Kingsbury Road Public Realm Improvements Scheme

This is a response to this consultation, that closed on 7 April 2017.

This is the response from Brent Cyclists, the Brent Group of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). We represent around 200 members in Brent, and aim to represent the interests of all who cycle or would like to cycle in NW London. We have discussed this scheme at a meeting, and agreed our response.

We would like to see a scheme in Kingsbury Road that provides properly segregated cycle tracks on both sides of the road. This route is a clear cycling desire-line, and features as a ‘short to medium-term link’ in Brent’s Cycle Strategy 2016-21 (p8). Hence it is essential that the opportunity is taken now to upgrade cycle provision on Kingsbury Road to the best standard.

The current consultation appears confused over what cycle provision is actually proposed, but as parking is located inside the cycle lanes or tracks, cars must cross them, so this is not quality, segregated cycle provision that is being proposed. Despite the provision of a buffer zone alongside the parked cars, the space between parked cars and large moving vehicles like buses is not an attractive, inclusive cycling environment that will support Brent’s policy objectives of widening participation in cycling. The design is not in accordance with our (LCC’s) standard for cycle routes, which is that we require physical segregation if motor vehicle flows are higher than 2000 Passenger Car Units per day. Also the design would score zero under the ‘Collision risk’ and ‘Feeling of safety’ categories in the Cycle Level of Service Assessment (TfL London Cycle Design Standards Chapter 2), so it is definitely not an optimum scheme for cycling. An existing segregated cycle track will be removed to create this scheme, so we feel it is actually retrograde.

We believe an optimal solution for cycling should be possible here because of the very great total width of the road (30m between buildings). Also the scale of reconstruction proposed suggests that the budget for the scheme should be capable of stretching to this.The distribution of space shown in the proposed Kingsbury Road cross-sction is quite actually good, but the spaces need rearranging. The parking needs to be located between the carriageway and the cycle tracks, protecting the cycle tracks. Cycle tracks should pass behind bus-stop bypass islands at the bus stops so the paths of cyclists and buses do not cross. The need to interact with buses in this way is one of the most off-putting aspects of cycling on roads for most people. We think there is space here for the general traffic lanes, for the parking, for two 0.5m segregation islands, and clear 2m wide cycle tracks on both sides, still preserving very ample pavement space.

There are welcome features in these proposals, such as the 20mph limit, the traffic -calming features and decluttering. But essentially the planned redistribution of space amounts to removal of the existing short segregated cycle track, putting cyclists on the carriageway with little or no protection, and moving parking on to the pavements. This is not welcome to us. We would also question the need for the scale of on-street parking envisaged, when there is an off-street car park behind the shops on the south side. In this supposed ‘public realm scheme’, the quality of the public realm created would be improved by minimising the on-street parking, though this is not essential to achieving good cycling infrastructure.