Thursday 28 February 2013

Health and Wellbeing in Lambeth

This afternoon Lambeth had a Health and Wellbeing event at the (Insert car manufacturer sponsor) Oval. It was good to see a number had arrived by bike, and that had had locked up securely to the poorly designed cycle parking provided by the (car manufacturer) Oval.

More encouragement was to be found inside where a branding exercise was taking place (Public Health is joining in to Local Authorities). One question was:

with four options to choose between on where to stick a pink dot (and a Post It if you wanted to). There was a clear leader - let's hope it results in Active Travel being massively facilitated by the Health and Wellbeing Board.

 My journey took me by an omnipresent supermarket store I prefer to walk or cycle past than use. Pleasingly TfL recently took away the pedestrian barriers that previously encouraged drivers to speed and forced pedestrians to take a convoluted path to cross the road. Cycle parking has been installed, to replace that lost by the railings. Which would be good, if they hadn't barriered off the desire line for pedestrians again. Not really progress.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Tick-Tock, Ding-Dong, Keep Calm and Carillon

You're invited to meet me under the clock in Waterloo Station this coming Saturday 2nd March. I'll be there from 11.15, but at 11.30 on the dot we'll be away on the first of Lambeth Cyclists' monthly Architecture Rides in 2013 in search of bells and clocks.

This isn't a long distance ride, and it certainly isn't a fast paced one, but it should be a well-timed ride, aiming to arrive by bells just before the hour. The ride will end at precisely 6.02 pm.

Hopefully it will have warmed up a bit, but we won't be outside all the time, so don't forget your locks. We'll stop for a quick pint of lunch somewhere, and for a cup of tea somewhere else


We'll certainly drop into a museum, and maybe a church or two. We'll be looking at and, hopefully, listening to some very old things....and seeing one very new bell that we're hoping won't be rung

Although we'll be cycling through some of the most expensive real estate in the world, the ride and museum entry is free.

Friday 15 February 2013

Should children have priority over adults at crossroads?

Our laws don't permit a child to drive a car on the road - the consequences of making a childish mistake controlling a vehicle of that weight and potential speed being too dreadful for society to permit.

Given that bicycles weigh little, and that children riding will struggle to reach 15 mph, let alone 20 mph, it seems reasonable that they are allowed to ride bikes to get around as they're very unlikely to cause injury to another person..

It's illegal for them to cycle on the pavement adjoining the road so they're not likely to bruise or topple grannies.

And it's legal for them to cycle on the road where they're unlikely to damage or kill other road users.

So the only reason that we see so few kids cycling on the streets to school, to the shops, to their friends' houses must be that other road users, the adults who drive around, and the adults that make up the rules, don't make the children welcome on the roads.

Some may say that this is entirely fair. After all, children don't pay road tax (or council tax and income tax for that matter). So they shouldn't have any right to use the road (plus they're probably not doing anything of economic value like delivering horse meat to Tesco). But let's ignore those people who believe that a public resource should only be used by those who are required to pay tax, and that commercial use of space is the only valid use,

Let's consider the way that our society expects the child, as they engage with crushing tons of metal, to deliver an adult level of consistent cycling, mature decision making, assertiveness and communication.

For example, two road users, each one coming from a different direction, arrive from side roads at a cross roads where they must give way. The first part of the decision making is childishly easy. There are 'Give Way' lines. So wait until there's a suitable space on the major road before making your move. But, hang on, who will go first between you and the person opposite?

Is it law that the motorist must let the cyclist, who may be a child, go first? That would be a straightforward thing to teach a child.

It's not. The Instructor course for the National Standard for Cycle Training, describes what the child needs to do:

Trainees should seek eye contact with drivers of vehicles that may emerge from the side road ahead that they intend to ride into. The Highway Code does not contain clear guidance on who has priority so the trainee must communicate effectively so the driver knows who is going first.

I wonder if the Dutch manual for cycle trainers about cross roads contains similar advice?

Friday 1 February 2013

Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document approved

Lambeth Council's Cabinet approved the Vauxhall Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on January 14th. All the details and the full document can be found here . Check out the the sketches that show lots of people riding bikes around everywhere.

Section 4.10 (in this part) is about 'The Transport Experience' and I've copied the chunk relating to Pedestrians, Cycling, plus a few other sections, below.

There's much that is good in it, and some parts have changed positively following the consultation process which included a submission from Lambeth Cyclists. Keep watching this space!

4.10.12 The other principles in this SPD set out clearly the
improvements to the public realm and pedestrian experience
that are essential to making growth in Vauxhall a success.
Developers will be expected to contribute towards strategic
improvements that encourage more pedestrian trips, including
work and leisure trips, that reduce the need for people to
own and use cars. This will include links to public transport
nodes such as Vauxhall interchange, other bus stops, cycle hire
docking stations and river services, as well as other popular
destinations such as schools and other community facilities
reflecting existing and proposed desire lines. Consideration also
needs to be given to minimising pedestrian/cycle conflicts in
areas of shared space.

