Response to 2017 TfL Oxford Street consultation

This is the response from Brent Cyclists to the consultation that ended on 3 January 2018.

We do not support these proposals.

We support the removal of all motor traffic from Oxford Street, but we believe cycling could and should be accommodated safely on Oxford Street with a clear design that uses a central, two-way 4m wide cycle track, with low kerbs and distinctive surfacing, and designated pedestrian priority crossings. This track could also be used for servicing the street utilities and businesses with light electric vehicles out-of-hours.

TfL said in the previous consultation that they will produce plans for a parallel cycle route. There is still no plan. One parallel cycle route is not enough unless there is a track on Oxford Street, therefore two parallel routes (one on Wigmore St , Cavendish Place, Mortimer Street and Goodge Street , one on Upper Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, Brook Street, Hanover Street, Great Marlborough Street, and Noel Street) should be provided, with cycling fully separated from motor traffic. TfL state “we propose to make some modest improvements to Wigmore Street, Harewood Place and Holles Street for cyclists, amongst other users.” As these changes means road narrowing and new bus stops, they will make things worse, not better for cycling. Baker Street and Wigmore Street will be two-way, without cycle infrastructure, effectively narrowing these roads for cycling.

Despite supporting the principal of removing motor traffic from Oxford Street, therefore, the sheer lack of consideration shown for cycling in these proposals means that, on behalf of our members, we must oppose them outright.

Preston Road 20mph zone

A response to this consultation, closed 15 December 2017.

Do you agree with the proposed 20 mph zone?

Do you agree with the proposed zebra crossing facility near junction with East lane and three zebra crossings at The Avenue junction with Preston Road?

Do you agree with the proposed four uncontrolled crossing facilities in Preston Road with double yellow lines?

Do you agree with the proposed removal of two parking bay outside 11-12 The Broadway, Preston Road and extension of the double yellow lines ?

Do you agree with the proposed two flat top speed tables at the existing Pelican and Zebra crossings?

This is the response from Brent Cyclists, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign.

We agree with the aims of the scheme but we do not wish to see road narrowings between pavements, or pavement build-outs, and central islands that create lane gaps in the 3-5m range, as these create locations where cyclists tend to get passed at a dangerous distance by impatient motorists unwilling to wait until they can give the overtaking space required in the Highway Code. We therefore do not want extra central islands introduced on to the road, or pinch-points unless short segregated cycle lanes past them are created. We are also opposed to speed cushions, as these cause competition for flat road space and unpredictable horizontal manoeuvrings of vehicles, and can push cyclists too close to parked vehicles.

From our point of view, the light-controlled crossing near the station is in the wrong location. It should be actually outside the station: its offset nature encourages many pedestrians to cross slightly away from it. This is particularly relevant in relation to the location of the cycle parking on the east side of the bridge.

Kingsbury Town Centre Proposed Public Realm Improvements Scheme

This is the response of Brent Cyclists to the consultation on Kingsbury Town Centre Proposed Public Realm Improvements Scheme (closed 1 December 2017).

We approve of this scheme, which is a major improvement on previous proposals, and on the existing design, but have some concerns on the design of the cycle facilities, as follows.

1) Surface and kerbs
The cycle lanes or tracks are said to be ‘on footway with coloured surfacing to match paving’. Quite what this means is not clear to us, but we see it as important that the cycle space is distinctive and obvious to all road users. We think the tracks should be a definitely different colour to the footways, and have a smooth surface. The current two-way cycleway on the south footway is green asphalt, but we think the best surfacing to use is reddish asphalt, as on the recently-completed cycleways on Lea Bridge Road, Waltham Forest. This is the most generally-recognised colour for cycleways internationally, and actually corresponds to some previous practice in Brent. (In both the Brent River Park and the open space behind Cambridge Close in Neasden, cycleways next to footpaths were coloured pink).

An issue with the current cycle track is that pedestrians walk in it a lot, as it is at the same level as the footway. The improved placement of the track in the current plan will help with this, but we believe using kerbs and a small level change, along with a distinctive surface colour, is the best way to make clear to all (including the visually-impaired) where cyclists are supposed to be.

