Thursday 30 June 2011

No room for cyclists - get off and push

Summer at the Oval and cricket means the closure of a section of London Cycle Network route 3 adjacent to it. Normally this road is two-way and fully parked up on both sides. On match days parking is banned and this popular cycle safe route becomes a one-way street.  It seems to me that there should be no objection to this important cycle route being "No Entry Except Cyclists". Here's what Lambeth Council wrote when I asked them about this ban last June:

Firstly, please accept my apologies for the late response to your question regarding the arrangements around the Oval cricket road closures and one-way workings. This is something we will look at next year, as it is now too late to amend the Temporary Traffic Order.

I have spoken to the Lambeth Cycling Officer, and in his opinion it would be simpler to tell cyclists to dismount for the short section of Kennington Oval for which the one way working is in operation.

The diversion would be too long otherwise as it would entail using Clayton Street, Kennington Road, Kennington Park Road, Harleyford Street and then into Kennington Oval (the Red Route section) to rejoin LCN 3.

I appreciate that this is inconvenient, and as a cyclist myself I would find this irritating, and we will promise to look at this next year, although we will have to consult with the Police as a major part of the reason for the restrictions are safety related and allow the Police to monitor all traffic, including cyclists.

I hope this goes some way to answering your question, if you have any further issues, please do not hesitate to contact me,

Kind regards,

Tony Fellowes
Project Engineer
Transport & Highways
Housing, Regeneration and Environment Dept.
London Borough of Lambeth

I've emailed the Council to ask them why the police turned down their request for cycling to be allowed this year.

I'm willing to bet that most cyclists ignore the signs and the police ignore the transgressors. And somebody will be whinging about cyclists going the wrong way down one-way streets.

Monday 27 June 2011

Bike the Borough last Sunday

It was a gloriously sunny day to cycle through Lambeth enjoying Archbishops Park, Clapham Common, Tooting Common, Brockwell Park, Myatts Field Park, Kennington Park and the South Bank.

While more than the first year, numbers participating in Bike the Borough aren't yet huge - the maximum in our group was about 20 at any time, so I'd reckon maybe two or three hundred people did all or part of the route.

It's a delight to discover parts of Lambeth you've never seen before. I found two blue plaques I hadn't seen before and as I headed for home from Archbishops Park I passed a railway arch lock up  and noticed this submersible used in the filming of BBC's The Deep (2010):

A London motorist 'gets it'

As I whizzed along with the buses towards Lambeth Bridge this morning I passed this car with an appropriate number plate sitting in the one-person-per-vehicle jam.

Eulogies for Brian Haw

This afternoon, taking some pupils through Leake Street, we stumbled upon this ephemeral tribute to Brian Haw, the peace campaigner who spent the past decade in Parliament Square, t'other side of Westminster Bridge.

The 'War on the Motorists' blogspot believes he also merits out thanks for making Parliament Square a place again. Take a moment to read their post .

Friday 24 June 2011

Enjoy the Jubilee Greenway

I couldn't resist taking a quick snap of the Jubilee Greenway in Lambeth this afternoon, and by coincidence this very evening Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest posted, in a downbeat kind of way, about the Jubilee Greenway, the feature of an upbeat Evening Standard article today.

This is the official Jubilee Greenway cycle route from Tate Modern to Westminster Bridge (note it includes the Blackfriars Bridge approach which TfL want to make 30mph):

Just after the Tate Modern cyclists follow a different route to the end of this section as the path alongside the river is closed to cyclists. Turn left onto Hopton Street after the Tate Modern and then right onto Southwark Street. Turn right onto Blackfriars Road , heading North towards Blackfriars Bridge, but turn left into Upper Ground just before you cross the bridge.
Pass the National Theatre on the right and head under Waterloo Bridge continuing along Belvedere Road. With the London Eye directly to the right, turn left onto Chicheley Street. At the end, turn right onto York Road. To reach the official end point of this section, follow the road around and turn right towards Westminster Bridge where this section ends. Alternatively, to continue onto section 9, continue ahead onto Lambeth Palace Road towards Lambeth Bridge.

This is my photo of the York Road part today. What a delightful Greenway.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Locals, Demand road charging for Vauxhall

The London Assembly Transport Committee has published a report, The Future of Road Congestion in London. The Conservatives dissented from the majority view on Road User Charging, saying (appendix 2),
There is no occasion when a large London-wide road user charging scheme should be introduced. Any introduction of a road user charging system should be limited to small, local schemes which have the support of local people.

A hands-up survey at the recent Lambeth Community Forum concerning the Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea Opportunity Area showed massive support for making Vauxhall a more pleasant place for people to live. Local residents want the volume of motor traffic to be reduced and the Vauxhall Gyratory and its sprawl of motorway-style lanes tamed.

