Westminster Cycling Campaign

Comments on Westminster's Draft Cycling Strategy

Page Section Text Comments
7, 37 Action C4 Partnership working with Westminster businesses will encourage them to consider the installation of cycle parking for employees within their buildings... There is more likely to be a positive outcome if businesses are encouraged to install cycle parking rather than consider it!
7 Action D1 The Council’s cycling web pages will be revamped. We are pleased to hear that the web pages will be revamped. However, it is what happens in the real world that counts!
8 Flowchart 1 Delivery Challenges: Often insufficient width to provide segregation A bit of an exaggeration! We suggest 'Sometimes insufficient width to provide segregation.'
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18

2.2

3.2

Car ownership data for Westminster shows an increase in the number of households who do not own a car from 56% in 2001 to 63% in 2011.

Between 2000 and 2012, there was a 150% increase in cyclists passing through a central London screenline cordon.

There has been an average decrease in traffic on Westminster’s main roads over the last five years. On some roads this decrease is over 20%.

These data show the cultural change that is taking place in travel habits. Road management policy needs to take account of this change.
16-17 3.2 What potential is there for change? Although this section quite rightly considers the potential change among Westminster residents, it rather ignores commuters - either those that cycle in or those that come by train with folding bikes or leave a bike at the London station. The opening of CrossRail in particular is likely to increase the latter categories. Although Paddington and Marylebone stations are both well connected to the cycle network and reasonably well provided with cycle parking, this is not true of Victoria and Charing Cross.
18 3.4 Greater emphasis must be placed, therefore, on making cyclists feel safer on London’s roads and reducing accident casualties. We totally agree.
19 3.5 Congestion and journey time reliability on Westminster’s A Roads have worsened slightly over the last five years. These figures are amongst the worst in London, with only the City of London, Camden and Islington having lower speeds and higher journey times. This indicates that other influences are likely to be affecting capacity on Westminster’s A Roads, such as increasing pedestrian, cyclist and bus passenger volumes... There appears to be some confusion of congestion and speed. There may be reasons other than congestion for lower speeds, for example stopping at signals and driving at an appropriate speed for the circumstances.

It is less likely that cyclists will cause an increase in journey times on Westminster's A roads, since these are generally wider and do not (until now) generally have space reserved for cyclists.

21 4.1 A Cycle routes will be, as far as is possible, direct, legible, coherent, attractive and comfortable to use. We are pleased to see that the criteria have now been extended to the usual five.

We are very concerned that the Strategy does not refer to the forthcoming updated London Cycle Design Standards, and to aligning the routes delivered in Westminster to the Level of Service to be specified there.

22 4.1 D High level target - to achieve a 7% modal share for cycling by 2026, for trips originating in Westminster. We are very pleased that the Council has revised the target upwards from the previous version of the Cycling Strategy. Westminster is currently at 3%, while Hackney, with the highest cycling modal share in London, is currently at 6%. So Westminster, within 13 years, has to become more cycle-friendly than Hackney is now!
24 5 A The Council will seek, within the constraints of Westminster's historic street environment, to deliver these improvements through the implementation of a Central London Cycling Grid. Amsterdam manages to provide for cyclists pretty well despite multiple challenges.

And Westminster has shown what can be done in Hanover Street and Long Acre (east).

See separate comments on the detail of the Central London Grid.

25 5 A ‘Quietways’ – are less busy but reasonably direct routes linked to Superhighways and are aimed at novice, less confident cyclists who are not comfortable cycling in busy traffic and don’t mind cycling at a more relaxed pace.

Although it is very important that Quietways should appeal to less experienced cyclists, they will also be used by more experienced cyclists who want a convenient, safe and pleasant experience.

In order for Quietways to appeal to less experienced cyclists, it is important that:

  1. There should be a dense network of on-road cycle routes. The network appears to be less dense in Westminster than in Southwark, the City and Camden, especially in Mayfair and Marylebone.
  2. Those routes should be of a high quality.

The London Cycling Campaign has a policy that:

  1. Cyclists should not be expected to share space with motor vehicles moving above 20mph.
  2. If cyclists will share space with motor traffic, volumes must be low. On the core cycle route network this should not exceed the Dutch maximum for main cycle routes, 2,000 Passenger Car Units per day.

