ICAG objects to Connect2 proposals for Finsbury Park

Sent to Islington Council on August 28th 2010.

The guidelines to the Connect2 project say “Connect2 will create a new way of living, where people, and not cars, are at the heart of travelling within communities throughout the UK.”

Connect 2 schemes are supposed to be ‘inspirational in design’. This location is a strategic cycle route as well as a providing access to one of London’s major interchange stations. While we appreciate that it may be difficult to deliver a bridge across the main road here, which was always ICAG’s aspiration, the scheme that is now presented to us fails to meet minimum standards.

Far from providing a step change for walking and cycling it would bring high flows of people walking and cycling into conflict with each other. A sticking plaster solution, it neither meets the aspirations of the many people who voted for Connect2, including many LCC members, nor is it likely to offer value for money.

The significant length of proposed shared use pavement (between St Thomas’s Rd and Seven Sisters Rd) has high footfall, particularly during peak hours. The London Cycling Design Standards says on high flow routes you need 3m for cyclists and 3m for pedestrians as a minimum, besides a safety margin between tracks and the carriageway. In any event tracks are at the bottom of the hierarchy of consideration.

The problem here, an issue not dealt with in the LCDS, will be that people waiting to cross the main road will block the pavement area. Conflict will be even worse when people cross on the toucans. The Pitfield Street crossing of Old Street shows the degree of conflict, where there are such crossings of major roads, and we are opposed to toucan crossings that do not have separate marked paths for those on foot and on cycle were flows are so high.

We would like to know the proposed signal timings for this junction. Having to use three stages to get from St Thomas’s Rd to Stroud Green Rd reminds cyclists of their lowly position in the transport hierarchy.

This is a flagship project and we are looking for transformational change to tackle this barrier to active travel and achieve significant modal shift. The sort of solution we’d like to see would be:

  • 20mph limit on all roads around station, with advisory 10 in station forecourt to remain. Average traffic speeds are already low enough due to congestion to allow this.
  • widened crossings with gently raised surface to help slow traffic down (as on A10 Bishopsgate around Liverpool St (that may be there already) station and also A201 around Farringdon Station: i.e. rely on these precedents for treating red route around busy stations)
  • formalise two-way cycling through station forecourt and remove the silly cycle lane on the east side
  • remove gyratory and associated Pedestrian Guard Railing (replacing with cycle stands where appropriate), restricting direct access for motor vehicle to top end of St Thomas St, with significant areas of public space around top end of Rock St, which currently has a very poor streetscape.

We would like to know the amount originally budgeted for this scheme and the cost of the proposed scheme now.

On a side note, there is very limited short term cycle parking around the station. A woman in Hackney told me recently that she didn’t want to spend £11 locking up her and her daughter’s bike at the station for a one off journey to Hertfordshire. Not everybody is a commuter. Although public space in the station forecourt is limited, removing motor traffic from the top of Rock Street would create space for cycle parking, with high levels of passive surveillance.

I am sorry that these comments are not positive but over the years we have seen many stop-gap schemes being implemented – such as the present facility through the station forecourt – that have not been worth the effort or funding. We therefore feel we have no choice but to object to the current proposal. We would be pleased to help you make the case for real improvements with our local council and GLA representatives.