Monday 31 October 2011

Vauxhall Square - opportunity seized or squandered?

CLS Holdings have new plans for Vauxhall. Go along and comment on the developer's plans (illustrated with the vogueish image of cyclists standing by their bikes - maybe because they're not allowed to ride them or because there's no cycle parking?) this Thursday from 5 - 8pm or Saturday from 11am - 2pm at 80-84 Bondway SW8 1SF.

Reading on there's much about pedestrian improvements but nothing about cycling. Hmm...

This is what they say has changed since their last exhibition (note the final point)
Following ongoing consultation with local residents, community groups, Lambeth Council, The Greater London Authority and English Heritage, the design has changed as follows:
• Elevated ‘skywalk’ has been replaced with wide ground level pedestrian crossings
• Existing terrace of houses (including the Grade 2 listed buildings) on Wandsworth Road are now to be retained and integrated into the scheme
• Wendle Court on Wandsworth Road is now to form a part of the scheme – or affordable housing and the replacement of the hostel
• Design along Miles Street has developed to include a second student housing building and a new community play space/square
• Design of hotel along Bondway has been increased in size to form a strong edge to the new public square and frontages to Bondway
• New office building has been developed to respond better to the street layout of Wandsworth Road
• Design and strategy for all of the public spaces and streets has evolved to create a cohesive improvement to the local public realm.

They go on to say

• Major employment opportunities – more than doubling jobs on site
• High quality and safe public spaces focusing on a busy new public square and a community play area
• New pedestrian routes through the scheme linking Vauxhall Park through to the proposed linear park
• Provision of a much needed leisure and retail heart for surrounding residential and commercial community
• Sets the standard for public open space and acts as a catalyst for further improvements around the transport interchange

What improvements would they like to see.  What do they expect Transport for London to do at Vauxhall? How hard do they feel Lambeth are pushing for returning the gyratory to two-way working as they state in their Core Strategy?

Will Vauxhall remain a traffic sodden abomination in the heart of London?

Friday 28 October 2011

The most expensive second-hand bike shop?

The sign on the door at Recycling, at the back of the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, put a smile on my face but the prices the shop charges for unexceptional second-hand bikes quickly wiped it off. I can't recommend purchasing a bike from them at their prices, however witty the wording on their labels.

Three examples:
a) A Btwin Elops 3, available brand new today from Decathlon at Surrey Quays for £169.99 (and a lovely town bike for short distances in my opinion)

b) A Carrera Subway, available brand new today from Halfords for £239.99 (but £60 more from next week)

c) Raleigh Superbe, with rod brakes, on eBay now between £20 and £60

Thursday 27 October 2011

More rides starting locally

Friday 28 Oct, 6.30pm - Critical Mass
On the last Friday of every month you can enjoy London as it should be, cycle the streets with a carnival atmosphere and show the world what life could be like. This ride has happened on the last friday of every month since April 1994 without being organised by anyone.
Cyclists meet from 6pm under Waterloo Bridge, South Bank. Critical Mass rides off about 6.30pm.

Sunday 30 Oct - The Country Retreats of South London
Lambeth Cyclists Architecture Ride
We'll be looking at several big houses on our journey from Streatham to Mitcham via Wimbledon; houses that were once country retreats. There's more than one might expect!

We start in Brockwell Park: the house there will be our first stop, then on to Streatham Common, Furzedown, then on to Mitcham, where we'll have a pub lunch.
After lunch, we will look at a house on the south side of Mitcham next to the Wandle, then Morden Hall and Morden Park, and then perhaps finish with a glance at a house on Merton High Street.
Meet: 10.00 am (for 10.15 am start) by Brockwell Park, Herne Hill gate
Those who wish can return by train (SW Trains or the District Line) from Wimbledon Station.
Ride will finish about 4.00pm. Some hills, overall distance no more than about 10 miles, but at a fairly leisurely pace.
All welcome - no need to register - make sure your bike is roadworthy!
Sunday 30 Oct - Southwark by Land and Water
Discover Southwark's former waterways, now transformed into cycle routes. Approx 3 - 3.5 hours.
Starts at 13.00 from Emma Cons gardens, opposite the Old Vic, The Cut, SE1.
One-star easy ride, led by Colin Wing ( or 020 7828 1500)
A Central London CTC ride

Sunday 30 Oct - In search of Lutyens
Passing through Thursley, the birth place of Sir Edwin Lutyens we get glimpses of some of the houses he went on to build.
Meet Waterloo 08.30 for 09.00 train to Godalming, arrive 09.55.
Moderately paced ride, led by David Vines ( or 07787 718707)
A Central London CTC ride

Wednesday 2 Nov (and weekly to the end of term) - Pedal Power Kennington Ride
Pupils from Years 6 - 9 from Charlotte Sharman, Walnut Tree Walk, Crampton, Archbishop Sumners, Lilian Baylis and Notre Dame schools are invited to join in this weekly ride exploring London
Meet 3.45pm at the Sports Pavilion (to the left of the Imperial War Museum as you face the entrance) in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park. Ride returns at 6.30pm.

