Thursday, 13 February 2014

My submission to TfL about the planned Quietways

Please add your voice to ensure that vast amounts of public money are not wasted on another cycling scheme (especially unsegregated ones like CS2).  Just search for 'TfL consultation hub Quietways'.  

My submission might give you some ideas.  The main idea re-reading this gave me was that I really need to learn to be less verbose!! 

1. The branding of this scheme as being 'for a new kind of cyclist' is divisive, discriminatory and frankly, bizarre.  The scheme will be used by all kinds of people who cycle.  Many people who cycle who ride a bit faster will prefer to use these safer and easier to navigate routes.  So-called 'fast commuter cyclists' rarely travel above 20 MPH and there is no reason for them not to be encouraged to use all of the Grid.  The idea that people who cycle quickly can complete a journey only using main roads is ridiculous.  All cyclists need to get to numerous destinations, many of which will necessitate travelling away from main roads. 

The scheme should be designed for and promoted to *all* people who cycle or could be encouraged to.

2. Accessible cycles, such as recumbent ones, require a bit more space for turning and appropriate sight lines (railings, and low-level signage are a particular danger for those riding at lower heights).  Planning for the scheme to be accessible to a wide range of disabled people should be embedded from the outset.  It is unacceptable that the needs of disabled people who cycle (or want to) were not prominently mentioned in the consultation documents.  Other provisions that are helpful to all people who cycle but especially disabled cyclists include:

- kerbs / footrests at junctions to make waiting more comfortable, and moving away safer.
- clear signage on all routes in accessible formats.  Route numbers only marked on the carriageway are insufficient.  Looking at the road surface repeatedly could be dangerous.  At every 'decision point' (usually junctions), eye-level direction signage should be used.  Signage should be fixed in a way so that it cannot be moved easily by vandals.
- maximum use of any form of segregation.
- tube lines are easier to visualise than bus routes.  Branded routes should use tube lines where possible. The East West route could be branded 'Cross-Trail' and the North South one 'Thames-Link'.  'North-Circular', 'South Circular' and M25 routes should be added and connected to other routes, especially Superhighways.
- large Advanced Stop Line (ASL) waiting areas which can be accessed by all cyclists via Lead-in Cycle Lanes (LICL) - the 'gates' that are replacing many LICLs are only accessible to the most able and confident cyclists.  The Grid should have ASLs with segregated or semi-segregated LICLs wherever possible.
- consideration of 'no overtaking cyclists' rules and signs on narrow sections of road.  Disabled cyclists are less likely to follow a completely straight line and need more space when drivers overtake them.
- provision of tabbards, cycle jackets, etc with 'disabled cyclist, give extra space', or 'Deaf cyclist - I can't hear you', 'New cyclist' etc text and logos to be made available via TfL website and travel information centres (even if for a fee to cover costs).
- provision of effective air filter masks to enable cyclists with asthma, cystic fibrosis, COPD, etc to cycle more safely (again perhaps for a modest fee).
- Cycle Hire docking stations and website to have brief videos in British Sign Language with subtitles, and ones with simplified English explaining how to use the system.
- instalment payment plan (quarterly, monthly or weekly direct debit or continuous card payment) to enable those on fixed/low incomes to buy annual Cycle Hire access.
- 'gift card' Cycle Hire access to be available so organisations, families etc can buy access for others.
- free or discounted access to a Cycle Hire for Freedom Pass holders, perhaps using similar type of reimbursement scheme as provided to bus operators - thus incentivising the Cycle Hire operator to enable and promote access to disabled people.
- greater, active engagement with organisations representing disabled people during design, implementation and evaluation.
- more use of British Sign Language videos on TfL website, including cycling sections.

3. People who cycle in London and their loved ones are extremely frustrated by the poor quality and excessive delays in delivery of existing schemes like the Superhighways and arerightly sceptical that this plan will come to fruition.  A clear delivery timetable should be publicised, reasons for delays announced clearly and a process of 'over-programming' used to ensure that available funds are routinely spent, not rolled over.  TfL planning and engineering staff to be incentivised to get cycle schemes delivered and financially rewarded for delivering routes that are safe and increase modal shift.

4. Appropriate solutions for all kinds of roads and junctions such as all those in the Grid have already been created by Dutch planners and engineers.  Instead of seeking excuses for ignoring these, Dutch planning guidance should be followed as closely as possible.

