Cycle Superhighway 4 – Consultation Results Again Biased by Cyclists

Transport for London (TfL) have published the results of the public consultation on their proposals for Cycle Superhighway 4. That is to run from Tower Bridge to Greenwich.

This is what the report on the consultation says:

“We received 3,265 direct responses to our consultation, of which 83 per cent supported or strongly supported our proposals. 14 per cent did not support them, while 3 per cent said they neither supported nor opposed the proposals. An additional 1,350 template emails were received via the London Cycling Campaign website which strongly supported the overall proposals and made suggestions for further improvements. An additional 80 template emails were received from Sustrans which supported the proposals.”

The consultation report is present here: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/cs4/user_uploads/cycle-superhighway-4-consultation-report.pdf

If you look at the age profile of the respondents on page 24 the vast majority are under 40 years of age, with almost nobody over 60. That is not the typical profile of London residents and rather indicates that they are likely to be cyclists. Likewise if you look at the “mode of transport” they usually use on page 25, the highest mode frequency by far is cycling which is very untypical of London residents even in inner city areas.

We have complained to TfL about the bias in the consultation report on CS9 where similar lobbying was apparent (see https://abdlondon.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/cycle-superhighway-9-consultation-results-biased-by-cyclists/ ). TfL have not conceded any fault. An interesting report on that consultation is present here on the Hammersmith & Fulham Forum with some good comments added from David Tarsh: https://hammersmithfulhamforum.com/2018/03/20/its-time-for-information-and-openness-on-cs9/

The consultation on the proposed bridge across the Thames from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf (for cyclists/pedestrians only) shows a similar bias. See https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings/rotherhithe-canarywharf/

TfL seems not to want to correct this bias in their consultation results. Ever since Ken Livingstone was Mayor, TfL have been designing consultations to get the answers they wanted. The ethics of their approach are deplorable.

One problem is that those opposed to these schemes are simply not aware of the proposals until it is too late. The ABD maintains a newsletter contact list to whom we promote such consultations. Make sure you join it so you can respond – see here: http://www.freedomfordrivers.org/register.htm

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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More Cyclists and More Delays

Transport for London (TfL) have published a report giving the impact of the new East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways. Although these have attracted large numbers of cyclists, they have also led to major delays for motor vehicles. For the latter, some journeys across London take 15 minutes longer (e.g. as much as 50% longer). This is particularly so in the evening peak rush-hour on the eastbound journey. This is mainly due to removal of one traffic lane.

Comment: Yes this was one of the most ill-conceived changes to the London road network one could imagine. It is was introduced without any justification by a proper cost/benefit analysis and by a Mayor keen on cycling. It just demonstrates what can happen when so much power is put in the hands of one person with little democratic control over what they do. Who would have thought when he was elected that he would promote such an ill-conceived and damaging scheme.

Roger Lawson

Cycle Superhighway 11 Goes Ahead, but Another Halted

There have been lots of complaints about the proposed Cycle Superhighway 11 between Swiss Cottage and the West End running through Regents Park. Transport for London (TfL) have made some minor changes to the scheme but otherwise it is going ahead. Some further consultation on the Regents Park routes is being done however. See https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/cs-11/  for TfLs note on this subject.

However the objectors are not at all happy. The main campaign against said “TfL and Camden Condemn Thousands of Residents And Commuters To Years Of Congestion And Misery” and “Despite months of detailed meetings with us and other local stakeholders where we have repeatedly raised your concerns about unacceptable traffic “reassignment” onto residential streets, increased pollution, increased disruption and severe adverse impact on the emergency services, disabled, businesses and road users who rely on motor vehicles, TfL (and Camden Council under the shameful direction of their Councillor Phil Jones – Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport & Planning) have condemned thousands of people to years of misery from CS11 construction works and associated impacts. TfL have only made minor, meaningless tweaks to the original CS11 scheme including: Allowing a right turn from the bottom of Fitzjohns Avenue / College Crescent into Finchley Road northbound and re-introducing a banned turn right from Finchley Road into Hilgrove Road (which we pointed out to them will cause traffic to back up all the way along Finchley Road).

Yes it seems that TfL is yet again ignoring the views of road users other than cyclists in the name of the policy to get us all cycling. There is more information here, including how to object: https://www.change.org/p/transport-for-london-stop-transport-for-london-s-ill-planned-cycle-superhighway-11-scheme-in-north-london/u/18804455?utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_campaign=petition_update

Cycle Superhighway on Westway Abandoned?

Reports in LTT and elsewhere have suggested that the Cycle Superhighway planned to run along the A40 from Paddington to Action which was proposed to run along one lane of the Westway has been axed by the Mayor. This would have taken up one lane of that elevated road, but with existing traffic volumes that might not have been an issue. The Mayor is now denying that the route has been abandoned, although the exact routing may be changed.