Sunday 6 Nov - Mixing it with the Veteran cars to Brighton
Time again for that most curiously British of events, the London to Brighton veteran car run. As has been the practice for the last four years, a motley crew of cyclists will meet and follow the ride to the coast…. This year the ride is a collaboration between Lewisham Cyclists and Southwark Cyclists.
Meeting outside Lambeth North tube station at 7.15 for a quick getaway

Saturday 12 Nov - Tour of TfL's Top Ten Cyclist Collisions Hot Spots
Kennington residents live within a couple of miles of seven of TfL's top 10 collision hotspots, according to a recent response at a Mayor's Question Time. The Cyclists in the City blog is arranging a tour - please read his blogpost and join in
Meet by the stairs at the front of St. Mark's Church, The Oval, Kennington, SE11 4PW at 10.30am

Wednesday 26 October 2011

See and hear Big Ben up close - Lambeth Cyclists December ride

Lambeth Cyclists’Architecture Ride
Friday 9 December 2011
Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860) &Augustus Pugin (1812-1852)

Lambeth Cyclists offer monthly Architecture Rides (there's one this Sunday) which have an excellent reputation.

I'm leading one in December which offers an exceptional opportunity to join the very few who have climbed the 334 stone spiral steps in the Houses of Parliament clock tower to see and hear Big Ben strike the hour right up close! (I did this for Pedal Power Kennington last year, see the photo above, and the teenagers loved it, but the adult ride leaders loved it more).

Sir Charles Barry was chosen as the architect to design the new Houses of Parliament after the fire of 1834, and he selected Augustus Pugin as his assistant.

Starting at Clapham Common Bandstand, we’ll ride to Portcullis House for the Clock tower tour, then ride to look at other works by Barry and Pugin, and have lunch, before returning for a tour of the rest of the Palace of Westminster.

10am meet Clapham Common Bandstand
10.50 Arrive Portcullis House
11.15 Clock tower Tour starts
12.30 Clock tower Tour ends
12.30 - 3 Ride to view other Pugin/Barry buildings and lunch
3.10 Arrive PofW Visitors' Entrance
3.45 Palace of Westminster tour
5.00 Tour and Ride ends

Booking no later than Sunday 20 November is essential for security clearance.
Please only ask for a space if you are CERTAIN YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ATTEND ON THAT DATE. There are only 16 places on the tour so book early! You MUST return the security clearance info below on requesting your place, and we will contact you to confirm your place.

For security reasons, it is the House of Commons' policy to obtain security information on all visitors wishing to tour the Clock Tower. All visitors must have a full UK address at which they permanently reside. Children under the age of 11 are not permitted to participate in the tour. The booking information will be passed to the Police for vetting. Tours of the Clock Tower cannot be provided to overseas visitors.

Each visitor (aged 18 or over) should bring two forms of identification, one with their home address, the other with photographic ID. Passport, driving licence, utility bill or official letter. Owing to the nature of the tour, it is not suitable for all visitors and requires a certain degree of good health and fitness as you will be required to climb 334 stone spiral steps.If you are in any doubt about your ability to participate in the tour you should consult your doctor. Sensible shoes must be worn.

Please email the following information to no later than Sunday 20th November to book your place (1st come, 1st served).

MOBILE PHONE NUMBER (for me, not the security services!)

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Needlessly mixing in cars and HGVs on a Cycling Superhighway

There's a nicely segregated bus lane come Cycling Superhighway 7, just after the junction of Kennington Park Road and Kennington Lane, as you approach the turnoff from the thundering A roads into calm Churchyard Row to avoid the upcoming E&C gyratory.

Suddenly other vehicles, especially those driven by impatient drivers, start to cut into the lane:
 Check the signage and you'll see they're allowed in - the bus lane and cycle superhighway is suddenly only in place between 7 and 10am Monday to Friday. Given the tiny distance between the segregated area and the Churchyard Road turn-off the question has to be asked - why is the Bus Lane come Cycling Superhighway not 24/7 for these few metres? Is smoothing the motor traffic flow more important to TfL than avoiding cyclist/motorist interaction here?

