Sunday, 15 November 2015

City of London Quietways consultation

The City of London are consulting on their Cycle Quietways and their proposals lack the quality and vision to make cycling accessible for everyone - We need your help to get this improved.

The City's aim "to improve safety and cater for the predicted increase in cycling, whilst minimising the impact on other road users and local occupiers" has led them to a watered down scheme where most of the changes are "minor, such as new or amended road markings, wayfinding signage, parking bay alterations". You can view detailed plans of the proposals here.

This approach has led to a scheme which fails to adequately provide for the "new and less confident cyclists" they are hoping to encourage.

Please respond to the consultation by emailing quietways@cityoflondon.gov.uk

I have copied my response to the consultation below, please feel free to use it as the basis of your response:

Dear City of London,
I am responding to your consultation about the proposed Quietway cycle routes through the City.

I fully support the aim of these schemes to encourage "new and less confident cyclists" to cycle more. Some of the sections proposed seem to provide the kinds of safe and protected conditions which would persuade people to cycle when they otherwise wouldn't.

However there are several other sections where the roads are left largely the same, such as installing a larger Advance Stop Line Area. Many potential new cyclists are concerned about safety on the roads and small adjustments to provision will make little difference to cyclist's experience and perception of the route, so this will not help persuade more to use it. If the City of London wants to really encourage non-cyclists to take up cycling as a form of transport the provision needs to be consistently of higher quality rather than the current patchy proposals.

In addition, the routes proposed are somewhat indirect so to ensure the routes are attractive to cyclists the phasing and priority at junctions should be adjusted to ensure the route is not more inconvenient than the more direct roads. Otherwise large numbers of cyclists may end up ignoring those sections of the routes.

Some specific comments on the plans as numbered in the consultation documentation:
  • Plan 1: I welcome the use of segregation to create an inviting route, however I am concerned by the junction between Snow Hill and West Smithfield west-bound cycle lane as there is a lack of visibility for both cyclists and motorists. The position of the crossing, just past the corner, is less than ideal and this should be orientated so the crossing is more perpendicular to the road. In addition the inside kerb of the roadway needs to be adjusted to take account of the lane on the far side, there is a risk that a motorist following the inside kerb line realise late that they are heading straight in to a cycle lane. Ideally this whole junction would be redesigned so the cycle route crossed Snow Hill in one go with a single safe crossing, rather than having to deal with the arms separately and rather awkwardly.
  • Plan 3: Cloth Fair is too narrow to accommodate motor traffic and should be made access only. I note that drawing a picture of a bike on the road next to an arrow doesn't make it any easier for a beginner to make a right turn and is exactly the kind of 'provision' which makes it difficult to persuade people cycling is a safe option they could try out.
  • Plan 4: The pinch point which is created at the entrance to Beech Street for cyclists heading east is bound to cause conflict and will feel very unsafe for new and less confident cyclists, especially given that many cyclists experience aggression from motorists associated with situations like this, where the driver wants to get past to a clear road ahead and isn't prepared to be a little patient. In addition the left-right from Middle Street to Long Lane looks difficult and unappealing for the "new and less confident cyclists" this scheme is aimed at.
  • Plan 6: I welcome the introduction of the no-through route for motor traffic and am sure that a large number of potential cyclists would regard this as safe and inviting.
  • Plan 8: I am concerned by the junction between Wood Street and London Wall. For cyclists heading south the junction encourages cyclists to start off on the left hand side and traverse the traffic diagonally. This arrangement simply isn't acceptable given the numbers of cyclists who have been killed in 'left hook' type collisions, it encourages cyclists to put themselves in the danger zone and increases the risk of a fatality. The markings encouraging cyclists to cross the lane diagonally from the left should be removed and the radius on the bend tightened to ensure there is no space for a vehicle to get on the outside of a cyclist. Alternatively southbound traffic should be removed from Wood Street as part of a one way system for motor traffic, with a segregated counter-flow cycle lane introduced.
I hope these suggestions help you improve the quality of these proposals.

Kind regards,

Fred

Proposed Quietway routes (purple)