Saturday, 12 April 2014

Ask prospective Councillors for Space for Cycling at Oval Farmers' Market today

Meet prospective Councillors and ask them whether they will sign up to the LCC / Lambeth Cyclists ask:

Install protected cycle lanes on South Lambeth Road

South Lambeth Road is a residential road with shops and cafes, it is also a motor traffic corridor linking Vauxhall and Stockwell. In order to redress the bias favouring through-traffic, as opposed to local usage by adults and children, we want to see it made attractive to cycle on through the provision of protected cycle lanes.


The Oval Hustings will be held On Saturday 12th April at the Oval Farmers’ Market (10:00 to 15:00)  in the grounds of St Marks Churchyard and is being supported by the Oval Partnership, KOV Forum, City and Country Farmers’ Markets and the Friends of St Marks Churchyard. Candidates will be around the market from 10:00 to 15:00 canvassing but the key times are:
  • 10:00 Candidates arrive and set up
  • 11:00 Electoral speed dating
    (This is as an opportunity to meet and talk to each candidate)
  • 12:00 Oval Speaks
    (Members of the community will be invited to say a few words about what they think is important  – no speeches just a few words)
  • 12:15 Candidates speak and answer questions
    (Each candidate will be invited to talk briefly about themselves and what they stand for followed by questions)
The Oval Ward is where South West London meets South East London.  It includes much of Vauxhall and Kennington and has been of strategic importance to London since Roman times and remains so to this day.  The councillors for this area are not only important to those who live there but also the many thousands who work in or pass through this area every day.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Improving conditions for walking and cycling in Bishops Ward

A few weeks ago several people wrote, following a blog I wrote, to object to the consent of planning permission to a new Merlin Entertainments attraction within County Hall unless cycling conditions there were improved.

The particular improvements sought were cycle parking and improvements to the cycle route behind County Hall. 
As I wrote in my blog, "I would suggest that the transition from the road to the cycle path here exemplifies pedestrian / cyclist conflict and street clutter."

I am delighted that Lambeth Council's Planning Committee took on board the points we made and permission was granted subject to the following items (among others) recommended by Council Officers in their report:

11.13 The proposals do not include the provision of any additional cycle parking, but do include staff shower and changing facilities which are welcomed. However, additional staff and visitor cycle parking should be provided. The Transport Statement does not contain any assessment of the modal split of the expected visitors, or give any indication of the numbers of staff and visitors expected to cycle to the site. Applying the cycle modal split from the TRAVL sites contained within the Transport Statement Appendix equates to some 12,000-14,000 additional cycle trips to the site each year. However, as stated in the Transport Statement, these surveys are very out of date and cycling is expected to have increased since the time of the surveys, while the location of County Hall on National Cycle Route 4 (Belvedere Road) is also likely to encourage greater use of cycling. On average the above annual number of cycle trips would equate to up to 40 cycles arriving at the site per day. The installation of 20 Sheffield stands in the immediate vicinity of the site would therefore be considered an appropriate response and would be secured by way of condition. 

 11.14 Furthermore, the private section of Belvedere Road behind the County Hall requires interventions to improve permeability for cyclists, and to tie in with improvements to the National Cycle Route, via the proposed cycle grid / spine route improvements on the remainder of Belvedere Road. This is particularly important given that Queen’s Walk would become even less suitable for cyclists as pedestrian numbers further increase. There is an outstanding S106 obligation on the owners of County Hall to make various improvements to this road, including improvements to cycle access, while TfL’s Better Junctions team have begun looking at possible solutions for the junction of Belvedere Road / Westminster Bridge Road, and Lambeth plans to extend improvements to the junction of Chicheley Street. A contribution towards these improvements should also be secured. 

As we approach the local elections the request, decided at a local level, to improve cycling in Bishops Ward is:

Make a virtually traffic-free cycle route along the South Bank, linking attractions along the riverside
The South Bank is one of London's premier tourist and cultural attractions, but has poor provision for cycling. Belvedere Road and Upper Ground run parallel to the riverfront and could be a world-class cycle route for locals, tourists, adults and children. Measures should limit motor vehicle access to Belvedere Road and Upper Ground, with Waterloo Bridge to be made suitable for cycling by all abilities.


I hope that prospective ward Councillors from all parties will sign up to support this measure - one that will allow people to send their children independently to journey on their bicycles from the South Bank Centre to Tate Modern and beyond in one direction, and to Battersea Park and beyond in the other, as well as to Covent Garden over Waterloo Bridge.

Improved allocation of space and quality of design will not only give people of all ages and abilities a welcoming environment to cycle, but will also enhance the river front for pedestrians, and with less motor traffic, the streets behind too.

Find out about the 'Asks' for each London ward to improve conditions for adults and children wishing to travel by bicycle at http://action.space4cycling.org/






Sunday, 16 March 2014

Public and Street Art in Westminster

A few quick snaps from today's Cycle Confident ride looking at Public and Street Art in Westminster























Sunday, 9 March 2014

Space to make Kennington and Oval junctions child cycle friendly, part 2

On Friday 28th February, just after the water main had burst causing Clapham Road to be shut, I blogged with photos showing the traffic from Elephant and Castle in the morning.

A week on, with the closure still in place, Lambeth's Cycle Programme Manager took these photos, observing,
I took this sequence of photos this morning between 0835 and 0838. They show Brixton Road North bound looking towards the junction with  Camberwell New Road, 7 days into the closure of the A3 between Stockwell and Oval. Whilst busier than normal, the junction was not backed up and cleared completely or almost completely every time. When the A3 was first closed last week this junction was blocked and backed up, but we can see from evidence this morning that traffic is already evaporating just one week on.



 Putting in place cycle facilities to Dutch standards, that children can use safely, will require a little change at the junctions here, but nothing like the scale of the closure of Clapham Road. The forced closure of Clapham Road shows that there is no reason for TfL to compromise on making this area really cycling friendly for all.

A pride of lions in Westminster

It was a glorious day to lead a Cycle Confident ride around Westminster in search of lions. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the ones we saw:














Thursday, 6 March 2014

First you don't see it, then you do

The Dutch design cycle routes to be safe, direct, comfortable, attractive and cohesive. Excellent signage is recognised as a vital aspect of cohesive routes.

One of the biggest flaws in London's existing cycle routes is the use of long signs that are strapped onto round poles. I suspect they're cheap, but it is a classic example of a false economy since they don't work.

Today I was asked for directions right next to these signs.
 I checked my map, gave directions, then wrestled with one of the signs to make it point the right way, at least until the next windy day

A little earlier in the day I was on the cycle route, below
 which now looks like this (and will do until the wind blows again)
I hope the new London Cycling Design Standards will lead to the replacement of these signs with ones that are more resistant to swinging around. In the meantime it would probably make sense for the Mayor of London to employ a person just to cycle around London constantly checking and adjusting the signs.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

London Assembly Transport Committee Cycling Report breakfast opposite Oval Station 27/2, 8am

Fed up with making breakfast for the kids? Send them off on their bikes on Lambeth and TfL's friendly roads this Thursday morning to the triangle in the middle of Kennington Park Road; Brixton (slip) Road and Camberwell New Road.

City Hall are organising a Bike Breakfast next Thursday 27th at 8am, opposite Oval Station – there’s a triangular bit of land that it’ll be on. There’ll be free coffee and croissants, probably a Dr Bike too, to promote the London Assembly Transport Committees Cycling Report Launch.