Thursday 10 December 2015

Reducing Pedestrian / Cyclist conflict Westminster Bridge Rd / Belvedere Rd

TfL is consulting until 22 December on a scheme to benefit cyclists and pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and the Lambeth side of it.

There is much that is promising, but the illustration and the plans show that the entrance and exit to National Cycle Network Route 4 remains across the pavement (where the people are standing above and below) behind the former County Hall.

There is a simple way to reduce pedestrian / cyclist conflict at this point, which is to replace the barrier you can see with a retractable bollard so that cyclists can easily and conveniently enter and exit Belvedere Road rather than Belvedere Road (Obstructed) Pavement.

The Toucan allowing access from the upstream side of Westminster Bridge Road should remain, but cyclists would move to the right to enter Belvedere Road, reducing interaction with pedestrians. Likewise cyclists emerging from Belvedere Road can cross on the Toucan parallel to pedestrians instead of co-mingled.

Given that this is a Sustrans National Cycle Network Route, that there is minimal motor traffic on that private section of Belvedere Road, and that an original condition of planning consent is to provide a cycle route here, why is a simple improvement not being shown?

The money is there - S106 funds were negotiated by Lambeth Council, consequent to responses from the public, to enable this as a requirement for Merlin Entertainment's receiving planning consent for Shrek's Adventure on the Shirayama owned former County Hall site.

It is well known that the owners of this land are difficult to deal with regarding cycling. But if TfL with their new cycling scheme and budget; Lambeth Council with their S106 money and aspiration to be London's Most Cycle Friendly Borough; local politicians eager to reduce pedestrian / cyclists conflict at the crossing and local cycling and equality campaigners are all in favour of this easy solution then it must surely be possible, finally, to force quality cycling and pedestrian provision to be provided.

When responding to the consultation, whether as a pedestrian or a cyclist, please demand that this cycle route junction be made first class off the pavement and along the lines I have proposed.

A better Cycle and Bus solution where Baylis Rd meets Waterloo Rd

There is a consultation open until 21 December on the Baylis Rd / Waterloo Rd junction. Please read this blog and respond proposing what I suggest, or similar.

My mother rang me from the top deck of a bus some twenty minutes after we'd left the theatre on Strand. I had cycled home but she was still on Strand, her bus stuck behind an endless sea of black cabs, many empty.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I attended an Urban Design London course that looked at the junction of Baylis Road and Waterloo Road and the difficulties of creating a satisfactory cycling Quietway on this designated route, a B road used by a considerable number of commuter cyclists, buses and taxis.

The Quietway at this point is part of Lambeth's flagship London Cycle Network route 3. Approaching the junction with Waterloo Road you cross a taxi access, and most taxis here are empty or have just one passenger - hardly London's mass transit solution:
From here the cyclists move across the Keep Clear area to the cycle lane you can just see between the two vans, to access the Advanced Stop Line at the traffic lights. The traffic lights may turn green as the cyclist approaches, which presents a challenge if s/he wishes to turn left.

 You can see why it needs to be upgraded to become a Quietway for 'Near Market' cyclists ( think taxi users who don't currently dare cycle in London and children going to secondary school who have undertaken on-road Bikeability cycle training in Year 6 primary).

The plan out for consultation until December 21st looks like this:

Yes, it's the same bar a minor detail or two as before.

The 'near market' orange cyclist riding up the Quietway emerges from the left hand semi-segregated cycle lane and still crosses to the green lane in the middle as some red motor traffic (many buses) from the general traffic lane crosses, contra-wise, to the left hand lane. Blue taxis emerge from or enter the side road across the hatched yellow box.

No-one felt this was a good scheme, but the engineers had failed to come up with something better.

Last night I think I did, and I'd like you to propose this, or similar, in your consultation reply.

Let's look at the context. The blue circle shows the junction and we are concerned primarily with the movement from the bottom left. The red lines shows the Quietways. The black lines show the principal taxi entrances and exits for Waterloo Station. The Green line shows the A road approach from the Quietway towards the Imax roundabout, for Waterloo Bridge or continuing across towards Blackfriars.
The first thing to note is that there is no need for general traffic making its way from Lambeth North to the Imax roundabout to use Baylis Road, a B road, and turn left at the end onto Waterloo Road. Any deliveries to that short stretch can be made by travelling up the Waterloo Road from Westminster Bridge Road or from the Imax roundabout.