Monday 24 October 2011

How will the kids cycle to the swimming pool?

The Masterplan for the Heygate Estate is out for consultation - deadline 1st November - and this plan shows the cycle access:
Blue – signed cycle lanes on busy routes

Purple - recommended cycle routes
Dotted light blue – Further routes available to cyclists

The big building, that you can't cycle to, on the left of the railway lines is the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. Further to the left of that, over the main roads, is the leisure centre imminently (at last) to be redeveloped as a shiny new swimming pool. Why on earth doesn't the Masterplan have a quick and easy cycle path from the new Heygate via the shopping centre direct to the pool, allowing kids to safely make their own way their (or cycle with granny if the kids aren't allowed to swim without an adult)?

I also understand that currently no crossing is planned to facilitate the, currently banned, right hand turn from the Walworth Road into Elephant Road (that runs parallel to the shopping centre and forms the obvious cycle bypass).

I think the Masterplanners need to get back to the drawing board / Apple. Constructive comments can be emailed to before 1st November.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Work starts on new cycling provision at County Hall

Cyclists have long been unimpressed by the cycle route (National Cycle Network route 4)along Belvedere Road, which is owned by Japanese company Shirayama, owner of County Hall.

Work has just started on some changes here. The photo above shows holes being dug for bollards by Forum Magnum Square. The end result will look like this, viewed from County Hall:
The approach from Chichley Street (i.e. the London Eye end) will look like this:
and the Westminster Bridge Road end will look like this:

As the land is privately owned Lambeth Council has limited powers to get the kind of quality they'd like (and I'm damn certain they won't reckon much to this), even though a condition of planning consent was S106 funding (see below), to mitigate the impact of the development locally.

I can't work out exactly where cyclists are intended to be from the plans I have and have asked to meet the County Hall management to find out more. I'll let you know how I get on. In the meantime if you know directors of tenants or other people of influence on the landowner please consider discussing this with them. If you use the County Hall restaurants and visitor attractions you may wish to consider whether to continue to do so.

------ S106 detail ------

There are two relevant S106 obligations, both of which specifically mention cycling. I understand there was and still is an obligation on the developer of County Hall (Shirayama Shokusan Co Ltd) to submit and implement a scheme for Belvedere Rd, under the S106 Agreement signed in 1993 (Legal ref 342/L/S106):

A traffic management scheme for the closed section of Belvedere Road incorporating a) taxi drop off points, b) coach parking bays, c) a cycle lane, d) car parking restrictions, e) alterations to the junction of Westminster Bridge Road and Belvedere Road. Plus tree planting scheme for Westminster Bridge Road and Belvedere Road.

There is also a similar obligation on the developers of the North and South Block Belvedere (Frogmore Developments Limited – now Galliard Homes) signed in 1996 (legal ref 23/L/S106)

To formulate in conjunction with the adjoining property a traffic management and landscaping scheme for the closed section of Belvedere Road and its junctions with Westminster Bridge Road and Chichely Street incorporating a cycle lane on or immediately adjacent thereto. Once Final Scheme has been approved by Council, to implement along with neighbour.

Lidl - quality or crap?

 No doubt that it's crap at the Old Kent Road branch. I normally just say 'Tsk' to myself here and like nearly everyone else lock my bike to a convenient railing or other informal but secure parking spot. But today I couldn't help wondering if a lurking adult was debating whether they fancied 90% of a bike that I suspect belongs/belonged to a recent convert to cycling. The lurker could have been another cycling blogger I suppose.

 I suspect the store manager will tell me there isn't much theft from the cycle racks, ignoring the reality that the vast majority of cyclists wouldn't dream of using it in the first place.

Let's hope the local police will lean heavily on the store manager to replace this thief magnet with sheffield stands.

TfL - pointing in the wrong direction?

 Is this TfL 'cycle facility', approaching the Bricklayers Arms from the Old Kent Road,
a) TfL's contender for the 2011 most redundant use of paint contest
b) meant to be drawing the attention of cyclists to the dropped kerb which may have been intstalled to permit access to a shared use pavement?

