Tuesday 30 April 2013

Making soft flesh and heavy metal mix on a race-track

This was the scene an hour or so after a bus and a cyclist collided on Kennington Park Road, Cycling Superhighway 7 towards Clapham/Brixton, at the bottom of Kennington Road this morning
 and this was how the bike shed looked at the nearby Lilian Baylis Technology (secondary) School on a sunny school day last week
 and here is the Lambeth Cycle Conference held on Saturday with lots of cyclists, three Lambeth Cabinet Members and a fourth Councillor, and staff from Lambeth and one from TfL but no head teachers, public health officials, police officers, town centre managers, or commercial driver representatives, discussing 'How to make Lambeth a place where 8-80 year olds choose to cycle.'
and here is the poster that was put on a bus stop by Made in Lambeth, who spent the weekend asking how we go about 'Creating the street of the future', for people to write on
and here is what a bus driver wrote
and this is what a person tweeted this morning
Just had to try to lift the 333 off a cyclist they'd hit on Kennington Road. Blood running cold.

and this is what a person asked on a forum
What colour bike Ed? I cannot get the Mrs to answer her phone.

and this is what they do in the Netherlands at a T-junction, like the one where the cyclist was in a collision today, so cyclists aged 8-80 aren't in the same place as buses or lorries or cars
and yes, there is enough space here to do as the Dutch do
and I hope both the cyclist and the driver, and the people who helped, recover from the collision soon, but above all, I hope that our politicians and engineers will look at what the Dutch have achieved and ask ourselves why we are not doing here what works so well there - and that TfL make changes bloody soon because EVERYONE WHO CYCLES HERE KNOWS JUST HOW SHIT THIS URBAN RACE-WAY SECTION OF ROAD IS AND HAVE BEEN SAYING SO FOR YEARS.

(and in the meantime, I'd like to know whether all 333 bus drivers have undertaken Transport for London's Safe Urban Driving Course that includes on-road cycle training, and if not, why not.)

Sunday 28 April 2013

Lambeth Cycle Conference - quick feedback

Lambeth Sustainable Travel team had worked hard to pull together the Lambeth Cycle Conference on Saturday, which kick started a new borough cycling strategy: Quoting the invitation:
Lambeth wants to make a leap forward to become a place where cycling is normal for everyone – young, old, women, men, rich and poor. Lambeth hopes that the Mayor’s recent Vision for Cycling will be an opportunity to tackle main roads and junctions which have put many people off cycling and we believe that the time is right to make a big difference to cycling in the borough.
 A big question was whether there will be the political will when it comes to the crunch, making the changes necessary to make cycling attractive for 8-80 year olds as has been achieved in the Netherlands. Never mind the main roads and junctions, what about the little niggles even?

In this pro-cycling borough,  the absurdity was clearly understood of not permitting residents in one part of Lambeth to cycle to another part of Lambeth across a short section of unmaintained paths on Wandsworth-managed Tooting Common.

Look at the width of the path under the railway

And then the short length of two muddy beyond walkable paths to the nearby Lambeth road.
 Anyone can see it's ludicrous that people have to trudgie their bike along one of two muddy-beyond-pleasant paths and then continue to walk the bike on the path under the bridge to the Lambeth road. The alternative is to cycle on a rat-run up a hill and then use a horrible  one-way major road by Streatham Hill station.

I'm certain that this kind of problem will be resolved, given the enthusiastic presence at the conference of the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Lib Peck; the Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, Cllr. Imogen Walker; the Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration (including Strategic Transport), Cllr. Pete Robbins and urban realm improver and cycling champion Cllr. Nigel Haselden.

(Clearly Lambeth will have to talk with Wandsworth to get them to sort out that bit of the Common but I've no doubt the Mayor of London will do some straight talking if needed on something as straightforward as this). I'm also of course confident that Streatham High Road and the one-way road above will be made really cycle friendly.

Organised at fairly short notice and clearly intended to be the first of a number of events, the conference was attended by some 30-40 people, including several of Lambeth's staff and a representative from Transport for London,  plus Lambeth Cyclists' members and many others.

Sadly, it turned out that no-one was present representing the police, health service, education establishments or town centre managements. Given the major role that all of these sectors must play in making Lambeth an inclusive place for cycling, we need to ensure they participate in future. I think I'm correct in saying that there were no Liberal Democrat or Conservative Councillors present and hope they will contribute positively to future events.

After the conference we had a ride with Cllrs. Haselden and Robbins taking notes of issues, such as the Clapham street above, which is by a primary school and closed to motor traffic, where there's no provision for cycling and even a sign warning against it! I'm optimistic that problems such as this, and the poorly positioned , inadequate cycle parking at the nearby Clapham Leisure Centre, will be tackled quickly. We also many of the good things that Lambeth has done, such as Van Gogh Walk below, and is doing (such as two way cycling on Clapham Common North Side) which is one of the reasons that Lambeth has a higher amount of cycling than most London boroughs.