5. Wherever a street has more than one lane for traffic on one-way streets or more than two lanes for traffic on two-way streets, it should be assumed that there is sufficient road space for full or semi physical segregation.

6. Segregation should not be avoided in the way suggested for Quietways.  Segregation makes cycling accessible to many more people, especially disabled, nervous, inexperienced, older and younger cyclists.  Segregation works and as Royal College Street has proven, can be done cheaply whilst delivering 50% or more increase in cycle traffic.

7. 20 MPH speed limits should be introduced on all routes where cyclists are expected to share road space with motorised traffic.  There can be no exceptions to this.  Traffic in the Grid area rarely moves above this speed anyway and any perceived increase in travel times will be offset by lives saved, injuries avoided, plus the multiple benefits of modal shift and improved air quality.

8. Sensor controlled traffic lights in the Grid must be able to detect the presence of waiting cyclists to reduce the risk of red light jumping.  Greater use of traffic light offence cameras should be used to prosecute red light jumping offences.  Cyclists who feel safe and are not made to wait excessively are much less likely to jump red lights.  Offences should be analysed to inform planning and revisions to the scheme.  For example, if large numbers of cyclists are jumping red lights at a specific junction, the reasons for that should be obtained and responded to.  When fixed penalty notices are issued, the cyclist should be asked why they jumped the light and this data recorded on the notice and analysed.

9. On side streets, the risk of 'dooring' incidents is increased.  Where parking bays on narrow streets create such risks, road markings (lines, not bike symbols which few people understand) should clearly indicate that cyclists should ride a safe distance away from parked cars.

10. Parking and speed of motor traffic should be considered to be of *significantly* lower importance than safety of all road users.

11. Wherever possible, slow and considerate pavement cycling should be permitted and encouraged for very young children and other vulnerable cyclists.

12. The Grid should be designed and promoted as a 'first step' and an expansion programme considered from the outset - there is no reason that it should not spread out to cover all of the area defined as 'inner London'.  Including as a minimum: all of Camden, Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Chelsea, Westminster and The City.

13. Journeys will start and end on all roads in the area.  In addition to the proposed Grid routes, safe space and riding conditions should be provided on all roads.

14. Bus lanes are not suitable for many vulnerable cyclists.  Most bus drivers strongly support segregation.  Shared bus/cycle lanes should be used only as a last resort.

15. Junctions designed to minimise the risk of injury from left-turning vehicles.

16. Significantly greater use of traffic police and CCTV on an ongoing basis to fine / prosecute drivers who do not indicate well in advance of turning where full segregation is not provided.  Cyclists die and are injured at junctions in alarming numbers and most collisions are entirely avoidable.

17. White painted lines indicating unsegregated cycle lanes to have uneven, rumble surfacing as used in Stockholm, making it impossible for drivers to enter cycle lanes unknowingly.

18. Contracts for planners to include a requirement to conform to the highest design standard, incorporating Go Dutch principles.  Planners who put motor traffic speed above pedestrian and cyclist safety should be removed from their posts.

19. Design standards for cycling to be readily available on TfL website, including links from cycling pages.

20. Cycle journey planner to be updated to take into account issues like Hyde Park shutting at night and options for safe routes with minimal turns - many routes suggested at present are nearly impossible to memorise before starting a new journey. Frequent stops to check printed maps or maps on a mobile device are dangerous, frustrating and retard modal shift.

21. Support for affordable cycle hubs, caf├ęs and public showers.  Have a scheme like the one where pubs and businesses are paid to allow public access to the toilets, for them to be paid for providing public cycle stands, showers, etc, with greater contribution for best facilities.  Analyse such schemes to see if they can become self- financing through increased patronage of participating businesses.  Make such data accessible to website and App programmers so they can be added to popular cycle hire, Bike Hub, Cyclestreets, etc services.

22. Parking spaces for Blue Badge holders to be increased wherever parking bays are removed so that those who genuinely need to drive can do.  More spaces should be made available to Blue Badge holders who do not also have a Camden Green Badge or Westminster White Badge so disabled people from outside central London can access the area covered by the Grid more easily.

23. Go Dutch, Go Dutch, Go Dutch!

24. Get on with it!!

No comments:

Post a Comment