Lambeth Cyclists respond to Transport for London's Westminster Bridge proposals

Following consultation with members at our December meeting Lambeth Cyclists agreed a response to the Transport for London consultation on Westminster Bridge and the area in Lambeth immediately South of the Bridge.
TfL image of possible new cycle track on Westminster Bridge

The consultation on the TfL proposals closes on 22 December 2015 - further information on the proposals and a form to submit online responses to the consultation is available on the TfL website: see https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/westminster-bridge-south

Response by Lambeth Cyclists to TfL consultation on proposed changes to Westminster Bridge South

Lambeth Cyclists, the 900 member borough group of London Cycling Campaign, welcomes the proposal to provide space for cycling here. Given the alignment of Government, Mayor of London and Lambeth’s cycling vision, we expect infrastructure that will appeal to regular commuters, occasional cyclists and visitors to London, of all ages. The final scheme should have a high Cycling Level of Service score and no critical fails.

Lambeth's vision
Lambeth wants to encourage more cycling and believes that the only way to do this is to make cycling safe and attractive for a broader cross section of people. Anyone who wants to cycle should be able to – women, children, parents, older people – as happens in Denmark and the Netherlands. Our vision therefore is that: Lambeth will be the most cycle-friendly borough in London where 1- 100 year olds feel safe enough to cycle.
http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/parking-transport-and-streets/cycle-strategy

Mayor of London’s vision:
The Mayor's vision is that cycling in London will become an integral part of the transport network. It should be a normal part of everyday life, something people hardly think about and feel comfortable doing in ordinary clothes.
https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/how-we-work/planning-for-the-future/vision-for-cycling

DfT Setting the First Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (17/12/2015)
14. In the draft Cycling Delivery Plan published in 2014 the Government outlined a vision that:
walking and cycling become the natural choices for shorter journeys - or as part of a longer journey- regardless of age, gender, fitness level or income.
(Cycling Delivery Plan Paragraph 1.1)
15. This Government remains committed to this vision. Now, we wish to further develop this with our third sector, local government and business partners to ensure its effective delivery at the local level across England.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy-setting-the-scene

General comments
a) Overall we consider this a promising scheme, with some good segregation and traffic light phases for cycles.
b) The final design needs to factor in a large increase in the number of people riding cycles, or be readily adaptable.
c) Journeys should be as quick, or quicker, on the cycle track as being on the road. If this is not the case, or if space for cyclists is compromised, then many cyclists are likely to use the road, in which case 1057 cycle logos and other measures must be in place to let drivers know that they should expect cyclists to be there.

1. Segregation or not on Westminster Bridge
A significant factor is the number of pedestrians on the downstream side of the bridge (cyclists going towards Lambeth) and their tendency to stray into the road or perch precariously on the kerb (especially lookouts for the unlicensed pavement traders.) Pedestrian numbers may increase as the Garden Bridge comes on line and a circuit is created.

A two-way track on the upstream side of the bridge is probably the best way to mitigate the potential for pedestrian conflict with cyclists, along the lines of http://maidstoneonbike.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/westminster-bridge-road-consultation.html

Should a decision be made to go with a version of one-way tracks on each side of the road, we:
a) Propose that a PCSO or equivalent is on the bridge at all busy pedestrian/cycle times to deter illegal traders, and taxi/pedicab incursion.
b) Consider a 2m wide segregated track with a 30cms chamfered road-side kerb to prevent pedal strike would be the best option.
c) If b) is not possible, a 2.3m hybrid track, or use of armadillos/orcas, may be the next best way to achieve the necessary width for cyclists to be able to overtake each other, while discouraging taxis from entering into the cycling area.
d) We consider the proposed 1.8m width will create problems, since it is inadequate for comfortable overtaking and is likely to result in many cyclists using the bus lanes instead.
If segregated tracks of this width are installed, we
i. Strongly recommend temporary installation for a trial period
ii. Recommend more forcefully a PCSO or equivalent to move pedicab drivers along if they are obstructing the cycle track
iii. Insist that cycle logos are placed in the bus and related lanes too to show drivers that cyclists should be expected there too.
e) Do not consider a 2.3m mandatory cycle lane to be a suitable option, as it will not feel subjectively safe to the full range of people wishing to cycle, and is most likely to suffer incursion by motor vehicles.
f) Suggest that consideration is given, subject to space being available and vehicles not tailing back, a location near the lion statue is identified where a single taxi/pedicab at a time can drop off passengers (but not pick up).
g) Suggest that TfL considers installing a additional pedestrian crossing by the steps/Lion statue so that more pedestrians can easily cross the road to use the upstream footway. This would help alleviate pedestrian congestion on the downstream footway.

2. County Hall / National Cycle Network route 4 at Belvedere Road
The NCN4 junction MUST be improved as part of this plan to resolve the existing pedestrian / cyclist conflict, and weakness of the cycle link. Funding exists for this as, to gain planning consent for Shrek in County Hall, S106 funding was demanded by Lambeth to improve the NCN4 through County Hall. A sensible design giving all abilities needs to be drawn up and the landowners, Shirayama, persuaded to accept it.

Shortening the exit barrier or replacing it with a raisable bollard would be cheap and provide cyclists easy access and egress with less conflict with pedestrians. ANPR cameras could be used if motorcyclists and scooter users are tempted to use the cycle route. The cycle route through Belvedere Road was an original condition of the sale in, we believe, 1994.

There must be formal NCN4 signage at this junction too.

3. Direct routes for cyclists
There are places where a faster route between two points can potentially be found than following the proposed track – eg from York Road to Westminster Bridge via Chicheley Street and Belvedere Road. These need to be identified, improved and signposted.

4. Signal Timings/delays to cyclists
There are also some pedestrian crossings with low current and, likely, future footfall where cyclists could continue on a cycle track on the pavement, giving way to pedestrians on an informal zebra, but otherwise not needing to wait at lights. This would encourage cyclists to use the track over the road, with a potential safety benefit.

5. York Road Toucan crossing
The York Road Toucan should be straight over in one, rather than a staggered crossing. This would facilitate cyclists heading from York Road towards Westminster Bridge when turning right across Forum Magnum Square to Belvedere Road, then across the Toucan to the cycle track on the bridge.

6. Westminster Bridge Road Toucan  
The staggered Toucan on Westminster Bridge Rd just to the east of the Park Plaza Hotel – it this was straight over it could be as/more appealing for cyclists going north from Lambeth Palace Road to York Road via the service road (the straight line) versus staying on the road and turning right to the service road

7.Bus/ hotel service road
The markings into and on the bus / hotel service road should include cycle logos to clarify that cyclists too can use it.

8. Cycle track alongside St Thomas’s Hospital
It is unclear from the diagram how much space there is on the footway. If the current two-way cycle track is being replaced with a single lane track of the same width, then the footway space adjacent is likely to be insufficient and should be widened.

9. Directional arrow road markings
In a number of places on the diagram the direction that the arrows point looks to be in contradiction to the direction that is actually intended, especially Addington St southbound. It needs to be clear to a road user where they are meant to be going, rather than something that looks like it’s straight-on being marked as a right turn (even if, strictly speaking, that is what it is). In particular, the right turn arrow on the cycle track southbound on Addington Street could be misconstrued as an instruction to cross to the cycle track by the hotel in the centre.


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