Will H&F Council allow the “Cycle Superhighway”? It’s time to come clean

Canvassing in the local elections has confirmed the strong opposition of Hammersmith residents to the flawed scheme from Transport for London for a “Cycle Superhighway” along Hammersmith Road, King Street and Chiswick High Road. At a cost of £70 million.

The Labour Party must have spotted have also spotted that it is unwanted. Yet the Labour-run Council still want say whether or not they will allow it to go ahead. Suspicion is growing that they will allow it to proceed – thus avoiding dispute with the Mayor of London. But they have decided not to come clean with residents about their plans and will only announce them after the elections.

Transport for London have refused to disclose the views of Hammersmith residents to their consultation, which closed last September. They tell me in response to a Freedom of Information request:

“I can confirm that we hold the information you require. However, to provide copies of all the consultation responses from stakeholders and local councillors would be a significant burden to our resources and therefore we are not obliged to provide this information in accordance with section 14 of the FOI Act.”

What about the responses sent to the Council? I asked them, again via a Freedom of Information request. Again they won’t say:

“At the Full Council meeting on 18th October 2017 the Council carried forward the special motion that would enable residents to continue to send the council comments until January 2018. It was also carried that the Council will continue consulting during the design process, including resident and stakeholder advisory groups to look at the detailed design.

The council is still receiving and accepting comments from residents and stakeholders, and these comments will be published alongside the TfL Consultation Outcome report at a future Cabinet meeting, the date of which will be determined by the receipt of the full TfL consultation report.

In applying this Section 22 exemption, we have had to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the interest in favour of disclosure.

Factors in favour of disclosure

To disclose the information requested regarding responses sent to the Council about the CS9 proposal would promote transparency and accountability in relation to information held by the Council.

Factors in favour of withholding

The Council considers that it is in the general public interest to disclose the information at the intended time and that there is no specific or pressing public interest in providing the
information before the proposed date. We consider it would not be in the public interest to prematurely disclose information if to do so may mean it is read out of the context of the overall disclosure. To disclose the information while the Council is still accepting comments from residents and stakeholders and before all responses have been evaluated could lead to information being disclosed to the world at large which could give an inaccurate or distorted picture of overall resident and stakeholder views on the issue. It is also fair to all concerned parties to release information to all concerned on the same date, so that, for example, no unfair advantage is gained by any party, in attempts to influence the consultation outcomes.

In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

The truth is that admitting the extent of opposition would be embarrassing for Labour – until the elections are safely out of the way. That is because they intend to ignore it. A pretty arrogant and disingenuous way to behave.  Labour can dodge and dive but the the council elections provide a choice. If you want this TfL scheme to go ahead then vote Labour. If you oppose the plans – and would prefer the £70 million spent on more sensible cycling schemes – then vote Conservative.


TfL urged to be admit the full extent of traffic delays that CS9 would cause

A local resident John Griffiths says Transport for London has sort to play down the extent that the Cycle Superhighway scheme though Hammersmith would cause in increased journey times. Griffiths has raised concerns after studying TfL’s own modelling – on both the CS9 scheme and their Hammersmith Gyratory proposals.

TfL says:

“On the Gyratory proposals The traffic modelling analysis looks at journey times at the busiest hour in the morning and evening peaks. The most notable increases in journey times will be for traffic approaching Hammersmith gyratory from Fulham Palace Road in the evening peak, which may experience an average journey time increase of up to a minute and a half.”

However Griffiths adds:

“Now this is the extra time taken only to traverse the gyratory. For traffic in a queue it will be much longer.

Looking at the information given in the summary results  

Fulham Palace Rd to Shepherds Bush Rd / PM traffic

Current journey time                       2-3 min

Future modelled journey time        4-5 min

Future – Current                              60-90 sec

Let us take the average current journey time as            2.5 minutes

And the average future journey time as                          4.5 minutes.

The ratio of the two is 4.5/2.5 = 1.8, that is an 80% increase in the journey time across the gyratory.

However that is not the total extra journey time if there is a queue to enter the gyratory. Traffic is taking 80% longer to get through the gyratory. So a vehicle in a queue of any given length will now take 80% longer to reach the head of the queue.

So a vehicle in a queue that might now take say 20 minutes to reach the gyratory will in future take about 35 minutes.

A further effect is that as vehicles are being removed more slowly from the head of the queue, the queue in future will be longer if vehicles are arriving at the same rate at the back of the queue.

From the same summary results chart for PM traffic

Hammersmith Rd to King Street

Current journey time                       2-3 min

Future modelled journey time        3-4 min          

Future – Current                              31 – 60 sec

Let us take the average current journey time as 2.5 min

And the average future journey time as 3.5 minutes.

