Monday, 7 April 2014

Improving conditions for walking and cycling in Bishops Ward

A few weeks ago several people wrote, following a blog I wrote, to object to the consent of planning permission to a new Merlin Entertainments attraction within County Hall unless cycling conditions there were improved.

The particular improvements sought were cycle parking and improvements to the cycle route behind County Hall. 
As I wrote in my blog, "I would suggest that the transition from the road to the cycle path here exemplifies pedestrian / cyclist conflict and street clutter."

I am delighted that Lambeth Council's Planning Committee took on board the points we made and permission was granted subject to the following items (among others) recommended by Council Officers in their report:

11.13 The proposals do not include the provision of any additional cycle parking, but do include staff shower and changing facilities which are welcomed. However, additional staff and visitor cycle parking should be provided. The Transport Statement does not contain any assessment of the modal split of the expected visitors, or give any indication of the numbers of staff and visitors expected to cycle to the site. Applying the cycle modal split from the TRAVL sites contained within the Transport Statement Appendix equates to some 12,000-14,000 additional cycle trips to the site each year. However, as stated in the Transport Statement, these surveys are very out of date and cycling is expected to have increased since the time of the surveys, while the location of County Hall on National Cycle Route 4 (Belvedere Road) is also likely to encourage greater use of cycling. On average the above annual number of cycle trips would equate to up to 40 cycles arriving at the site per day. The installation of 20 Sheffield stands in the immediate vicinity of the site would therefore be considered an appropriate response and would be secured by way of condition. 

 11.14 Furthermore, the private section of Belvedere Road behind the County Hall requires interventions to improve permeability for cyclists, and to tie in with improvements to the National Cycle Route, via the proposed cycle grid / spine route improvements on the remainder of Belvedere Road. This is particularly important given that Queen’s Walk would become even less suitable for cyclists as pedestrian numbers further increase. There is an outstanding S106 obligation on the owners of County Hall to make various improvements to this road, including improvements to cycle access, while TfL’s Better Junctions team have begun looking at possible solutions for the junction of Belvedere Road / Westminster Bridge Road, and Lambeth plans to extend improvements to the junction of Chicheley Street. A contribution towards these improvements should also be secured. 

As we approach the local elections the request, decided at a local level, to improve cycling in Bishops Ward is:

Make a virtually traffic-free cycle route along the South Bank, linking attractions along the riverside
The South Bank is one of London's premier tourist and cultural attractions, but has poor provision for cycling. Belvedere Road and Upper Ground run parallel to the riverfront and could be a world-class cycle route for locals, tourists, adults and children. Measures should limit motor vehicle access to Belvedere Road and Upper Ground, with Waterloo Bridge to be made suitable for cycling by all abilities.

I hope that prospective ward Councillors from all parties will sign up to support this measure - one that will allow people to send their children independently to journey on their bicycles from the South Bank Centre to Tate Modern and beyond in one direction, and to Battersea Park and beyond in the other, as well as to Covent Garden over Waterloo Bridge.

Improved allocation of space and quality of design will not only give people of all ages and abilities a welcoming environment to cycle, but will also enhance the river front for pedestrians, and with less motor traffic, the streets behind too.

Find out about the 'Asks' for each London ward to improve conditions for adults and children wishing to travel by bicycle at