Secondly, taxis have a traffic light controlled entrance and corresponding exit onto the A road, away from the Quietway. Why ever should we provide taxis, a hugely inefficient form of mass people transit, with two entrances and exits to the station, to the detriment of bus, cycle and foot journeys?

The overwhelming majority of people who take taxis could (my observation suggests) reasonably be expected and encouraged to use public transport, cycle or walk instead. People who need or wish to take taxis still have a perfectly adequate entrance and exit from the station.

We now have a segregated cycle track, shown in green below, running to the junction (stop line moved back to wider road width section allowing space for a traffic light island). There is a bus-only left-turn lane, shown in red, and a straight-on general traffic lane to its right.

Buses are released to turn left while cyclists and the general traffic lane are held at red. Buses don't get held back by taxis and other general traffic turning left into Waterloo Road or on Waterloo Road. At the same time traffic can turn right into Baylis Road from Waterloo Road. The bus lane light, and the corresponding light from Waterloo Road, then go red.

Cyclists then get a green to go straight-ahead or left at the same time as the general traffic gets a green to go straight ahead. There is no turning conflict for cyclists with taxis for Waterloo, nor at the traffic lights, and they get their own time on Waterloo Road separate from buses. (A two stage right turn into Waterloo Road can also be accommodated). This is a child suitable 'near market cyclists' Quietway design.

Cyclists can also have a Quietway link into and out of Waterloo via Lower Marsh (the yellow lines). There could be a larger cycle hire docking station here too.

Buses, general traffic and cyclists aren't inconvenienced or put at risk by taxis turning into Waterloo Station.

Pedestrians have improved public realm between Waterloo Road and Lower Marsh.

Taxi users can still use Waterloo Station at the same cab rank. Some taxi journeys may be a tad longer to exit the station, but I think that's acceptable given their relative inefficiency as a mass form of transport.

All premises remain accessible by motor vehicle.

Finally, let's look at how this matches up to Lambeth's Transport Plan (2011):

The scheme ticks the boxes. Please respond to the consultation NOW proposing an alternative along the lines I set out is provided.

a) I estimate that there is room for the necessary traffic control islands if the stop line is roughly where the line is for the existing ASL (i.e. where motor vehicles currently stop on red)

b) This  TfL PDF gives some interesting information on Taxi use:

c) From the comments below, there appears to be a clear opportunity to avoid wasting drivers's time in the station through providing a drop off point or two outside.

Friday 4 December 2015

Travel is good for the soul

A super quick blogpost, as it's easier than trying to abbreviate to a Tweet!

"Travel is good for the soul" is a phrase that rings true to me. I like getting out and about,  having new experiences, seeing new things.

We also know that people are generally content to commute for up to an hour in each direction (whether by foot, cycle, bus, car or train). I suspect that people are unhappy if they don't get some travelling done most days.

How can our desire to travel, and maybe an innate need to get out and about, be squared with reducing our travel-related carbon footprint?

1. Separate 'travel' from 'delivery'.
a) If I walk to a local charity shop and buy a pair of second-hand jeans there, I can cut out a motorised journey to a shopping centre, or a delivery van being driven to my home following my online purchase. The jeans are likely to have been delivered, maybe on foot, to the shop by a local resident from their home, rather than being transported from a manufacturing company overseas to a wholesaler to a retailer, then taken home by me.
b) If some of the food I buy has been grown locally rather than abroad, I have reduced energy consumption on delivery.
c) Ask your cafe to serve you your coffee in washable crockery rather than disposable, reducing in a small way the number of journeys delivering consumables to the cafe and delivering waste to recycling/landfill.

2. Think about what you want to see and why.
Do you really benefit by going to New York as a Londoner? Might you get the same adventures being a tourist in your own backyard? Book a hotel near where you live, do some of the tourist things you haven't done locally, walking and cycling around lots, eat at restaurants you wouldn't normally eat in, join a tourist walk or ride.

Look closer at where you live; maybe get into pavement geology! Might an hour wandering around identifying local trees nurture your soul as much as a trip to Kew Gardens?

3. I'm sure there are loads more things, but as I said this is a quick reply to a tweet. Feel free to add more in the comments section though!