The ratio of the two is 3.5/2.5 = 1.4, that is an 40% increase in the journey time across the gyratory.

Again for any queue in Hammersmith Rd it will take 40% longer to reach the head of the queue.”

So far as the CS9 proposals are concerned Griffiths makes the following comments with regard to TfL’s modelling results:

“This gives 3 journey times, and the impact of CS9

2015 journey time,

2021 journey time*

2021 journey time with CS9 scheme

Impact of CS9 scheme on 2021 scenario

*Including future growth, committed schemes and consulted scheme at Hammersmith ie including the gyratory scheme

The figures it gives for the effect of CS9 is the difference between the last two times. That is the difference CS9 makes assuming the gyratory scheme is already in place. What one really needs to know is the difference between the first and the third set of times, the effect of the gyratory plus CS9

Hammersmith Bridge Rd to Shepherds Bush Rd          PM traffic

2015 journey time                                                    2-3 min

2021 journey time* [inc gyratory ]                          4-5 min

2021 journey time  [inc gyratory + CS9]              5-6 min

Impact of CS9 scheme on 2021 scenario           1-2 min

But the impact of [gyratory + CS9] on 2015  3-4 min say

Let us take the average 2015 journey time as      2.5 min

And the average 2021 journey time [+gyratory + CS9]    5.5 min.

The ratio of the two is 5.5/2.5 = 2.2, that is an 120% increase in the journey time across the gyratory.

This will have a massive effect on the queues on Castelnau and the Great West Rd.

A surprising observation from this CS9 PM Traffic chart is the time it takes to get from Holland Rd to Goldhawk Rd. This is 12 – 14 minutes in 2015, in 2021 with gyratory, and in 2021 with gyratory and CS9. I am surprised that it is so low, and that the 40% longer queuing time that we saw above is not reflected in the future.”

The full version is here.

London Assembly member Tony Devenish is asking Transport for London for a response.

Councils playing for time over flawed “cycle superhighway” plan

Controversy continues over the flawed plans from Transport for London for a “Cycle Superhighway” from Olympia to Brentford. The Hammersmith Society has come out against the scheme. There are a range of objectors – motorists concerned about traffic congestion being made worse, bus users (especially the elderly and disabled) who would find getting to a bus stop hazardous. Local churches and shops worry that it would be harder for people to visit them. There are also objections from slower, gentler cyclists who find the idea of “cycle superhighway” rather intimidating.  The £70 million could be better spent in ways that provide genuine cycling improvements without harming others.

So there is no surprise that opposition is considerable. In order to proceed Transport for London would need permission from both Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham Council. Both councils seem to be dithering.

Hounslow Council says  “reservations have been raised about some elements by significant numbers of people, particularly around proposals for Chiswick High Road.” It adds:

“TfL is currently analysing responses to the consultation and considering in detail the issues raised.  Although we await the final report, it is evident that some elements of the scheme will need to be revised for it to be acceptable to our residents and businesses.

These include, for example:

  • A review of options to reduce the impact on the southern footway of Chiswick High Road for pedestrians, particularly outside the Our Lady of Grace church;
  • Access arrangements for some side roads off Chiswick High Road;
  • Loading provisions for businesses along the high road;
  • Consideration to wider parking and traffic management measures if the scheme is implemented to deal with likely knock on impacts from the scheme.

In order to ensure that TfL and the council have time to analyse and interpret the huge response received, and give consideration to all the issues raised, a decision on the revised scheme will not be taken until the summer, when the newly elected administration will review the revised scheme and determine the council’s position on it.”

In a report Hammersmith and Fulham Council says in a report to a meeting taking place on January 29th:

“TfL is currently analysing responses to their consultation and considering in detail the issues raised. 1.5. The council submitted to TfL initial technical comments on the proposed route and continues to collect the views of its residents and business owners along the route.

Hammersmith and Fulham council is the Highways Authority for the roads used for this route in the borough, and a decision to allow any scheme to be implemented lies with the Cabinet.

The Cabinet will make a final decision over whether or not the proposed scheme is to be allowed after considering all the responses from its Residents and Businesses and any revised changes proposed by TfL.”

It adds:

“The council will ensure that the views and opinions of its residents and businesses are carefully considered in the development of any proposed scheme, to enable the administration to review any revised scheme and determine the council’s position on it.”

Come off it.

The TfL consultation closed on October 31st. How long does “analysing responses” take? Surely they would managed to come up with an initial tally of how support and opposition there is by now.

I understood the Hammersmith and Fulham Council report to the meeting on January 29th was going to tells us the level of support for the scheme both from responses to TfL and later responses to the Council.

There are five rules of Dodgeball – “Dodge, duck, dip, dive and…dodge.”