Friday 21 October 2011

12 Nov: Kennington start for tour of TfL's collision hotspots

Kennington residents live within a couple of miles of seven of TfL's top 10 collision hotspots, according to a recent response at a Mayor's Question Time. The Cyclists in the City blog is arranging a tour - please read his blogpost and join in:

A tour of Transport for London's 10 most dangerous junctions for cycling in central London - in honour of Elephant & Castle roundabout
10.30am Saturday 12 November
Meet by the stairs at the front of St. Mark's Church, The Oval, Kennington, SE11 4PW

Here's the question to the Mayor, TfL's response and my comments in brackets and italics thereafter:

Question No: 2996 / 2011 Valerie Shawcross:

When asked at MQT about the 9.2% increase in cycling accidents in the previous year you referred to the TfL Cycle Safety Action Plan. Has TfL identified within the Cycle Safety Action Plan where and when collisions involving cyclists are most likely to occur? Please publish a table showing the ten most dangerous locations to cyclists in London, say which is the highways authority at that location and what actions TfL are taking to reduce the dangers to cyclists at each?.

Written response from the Mayor :

The locations with the highest number of cycle collisions in the GLA area between 2008 and 2010 are shown in the table below. These are on some of the busiest cycle routes in London and, as such, the number of collisions is generally proportionate to the number of cyclists in these locations. No fatal collisions occurred at any of these locations and at least 85 per cent of the collisions at all ten locations resulted in slight injuries, which did not require hospital treatment.

The table below indicates the specific infrastructure improvements which are taking place at each location. However, infrastructure improvements alone are not enough to improve cycle safety as collisions involving cyclists are not always concentrated at particular locations. TfL is therefore working with the London boroughs and the Cycle Safety Working Group to deliver other safety improvements such as education campaigns, better vehicle safety technology for freight vehicles and cycle training.

Location Borough Highway Authority Action being taken

1. St. George's Road/London Road/ Elephant & Castle Junction Southwark TfL An alternative route for cyclists was implemented at this location as part of Cycle Superhighway 7. (The alternative route implemented was a repaint of half of the existing but inadequately marked cycle bypass. If you want to test your urban orienteering skills try to get from Newington Causeway to Walworth Road on the eastern half of the bypass. It's a disgrace that this wasn't upgraded as complimentary works to CS7. Appallingly, the Heygate consultation plans don't show a significantly improved route.)

2. Clapham Road/ Kennington Park Road/ Camberwell Road Junction Lambeth TfL Safety improvements were introduced at this junction as part of Barclays Cycle Superhighway Route 7 (CSH7). Barclays Cycle Superhighway Route 5 will run east-west through Oval junction on the A202, and will deliver further safety improvements for cyclists. (My views haven't changed since I wrote this )

3. Strand/Northumberland Avenue/Whitehall Junction Westminster Borough Westminster City Council has identified £878,000 of Local Implementation Plan funding for safety schemes throughout Westminster. I have asked TfL officers to engage with the borough to ensure that this location is considered for improvements. (TfL and Westminster '30mph' Council - I'm not holding my breath)

4. Waterloo Road/ Stamford St/ York Road Junction Lambeth TfL Plans are being developed to improve signage in this area in order to provide cyclists with information about safe routes to Waterloo station that provide an alternative to navigating the roundabout at this junction. (The alternatives are so convoluted you'll need a quality of signage I've yet to see in London.)

5. Mansion House St/Princes St/ Threadneedle St Junction City of London Borough The City of London has three funded programmes in its Local Implementation Plan which will contribute to improving safety for cyclists throughout the ‘Square Mile’. I have asked TfL officers to liaise with the City of London to determine whether this location should be prioritised for improvements.

6. Elephant & Castle/Newington Butts Roundabout Southwark TfL Works to convert the roundabout to a signalised junction were undertaken between June 2010 and May 2011. Advance Stop Lines, Toucan crossings and shared use pavements were provided on all arms of the junction. (This has definitely been an improvement. I haven't explored all the shared use options, but for example, turning left from Walworth Road to Newington Butts you can simply hop onto the pavement and then off again to bypass the traffic lights)

7. Hyde Park Corner Westminster TfL As part of the Barclays Cycle Superhighways (CSH) Programme, cycling improvements are being considered at Hyde Park Corner, which will see Route 9 terminating at the roundabout. These proposals are still in the early stages of planning and are not yet confirmed. (Working on one route that terminates there is hardly sorting out every exit. Removing the filter off the gyratory to turn left to Constitution Hill so cyclists and pedestrians can cross to the middle from Green Park in one, rather than two, goes would be great. I understand TfL have ruled that out in favour of multi-lane motor traffic flow.)