Comment: This all seems very odd to me because that seemed to be one of the few cycle superhighway routes that would not have created massive congestion and inconvenience to other road users, as the others have done. It seems likely there were doubts about its usage by cyclists, and perhaps the cost was a problem when Sadiq Khan’s budget for TFL is proving to be ever more unrealistic.

Roger Lawson

TfL’s Damaging Proposals for Cycle Superhighway 11

Transport for London (TfL) are proposing to install a new Cycle Superhighway in London, with dedicated cycle lanes linking Swiss Cottage to the edge of the West End at the northern end of Regent Street.

To facilitate this scheme, dubbed CS11, they also plan to make dramatic changes to arterial through routes and surrounding roads in the NW3 and NW8 areas. The main proposals are to replace the one-way gyratory system around Swiss Cottage with two-way streets; close off the northern end of Avenue Road to all traffic except buses; close the rest of Avenue Road – a main route into central London – to traffic for 20 out of 24 hours a day; and close four out of the eight gates to the Outer Circle of Regent’s park, also for 20 out of 24 hours a day.  Dedicated cycle lanes will be installed over this route, further squeezing traffic onto less road space.

Accompanying this, and evidently in some misguided attempt to aid the flow of traffic in this new layout, TfL are planning to ban various right and left turns off Finchley Road in its approach to Swiss Cottage, making it extremely difficult to reach neighbourhoods such as Belsize Park by car.

Into this mix comes central government’s long term plans for the construction of HS2, the new high speed rail link to the midlands and north of England, which include the building of a railway tunnel under Adelaide Road (another road leading into Swiss Cottage), and of two massive ventilation shafts – one in Adelaide Road and the other one near Fairfax Road, also in the Swiss Cottage area.

In a nutshell, these two unconnected projects will inevitably clash with, and intrude on each other, resulting in massive disruption, traffic congestion, increased air pollution, and absolute hell for local residents – for up to sixteen years, the timescale for completing the HS2 works. On its own, if CS11 in its proposed form goes ahead this will be bad enough.  However, combined with the estimated hundreds of HS2 lorries that are expected to be using the roads in this area every day, the mind boggles as to the impact this will have.  TfL’s response to this is that they don’t think it will be a major problem.

Needless to say, the CS11 plans have been met with fierce opposition from residents and road users. A consultation resulted in a 60% approval, but it was later revealed that TfL had canvassed every single cycling club in Greater London, including many south of the river in areas nowhere near the affected area, to take part in the consultation.

However, various protest groups have been formed to try and persuade TfL to either moderate their plans or abandon them altogether, with petitions organised and approaches made to MPs and officers of TfL and Westminster and Camden councils. No final decision has yet been made.  Westminster Council are opposed to the CS11 proposals, and Camden council partly opposed.  Putting off CS11 until later is not an option because of the sixteen-year timescale of the HS2 works.

In the meantime, rumour has it that TfL will now scrap the plan to close the four gates to the Outer Circle. The cycling fraternity will not be happy.  Anyone driving around the Outer Circle these days knows that this road has almost been hijacked to be used as a training circuit for two-wheeled enthusiasts.  Supporters of CS11 have called the Outer Circle a dangerous rat run, which is complete nonsense.  It is only subject to light traffic, and most of any danger that might exist comes from mobs of cyclists crowding out other vehicles.

Anyone with an interest in this matter can look up the CS11 plans on the TfL website, and the main protest website, www.cs11.london . Please give the latter your support.

Danny Michelson

 

Cable Street Road Closures

In addition to the closures of Shorter Street and Tower Bridge mentioned in a previous article, there are proposals afoot to close some roads around Cable Street which is not far away.

Cable Street (famous for the defeat of English fascists in the East End before the Second World War which was recently commemorated on its 80th anniversary) is a road that runs east-west parallel to The Highway. It was remodelled to accept part of the East-West Cycle Superhighway, but clearly the design was done in a rush and it contains lots of defects. The result is conflicts among cyclists (both going at high speed in two directions on a narrow strip of blue coloured tarmac), conflicts between vehicles and cyclists and between pedestrians and cyclists. It could therefore certainly do with improving, but the proposals, include several road closures effectively making the area very difficult for any through traffic or even for local residents.