Saturday 28 November 2015

Ruskin Park to Kennington Park Greenway – Phase 1

The consultation on this only lasts until December 6th so respond quickly if you have any comments.

Details are on Lambeth Council's website  and cut and pasted below

Lambeth Council is committed to improving the local environment so that more people of all ages and ability can choose to walk or cycle. There are many cycling initiatives going on across Lambeth and in your area we are proposing improvements that will form part of the Ruskin Park to Kennington Park Greenway.
What is the Ruskin Park to Kennington Park Greenway?
The Ruskin Park to Kennington Park Greenway is a cycle route that will improve access and connections to a number of green spaces in the borough for cyclists and pedestrians. This includes; Ruskin Park, Old Paradise Street Park and Kennington Park. There are approximately 15 schemes on the complete route comprising measures such as; raised speed tables, kerb build outs and new footway paving. The Greenway is funded by Transport for London as part of the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) budget.
How does this affect me?
Lambeth Council plans to implement six of the Ruskin Park to Kennington Park Greenway schemes in the early part of 2016, as Phase 1 of the overall Greenway programme. Subject to funding and approval processes other schemes will be delivered in future years. The locations of the schemes in Phase 1 and the main measures proposed are summarised in the table below. Where space permits and there are no issues with underground utilities, new cycle stands and street trees will be considered at all locations.
Location of Scheme                                                                        Main Proposals
Whitgift Street                                                                                  Speed table
Lilford Road/ Foreign Street Junction                                      Kerb build out and speed table
Ferndene Road*                                                                              Kerb build out
Old Paradise Street/Lambeth High Street Junction           Kerb build outs and speed table
Gordon Grove**                                                                             Kerb build out
Juxon Street/ Lambeth Walk Junction                                    Cut back kerb to improve left turn
*To create the kerb build out on Ferndene Road, we will be taking out a short length of an existing permit holder/pay for parking bay. This bay will be reduced by approximately 4 parking spaces however there are a number of other existing parking bays on both sides of Ferndene Road which will not be affected, leaving ample provision in the area for parking
**The kerb build out on Gordon Grove will require new double yellow lines to prevent vehicles parking beside it. Approximately one informal parking space will be taken out as a result of this. This minor reduction in parking provision is needed to ensure enough carriageway space is available for vehicles to pass each other safely near the new kerb build out. 
If you would like to see the Greenway plans please visit the link for the online survey below.
When is the work likely to start in my area?
Road works to implement the Phase 1 Greenway schemes will be carried out in early 2016. We’ll contact you closer to the time to let you know exact dates when work will be carried out in your area.
Have your say
We’d like to hear your views on the proposals we’re making, and would welcome feedback from you by completing our online survey here . If you’d like to request a paper version of the online survey, please contact us using Greenway – Phase 1 as a reference in your e-mail and we’ll get a copy sent out to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you could also call us on 020 7926 3920 to request a copy.

We’re collecting feedback on the proposals until Sunday 6th December 2015.

Friday 20 November 2015

Future transport in London - a doodle

On the one hand there will be vehicles with moderate speed and/or low weight, so low kinetic energy.

This may be Zac  Goldsmith's vision

These exist too

and I think it's really clear that high kinetic vehicles like the following should be segregated away from these soft, squidgy things as far as possible

What doesn't make sense is to provide really fast routes for high kinetic energy vehicles but wiggly, inconvenient, slow routes for low kinetic energy vehicles.

After all, for most of our short, daily journeys we can use low kinetic energy transport, and if we want to go  a long distance something like this makes sense to use for the majority of the journey:

Sunday 1 November 2015

A lack of consistency from the RAC

Saturday 14 November 1896 was a red-letter day in the history of British motoring: the 'Emancipation Run' from London to Brighton celebrated the passing of the Locomotives on the Highway Act. This raised the speed limit for 'light locomotives' from four miles per hour to 14 mph and abolished the requirement to be preceded by a man on foot.

From 1930 to the present day the Run has been owned and professionally run by the Royal Automobile Club of Pall Mall London. Only cars made before 1 January 1905 can take part in the ride which takes place on the open road on the first Sunday in November.

At the start of this week the RAC announced it has teamed up with The Scout Association for a three-year road safety partnership that will reach more than half a million Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts.

