This paper seeks to update the Policy and Accountability Committee on progress on the development and engagement for the safer cycle pathway along King Street and Hammersmith Road, and the proposed A4 cycle highway.
Richard Duffill, Cycling Officer provided an update on the Council’s proposals on safer cycle pathway, including a cycle highway alongside the A4 and noted the following key points:
- The Council would ensure that the design met all the needs of its disabled and less mobile residents as well as businesses in the borough.
- The pathway would be designed to suit slower, less confident riders and families.
- It would be designed to improve the environment and protect the high numbers of pedestrians in the borough.
- The design would seek to maximise pedestrian space and make the transition from pavement to pavement safe and usable for everyone.
- The A4 cycle highway would shuttle faster, more confident riders and commuters from the border with Chiswick to the Hammersmith gyratory. This provided an alternative route away from the high street.
- The Council was committed on delivering a healthy streets approach. This aimed to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport to tackle poor air quality and reduce car dependency.
Richard Duffill, Cycling Officer explained that the Council welcomed the opportunity to engage with residents, businesses and disabled groups to feed into the design process before it was finalised. To achieve this resident, working groups and drop-in sessions for all stakeholders would be arranged. At these staff would be available to explain the planning proposals and particularly to listen to residents about their views around the development of the scheme. All the suggestions would be gathered for the design and series of working group workshops would be held with the aim to create a final design for the route. Furthermore, approval would be sought from each working group to proceed with the design.
Councillor David Morton commented that whilst he agreed with the worthy objectives of the presentation, the concerns relating to the potential traffic implications along Hammersmith Road as a result of safer cycle pathway and potential developments in the Olympia area needed to be addressed. Richard Duffill explained that the Council had agreed with Transport for London (TfL) to build a fully segregated safer cycle pathway running across the borough from Chiswick down King Street and Hammersmith Road to Kensington Olympia. TfL had designed an outlined scheme, however at this stage the Council was unable to add to these designs until it fully understood the Olympia proposals and what residents wanted to achieve. Drop in sessions would be arranged to encourage engagement and clarify issues concerning residents and input into the detailed design for the two routes. In addition, it was noted that the final designs would factor in the redevelopment of Olympia once this was established.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler enquired if there was an option for the Council to not implement the scheme if residents were not in favour of the proposals. In response Richard Duffill explained that the Council was committed to developing two new cycle routes providing better, safer cycling facilities combined with improvements for pedestrians. The route would be designed to improve the environment in consultation with all stakeholders. In addition, residents would have the opportunity to feed into the final designs.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked what the cost of the engagement process was. In response Richard Duffill explained that the Council was still in the process of finalising these figures and these would be circulated to Committee members as soon as they were available.
Councillor Ann Rosenberg asked if the new designs would include the use of motorised scooters. Richard Duffill explained that officers were currently carrying out a piece of work to establish the safety arrangements for these types of devices within the borough. The Council was also working with other London Boroughs to create a new Bye-law to control Dockless bikes and other travel devices in the borough. This would be developed by the end of the year. Furthermore, Electric scooters were not legal for roads and some boroughs were using heavy enforcement on these. The Department for Transport (DfT) were currently reviewing the legalities of scooters on roads and highways. A decision would be made in 2020.
A resident commented that the accessibility needs for disabled people who wished to cycle in the borough needed to be factored into the scheme. Richard Duffill said that the aim of the drop-in sessions was to gain an in depth understanding of what residents wanted to achieve to develop the scheme. Furthermore, the Council recognised these needs, therefore a safer segregated cycle pathway would aim to provide mobility for disability vehicles.
A resident commented that during a Community Safety and Environment (CSE) PAC meeting in 2018, residents made some strong suggestions and asked for these to be taken into consideration in the final designs, particularly concerns around traffic impact as a result of the safety cycle pathway.
A representative from Wendell Park Primary school welcomed the proposals and was pleased to hear that schools and nurseries also had the opportunity to share their views and was keen to feed into the final designs via the drop-in sessions to help develop the scheme.