2) Width of the cycle tracks
The 1.5m width specified seems un-generous, given the total amount of space available here. 1.5m is insufficient for one cyclist to overtake another with safety, and 2.0m should be the norm for one-directional cycle flow. If there are particular obstructions that are difficult or impossible to remove, then going down to a 1.5m minimum is acceptable in such places, but 2m width should be achieved where possible.

3) Priority of the cycle tracks
As they follow a main road, the tracks should have priority over side-roads and entrances (London Cycle Design Standards Sect. 5.3.4). The track surfaces should be continuous and flat across junctions and not be interrupted by kerbs. This applies to:

  • The exit from the the service road at the NW end of the scheme
  • Berkeley Road junction
  • Brampton Road junction
  • The driveway just west of Manor Close
  • Manor Close junction
  • The entrance and exit roads to the car park on the south side
  • The entrance to the service road at the SW end of the scheme

Paralleling the priority and continuity of the cycle tracks, that we would like to see, all these junctions could have continuous, uninterrupted footways also, for the best ’state-of-the-art’ public realm for a town centre street of this character. This was one of the things that was suggested in the ‘Imagine Kingsbury’ consultation process in 2016.

4) Bus stop bypasses
We are pleased to see that bus stop bypasses are envisaged for the stops at the NW and SE ends of the scheme. It is therefore unsatisfactory that they are not envisaged for the other two stops – the one outside the station, and the one just west of the park entrance on the north side. Ejecting cyclists from the tracks at these points into the carriageway to pass around the outside of stopped buses severely damages the whole scheme, breaking the continuity of the protection for cyclists, and removing much of the usefulness of the tracks.

The reason for this would appear to be the desire to maintain two flowing lanes of motor traffic when buses are stopped. As the road is only one lane in either direction, this results in a lot of wasted carriageway space ahead of the bus stops. This was not the approach taken in the Carlton Vale cycle scheme, and also the Walm Lane public realm scheme (on another town centre A-road), where a lane is blocked when a bus stops – an increasingly acceptable concept in street design, so much so that bus stops are sometimes moved out into the carriageway, so that buses moving off do not have to pull out into a stream of traffic.

However, if the designers here are determined to keep motor traffic flowing when buses are stopped, there is still space for cycle track bypasses of all the bus stops in this scheme. We don’t know if the omission of a bypass outside the station is connected with the blue block on the plan marked ‘Phase 1’, as if something else remains to be designed. In the case of the eastbound stop near the Roe Green Park entrance, a possible solution could be to move the edge of the park (which is marred here by an informal dirt track and the remains of some identifiable piece of old infrastructure, where the edge of the park is indented for about 1.7m distance) slightly inwards, and the bus stop slightly outwards (into the carriageway), to make space for the bus stop to be bypassed. This would make the transition from the eastbound cycle track back to the road at this end of the scheme much better.

5) Pedestrian crossings
We are concerned that the priority for cyclists and pedestrians is unclear where pedestrians must cross the cycle tracks in order to use the two signalised crossings of the road (near the west end, and west of Manor Close), and this could lead to conflict and possibly danger. We recommend the cycle tracks be continuous but have zebra markings across them at the crossing points. This would make it clear that cyclists should give way to crossing pedestrians.

Hyde Town Centre Proposed Public Realm Improvements

This is the response of Brent Cyclists to this consultation (closing 4 December 2017).

This is the response on this scheme from Brent Cyclists, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign. We have to oppose this scheme because we want to see segregated cycle tracks on the length of the A5 through Brent and beyond, to support inclusive cycling on this critical link. The A5 through Brent and Barnet as far north as Edgware is already designated as the ‘LCN+ 5 cycle route’, which already means that cycling should be given a high degree of consideration here (but is not). There is sufficient room for cycle tracks in the width of the street in most places, including, and indeed especially, at The Hyde, where, currently, a vast amount of the road space is given over to long-term parked motor vehicles. As the A5 is already a major artery for cycling, and especially as it has been identified as a priority corridor for future cycling investment in TfL’s recent ‘Analysis of Cycling Potential’ document, it is essential that any developments now should contribute, if only in a small way, to the creation of a protected cycle route all along the A5 from Edgware to Marble Arch.
Though this scheme tidies up The Hyde area somewhat, we find it unacceptable for it to be planned that so much of the width of the road will be devoted to car parking, with no specific provision whatever for cycling. The current parking on the islands between the service road and the main road needs to be dealt with, but can be dealt with anyway, without any scheme, as it is simply illegal. We urge a re-think of the use of this whole area of road, with the need to allocate dedicated space to cycling in mind, and to accommodate parking only when that, and the needs of other moving traffic, including pedestrians, have been adequately addressed.