4.10.13 Cycling should be a preferred means of travel for
short trips, especially given that this area is relatively flat. The
Mayor has proposed that this area will “Go Dutch” and meet
Dutch cycling design principles. Routes should be safe and
direct with a coherent cycle network that provides safe routes
for everyone. Existing routes are not necessarily the best
that could be provided and should be reviewed, which may
mean providing different routes for commuters and leisure
cyclists. Appropriate levels of cycle parking should be provided
at destinations these routes, such as parks, shops, etc. The
introduction of a Cycle Superhighway at Vauxhall is welcomed,
and should be integrated into future proposals for the gyratory.
4.10.14 Developers will be expected to contribute towards the
improvement of existing cycle routes and, if appropriate, the
provision of new routes or links to existing routes.
4.10.15 The London Plan contains minimum cycle parking
standards and the Council expects that cycle parking in all
new development will be provided to at least this level. All
“long stay” cycle parking, including that in residential and
commercial development, is expected to be covered, secure,
and easily accessible. Where cycle parking is provided in
basements or other internal areas, the parking is to be split into
smaller secure areas and the type of stands provided are to be
accessible by all. Wall mounted stands are discouraged unless
they only provide a small percentage of the overall provision.
“Short stay” cycle parking for visitors is to be provided in
adequate numbers where needed, especially close to popular
4.10.16 TFL is continuing to expand the Cycle Hire network and
a number of docking stations are already provided within the
SPD area. New development will be expected to contribute
towards the ongoing expansion through the provision of new
docking stations or expansion of existing docking stations as
appropriate and in discussion with TFL.

River Transport
4.10.17 The river is currently an underused means of travel
and increased use of river services to central London will
complement existing bus and Underground services. A pier
has been provided at St George Wharf and a new pier is
proposed at Battersea Power Station. These should be provided
with increased regular services into central London and be
integrated into the existing transport system, being clearly
signposted. The river as a means of removing construction spoil
is preferred.

Roads and Traffic
4.10.18 The gyratory is an important location in the strategic
road network and as such the future delivery of two-way
roads will require a re-assessment of priorities which currently
favour the car. In order to create a new district centre and
sense of place at Vauxhall it will be necessary to shift priorities
from the movement of private motor cars to the movement
of pedestrians and cyclists and this is supported by Lambeth’s
Transport Plan which places walking, cycling and buses at the
top of a road user hierarchy. Prioritisation by TfL of Mayoral
objectives that promote similar aims will be required.
4.10.19 Given the complexity of delivery, and funding
requirements, it is expected that the return to two-way
roads will need to be delivered in stages. To achieve this
goal, developers will contribute to the public realm and
highway infrastructure improvements through site specific
highway/public realm works and/or financial contributions
towards other works such as the introduction of more atgrade
pedestrian crossings. Such short and medium term
improvements will contribute to this long term objective.
4.10.20 Recent traffic modelling undertaken by TfL indicates
that a reduction in current traffic levels will be required
to realise the Council’s goal of removing the gyratory. The
Mayors Transport Strategy (MTS) proposes changes to mode
share by 2031 including increases in cycling, walking and
public transport and a consequent reduction of 6% in private
motorised transport. It does recognise, however, that the car
will continue to have a role to play for journeys that cannot
be efficiently be catered for by public transport, walking or
cycling. Traffic that may be displaced by proposals for the
gyratory should not be displaced onto surrounding residential
streets and further investigation will be required to ensure
that this does not occur. This may require the introduction of
complementary traffic management measures.
4.10.21 This proposed reduction in private motorised
transport should be seen as an opportunity to test the viability
of removing the gyratory and in order to achieve this all
development proposals must demonstrate that they will have
reduced or at the most a neutral traffic impact. It is expected
that travel plans and other measures will be produced to
support all major development proposals with the aim of
shifting modal share in favour of public transport, cycling and
4.10.22 Improvements to Albert Embankment, Wandsworth
Road, and other major roads, including narrowing of the
carriageway, pedestrian and cycle improvements, and better
bus facilities are required. Contributions or site specific
highway works will be sought from developers towards these
4.10.23 The Council expects all developments to be in
accordance with the parking standards set out in the London
Plan. However, given the high PTAL of the SPD area and the
availability of modes of travel other than the private car the
Council would prefer all developments to be car-free. Essential
operational parking for commercial developments and disabled
parking may be provided. If additional on-site parking is to
be provided then exceptional circumstances will need to be
4.10.24 The OAPF states that across the OA area a maximum
ratio of 0.25 parking spaces per residential unit is expected.
The council supports this aim and therefore will ensure that
parking provision for new developments contributes towards
this, as well as being in line with London Plan standards.
Promotion of sustainable travel is essential if the aim of
removing the gyratory is to be achieved and the promotion of
car-free developments is a key supporting policy.
4.10.25 It is expected that new development will include
provision for car clubs both in terms of parking bays either on
or off-site as well as a package to encourage new members
such as free memberships.
4.10.26 All servicing needs of new developments should be
provided off-street provided that the site is large enough to
accommodate it without leading to unacceptable impacts
on highway safety or public realm. In certain cases, on-street
servicing may be allowed and developers will be expected to
substantiate any applications for this. Proposals that would
have an unacceptable impact on road safety, parking or bus
movement will not be supported.
Impact of New Development
4.10.27 All major new developments in the SPD area will need
to be supported by Transport Statements or Assessments.
These will include a commitment to provide travel plans for
all major new developments, as well as other infrastructure in
order to promote sustainable travel.