Depending on the function and the nature of the road, there a number of ways that these criteria can be met, for example, through modal filtering, by imposing speed limits or on busier roads through segregation.

25 5 A On some busier stretches of road, fully segregated cycle lanes and/or improved junctions may be required. Again, consideration will need to be given to what kerbside access is required on a street (e.g. for buses or servicing), what the traffic impact will be and whether this can be accommodated...

For Westminster, an important element of this vision is the recognition that physical segregation or the provision of cycle lanes will not always be feasible or expected, particularly where there is significant pressure on footway, carriageway and kerbside space from competing demands.

The priority given to motor traffic has made so many of Westminster's roads so hostile to cycling. The cultural changes in travel habits, recorded elsewhere in the Strategy, suggest that other priorities are now appropriate. And a city stuffed full of fuming motor vehicles isn't just hostile to cycling. It becomes an unpleasant and unsafe place to walk, live, work and shop.

If Westminster were to reduce motor traffic, pressure on carriageway space would be reduced. It would then be easier to provide dedicated space for cycling - which might no longer be required. And there would be a far better environment for pedestrians, residents, workers and visitors.

Cycling is not an additional problem for Westminster. It is part of the solution.

25 5 A A Central London Grid

The quality of the road surface is an important factor in the quality of a cycle route. As well as being unpleasant to ride over, a distressed road surface can be dangerous for cyclists if it causes them to swerve to avoid defects, with the risk of collision with other vehicles. We therefore suggest that, when a street is designated as part of the Central London Grid, its surface should be brought up to an acceptable standard.

25 5 A A Central London Grid

Westminster has a large number signal-controlled junctions. Where there are a number of these along a road, their phasing is often programmed so that motor vehicles will encounter a series of green signals. This means that cyclists, travelling at a slower speed, are more likely to encounter one or more red signals. As well as lengthening journey times, this causes cyclists to lose momentum - an important consideration for a self-propelled form of transport. We therefore support the removal of traffic signals at junctions where they can safely be replaced with other measures, such as give-way lines or mini roundabouts.

25 5 A A Central London Grid

The Strategy understates the potential value of the Grid to pedestrians.

A street that is pleasant to cycle along is also likely to be pleasant to walk along.

A street with a higher proportion of cycles and a lower proportion of motor vehicles is going to be less noisy and less polluted.

It can be difficult for pedestrians to find their way aound and quite a few already use TfL's cycling maps for this purpose. So it will be useful for pedestrians to have signposted routes to destinations beyond the immediate locality.

26 5 A In partnership with the Royal Parks, the Council will also seek to improve access points to cycle routes in the Royal Parks from the highway, given their high use for leisure cycling, and will also seek to minimise conflict with pedestrians at these busy access points. The council could also do more to allow cycling in its own parks that are suitable for it, in particular Paddington Recreation Ground and St Mary's Churchyard. As well as providing useful local routes, these parks would also be a good place for families to cycle with children.
26 5 A The Council also intends to annually review where accidents involving cyclists are taking place on Westminster’s streets...

Some of the above junctions fall on the Central London Cycling Grid so solutions will be developed for these as part of the wider scheme for that corridor. Where the locations fall outside of this process the Council will develop solutions separately.

This is very important, since cyclists will be using roads other than the Central London Grid.

The junctions listed are major obstacles to cycling and badly need to be made safer for cycling.

This policy is also an appropriate response to the recent series of fatalities among cyclists on Central London roads.

See also comments on Appendix 8 below.

27 5 A 20mph Zones The London Cycling Campaign continues to believe that a 20mph limit not only reduces the risk and severity of injury to vulnerable road users but also results in a better environment for everyone.
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5 B

5 D

Cycle Training

Events

We are pleased that Westminster will continue to provide cycle training for adults and children.

It is disappointing, however, that the investment in training children has not resulted in a significant increase in the number of children cycling on the road. Although current cycling conditions must be a major factor, we believe that that cycling activities for children, as organized by Camden for example, would boost cycle use among children.

