Monday 14 July 2014

Draft thoughts on London Cycling Design Standards draft

Not a pretty read, but I've posted these in case it's useful for tonight's Cycling Embassy of GB twitter debate from 8 - 9pm #LCDSHour


Overall I don't find the document intuitive to use and it can be repetitive.

I would prefer to see legal and technical construction/maintenance aspects separated from design, with a superscript linking to relevant legal/maintenance aspects.

Fig 1.2a
1 Safety:
Change ‘and address negative perceptions about safety’ to ‘and make cycling feel safe and appealing to all’.

Remove ‘for the majority of cyclists’.

Fig 1.2b
4 Coherence:
Add, after consistent, ‘link seamlessly to other routes’
Image and text of a ‘bad example’ seems to show a clearly marked cycle track of reasonable width paralleling a major road. I don’t think this is a good example of lack of coherence to use here. I don’t know where pedestrians are meant to walk though.

5 Attractiveness
I would prefer this to be used mainly in the Dutch sense of ‘Attractive or appealing to cycle along’ – for example inviting sociable side-by-side cycling. ‘Enhancing the public realm’ can be a secondary aspect.

Requirement 1 box: ‘Must’ must replace both uses of the word ‘Should’
Para 1 – Most current cycle provision is shared space with motor traffic, reflecting a belief that people who want to cycle will ‘man up and keep their wits about them’, rather than take a less challenging transport option.
Add ‘Our streets must be made appealing and accommodating to children, the disabled and the elderly to travel on by bicycle’

para 2 – remove ‘especially in the centre’
Bicycles must be treated as a class of vehicle, not as pedestrians
Quietways will normally only work as alternatives to main roads when the route is as obvious, convenient and quick as the main road. Convenience includes provision of cash machines and convenience stores. Add ‘However where quiet routes can run parallel to unfriendly roads, there needs to be provision to access facilities on the unfriendly road and to cross them in a safe and appealing way.
First line: Cyclists, including children - and other road users -….
Last line: replace ‘should’ with ‘are to’
Line 4  - add ‘some’ after ‘anti-social behaviour by’

Para 2 – detail to include later
Designers should have undertaken Bikeability cycle training to level 3 and have taken a child along on a ride. A regular cyclist is needed to be involved in the design process. sentence starting ‘In winter…’ needs an ending, such as ‘when they should normally be the first to be cleared’.

1.3 – Local Streets may have a medium or high movement function for pedestrians and/or cyclists – e.g. LCN3 or are streets on Quietways designated as ‘Connectors’ in the matrix?

1.3.4 – Makes sense for Quietways to be designed to minimise effort and strain on the elderly and the young, so likely to be attractive to the fast and confident cyclist too. All the more so if they are tidal commuter routes (1.3.5)

1.3.9 redundant in design manual. Ditto 1.3.10, 1.3.11. Isn’t all this in Mayor’s strategy?

2.1 The Tube Network for the Bike – implies there will be much better provision north of the Thames than south of it;-)

2.1.25 Are Green movement junctions sure to be child cycle safe and appealing?
Fig 2.5 – Area-wide speed limit/reduction belongs in Amber box.
2.2.10 Accessibility Classification
Undertaking a classification of roads should not be done on the level of experience needed to ride it comfortably, but on the ease of riding without conflict on the road. This classification needs to be done during peak hours of travel for children and adults.
Children will not be permitted to ride or enjoy riding on many of London’s ‘secondary’ roads, especially during peak travel times.
Dark Green – off road routes suitable for all
Light Green – roads suitable for almost all (e.g. Trinity Street in Southwark – light volume of motor traffic, low speeds, rat-runs blocked)
Amber – secondary road but with more traffic / speed / rat-running / pinch-points than makes for a mellow, child friendly environment (most secondary streets)
Red – primary road used to carry through motor traffic in volume, without it being segregated from children cycling (when it would be Dark Green)
Red Plus – multi-lane gyratories and roads with large volumes of queuing motor traffic that cyclists have to sit amongst (e.g. The Strand) or battle to filter through.

Classifying junctions into Level 2 or Level 3 Bikeability is to be avoided. Traffic lights feature in Level 3, so not taught to most school children. However the principles of traffic lights are dead easy to grasp and they are often used on secondary roads to cross major roads (e.g. Thorne Road to Aldebert Terrace on LCN3 in Lambeth). Those roads could be made Light Green and the lights would not be an issue in themselves.

Line 5 – pleasant and efficient crossings.

The next 2.2.11 (Porosity)
Green should only apply when gateways are on principal desire lines. Not green for example if there are two gateways but both on the same side of the box if people want to cross through the box and out the other side.

Figure 2.13
Need to distinguish between Pedestrian Streets and No Motor Vehicle Streets (where cycling is allowed).

2.4.5 Standing water can conceal potholes and other hazards, and glass etc. will wash from centre of road to area where water is standing.

2.4.5 Replacement covers must be badged identifying the owner – e.g. of extraneous level of detail that clogs this guide.

3.1.5 line 1: all types of cyclist ‘including children and people with disabilities’
3.1.7 Are pedestrians not road users?
3.1.8 Worth emphasising that cyclists use most energy slowing and accelerating; whereas maintaining a speed is a low energy activity.
3.1.13 Remove ‘ideally’

I would like to see advice on staggered junctions, including use of nearby pedestrian crossings to facilitate crossings. Is a right to left stagger better than left to right, other things being equal?

4.2 Crossings (to cross a road between shared pavements or cycle tracks)

4.3.2 Photo shows 1057 symbols in wrong place with regards to Bikeability teaching - maintain a straight line past the parked cars (the width of the door and a little bit more) and the minor road.

4.4.27 line 2: a particular what?

4.4.38 Denmark, where there is normally no separate pedestrian phase as turning traffic must give way to pedestrians continuing.

4.4.48 photo and similar photos and diagrams throughout:
 ASLs are about vehicular motoring and their inclusion in this manual should be in doubt. Should they remain the large 1057s straddling lanes may be better replaced with a regular 1057 in the centre of each lane, nurturing ‘Bikeability’ positioning.

I expect lane width to feature in this section.

Line 2: in such a way as to make minimise risks and stress to cyclists

5.6.2 A segregated side for cyclists works best when one side (the one the cyclists travel along) is off a pedestrian desire line – e.g. adjacent to railings as shown in Hyde Park image, or near the edge fence/hedge of a park as dog owners are likely to throw the stick into the field, and children kick the ball that way.