8. Millbank/Lambeth Bridge Junction Westminster TfL CSH 8 has been implemented on Grosvenor Rd and Milbank, and mandatory cycle lanes installed on entry and exit at the Millbank arm with Lambeth Bridge to improve cycling safety at the roundabout. In addition cycle measures were incorporated in the recently resurfaced Lambeth Bridge. These included widening the westbound mandatory cycle lane. (CSH8 onto the roundabout is hardly helpful if you want to turn right over Lambeth Bridge. The cycle measures introduced on the bridge were done following pressure from outside and ignored most recommendations)

9. Clerkenwell Road/Farringdon Road Junction Islington TfL Cycle measures have been implemented at this junction primarily by London Borough of Islington catering for the heavy east to west cycle movement.

10. Albert Embankment/Kennington Lane/ Wandsworth Road Junction Lambeth TfL CSH 5 will run through Vauxhall Gyratory on the A202 and will provide a safer route for cyclists. Planned improvements include new sections of cycle lane, blind spot visibility mirrors, and changes to traffic islands and kerblines to reduce traffic speeds and improve safety. (We'll wait and see. It's not going to be much use if you want to go from Vauxhall Bridge down South Lambeth Road, or from Kennington Lane to Nine Elms Lane)

One final thought - do you ever see teenage girls and boys cycling on their own at any of these?

Upper Ground Update

I emailed a link to yesterday's blog on the Upper Ground detour to Lambeth's Road Danger Reduction Manager, Norma Fender, and received the following detailed response:

Sorry you came across an unexpected diversion when you were cycling with a group of children recently.

There are currently major works on Upper Ground behind the Royal National Theatre, accommodating 5 utilities plus Lambeth's own works, which has meant that we have had to authorise a road closure for all vehicular traffic (including cycles) from Cornwall Road to the up ramp to Waterloo road from 10.10.11 until 05.12.11. The road will have to be closed again for another period for more works in the new year.

The provision made for cyclists during these works is that they should dismount and walk their bikes on the footway past the works site for the short distance involved and then remount to continue their journey. At the moment there is no signage to this effect, but this signage (asking cyclists to dismount) will be installed, and this will make it much clearer to cyclists what is expected.

I'm sure you are aware that Lambeth is keen to promote considerate cycling on shared space for pedestrians and cyclists where appropriate (such as on the Thames path) but this is not always appropriate in places where there is a very high density of pedestrians, for example, the Vauxhall foot tunnel, where cyclists are also asked to dismount.

This is not the ideal situation for cyclists or pedestrians, however, major roadworks do require temporary road closures and diversions and less than ideal road situations until the works are completed.

It'll be interesting to see how the road works develop over the coming months and whether, for most of the time, there would be space for a cycle path, rather than a requirement for cyclists to dismount.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Lambeth diverting cyclists to TfL crash site

Today I took a class of children to cycle the backstreets of Lambeth, only to find that  all traffic, cyclists included, is being diverted off Upper Ground, the quiet National Cycle Network route 4, by the National Theatre, onto Stamford Street to tackle the the Imax roundabout junction that rates 4th on TfL's list of locations in London with the highest number of cyclist casualties. And this might continue for 18 months!!
On 11th October I wrote to Lambeth's Cycling Officer saying,
"This week's 'Lambeth Weekender'has a Lambeth Council advert about Temporary Road Closure permitted for upto 18 months on Upper Ground for the National Theatre to carry out works. It appears to be for information only with no contact given to comment.

Will cyclists be obliged to divert via Stamford Street and Waterloo Road (A Roads) during these times or will there be a shared pedestrian/cyclists route on Upper Ground or a dedicated cycle diversion route on Upper Ground? Are the contractors undertaking the closure given obligations to provide clear signage relating to this?"

Lambeth's Cycling Officer replied, "Nobody seems to know anything about this."
This is just not good enough for a council that prides itself on pursuing Road Danger Reduction rather than Road Safety.

Lambeth's Core Strategy for Vauxhall

The Vauxhall Society reports that, "Lambeth councillors have hired an extremely-expensive architectural practice, Farrells, to make up planners’ and councillors’ minds for them on whether Vauxhall Cross is to be a ‘centre’ (i.e. fit for people) or an ‘interchange’ (what we have now)."

But Lambeth Council has already made up its mind - their Core Strategy, adopted this January, includes the following about Vauxhall:
"Overall, development will be supported to provide at least 3,500 new homes and 8,000 jobs in the Vauxhall area and appropriate community and public transport infrastructure improvements will be sought.