30 5 B The Council will commit to incorporating these conditions [i.e. that they are Bronze members of FORS, that vehicles are fitted with the appropriate safety equipment and that drivers have received practical cycle safety awareness training and have their licenses checked on a regular basis] into all new or renewed Council contracts that involve the operation of vehicles within Westminster, starting with the highways and transportation contract re-lets, due to come into operation in April 2014 (see Appendix 9 for the conditions that will be incorporated). The Council will also work with existing contractors to help them meet these standards. We are very pleased that Westminster has made this commitment. As we know, collision with large vehicles is the most common cause of fatalities among cyclists. Anything that can be done to reduce this risk is welcome.
31-37 5 C Facilitating bicycle ownership/access and parking This section rather ignores the requirement for cycle parking at stations. Although parking on stations may be the responsibility of the station operator, local authorities are very often involved in initiatives to increase cycle parking on stations.
33 5 C Some zones have more residents parking bays than permits issued and therefore some reallocation of parking bays could take place towards other more sustainable uses. We welcome this policy. In some streets, footways are too narrow for cycle parking stands to be installed; so putting them in the carriageway is a good solution.
34 5 C Bike loan projects

Abandoned bicycles

We would welcome the introduction of these schemes - and not only because they enable people to try cycling without a significant capital outlay. Re-using abandoned bikes releases cycle parking space and recycles useful parts and materials.
36 Figure 5.4 Frequently made trips by cycle hire bike up to February 2013 We note that very few trips started or finished at Victoria Station. We conclude that this is because:
  1. There are not many cycle hire stations near Victoria (in contrast with Waterloo, for example).
  2. Because of the road system, it is difficult to get in or out of Victoria on a bike.

We therefore suggest that these deficiencies should be remedied.

37-39 5 D Raising awareness and participation in cycling We can understand the council's dilemma whether to target groups primed for cycling or those whose health (and finances) are most likely to benefit from cycling. We therefore agree that it is important to promote cycling not only through the web site but also through other media.
39 Table 5.2 Advice on indoor/outdoor storage solutions For Council tenants, how to request cycle parking

For private tenants, how to approach the landlord / freeholder

 How to request access to an on-street bike hangar

We believe these are very important. Many Westminster residents live in flats and finding somewhere to store a bike can be a significant obstacle to taking up cycling.

Installing cycle parking stands near someone's home is a good way of selling cycling.

43 7 KPIs: Section A – Creating safer and more legible routes

Percentage of Westminster Cycle Grid network completed.

Monitor annually Targets: 50% by 2016, 100% by 2020

We note that these targets represent a very rapid rate of progress and trust that the council will have sufficient resources to achieve that rate.

We need some way of measuring whether Westminster has progressed towards its goal of being a 'national leader'. There are different ways this could be done. All designated cycle routes could be audited against TfL's Level of Service criteria in the forthcoming London Cycle Design Standards. Or, the entire potential network of routes for cyclists (including park links) could be assessed in relation to key volume and speed criteria, such as those developed by the London Cycling Campaign. What proportion of this network allows cyclists to ride in both directions without having to mix with fast or busy motor traffic (or dismount and walk)?

Appendices 18 Case study 6 Bike Hangars. This fee varies by borough but is typically up to £60, plus a £25 key deposit. Bearing in mind that two bike hangars with six spaces each can occupy the same space as one car parking bay, this charge seems expensive, compared with the cost of a resident's car parking permit. It is also more than the cost of resident's parking permit for a motorcycle in Westminster. An annual fee of £15 and a key deposit of £15, as charged by Tower Hamlets on the previous page, seems more reasonable.
Appendices 49 Appendix 8 Map showing locations of cyclist KSIs in last 36 months These locations correspond very closely to the results of a survey by the London Cycling Campaign. Cyclists were asked to nominate locations most in need of improvement. The following were the most popular choices:
Location Nominations
Aldwych / Strand 20
Hyde Park Corner 14
Bayswater Road 13
Victoria 12
Lancaster Gate 11
Parliament Square 10
Waterloo Bridge 10
Harrow Road 9
Trafalgar Square 8
Marble Arch 5