Instead they want Vauxhall to be a place where it is enjoyable to stroll and ride, with outdoor cafes in fresh air and streets returned to two-way working. Transport for London consider this achievable by cutting a third of the existing traffic.

So, a wonderful opportunity exists for the Conservative Mayor of London to have a local vote on a small, local scheme: to charge motorists choosing to use the Vauxhall Gyratory a sum sufficient to deter a third of them, with the income contributing to the replacement of the gyratory with a more liveable streetscape.

It'll meet the 'localism' agenda of the government, endorsed by the Conservative Assembly Members within London, while meeting the desire to remove the gyratory expressed by Lambeth Council, local Assembly Members and the locals.

Win-Win! Who arranges the vote?

Saturday 18 June 2011

Archbishop's Park cycling events - Sunday 26th June

Archbishop's Park, by Lambeth Palace, is one of the four hubs for this year's 'Bike the Borough' event put on by Lambeth Council.

The main aspect, as you'd expect from the title, is a great route to ride to see much of the borough, including parts and parks that you may never have been to before. There are led rides from each of the hubs on the hour from 10am.

In addition there are a range of activities in each hub. At Archbishop's Park the following is on offer:

Rollapaluza Static Bike Racing12-4pm
Battle it out against your friend on a pair of vintage rollers connected to a huge dial over a simulated 500m distance at speeds in excess of 50mph!
Let's sketch Sustainability 11-3pm
An interactive sketching workshop with Pam Williams; open to everyone

Fur Fang Fairy face painter; all day

Dr Bike 10am-1pm - free bike checks

Met Police Cycle Taskforce - Free Security Marking 10am-1pm

Secret Lambeth Walk to Clapham Common leaving at 12pm; meet at information point

Bike Week 2011 in Lambeth: full programme of events

I have added a link in my cycling blogs list to the shiny new Lambeth Cyclists blog/website - well worth a look, in particular for details of this week's Bike Week events.

Aspects particular to the Kennington area include:

Sunday 18th: Incredible Edible Lambeth ride, starting at 1pm at Myatts Fields Park, will include visits to some great food growing projects in Kennington.

Wednesday 22 :7:30pm South London Bike Film Club film night
Come and watch fascinating cycling related film Beijing Bicycle, about a seventeen year old country boy working in Beijing who gets his bike stolen
7:30pm upstairs in the Ruby Lounge, Vauxhall Griffin pub, 8 Wyvil Road, SW8 please email to confirm attendance

and, the big event: Sunday 26 June all day Bike the Borough (, which features a load of activity in Archbishop's Park that I'll blog about separately.

Friday 17 June 2011

A way forward for the future?

If you didn't catch Andrew Marr's Megacities programme last night on sustaining the city, which gives you all the reasons you could wish to have to increase cycling and decrease mindless consumption, please make the time to watch it on BBC iplayer and encourage others to do likewise

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Important posts on Vauxhall Gyratory

Two posts well worthwhile reading:
a) Val Shawross, local London Assembly member, on the subject
b) potential for two-way working not shown in TfL's options.

Ironically, by removing the gyratory to make Vauxhall more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists, traffic volume (which must include trips made on foot or by bike) is likely to increase rathet than decrease!

Impossible shout the TfL traffic engineers. But the reality of making a place nicer to wander and cycle around is that more people will make journeys there - just look at the southbank before the London Eye and after. Of course, the engineers may prefer loads of polluting motor traffic over people ambling kind of traffic. Do we really want a motorway style no-mans land to remain in central London, between vibrant Waterloo and the buzzy new US Embassy and Battersea Power Station area?

Motor traffic banned from Waterloo Bridge

 Waterloo Bridge was a pleasure to cycle across today - quiet, unpolluted, spacious. For a moment I thought that TfL were making amends for their disgraceful behaviour on Blackfriars Bridge, but it transpired that no credit was due to TfL - a fire in Aldwych was the cause.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Vauxhall Gyratory set to remain foul

Cllr Morgan has sent around a presentation made by TfL at the end of March.

Please find attached a link to the TfL presentation made on Gyratory on 30 March 2011.

In addition, please find attached link to original Burns & Nice Study

TfL's presentation reflects the Mayor's obsession with smoothing traffic flow rather than achieving modal shift towards more sustainable transport modes. Apparently removing the gyratory isn't a goer as it would require a 36% reduction in motor traffic in the morning forcing motorists to reconsider their mode of transport.
Unimaginable, doncha see. It's not desirable to reduce mindless motor vehicle use; we need to maintain the diesel particulate spewing, one person in a car, noisy central London experience.

Don't we understand yet that we need to have loads of road space to be able to have the lorries delivering bottled water to sell in Waterloo Station rather than having Network Rail install taps. This, and having loads of taxis because people who daren't cycle because of the taxis feel compelled to use them, is the priority.