This is what I have said to Tower Hamlets Council on this matter (Tom Rawlings is the Project Manager):

  1. We represent private car users nationally and I am personally responsible for the London area. I only recently learned about these proposals and I even had to issue a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the details as there was nothing publicly available on your web site and I could not get an answer by telephoning either. So please ensure that we are on the consultation list for any future public consultations on this matter.
  2. Please also note our objections to these proposals, which I explain in more detail below.
  3. The consultation leaflet you issued in March is grossly biased. It refers to “rat-running” when that is an emotive and unreasonable term to use. Roads are there to be used by anyone and a lot of the traffic is clearly either local residents or vehicles serving local residents or businesses. Some of them may have turned off the Highway but they might be doing that simply to access locations further north than where the Highway would take them. The note suggests that 76% of the road users are “non-essential” through traffic but that might apply to almost any road. Roads are meant to take vehicles from one location to another.
  4. The results of the consultation as reported in the “Briefing Note” are exceedingly biased. The pie chart showing the numbers against include the automated responses from “The Wheelers” and “LCC” (counting 176 in total), but completely ignores the 700 signatures you received on an objecting petition. Why?
  5. Please advise who organised the aforementioned petition and their contact details. 
  6. As regards the proposals themselves (and I am reasonably familiar with Cable Street as I use it occasionally), I have the following comments:  
  7. The design of the Cycle Superhighway along that stretch of road was poorly done and clearly was rushed through to ensure rapid completion of that stretch. There are numerous defects that almost ensure conflicts among cyclists, or between motor vehicles and cyclists, or between pedestrians and cyclists. Any new design should try to rectify those faults without removing vehicular traffic which is essential not just to local residents.  
  8. I will not attempt to define all the problems with the existing or new proposals, but it is clear from the responses you have already received that the proposed design does not even satisfy the views of many cyclists.
  9. I think it is most unfortunate that you appear to have consulted closely on the new design with cyclists representative groups without doing the same with vehicle users. I request that we be so consulted and I suggest you should do the same for taxi drivers, the police, ambulance services, fire service, the Freight Transport Association, etc. Transport for London (TfL) could no doubt give you a list of relevant consultees if you do not have one.

Anyone who uses the roads in the area of Cable Street should contact me, or write to Mr Rawlings at Tower Hamlets Council with your objections.

Roger Lawson

Driving in the Cycle Superhighway on Shorter Street

Car in Cycle Superhighway Shorter St-AThe  photograph above is of someone mistakenly driving into the Cycle Superhighway which runs along Shorter Street in the City of London (near Tower Bridge). The driver appeared unaware that this is not a road but a two-way cycle path.

This is an easy mistake to make because Shorter Street used to be open to all traffic but now consists of a cycle lane and a bus lane. No cars are supposed to use either but sat-navs still direct you to turn right to get onto Lower/Upper Thames Street and there is no obvious alternative route.

A few moments after the photo was taken, another car entered the bus lane, no doubt for the same reason.

The writer has been asking TfL to explain which alternative route they expect vehicles to take but I have yet to get an answer. There were many objections to the closure of Shorter Street which was totally unreasonable and shows a lack of understanding of routes vehicles need to take. I will be pursuing this issue until I get some sensible answers.

Roger Lawson

New Mayor’s Broken Promise

No sooner had new London Mayor Sadiq Khan taken office than it transpired that one of his key vote winning pledges was not what it seemed. He promised to freeze public transport fares for four years but that will only apply to certain fares it is now reported.

Mr Khan told the London Assembly last week that the price freeze would not extend to season tickets because they can include stages on trains run by private companies. Those companies are regulated by the Government and not by the Mayor and TfL. The Government has rejected any idea of freezing fares so the Mayor’s original promise cannot be delivered in full.

Mike Brown, Transport Commissioner, gave us the good news though. This means the cost of the “promise” will only be a £600m impact on TfL’s budgets rather than the £1.9bn that he was talking about under the previous regime. But that’s a lot of money to find to fill the hole in the budget and still deliver on the Mayor’s other promises.

Mr Khan is hoping to save money by tackling inefficiencies in TFL where more than 400 staff earn more than £100,000 a year and both they and their families get free travel perks (now under review).

Old Mayor’s Advice Ignored – Bus Passengers the Main Losers

An article in Local Transport Today (LTT) had long-standing public transport supporter David Begg complaining that Boris Johnson ignored advice to reduce road vehicle demand in central London while introducing the cycle superhighways. By not reducing traffic volumes, the result has been worsening congestion and slower traffic speeds. He said “Bus passengers have been the main losers”. The article reported that bus speeds have fallen by more than 5% on a third of routes in London in the last year. This has also reduced bus passenger volumes. But even Mr Begg concedes that “It is the substantial reduction in road space, with planned roadworks increasing by 362% over the last three years, which has led to significant increases in congestion”. Editor’s comment: how amusing to see this arch advocate of road pricing and congestion charging admit that congestion has been caused in London by the previous Mayor’s perverse destruction of the road network in the pursuit to get us all cycling.

Roger Lawson