"The three-year partnership will see RAC patrols visit Scout Groups to teach road safety, focusing on campaigns such as how to be road smart in the 21st century and in-car safety. 
The RAC road safety campaign will be combined with the Scouts’ road safety programme; the RAC will sponsor the Cub Scouts’ Road Safety activity badge, fronted by the Horace mascot, as part of this association. 
The RAC has also created a Road Safety Awareness Charity, with the aim of raising enough funds to give every Cub Scout in Britain a high-visibility vest by 2018."
Lead by example and charity begins at home are time-served sayings so the RAC should probably first raise funds to give hi-vis vests and lights to the vulnerable car occupants on their annual car run - all the more so when it's as foggy as it was this morning. Alternatively, I'm sure Volvo would happily spray paint all over the cars and occupants as part of their road safety messaging.

Or just maybe we prefer to live in a world where everyone isn't wearing hi-vis or sprayed in reflective paint.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Road Accidents and Safety Statistics

Each year the Department for Transport issue a publication: Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain:

In 2014 the figures were:
Killed 1,775
Seriously injured 22,807
KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) 24,582
Slightly injured 169,895
All casualties 194,477

What counts as a reported road casualty? "All accidents that were reported to the police and occurred on a public highway involving at least one motor vehicle, horse rider or pedal cyclist, and where at least one person was injured are included."

If a motorcyclist misjudges a bend, crashes into a wall and is injured sufficiently to need an ambulance s/he will be included - a motor vehicle was involved and a person was injured.

If a pedestrian trips on a kerb and is sufficiently injured to need an ambulance s/he will not be included as no motor vehicle, horse rider or pedal cyclist was involved. Similarly two pedestrians colliding resulting in injury or death won't be included.

The Report goes into considerable detail about who was killed or injured. Here's an example:

What I can't find is the chart showing what other party, if any was involved.

I know that the 446 pedestrians who were killed in road accidents in 2014 were in a collision with a motor vehicle, horse rider or pedal cyclist - did 400 die in a collision with a horse and rider, 40 with a cycle and rider, and 6 with a motor vehicle and driver/rider? I know these people collided with something under the control of another person, because if they tripped and died or collided with another pedestrian and died  they won't be included, but  I can't see that detail in the report.

Of the car occupants, how many were killed in a collision with a horse rider or cyclist?

Were the pedal cyclists killed in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists mainly, or with motor vehicles? Or did they die from falling off their cycles with no other vehicle involved?

I'm sure the stats are somewhere in the report, but I haven't been able to find them and nor has Horace Champion. Can anyone help?

I'm trying to find out if it's safer for me to drive, cycle or walk - not in terms of safety to me, but in terms of safety to the population overall.

Thanks to Twitter and @jitensha_oni who found this spreadsheet which, from a quick look, appears to have the data for 2014 and earlier years too

Saturday 24 October 2015

The Veteran-Cycle Club 60th Anniversary Autumn Cavalcade

@se1 kindly tweeted out a link today to a post on the LFGSS forum today about the Veteran-Cycle Club 60th Anniversary Autumn Cavalcade, setting off at 2pm from Herne Hill Velodrome to the Design Museum on the Thames near Tower Bridge. I met the ride in Burgess Park and here are a few photos I took along the way.

If any of the riders read this and would consider taking part in a short Festive Lights Ride in Lambeth on December 13th please contact me via

According to the LFGSS thread, the expectation was to have bicycles from 1850 to the present day, with the following taking part:
Dandy Horse, Velocipede, Ordinary, Tricycle, Transitional/Kangaroo, Bicyclette, Solid Tyre Safety
Pneumatic Safety, Early pneumatic tricycle/sociable, Pedersen, Early Roadster, Early Board Racer, Early Racing Tandem/triplet/quad/quin, 1930s Tourer, Touring Tandem (with side car?), Paratroop, Trike
Old black baker/butcher delivery bike, 1950s Lightweight, Old Moulton, Twinkie childs trike, Paper-boy's bike, Track Iron, 1970s Lightweight, Recumbent, Lotus Racer, Modern delivery bike, Family bike with trailer and child, Mountain Bike, BMX, Modern Moulton, Muscle bike, Modern Racer, Dutch/Danish roadster, Mud-spattered Cyclo-Cross, Fixie, Brompton

Quick spot of shopping en-route.

You can just get a trike through these bollards with a bit of backwards and forwards negotiation when dismounted