A summary of the conference points will be published shortly by Lambeth along with details of the next steps towards making Lambeth super cycle friendly.

It's clear to me that the politicians genuinely want to up the game on cycling in Lambeth, bringing it to Dutch standards of ease and enjoyment. It's also clear that, despite the benefits in health, equality, mobility, pollution and CO2 reduction from cycling, there are forces opposed to the necessary changes and those of us who want to see children and pensioners happily riding to the shops, libraries, leisure centres and from one bit of Lambeth to another will have to give Lambeth all the support we can.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Check out the Vauxhall Missing Link Competition Exhibition

It's worth having a ride or a stroll between the Garden Museum (and its cafe) and Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (and Tea House Theatre cafe) over the coming week to check out the image boards showing submissions to the RIBA / Vauxhall One Missing Link Competition, looking at ideas for extending the linear park planned  from Battersea up to the South Bank. There are displays, not all the same, in the Garden Museum, in the various parks and railway arches, and in the Pleasure Gardens.

There are bold ideas, such as taking a chunk out of the gyratory to create a new square that links to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens:

 and ideas on clawing back the Albert Embankment from its current motor dominated state:

There are some large-scale engineering solutions to remove the traffic :
while Kennington Lane is also reimagined
 Along the way there's the opportunity to check out some work that Lambeth have already done, for example the way that Pedlars Park breaches Salamanca Street:

The exhibition boards can be seen on park railings and in the railway arches.- they're worth a look if you're in the area.

This year's 'must attend' event in Lambeth

Lambeth's Sustainable Travel team have just announced the date, Saturday 27th April, and details, below, of The Lambeth Cycle Conference. Sign up to attend here . You may also wish to keep Sunday free for Lambeth Cyclists' ride 'Autogeddon - the legacy of the motor car'.

How do we make Lambeth the most cycle-friendly borough in London?
How do we make Lambeth a place where anyone who wants to cycle can?
How do we make Lambeth a place for 8-80 year old cyclists?
Go Dutch?  Let’s make Lambeth go Danish!
Saturday 27th April 9.30-1.30pm with optional bike ride post conference
YMCA, 40-46 Stockwell Road SW9

Lambeth is one of the leading cycling boroughs in London and has won awards for various projects including its HGV/cycle training and secure residential cycle parking.  There are more and more cyclists on the road – but the majority are young to middle-aged men.

Lambeth wants to make a leap forward to become a place where cycling is normal for everyone – young, old, women, men, rich and poor.  Lambeth hopes that the Mayor’s recent Vision for Cycling will be an opportunity to tackle main roads and junctions which have put many people off cycling and we believe that the time is right to make a big difference to cycling in the borough.

You are invited to this free half day conference to hear about projects that are happening now in Lambeth – and to have a say about what should be done in the next few years. 
The conference aims to discuss what a cycle friendly Lambeth would be like - what should the priorities be to get there, what are the barriers at the moment and how can we all tackle them.

We want to make Lambeth the most cycle friendly borough in London.  Come along to help make it happen.

Lunch and refreshments provided.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Much to admire in Isabel Street transformation to Van Gogh Walk but...

Isabel Street is a little back-street adjacent to Durand Primary School in Lambeth SW9 which has just been transformed by Lambeth Council from the above to the below. 
As part of the makeover, Isabel Street is being renamed Van Gogh Walk which even has its own blog. Van Gogh Walk is just off Hackford Road, below, where Van Gogh lived for a year at number 87. 
 As you can see, there's a 'no right turn' sign into Van Gogh Walk. But it's not because the Walk is car free. The new Walk is being made one-way, with added signs advising caution as there might be children and parents with push-chairs. There won't be a load of traffic on this street. All in all it should be a perfect street for children to cycle through to or home from school for example.
 Except that, like motor traffic, the plan is that cyclists can only use the street in one direction.
I can see no reason why this street (especially now it's named after a Dutchman) shouldn't be two-way for cyclists. Luckily there's still time to get the signage changed as, despite having been installed, consultation on the traffic order for the signs is still open. Please drop a polite email to hgame@lambeth.gov.uk asking for the proposed traffic order 'to ban vehicles in Hackford Road from entering Isabel Street' to be amended to 'ban vehicles, except cycles,....'

There are a number of planned changes for the Stockwell out for consultation, following the Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme, which are due shortly to be implemented.  Come to Lambeth Cyclists meeting on Tuesday 16 April to see the plans and suggest improvements.