some days.

There is clear potential if we make our area pedestrian and cycle friendly. That doesn't mean getting rid of the car but it does mean making the alternatives as attractive as possible.

I appreciate you taking the time to discuss these issues which have a significant impact on life here and on the electorate. I should say that I am posting the emails with candidates on the Lambeth Cyclists yahoo group and on my new 'Kennington People on Bikes' blog

best wishes,