This will be achieved by:
(a) Active ground floor frontages being provided in development throughout the Vauxhall area, with a mix of uses including Central London Activities with local services and facilities serving the predominantly residential areas to the east of the railway viaduct. A focus of new retail uses will be promoted around the transport interchange to create a district centre.
(b) Developing an accessible, legible and permeable pedestrian and cycling environment, including creating public spaces, promoting public art, with key landmarks, quality streetscape, strong linkages to the River Thames, between public spaces, and connections from east to west between Albert Embankment and the primarily residential areas beyond the railway viaduct and ensuring that a high quality riverside walk is maintained.
(c) Seeking substantial improvements in the quality, access and capacity of public transport in the Opportunity Area as a whole and in particular
Vauxhall underground and rail stations, bus services, enhancement of the quality of public transport interchange, highway improvements throughout the Vauxhall area particularly seeking the removal of the one-way traffic system and transport links to the wider area."

I hope that Farrell's have been appointed to show how this strategy, including the removal of the one-way traffic system, can be achieved.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Cycle forum: London cycling as public transport?

City University have a lively panel discussion, open to the public, about London's current cycling trends on Wed 26 October at Rm A130, College Building, 293-201St John Street, London EC1V 0HB, UK. To reserve a place email

Panel discussion 15:00-16:30
Networking reception to follow from 16:30-17:30

With the number of cyclists growing by the day in London, and due to rise even more as we move towards the Olympics 2012, it begs to ask the question - are the current provisions (such as Barclay's Cycle Hire, Cycle Superhighways and cycle-to-work schemes) enough? What are the risks associated with having so many cyclists on the roads? How do London's motorists feel about the increase in cyclists? A number of cycling experts will be on hand to discuss these issues and more. Following a brief presentation from each of the speakers, the floor will be opened up for Q&A with the audience and panel members.

(Chair) Professor Richard Verrall, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Strategy and Planning, City University London
Tom Bogdanowich, Campaigns & Development Manager, London Cycling Campaign
Dr Colin Black, Transport Consultant, Contemporary Transport
David Dansky, Head of Training & Development, Cycle Training UK
Dr Liza Schuster, Lecturer, Sociology, City University London (and City cyclist)
Alexandra Goodship, Cycling Delivery Planning Manager, Transport for London

This event, in association with the City Collaborative Transport Hub, forms part of City University London's third annual Green City Week activities.

Lawn Tennis, Mozart, Fossils and Kayaks

Today's Pedal Power Kennington was, by request, to Chelsea. We nipped over Lambeth Bridge, past the home of the Major who wrote the rules of Lawn Tennis to the new Pimlico Academy (stopping to admire their climbing wall), and then just south of Sloane Square where we admired the house Mozart lived in when he wrote his first symphony.

Next stop was a shop specialising in crystals and 140,000,000 year old fossils, selling for £220,000!

We went past the Royal Hospital for the Chelsea Pensioners and turned to cycle down the Kings Road, stopping for some chips from McDonalds. We made our way down to the Thames at Battersea Bridge and took the lovely shared use pavement along the river past Albert Bridge to Chelsea Bridge where we admired the Kayakers in the small dock, before making our way back on Cycling Superhighway 8 to Lambeth Bridge and home. It was quite a long ride for our Year 6 cyclists, coping with some proper London traffic at dusk. They did really well.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Road Danger Reduction lecture at LSBU

Lambeth has a Road Danger Reduction policy rather than a Road Safety policy. The emphasis is on ways of reducing the danger that larger, faster vehicles can cause by limiting them and making their drivers mind out, rather than putting the onus on the more vulnerable road users to limit their journeys and mind out. There's a great chance to find out more from an expert on Thursday 27th October at London South Bank University.

Faculty of Engineering, Science and the Built Environment, Department of Urban Engineering: Extra-curricular transport lectures series

“What’s wrong with the ‘road safety’ industry?”
A lecture by Dr Robert Davis
Chair of the Road Danger Reduction Forum

Thursday 27th October 2011 12.30pm to 1.30pm Room LR375 LSBU London Road Building, Building Number 11 on the map at (Access via London Road only)

Dr Davis will argue that the ideological and institutional basis of what is officially known as ‘road safety’ is actually part of the problem of danger on the roads. A radical reappraisal of the theory and practice of ‘road safety’ is necessary to formulate a civilized approach to safety on the road – for real road safety – for the 21st Century.

Dr Robert Davis is a founder member and now Chair of the Road Danger Reduction Forum, set up in 1993 after publication of his ‘Death on the Streets: Cars and the mythology of road safety’. He has worked as transport planner in local government the last 25 years.

