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Regents Park to Gladstone Park Quietway Cycle route

June 2015
 
Brent has consulted on its section of the Regent's Park to Gladstone Park Quietway. This route will run through Brent, Camden and Westminster and is shown on the map below. Brent's consultation documents may be found here. Members of Brent Cyclists and Camden Cyclists rode the whole route in April 2015 with managers from Sustrans London and engineers from Brent and Camden and critiqued the whole route. However, the comments below only cover the Brent section.
 
 
Your Ref: HD401

Dear Mr Smith,

This is the response of Brent Cyclists to the consultation on the Regents Park to Gladstone Park Quietway Cycle route. Brent Cyclists is the local group in Brent of the London Cycling Campaign. We represent directly approximately 200 people who cycle in the borough, and we try to represent the interests of all who cycle, or would like to cycle, in Brent. We have discussed this scheme at meetings and via electronic media before producing this response.

Overall opinion
Overall we cannot support this scheme as it falls too far short of what was promised for the new Quietways in The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in London (2013):

High-quality guided Quietways will be created on low-traffic back streets and other routes so different kinds of cyclists can choose the routes which suit them. Unlike the old London Cycle Network, Quietways will be direct ….Quietways will be particularly suited to new cyclists.  

This Quietway scheme falls short in directness, in its levels of traffic (which are too high), and suitability for new cyclists. Though it involves some beneficial measures (such as more cycle-friendly traffic-calming on the roads in question, and a new path through Gladstone Park), these are outweighed by the lack of directness of the route, lack of safety and/or convenience at junctions, the absence of any measures to reduce traffic on the roads in question, and the fact that some of the measures proposed (new or enlarged traffic islands) will actually worsen cycling conditions on other alignments.

The scheme in Brent has, apart from the new path section, the character of remedial maintenance to an old London Cycle Network route which does not offer any new route options and is unlikely to achieve the objective of creating many new cyclists in the borough as the traffic levels will, at least on substantial sections of the route, still be too high (above LCC’s limit of 2,000 PCUs per day for unsegregated cycle routes), and the route will not be efficient enough compared to using main roads for most journeys.

The route
Though we appreciate Brent has not been responsible for choosing the route, we need to put it on record again that we consider the route choice poor. The entire LCN route on which it is based, continuing to run in a direct line west from St Paul’s Avenue to Chapter Road, would have been a better and more logical option if the intention is, long-term, to create a route to Wembley and Harrow via a crossing of the North Circular Road at Neasden. This existing route could have easily and substantially have been improved with the addition of a mode filter in Chapter Road. As it is, it seems the Chapter Road section of the LCN route is being abandoned, with the Quietway spur up to Gladstone Park railway bridge, which does not correspond to a major desire-line and which makes the Quietway not a direct route to anywhere.

However, the following comments are based on the route as proposed.

Gladstone Park
We agree with the creation of a new path and with the upgrade of the narrow existing path section connecting to Lennox Gardens. We point out that the path between the railway bridge and the Park Avenue North entrance needs resurfacing and, as it is busy, it should be marked and clearly signed with separate cycle and pedestrian areas, to avoid conflict. The signs restricting cycling to 5mph need to be removed.

Junction of Park Avenue North, Kendal Road and Anson Road
The proposed treatment of this exit from the park is not adequate. Removal of the existing mini-roundabout might well actually increase vehicle speeds on Kendal Road and Anson Road and make it harder to exit the park. The proposed islands are counterproductive and will dangerously squeeze cyclists on Kendal Road and Anson Road. We propose they be replaced with single-stage zebra crossings and a marked cycle crossing, which would protect the cycle route to some extent, and cause motorists to drive more cautiously while not causing problems for cyclists on the Anson Road alignment.

Park Avenue North
This is the major failing of the route in Brent, as traffic levels here are too high for a Quietway. The only solution is a mode filter at some point on the road to remove through-traffic while still allowing access, albeit lengthening some motor journeys slightly. While the new 20mph zone is welcome, it is not sufficient to create conditions good enough for the potential cyclists at whom Quietways are targeted. The proposed changes to the junctions of Sherrick Green Road and Jeymer Avenue, with removal of the mini-roundabouts, seem to be based on a misunderstanding that the problems of this road will be solved by modifying junctions. In fact removing these roundabouts might well speed traffic up on Park Avenue North, making cycling conditions worse. The issue is not really the roundabouts, but the rat-running traffic, which needs to be curtailed.

Junction of St Paul’s Avenue, Walm Lane and Chatsworth Road
The proposed treatment of this junction is not adequate. The tightening of the corner radii is sensible, as is the moving of the zebra crossing. However, we’d like the zebra crossing right at the junction, with another one on the other side, protecting the cycle route, and a marking of the route across the junction.

Junction of Chatsworth Road and Rutland Park Gardens
We approve of the changes proposed here.

Junction of Chatsworth Road and Lydford Road
To make the route more efficient we would like the priority markings reversed here, so cyclists on the Quietway do not have to give way to traffic on Lydford Road, which is a minor (though undesirably busy) route.

Junction of Chatsworth Road and Mapesbury Road
To make the route more efficient we would like the priority markings reversed here, so cyclists on the Quietway do not have to give way to traffic on Mapesbury Road, which is a minor route. We object to the enlarged traffic islands on Mapesbury Road, which will cause problems for cyclists on that alignment. To help pedestrians, zebra crossings would be better, or the priority change we propose.

Junction of Kilburn High Road, Christchurch Avenue, Shoot-Up hill and Maygrove Road
We agree with the changes to this junction.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this scheme.

Yours,

David Arditti
Co-ordinator, Brent Cyclists
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