Hammersmith Society warns against flawed “Cycle Superhighway” plan

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.

He says:

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:
consultations@tfl.gov.uk/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.

13 thoughts on “Hammersmith Society warns against flawed “Cycle Superhighway” plan

  1. There are a number of basic misconceptions in the Hammersmith Society response.

    “On other existing Cycle Superhighways, TfL concede that levels of pollution have increased”

    They should provide evidence for this statement. Actual pollution measurements are available from http://www.londonair.org.uk/LondonAir/Default.aspx for both before and after existing superhighway schemes such as the Embankment. There is no evidence for an increase in pollution.

    “4. In Chiswick, where some pavements will be narrowed, there will be insufficient space for the existing café tables.”

    Please provide evidence. The only existing restaurant with outside seating where the pavement will be narrowed is Byron Burger. What is your evidence for insufficient space for the existing cafe tables?

    “5. The arguments against using the largely unused wide verges adjacent the A4 seem to revolve around pollution ”

    No, the argument against using the A4 is because it is a route that will not be used by many people cycling. It does not go near the many shops, cafes, restaurants and other amenities of Chiswick High Rd and King St.

    “High speed cycling can be very intimidating to pedestrians and slower cyclists ”

    Please define “high speed”. How does this speed compare to the typical speeds of motor vehicles?

    “The slowed or stationary traffic will lead to an increase in pollution levels.”

    There is no evidence of this from pollution measurements of existing cycle schemes.

    ” Just imagine the alternative ways that cycling could be advanced with that funding without causing all this disruption to others?”

    Please provide some suggestions. I do not see how additional Boris bikes will advance cycling given the primary reason why more people don’t cycle is they don’t want to cycle in close proximity with motor vehicles.

  2. “the primary reason why more people don’t cycle is they don’t want to cycle in close proximity with motor vehicles”.

    Please provide evidence.

  3. CYCLE traffic LIGHTS, 1 minute ahead of main lights. for all traffic light stops –
    this allows cyclists a head start of a minute, thus making them more visible to other road users.
    The superhighway money could be better spent on doing this across all cities.

  4. Allowing a cycle lane alongside pedestrians in King St is plain bonkers. What happens when a toddler steps into the path of a bike? There is not enough room for cars, pedestrians and bikes and £70m is a ridiculous sum to spend. The A4 is far better suited to take this route. What evidence do you have for the need for this highway and that cyclists would not use A4 route? You assume there is a a large number of people out there desperate to cycle. Why? One of the problems is bike storage and people living in flats a or smaller houses simply don’t have the room to store bikes securely. Thats why Boris bikes might be helpul.

    If traffic slows down pollution increases. Its that simple.

  5. Errr… maybe you should take a look at King St because there has been a bike lane alongside pedestrians for a good part of the street for decades. Collision data also shows far and away the biggest danger to pedestrians there is collision with a motor vehicle. What happens when a toddler steps into the path of a bus?

    The evidence that the route should go along King St is already there in terms of the numbers of cyclists who are using King St compared to the numbers using the A4. A route that actually goes past places that people want to visit will always be better used than a route like the A4 that doesn’t. Do you want the buses services along King St moved to the A4?

    If you want to evidence on the number of people prepared to cycle then read
    http://content.tfl.gov.uk/analysis-of-cycling-potential-2016.pdf

    Just because you say “it’s that simple” doesn’t mean it is. You are ignoring that higher average speeds mean increased pollution from increased acceleration and braking. The reality is that measurements show no increase in pollution alongside cycle tracks in central London. The pollution was lousy before and it is equally lousy now. It’s that simple.

    • 1. There is no dedicated cycle lane for most of King St. The proposals will be particularly dangerous in the stretch betweeen The Broadway and the end of the shopping centre and will add to congestion where traffic is already converging. Not only that a new loading bay will be placed very close to the junction with The Broadway creating a completely unnecessary pinch point where two lanes of traffic will converge abruptly into one lane under these proposals.

      2. You have produced no evidence why the A4 route would not be used only that the proposed scheme will be more convenient for shops. What about commuters on bikes? Any evidence on how many more people would use bikes to shop? Of course it is much easier to put lots of shopping bags on a bike which may or may not have been stolen while you shop instead of using public transport..

      3. The TFL study talks about potential rather than showing a dramatic upward trend in use which would justify spending £70m. There are lots of better ways to spend this sum.

      4. Static traffic will cause more pollution than traffic that is moving steadily. Its that simple.

  6. There already has been a dedicated cycle lane for 500m along King St and there has been for decades. Collision data shows by far and away the biggest collision danger to pedestrians on King St has been from motor vehicles, not the cycle lane.

    You haven’t read the reference I provided. It you had, you would have seen that almost half of additional trips by bike will be for shopping and leisure and only one in six for commuting. Cycle facilities along the A4 should be improved but it is clear that the most demand will be for routes that can be used for shopping and leisure and commuting.

    You also haven’t read the Hammersmith & Fulham commission into air quality as this addresses idling. Drivers should be switching their engines off when stationary (if the car doesn’t do this automatically).

    There is no such thing as traffic moving steadily in a densely packed urban street like King St. Lights and crossings and bus stops mean that it is inevitable that traffic will be stationary. Faster speeds between stationary periods mean more pollution from braking and acceleration.

    Now if most of the through traffic would move to an arterial road like the A4 with fewer lights and crossings, then it can move more steadily…

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