Hounslow and Hammersmith and Fulham councils don’t wish to defy the Labour Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Nor do they want to defy their residents – at least not before May 3rd. Thus they are keen to avoid taking an unpopular decision – until after the local elections.

The difficulty for these councils in not that the consultation responses are inconclusive. It is that the message is loud and clear – that the CS9 scheme is not wanted. So a few tinkering changes are proposed and until May their great rallying cry will be that they and TfL are currently analysing responses”.

What should the response be? To keep up the opposition. Urge all those who haven’t yet done so to sign the petition.

Revealed: H&F Council’s financial motive for backing flawed “Cycle Superhighway” scheme

Last month I stated that I had asked Hammersmith and Fulham Council about its financial interest in supporting Transport for London’s “Cycle Superhighway” scheme – which most residents who have contacted me agree would not merely be poor value for money but actually detrimental to the borough.

The Council Cycling Officer has now responded to my query as follows:

“Hello Cllr Phibbs,

I hope you are well.

I’ve been asked to respond to your requests for more information regarding the use of the Council’s logo, and what funding the council has received from TfL, and any future funding.

The use of the Council’s logo on the consultation documents follows the same principle that we adopted for the Better Junctions consultation last year, and reflects the partnership that we have with TfL in developing the proposed CS9 Route. Like our colleagues in Hounslow, we have been working with TfL for over a year to bring this initial proposal to public consultation.

The partnership enables us, as officers representing the Council, to advise and develop the proposed route using our local knowledge and technical knowledge to inform the proposal.

Our aim is simple, we want the best for our residents and we also want to secure investment in the Borough. (The Mayor of London has committed £70m for the development and implementation of a CS9 route from Olympia to Hounslow. Based on this total figure delivery of the Hammersmith sections are estimated at approximately £15-£20m.)

TfL are an important source of investment for this type of infrastructure project for cycling, but cannot build anything on Borough roads without our permission. In the case of CS9, subject to the outcome of the consultation, and the decision of the cabinet, my team will carry out the detail design of the route and will use our own contractors to hopefully eventually build the scheme.

The Council is committed to working together with TfL to secure the implementation and operation of Route 9 to meet one of the aims of the 2015 Cycling Strategy to make cycling less intimidating in the borough, and ultimately to increase the share of all journeys in H&F which are made by bicycle from five per cent to eight per cent.

The Council is also committed to cooperating  with TfL with regards to agreeing the alignment and other details concerning Route 9 in the Borough Area including any special interventions or road treatments appropriate.

In return for this knowledge and work, TfL have agreed to reimburse the Council in respect of all costs and expenses reasonably incurred by the Council in connection with Route 9 Activities.

Currently TfL have funded officer time on the project from 2016 to date to a value of £119,577.

If the consultation is positive and a decision is made by our cabinet to proceed to the next stage, which is detailed design, officer time will be paid for by TfL to develop the detailed designs, work with local residents and businesses to ensure that the best scheme is implemented in Hammersmith, and then create a construction package that leads to implementation. No prediction of this value has taken place yet and will not take place until the consultation outcome is known and the cabinet decision made.

If the consultation is not favourable there is no future investment connected with cycling along this route.

If you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.”

So that’s £119,577 to be getting on with – and a big chunk out of the “approximately £15-£20m” if the scheme is allowed to proceed.

By the way when it comes to the aim “to make cycling less intimidating in the borough” I have been interested by the number of the more gentle cyclists who have declared themselves filled with dread at the prospect of the “Cycle Superhighway”.

H&F Council is failing to promote cycling

peddleHammersmith and Fulham Council’s Air Quality Commission has produced its report.

Quite rightly the importance of encouraging cycling features prominently. It recommendations include:

“More people to take up cycling to travel around the borough and beyond.”

I’m sure the Council will agree. The difficulty arises over what happens in practice.

While the Council has an annual Public Health budget of £22.7 million none of this goes on promoting cycling. The only money the Council spends on this comes from Transport for London.

Recently a request for modest funding to facilitate second hand bike markets was refused. Peddle My Wheels has hosted such events in Westminster and Lambeth. It includes a free service to check the conditions of the bikes and carry out repairs. There is also the chance to encourage attendance at cycle training events (which is already funded by TfL.) Typically half a dozen markets would take place a year around the borough in various school playgrounds. The cost to the Council would be around £4,000 with over 100 bikes being sold for adults as well as children.

The people who would benefit the most are those who can’t afford to buy a new bike. To buy a new kids bike might cost £100 or £150. A second hand one might be £10 or £20.

Holding these School Bike Markets each year would make the difference between hundreds of children and adults a year being able to cycle or not. It would also help reduce childhood obesity and avoid the cost to the Councils of piling out bikes onto landfill sites. The cost would be 0.02 per cent of the Public Health budget.