A resident commented that being a cyclist himself he felt that the cycle route was situated in the right place for his particular commute. He also noted that data suggested that car pollution decreased as a result of the cycle super highway in Embankment. He felt that this aimed to provide a sustainable environment for London as a whole therefore welcomed the Councils proposals.
A Resident expressed his concerns around bus stop bypasses. He asked whether the Council had any plans to reduce bus stops within the borough to speed up traffic, especially around King Street. Richard Duffill explained the disability workshop would aim to discuss and understand the issues and concerns of residents. Accessibility to different transport means for disabled people, including mobility was critical for the Council. The Council would initially implement two bus stops bypasses at two different locations, however where possible the Council would relocate a bus stop for improved accessibility if this was necessary.
A resident commented that he was pro cycling. However, was not in favour of the TfL segregated cycle routes and felt that the scheme was flawed due to the following reasons:
- According to department for transport (DfT) figures 96% of residents in the borough were road users and 4% were cyclists. Therefore, felt that this scheme would provide exclusivity to a smaller proportion of residents compared to those who used other methods of transportation.
- Felt it would create more traffic implications along Hammersmith Road due to the reduction of bus journeys and there would be no improvement on air pollution.
- Felt it was anti-democratic as many residents were not in favour of the scheme.
- Noted that according to TfL’s study on the scheme there would be no improvement in air pollution.
- Raised some concerns around the safety of the scheme.
Councillor Iain Cassidy commented that he had lived in the Netherlands and used cycling as a means of transport to and from work on a regular basis by using safe bi directional cycle pathways. More women in the Netherlands were likely to cycle compared to men and the peak age of women that cycled was 72 years old. This was due to the infrastructure which allowed people to make safer cycle journeys. However, in London people were less likely to cycle because they felt unsafe and frightened. Therefore, implementing a safer cycle pathway would enable more people to cycle, especially women and, children. Additionally, by encouraging safer cycling in London, this would help reduce issues surrounding obesity and air quality.
Many residents echoed Councillor Iain Cassidy’s views and noted that they were broadly in favour of the scheme. Residents felt that people were less likely to cycle due to the lack of non-segregated routes across London. Additionally, motorised traffic needed to be discouraged to reduce air pollution and if safer cycle lanes were added, some of the pollution would evaporate as more people would use cycling as an option for transport. Residents were also delighted to hear that women were in favour of this scheme and noted that it was an important step to ensure that the borough was combating climate change and cutting CO2 emissions.
A resident asked what the average speed was for segregated cycle pathways in London. In response Councillor Iain Cassidy said that this was 9.8 miles per hour.
John Griffiths, HF Cyclists expressed concerns around pedestrian safety and traffic implications on Hammersmith Road as this would create big queues for buses on North End Road. He asked if a risk assessment had been carried out. Richard Duffill explained that two safety audits had been carried out and these would be shared with residents.
A number of residents expressed their concerns around bi directional traffic and the safety of pedestrians. Furthermore, the speed of cyclists, the location of bus stops and how these would impact pedestrians were all raised as key issues.
The Leader took a moment to thank everyone for sharing their views with the Committee. He raised concerns around the current condition of the environment and noted that this needed to be improved. Therefore, it was essential for the Council to encourage more people to travel safely and reduce the use of motorised vehicles in the urban sectors. The scheme proposed an A4 cycle highway for the use of faster more confident cyclists and a safer cycle pathway along King Street and Hammersmith Road to enable a better space for all residents. He explained that the Council would work in collaboration with residents to iron out any concerns and a suitable plan would be put in place to tackle some of the most important concerns, including climate change. He highlighted that the current situation was not sustainable and made references in support of Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist who was credited with raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change.
Councillor Wesley Harcourt commented that the Council was committed to making the borough a better place to live for residents and offered reassurances that all feedback received would be considered. It was noted that Councillor Wesley Harcourt intended to work closely with the working groups and was determined to find a solution to all the concerns raised to meet the needs of residents.
THAT the all members except Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler endorsed the proposed engagement plan.
THAT, any comments received from the meeting were incorporated into any engagement plans.