There's not a chance of making Vauxhall and the rest of central London somewhere nice to walk and cycle around.
Meanwhile, TfL have just produced an 'Analysis of Cycling Potential' which says:
Regions expecting significant growth in population and employment have the opportunity to ‘design in’ a high cycle mode share through innovative transport and land use policies

Will the VNEB area be the new Amsterdam - has anyone seen any detailed plans for making this flat, central London area a cycling nirvana?

Thought not.

Thursday 9 June 2011

E&C - public square or (loadsa) traffic flow?

Since at least 2004 the development masterplan for Elephant & Castle has envisaged the creation of a new civic square at the junction of New Kent Road, St George's Road and London Road, with a new 'peninsula' providing escalator access to an expanded Northern line tube station.

Southwark Council's deputy chief executive Eleanor Kelly last week told a town hall scrutiny committee that Transport for London had blocked the plan because it would slow down road traffic too much.
She said that TfL's network assurance team "can't allow that because it would interfere with the traffic flow too greatly".

Read more on the SE1 website.

Meanwhile the BBC reports that DEFRA have said that London's air pollution targets that should be met by 2015 may not be met until 2025!!!

Wednesday 8 June 2011

1 Car = 10 Bikes in Lower Marsh

Pop down to Lower Marsh on your bike and you can make use of Lambeth's new car shaped cycle parking: 1 car = 10 bikes.

You may have seen these at an event before but Lambeth are the first to install it on street for regular use rather than for an event. It will be in Lower Marsh for one month rather than permanently because of the forthcoming regeneration scheme.

Richard Ambler, Lambeth's Cycling Officer, says, "Lower Marsh is a good test bed because it has high cycle parking stress and very limited footway space. It is also a good way of testing demand before installing something more permanent. However, I’d like to see if we can install a perment one of these somewhere else in the borough."

Lambeth Council are asking for feedback to be emailed to

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Ambassadors of Global Warming

The Mall was more awash with black cars than normal as I passed through today. In addition to the usual belching black cabs we had shiny black cars by the dozen.

 The numberplates on these executive limousines gave the game away - IND 1, THAI 1, 1 ARG, 1 KW, 1 VEN, 1 YEM, 1 SWE, SVK 1 A, BAM 1, MAK 1, BOS 1 A, GYA 1, 1 EST, 1 CI, 1 SLO, I CZE, TUN 1, ZAM 1, NEP 1 and on and on and on.

Having been driven a mile or two from embassies the shiny black cars were parked up in the Mall  (the photo shows a few parked in the cycle lane) before being driven a mile or two back to the Ambassadors' residences.

 Just for a laugh, here's a Google Map showing The Mall plus 'Embassy' which shows that most of the embassies are within easy cycling or walking distance of the Mall, or a short bus ride.

 TfL recently produced a report,  'The Analysis of Cycling Potential' , which seeks to identify current trips which could reasonably be cycled all the way, but aren't at present. It says:

In total, 4.3 million trips per average day have been identified as potentially cyclable, equivalent to 23 per cent of trips by all modes and 35 per cent of trips by mechanised modes. 

 The Mayor has set an ambitious target to increase levels of cycling in London by 400 per cent by 2026. To achieve this it would be necessary for one in every six potentially cyclable trips to be cycled each day, throughout the year, based on the trip volumes of today.

The report's intro states, "In „Cycling Revolution London‟, the Mayor sets out his vision for London to become a cyclised city: one where people can ride their bikes safely, enjoyably and easily in an environment that embraces cycling. Making this a reality requires that physical and cultural changes are made in the city, demanding further investment, strong partnership working across the Capital and continued political leadership."

Sorry, Boris, I don't think the Ambassadorial elite are interested in showing that kind of political leadership and working in partnership with you to achieve cultural change. They'd rather show off their congesting, polluting toys.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

I surrender!

I am grateful to the June issue of 'The Marketer' magazine for flagging up the long-running PedFlag programme in Kirkland, Washington, US.

"The basic concept of the PedFlag is to assist the pedestrian in gaining the attention of the approaching motorist. With the aid of the brightly colored flag that can be held out in front of the pedestrian and/or waved, the pedestrian is better able to attract the attention of the driver sooner by becoming more visible. This is a device that is low in cost and can be installed for pedestrian use in a timely manner. Once the equipment is installed at the crossing, the only ongoing cost is the replacement of the flags. Depending on the location and season, it can be zero to five flags a week. "

Please check out the extraordinary video

The Marketer (magazine of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, no less) featured this as a case study on social marketing for behavioural change and I think you'll agree it's as fine an example of failing to deal with the underlying issue of a motorcentric society as you can possibly find - something the magazine signally failed to note as it twittered on about 'Promotion Problems' in getting more flag use ('The vast majority indicated they felt safe and were sure that drivers could see them') and 'Place Problems' (Others noted that often there were no flags on their side of the street').