Cycle Superhighway 9 Consultation

This is the response by Brent Cyclists to this consultation.

1. Do you support our overall proposals?


2. Do you have any comments on our overall proposals?

Overall these proposals are good, however some details fail to meet the high standards required for a comfortable, attractive cycling route. In particular the route fails to provide a link to existing cycle infrastructure, for example the E-W CS in Hyde Park. Therefore this route must be extended through the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

3. Do you support the proposals for Hammersmith Road?


Comments: Junction at Blythe Road should be tightened. Additional protection should be given at junction of Brook Green (e.g. additional raised kerbs after pedestrian crossing on North side of road. The route must not stop suddenly on Kensington High Street, there is sufficent width to continue the route along this road Eastwards.

4. Do you support the proposals for Hammersmith Gyratory?


Comments: These proposals provide no protection for cyclists heading South from the gyratory. The entrance to the protected tracks by crossing two traffic lanes on QUEEN CAROLINE STREET is dangerous, a crossing of the slip road South of Blacks Road should be included. Eventually plans must be made to remove the gyratory.

5. Do you support the proposals for Beadon Road?


Comments: none.

6. Do you support the proposals for King Street (East)?


Comments: A new zebra crossing by the bus stop should be provided to provide easy pedestrian crossing to the bus stop and reduce the likelihood of pedestrians standing in the cycle lane waiting to cross the motor traffic lane.

7. Do you support the proposals for King Street (West)?


Comments: Cycle access to Studland Street appears inadequate.

8. Do you support the proposals for Chiswick High Road?


Comments: Road can be narrowed to maintain pavement width. Access from Clifton Gardens and Fisher’s Lane onto CS9 is inadequate. Staggered pedestrian crossings should be replaced with straight across crossings to remove the need for a pedestrian island, and to widen the pavement and cycle path.

9. Do you support the proposals for Heathfield Terrace / Wellesley Road?

Do not support.

Comments: CS9 cannot be described as a “cycle superhighway” if bicycle users are expected to share space with motor traffic. Either: a) this road must be closed to through motor traffic (ie filtered), or b) separate infrastructure must be provided.

10. Do you support the proposals for South Circular Road (Kew Bridge Station)?

Do not support.

Comments: A bus stop bypass must be provided outside Kew Bridge station. A route must be provided from CAPITAL INTERCHANGE WAY onto CS9.

11. Do you support the proposals for Kew Bridge Road / Watermans Park / Brentford High Street (East)?


Comments: Junctions to the North of CS9 along this route must be narrowed to prevent motor vehicles from impeding the cycle route. Forcing bicycle users to use a bus lane and overtake a loading bay is unsuitable for a cycle superhighway, separate space for cycling must be provided.

12. Do you support the proposals for Brentford High Street (West)?


Comments: a Two stage right turn into Ealing Road would be preferable to passing the junction and then turning back to use a toucan crossing.

13. Do you have any comments on future proposals for CS9 from Brentford High Street to Hounslow town centre?


Comments: none.

Campaign: 20’s Plenty for Us

We are asking our supporters, and all who are interested in road safety in Brent, to encourage our councillors, in the run-up to the local elections in the spring, to adopt a more concerted approach to getting lower speeds on our roads. We believe 20mph should be the default speed limit everywhere in Brent, with exceptions only for a few of the biggest roads. This would bring Brent into line with neighbouring Camden, which has been entirely 20mph for some years. We would like supporters to email their councillors with the suggested letter below, or some personalised variant of it.

You can find out the addresses of your councillors here.

Thanks for your help.

Dear Councillor XX,

We are fast approaching the local elections in May 2018 and I wanted to raise the issue of 20mph speed limits in Brent. Almost all of the Inner London boroughs have now introduced 20mph limits on the roads that they manage. A number of Outer London boroughs such as Hounslow, Ealing, Haringey and Croydon have also brought in 20mph limits on many of their roads. Bringing in 20mph limits does not of course solve all the road safety problems in a borough on its own but they work to reduce road casualties as well as encouraging more people to walk and cycle. 20mph limits fit well with the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy and its proposals for Healthy Streets and Liveable Neighbourhoods where more people will want to walk and cycle and use public transport in people friendly streets. Obviously reducing the speeds of vehicles is vital too as part of Vision Zero where the Mayor aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 2041.