It’s all very well for the Council to appoint a Cycling Champion and to produce reports. But when it comes to doing anything practical the Council are hopeless.


Victory as the Upper Mall potholes are filled in

uppermallpothole1The pedestrians and cyclists of Hammersmith are less likely to end up in A&E on Christmas Day after the Council filled in potholes on Upper Mall. This is part of the very popular route along the River.

Last month one resident wrote to me to say:

“Approaching Dove Passage, outside Kelmscott House, I swerved to the left to avoid an oncoming cyclist, clipping the edge of what appeared to be a puddle.  It was not.  It was an enormous pothole, well known to us residents, but not instantly recognisable because of being full of water.  I was thrown off my bike onto my elbow, which broke upon impact.  I need hardly say that it was extremely painful.  I have had the inconvenience of being in hospital for several days, and am now likely to be off work for two weeks or more.  This will affect my earnings.”

For those interested here is some of the recent correspondence on the resulting saga:


uppermallpothole2Thanks for getting in touch. I knew this was a private road but I’ve heard differing views as to who is responsible/what agreements are in place to maintain etc.

I agree that some maintenance is becoming urgent now and will get this sorted before any of our residents are injured.


Councillor Wesley Harcourt
Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Residents Services
LB Hammersmith & Fulham
King Street
W6 9JU

Thanks, Ian.

Upper Mall is an oddity as it is legally a private road although in practice it is a public road. I can see that this is makes for a bureaucratic muddle – and it would be good to resolve the matter in the long term if a solution can be devised.
However this leaves us with the urgent short term problem that the road is dangerous due to the severe potholes – pictures attached.
Previously the Council has taken a common sense approach of providing basic road maintenance. While this wasn’t a legal requirement discretion was exercised to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists rather than a “jobsworth” approach.
Please would you instruct officers to fill the potholes in Upper Mall as soon as possible – in line with previous arrangements.
Have a good Christmas!

Best wishes,




Well done Cllr Harcourt

Well done Cllr Harcourt

Dear Cllr Phibbs

This is a complex matter and I am seeking advice from the Director for Law. Essentially I believe we do not have the authority to carry out maintenance work on a private road using public funds. There is also the logistic challenge of undertaking the work as we do not have the powers to close the road or to remove any cars parked in the street to enable us to do the work.

It appears that in the past, the previous Director for Highways arranged for minor reinstatement of potholes to be done but this is neither cost effective nor a long-term solution. There is also the question of liability since in carrying out the work, the Council becomes liable for personal injury on a private road.

I shall reply fully once I have received advice from the legal department.

Please note I have not copied in residents into my email because I would rather wait for the legal advice before giving a full response.



Ian Hawthorn
Head of Highway Maintenance and Projects

So well done Cllr Harcourt.

On your bike, Jeremy

Recently the BBC presenter Jeremy Vine, asked me, via Twitter:

How do I get from the cycle path (left, in red) to the red on Hammersmith Road?

bikemapI asked Chris Bainbridge, the Council’s Head of Transport Policy and Network Management to respond:

“If you’re cycling along the shared use cycle/footway alongside the A4, you’ll come to a signal controlled crossing which goes under the flyover. Keep going straight past that crossing to the next one. Cross here, then head under the flyover into Sussex Place.

“Then cross Queen Caroline Street, and into the road with the Apollo on the right. Cross the north end of Fulham Palace Road (northbound) on the crossing, but don’t cross towards the tube station entrance, rather, keep underneath the flyunder, crossing at the lights the entrance and exit lanes to Hammersmith Bus Station and then the southbound entrance to Fulham Palace Road. Take the shared use cycle/footway parallel to the flyover, over the tube lines and then cross under the flyover at the first set of signals you come to. Once over the two crossings, you’ll see a red segregated cycle track on the right, alongside the Novotel.

“Follow this to its end, then turn left into Shortlands, where an advisory cycle lane will take you to Hammersmith Road.

“Unfortunately, the width of the parts of this route which are under the flyover is currently very constrained due to the flyover renovation works being undertaken by TfL.

“As you may know, the Council would like to see the flyover replaced by a tunnel, which would give, among other things, opportunities for greatly improved cycle and pedestrian routes. In the shorter term, TfL have announced that Hammersmith Broadway is one of the top priority junctions across London for improvements to cyclists safety, but we don’t know yet when funds will become available or the work will be done.

I would be happy to meet you on site and show you the route and possible  alternatives if you would like to suggest a date and time that is convenient for you.”

It’s going to happen! Messrs Vine and Bainbridge are going on a cycling tour together – assuming Mr Vine manages to keep up.

I will let you know how they get on.