Recently I wrote about the flawed “Cycle Superhighway” plan from Transport for London.
Now Tom Ryland, the Chairman of the Hammersmith Society, has written to his members expressing concern and urging them to respond to their consultation.
I personally have talked to a number of local residents and cyclists who without exception are unhappy with the scheme as it stands.
In addition to the points of objection set out below, the following issues should also be noted :
1. The consultation exercise is flawed in that only residents near the route have been notified, but these proposals will affect all users of Hammersmith and Chiswick. (For example, no TfL letters have been sent to residents living north of Goldhawk Road).
2. On other existing Cycle Superhighways, TfL concede that levels of pollution have increased because of the slowing of the traffic.
3. There will be a loss of at least 6 mature trees (3 in Hammersmith : 3 in Chiswick). Other trees are also likely to be endangered where the new cycle route will be laid over tree roots.
4. In Chiswick, where some pavements will be narrowed, there will be insufficient space for the existing café tables.
5. The arguments against using the largely unused wide verges adjacent the A4 seem to revolve around pollution (Is it really that much worse than adjacent the other busy roads?) and that there are too many ‘turnings’ (But on the Hammersmith section, there are only Weltje and Rivercourt Roads and the petrol filling stations).
6. TfL say that their plans take into account their previous consultation in 2016 on the cycle routes on the broadway – but this was flawed because it only addressed the northern half of the Broadway and ignores the A4 and Fulham Palace Road.
So here are main objections/concerns :
– It does not seem that there is proven need for such a drastic scheme along this route. (TfL argue that it will attract cyclists).
– Cycle Superhighways encourage high speed relatively long distance commuter cycling and would be of no benefit to a town centre such as King Street that is already struggling.
– High speed cycling can be very intimidating to pedestrians and slower cyclists (Many cyclists I have spoken to tell me they will not use the Cycle Superhighways because they are intimidated by the other cyclists).
– The main ‘high street’ section of King Street including its already very narrow. The scheme will involve further restrictions on footway widths for pedestrians and road widths (single lane) for buses and traffic generally. There will be no allowance for passing, stopping off, breakdowns and emergencies, deliveries and servicing to shops and banks or parking in King Street. This will almost certainly lead to regular traffic snarl ups in King Street and delay bus times.
– The slowed or stationary traffic will lead to an increase in pollution levels.
– Some existing bus lanes will be removed and bus stops relocated sometimes onto ‘traffic islands’, which will be intimidating for users, particularly the frail or elderly and users with pushchairs.
– The closing off and restricted use of some turnings off King Street (Eg. British Grove) will be disruptive to local residents and businesses and often quite impractical.
– The existing cycle contraflow in King Street does cause problems to cycle users and pedestrians but as an alternative to the two-way Cycle Superhighway, it could be retained (as a ‘Quietway’) and extended for the rest of King Street and onto the Broadway.
– The use of other roads (Eg Glenthorne Road/Blacks Road) and the A4 verges must be considered.
– The Cycle Superhighway should not be bulldozed through as an end in itself but should be considered in conjunction with long term re-organisation of the Broadway and King Street which although part of the draft Local Plan seem to have been kicked into the long grass.
Transport for London TfL who are promoting and consulting on the scheme will potentially drive it through unless there is a groundswell of opinion against the scheme.
This scheme must be rethought : Please make your views known to TfL and Hammersmith and Fulham Council before the deadline of 31 October 2017. (And of course let us know).
Full details of the scheme including several computer generated images, and how to comment can be found at:
email@example.com/cs9 or you can write to them at FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.”
All good points. But Tom didn’t mention the money. This disastrous scheme would cost £70 million. Just imagine the alternative ways that cycling could be advanced with that funding without causing all this disruption to others?
For instance in 2013, under the previous Conservative administration, Boris Bikes were introduced to Hammersmith and Fulham. There was a significant cost in setting it up – there were a lot of “docking stations” and the technology is rather sophisticated. That cost or £2 million was covered through Section 106 payments from property developers. What about spending another million or two to increase its availability into the north of the borough? The Council refuses even my modest request for docking stations at Starch Green and the junction of Brackenbury Road and Goldhawk Road.