Up until now Brent has very much taken a piecemeal approach to lower speed limits often introducing 20mph only on a few streets in a neighbourhood and omitting them on high streets and town centre roads where the vast majority of road casualties actually happen.

I would ask that Brent agrees to take a bolder approach to lower speeds and makes 20mph the general speed limit for the borough, with exceptions for only a few large roads (most obviously for the North Circular). This will make speed limits across the borough far more coherent for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. It will save council time and money by avoiding having many small consultations and schemes on very local 20mph limits as we have seen up until now.  It will reduce the numbers of road casualties and help all of us as residents of the borough to make the healthy choice to walk and cycle as we will feel and be safer when we are out and about on the borough’s roads.

I look forward to discussing this further with you and hope that you will put this idea forward as policy for the forthcoming elections.

Thanks & best wishes – X

Twyford Abbey Road – Road Safety Scheme

The following is our response to this scheme (consultation closed 7 August 2017) involving new and improved cycle lanes in Park Royal.

This is the response from Brent Cyclists, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign.

We support this scheme, but would make the following points:

1) The contraflow cycle lane on Rainsford Road and new connection from the canal towpath, via a cycle crossing of Twford Abbey Road, are very welcome. However, the junction of the proposed southbound cycle lane on Rainsford Road with Whitby Avenue does not look safe: it simply terminates, leaving cyclists to the right hand side of traffic turning out of Whitby Avenue. It may be better if the cycle lane were taken left round the corner and then crossed over Whitby Avenue on some kind of crossing.

2) A desired manoeuvre is for cyclists travelling south over the canal bridge, on the cycle track or shared pavement on Abbey Road, to then turn right into the bus lane on Twyford Abbey Road. There is no clearly-designated method of doing this. Although a right turn is permitted for cycles on the carriageway, getting into this, with railings in the way, even if there is no traffic, is impossible. This scheme does not appear to solve this problem.

3) While welcoming any upgrade of advisory cycle lanes to mandatory status, and recognising the budget of this scheme is going to be limited, we need to point out Abbey Road is such a busy road that the cycle lanes should really be truly segregated throughout. The best way to achieve this in the limited road width would be though construction of stepped cycle tracks, differentiated from pavement by a level change (similar to Camden’s solution on Pancras Road). The existing fragments of paint-segregated pavement-level cycle lane around the junction of Abbey Road and Twyford Abbey Road are poor-quality infrastructure, and will remain so even when ‘refreshed’. (Though the principal of minimising unnecessary cycle stops at traffic lights is correct.)

Elsley Primary School ‘School Development Scheme’

This is a response to this consultation, which closed 28 July 2017.

This is the response from Brent Cyclists, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign. This response has been agreed by our Committee.

We are objecting to this scheme because:
(1) If Gaddesden Avenue is to made one-way, as implied in the plan, there should be an exception made for cycles, so as not to inconvenience cyclists. This will affect how the no-entry end of the road is designed.
(2) If traffic-caliming is desired, there is no reason here to use speed cushions rather than the more cycle-friendly sinusoidal full-width humps, as specified in the London Cycle Design Standards. Speed cushions are fairly ineffective at controlling vehicle speeds, and cause unpredictable horizontal manoeuvres by drivers and riders that cause extra risk for cyclists, as well as sometimes pushing cyclists too close to opening car doors.
(3) The proposed 20mph zone is illogical in not including Nettleden Avenue and Tring Avenue, very small roads which should not have a 30mph limit.

Drury Way School Travel Plan Scheme

This is the Brent Cyclists response to this consultation (ended 28 July 2017).

This is the response from Brent Cyclists, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign. We agree with the scheme but wish to query the way the zigzag lines are shown on the plan for traffic entering Drury Way. The road does not have two lanes entering, so why are three sets of zigzags shown? Further, as only a B-class road, and one near schools, we think Drury Way should have a 20mph limit. It is wide enough to have cycle lanes (which could in part use space that could be recovered by removing centre-hatching), and, if such lanes were painted, these would visually narrow the traffic lanes and help to restrain speeds.