Following up on our recommendations detailed in this post, this is the response from Brent Cycling Campaign, the local group of London Cycling Campaign. We represent around 300 supporters (with around 200 paid-up members) and attempt to represent the interests of all who cycle or would like to cycle in NW London.
We support this scheme. We also have the following comments.
Squeeze by bus
Eastbound, on the approach to the Neeld Crescent junction traffic lights, as the protective wands end, cycles and main motor traffic merge into a pinch point. This has become potentially very dangerous. This is demonstrated only too well in this video from 0:41 to 0:56.
It shows the cycle getting squeezed by the bus, where the consequence could potentially be fatal.
Possible urgent workaround options:
Option 1: Cycles can be directed on to use the pavement as shared use, cross Neeld Crescent with pedestrians as a toucan crossing and finally rejoin the carriageway after passing the pinch point. Include appropriate comfortable dropped kerbs.
Option 2: Give way line forcing motorists to give way to cycles merging on the approach to the pinch point. Plus a warning sign for motorists, warning of cycles merging from the left.
In the medium term, the staggered pedestrian crossing by the junction with Neeld Crescent should be removed. And replaced with a crossing for pedestrians to cross the whole width of Harrow Road in one go.
Such a crossing would then avoid wasting the centre hatching space too, allowing the road width to be designed better.
It would also be inclusive of wheelchair users, whereas the current crossing is very difficult for some.
It would also be much quicker for all to cross.
And it would become safer to cross.
Guardrail should be avoided by default. They’re a danger for people cycling. They make it feel congested and uncomfortable for wheelchair users and pedestrians. They add unnecessary clutter. They waste space.
Parking in lane
Motorists are parking in the cycle lane. The same video at 1:18 shows a van parked. Not only a frustrating inconvenience, but an added potential danger for those cycling needing to check for a gap in following motor traffic, with some cycling likely to not give themselves sufficient space to overtake safely, potentially getting dangerously squeezed by overtaking motorists or colliding with a wand when re-entering the cycle lane.
Anyone cycling regularly in bus lanes, especially those unable to cycle fast, will frequently experience to-and-fro of buses:
- Cycle is overtaken by a bus, which sometimes squeezes past dangerously close.
- Bus stops at bus stop, creating a blockade for the cycle.
- Cycle overtakes stationary bus, merging with unpleasant fast-moving potentially dangerous close-passing motor traffic.
- Repeat 1-3.
Some people cycling may ride closer to the kerb, tempting buses to squeeze dangerously close.
There is plenty of evidence that reallocating road space from cars to cycles and pedestrians can result in traffic “disappearing”, as per a new report from the International Transport Forum (ITF).
But the route needs to be safe and continuous for people new to cycling to achieve such a transformation.
Meeting the Standards
The following wording was added on 2021-08-08. This text was included in the original consultation response.
Stretches of the lane have been measured to be as narrow as 1.42 metres, despite the plan saying 1.8 metres throughout. The latest Department for Transport’s Cycle Infrastructure Design guidelines as per the Local Transport Notes 1/20 says for a light segregated cycle space, the desirable minimum width is 2.0 metres and the absolute minimum at constraints is 1.5 metres (Table 5-2: Cycle lane and track widths, P42). Cycle Lanes less than 1.5 metres wide excludes the use by larger cycles and are therefore not inclusive.
It’s worth noting that the wands provide only light segregation. So on such a fast and high motor traffic route, there’s a risk of being hit by a widely overhanging wing mirror on an HGV, significantly more so when insufficiently wide.
A main road cycle route has a positive effect to stimulate local business, such as the shops in the Monks Park area towards the North Circular Road.
The Harrow Road cycle lane has strategic connections that can be improved with Wembley High Rd, Wembley London Designer Outlet, crossing the North Circular Road, River Brent Park, the Point Place link to the Central Middx Hospital.
There are a number of schools in the area that would hugely benefit, with children being able to cycle to school, including Elsey Primary School, Oakington Manor Primary School, St Joseph’s Junior School.
The Oakington Manor Drive junction with Harrow Rd, could be designed to permit a cycle contraflow, to provide permeability for cycling, including to the Wembley LDO via Wembley Stadium station.
The Harrow Road cycle lane complements the Tokyngton Ave LTN, by having a protected main route with low traffic local residential roads.
Since Harrow Road has been identified by Transport for London as a strategic cycle route (Route 23), we expect this pop-up scheme to be built on eventually to permanently support and protect residents choosing active travel.