Local cycling information
Major campaign themes
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Segregated cycle tracks on major local roads
There can now be no doubt from international experience that the key to getting a large subset of the population cycling for many of their local journeys is the provision of segregated cycle tracks (sometimes called 'cycle paths') on roads with high volumes of traffic. However, these have to be continuous and very high-quality, with safe engineering at junctions, to be successful. The London Cycling Campaign's criteria for cycle routes is that if they are on roads that have more than 2000 PCU (passenger car units – a unit of motor volume) per day, or on roads with speeds above 20mph, physical segregation is required. There are many roads in Brent that do have the need and the space for segregated cycle tracks. Some of the more important of these are the A5 (Edgware Road, Cricklewood Broadway and Kilburn High Road), A404 (Harrow Road, Hillside and Craven Park), East Lane, Willesden Lane, Willesden High Road, Church Road, Kingsbury Road, Kenton Road, Neasden Lane North, Blackbird Hill, Fryent Way, Honeypot Lane,Forty Lane, Ealing Road and Bridgewater Road. They are indicated on our motoring grid for Brent map, and form many of our Space for Cycling ward asks.
We campaign for 20mph to become the default speed limit on all except the most major roads, and support the widening of the currently very restricted 20mph zones. This is essential for improved safety for all road users. We wish to see traffic-calming measures that do not make cycling uncomfortable but are effective at slowing motor vehicles. Hence we support the use of sinusoidal humps in preferece to speed cushions. We support other changes to roads and junctions to reduce vehicle speeds – but it is important that cyclists are not "pinched" at central islands and road narrowings, which is a frequent form of mis-design of Brent's roads currently.
An end to rat-runs
It is imporatant to realise that lower speeds on their own will not greatly increase the uptake of cycling or greatly improve living conditions on Brent's small roads. The key is also to reduce the volume of traffic by methods of flitered permeability, allowing through cycle journeys but preventing motorists from using the back streets as rat-runs. This may be achived by closures with bollards or planters, no-entry (to motors) signs, or opposing one-way flows (with exceptions for cyclists) on different local roads planned to force through motor-traffic on to larger roads. If this were comprehensively developed, the result would be what we call the motoring grid for Brent.
Physical barriers to cycling in Brent
Brent has a legacy from waterway, railway and major road construction through it from the 18th to the 20th centuries that has cut the area up and made it highly impermeable by bike and on foot. Attempting to cycle around Brent means constantly coming up against these physical barriers which have too few crossing points plus dangerous junctions which isolate the communities of Brent from one another. We want these barriers overcome, which will be a very long term project requiring major new infrastructure and re-planning. There is more detail on this in our Cycling Plan for Brent (2013).
Local cycle links and permeability
Brent Cyclists are campaigning for more local cycle links in Brent. We suggested a small scheme for Old Church Lane which has been built, and we have a page of suggested minor improvements for roads throughout the borough. There are many places where small changes to the roads, e.g. allowing cyclists through road-closures or to go the "wrong" way down one-way streets would add to the cycle permeability of the borough and make it more likely that people will use their bikes. The waterways – the Grand Union Canal and the River Brent – have far more potential to act as cycle corridors than is currently being utilised.
These are routes being developed by the current Mayor of London. They are intended as fast, safe and direct commuting routes into central London. There are currently no Superhighways planned for Brent, but we have interest in CS 11, which will run from Brent Cross in Barnet to Regent's Park, and the East-West Superhighway, which, when extended along the A40, will provide a link to the south of Brent. We respond to consultations on the Superhighways generally in central and NW London stressing the need for high-quality, safe, continuous provision suitable for all cyclists. We believe that in addition to those currenly planned, we need Superhighway-type routes to serve Brent also on the A5 Edgware Road, and A404 Harrow Road.
Dangerous road junctions
There are many of these in Brent, and some of them have been worsened in recent times by bad planning, e.g. the Church Road/Neasden Lane/Willesden High Road junction. We want to see dangerous junctions re-engineered to make the borough more attractive for cycling.
Poor cycle facilities
Some extremely poor, in some cases comical, cycle facilities can be found in Brent – paths that go nowhere or end abruptly, confusing mixtures of on and off-road facilities, schemes that are too small-scale to work, etc. There are also markings that lead cyclists into danger by putting them in the wrong place on the road. We want to see all such "facilities" improved or removed.
Major new developments in Brent and on its borders
We want these developments to prioritise cycling, walking and public transport in their basic designs. We have a Brent Cross Cricklewood campaign and we are also inputting into plans for the Old Oak Common and Park Royal development area.
Cycling in Brent parks
Under an absurd and archaic by-law passed over 60 years ago cycling is almost totally banned in all Brent's parks. We want this overturned, not so there is cycling everywhere in the parks, but so that the council is free to designate cycle routes through parks where appropriate. This is particularly vital to provide places for youngsters and inexperienced adult cyclists to practice. More
The road mainenance in Brent is very poor, with potholes and ruts creating major dangers for thse on two wheels. We campaign for higher standards for the road surfaces, though recognising that the best, and most economical solution, ultimately, for cycling, is separartion so far as possible, using cycle tracks and separated through-routes, so the surfaces that cyclists mostly use are not the ones damaged constantly by the weight of buses and HGVs.
We want to see sufficient cycle parking at all shops, workplaces and stations.
Cycle Training in Schools
We wish to see cycle training being given in all Brent's schools