If you would like to attend, please inform Professor John Parkin so that your name may be added to the list for access purposes (, )

Sunday 16 October 2011

I love my trailer

I wish Carry Freedom would get together with the billboard owners on Kennington Road to have huge posters of their trailers in use, replacing the tedious adverts for cars.

In the meantime, here are a trio of photos from trips I've made in the past few days with my Carry Freedom trailer. I have the wide Y-frame trailer with the extended arm, and most of the time I have a box on it, which is actually a cupboard that was fortuitously dumped near our house just when I started looking for a box.

Taking bikes to a community event - it's more stable than it looks!

  Picking up a garden table that I found dumped in a skip.

Taking garden and household waste to the recycling centre.

An attractive and prominent drinking fountain

Researching a ride for Pedal Power Kennington I immediately spotted these magnificent fountains either side of the front entrance to the British Museum, though, as arguably befits a museum, they're dry as a bone and just for show these days.

This is exactly the kind of location that our public building (and I include railway stations) should place attractive, working fountains.

The British Museum has a modern drinking fountain hidden in the basement, at the entrance to the toilets (eurgh), but the water flow is so feeble you'd be forgiven for thinking you might die of thirst while waiting for a group of thirsty school children taking turns to sip.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Hell's Belles! London's first Ladies Bike Polo tournament

The London Ladies’ Hardcourt Bikepolo Club have the first Ladies (Majority) Bike Polo Tournament taking place this weekend at Newington Gardens, Harper Road, SE1 (just t'other side of Elephant and Castle from Kennington). Details here.

I dropped down this morning and there were loads of matches taking place. Bike Polo is a great spectator sport and I really recommend checking it out. If you can't make it along this weekend or want to find out more about the sport have a look at this lively forum.

Friday 14 October 2011

The unspeakable arrogance of Tesco

SE11 Action Team reports that a Tesco Express is coming to the former bingo hall near the Texaco garage on Kennington Road in 2012, and publish Tesco's press release which says,
'Not only will it keep people shopping in the area but is extremely convenient for residents and workers and those people who have no transport or those preferring to shop on foot. We believe it will benefit the area by encouraging people to shop locally and also cut down on car journeys to other shopping areas.'

This is only true if you want to shop at Tesco, which I don't.

It's becoming a struggle to do otherwise locally though as the new Tesco will be a stone's throw from their large Kennington Lane store, and near their Kennington Park Road, Elephant and Castle shopping centre, and Vauxhall Cross St George's stores.

The density of Tesco shops are likely to put other local shops out of business and dissuade another supermarket chain from moving in. The consequence, contrary to the spokesdroid's statement, is that I'm likely to be forced to shop further afield to find stores I'd choose to use.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Check out plans for the Heygate Estate at E&C

Drop into the Concept Masterplan Exhibition for the Heygate Estate next week on the following dates:

Wednesday 19 October 11am - 6pm
Thursday 20 October 11am - 8pm
Friday 21 October 11am - 6pm
Saturday 22 October 11am - 6pm
The Consultation Hub, 182 - 184 Walworth Road, SE17 1JJ

The exhibition will show the next stage in design development of the new masterplan for the Heygate Estate. Members of the masterplanning team will be present at the exhibition to answer your questions.

An interactive workshop, to explore the concept masterplan further, will take place on Saturday 29th October, 11am-5pm. If you would like to take part please email or call 020 7729 1705.

For more information on the regeneration check

Wednesday 12 October 2011

From small acorns..

We had a small Pedal Power Kennington ride today with four pupils (three regulars, one new). We cycled over Waterloo Bridge to Covent Garden, for the Apple store, market and street entertainers. Then over to the law courts and chambers (unfortunately Ede and Ravenscroft were shut so we couldn't ask to try on a judge's wig). Returning via Blackfriars Bridge, one moment we were hemmed in by taxis, cars and vans, the next we were a small group amidst the thousand plus cyclists attending the LCC Flashride. The children were gobsmacked. I suspect there'll be more attending the next ride!

Why don't these pupils cycle to school?

A few days ago I spoke to 120 year 7 pupils at a local secondary school to promote a forthcoming Pedal Power Kennington 'Dr Bike' session there, with an optional after-school ride. Most of the pupils said they had bikes and there was enthusiasm for the events. I subsequently talked to a class from year 8. Letters were given to all 240 year 7 and 8 pupils to take home.

Yesterday I arrived with a mechanic at the school to undertake the Dr Bike on a warm autumnal day. There were 9 bikes, from the whole school, in the bike racks - how many might one find on a day with no cycling events?

Mind you, the school is a hundred yards or so from TfL's local collision centre, the Vauxhall Gyratory, and slap bang on the 'Berlin Wall', as Val Shawcross described Kennington Lane at Monday's Kennington Association AGM.
The Berlin Wall being the inner ring-road around the Congestion Zone from Vauxhall Gyratory to Elephant and Castle.

Photos like this demonstrate that the Mayor and TfL need to pull their respective fingers out to improve conditions for active travel, which is why I'll be on Blackfriars Bridge this evening at 6pm.

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Who drives over Blackfriars Bridge?

There are people who argue that the only motor traffic in central London is 'essential', that there is no possible way they can use a form of transport friendly to other people and the environment.

Of course, if splendidly convenient, safe car parking is provided in abundance then use of the car is even more likely to become 'essential'.

Tucked away in discrete coutryards behind Unilever House at the Blackfriars Bridge junction, where LCC are flashriding tomorrow night, are the lawyer's chambers of Inner Temple. Here are a couple of pictures, looking one way:

 and looking the other:
An additional reason (should one still be needed) why I'll be on Blackfriars Bridge tomorrow evening from 5.45.

Monday 10 October 2011

London Cyclists show TfL the future of Blackfriars

London Cycling Campaign has produced fantastic images and animations showing how the junction at the northside of Blackfriars Bridge can be dramatically improved for pedestrians and cyclists. If you cycle in London (or want to but daren't) you absolutely should check these out.

Please join the Blackfriars Bridge flashride this Wednesday to push the Mayor and TfL into action. The ride meets at 5.45pm by Doggett's pub on the southside.
It's also well worth while checking out this Cyclists in the City blogpost.

Thursday 6 October 2011

E&C 'most dangerous' spot for road injuries

What can you say. The road layout is a 20th century abomination, like Vauxhall Gyratory (cyclist seriously injured a few days ago), the Aldwych (cyclist killed a few days ago) and the other multi-lane motorway style roads in central London that carry loads of motor traffic that needn't and shouldn't be on in our inner city.

Lambeth North to Brighton with the veteran car rally

Sunday 6th November Mixing it with the Cars to Brighton

Time again for that most curiously British of events, the London to Brighton veteran car run. As has been the practice for the last four years, a motley crew of cyclists will meet and follow the ride to the coast…. This year the ride is a collaboration between Lewisham Cyclists and Southwark Cyclists.
Meeting outside Lambeth North tube station at 7.15 for a quick getaway, we should see the smaller vehicles and those mobile coal scuttles that have passed through Croydon before we would have joined the ride.

We will then follow the ride down to East Croydon to meet anyone who has been unable to join us at the start, meeting outside East Croydon Railway Station at 8.15

Always a great atmosphere. Lots of spectators to cheer everyone on. This will be a fast ride, as we sprint to overtake cars, only to stop again and watch them go past, while waiting a little for others to catch up. However there will be others who wish to make it a more leisurely day, and will follow the cars at their own pace.

Start planning your butties for our Crawley stop where we’ll pause with the cars. Then another pause at Ansty where beer and snacks are usually available. But do bring food and a good lock to share should we rest a while in Brighton. (Late news suggests the Ansty pub may be no more…watch this space)

Neither First Capital Connect or Southern have published their engineering works timetable for November yet, so fingers crossed for a normal service and no repeat of last years detour to Haywards Heath.

Tom Crispin will be arranging a slower family orientated excursion; details will be found hereabouts soon

Full details of the Veteran car run here

Details of feeder rides and other stuff will appear here and here

We’ve only had one wet ride, weather usually cold and misty damp to start with the sun making an appearance from mid morning. Get the date in your diary now!

Albert Embankment - Ambulance & Cyclist

I know nothing about the incident reported in today's Standard about an Ambulance flipping onto its side apparently to avoid a cyclist beyond the reality that the Albert Embankment is horrible for cycling along.

Given the Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea developments happening, all with thousands of cycle parking spaces, can we please have some assurances from the Councils and TfL that there will be a splendid, child and commuter cyclist friendly route along the south side of the Thames to Tate Modern and beyond sooner rather than later?

Join the Blackfriars Bridge protest 12/10/12 5.45pm

London's bridges remain appalling for cyclists. The police and security services can't stop ice-cream sellers in Westminster Bridge's cycle lane and it has grim approaches either end. Waterloo Bridge has free parking in its cycle lane of an evening. Chelsea Bridge has just been Superhighwayed unbelieveably awfully. Lambeth Bridge has grim approaches either end and feels nothing like the Greenway it's meant to be.

Please click the link to find out more about this important action and take part in the ride.