Tag Archives: quietways

New census data argues for more active street designs.

Our roads are designed for driving, but we walk and cycle far more.

Last week, new census data was released highlighting where people work and how they get there. Then the wonderful people at CASA.UCL made a map for us simpletons to easily see what is happening.

The data is quite extraordinary. Having crunched the numbers, its clear that the overwhelming majority of Clerkenwell and Bunhill residents walk and cycle than get the bus or drive.

  • 6483:   Walk or Cycle
  • 3335:   Bus
  • 234:      Car or Taxi

Of course, this isn’t a completely full travel picture: we all vary our travel routines, and it’s just working age adults commuting, but it is undoubtedly indicative of general trends.

There are two lessons from this fascinating data set:

1. Many journeys by bus and car could easily be walked or cycled (proven by our neighbours making the same journeys).

2. There is now an overwhelming argument to use TfL’s £2m to make cycling and walking the most convenient, obvious modes of travel in the area. Islington Council pioneered 20mph zones, and now they have a strong mandate to develop the most liveable streets in London.

With careful planning and a few planters or “modal filters”, we could cheaply and easily re-focus our streets to reflect the growing demand for active travel. Our planned layout can be seen here:

Please get in touch to add your voice of support for our plans, or to hear more about our work, please do get in touch through

https://www.facebook.com/IslingtonCyclistsActionGroup or

@IslingtonCycle

 

 

 

 

A constructive solution for Beech St

Beech St. Cyclists Dismount

Dear Messrs Simmons and Presland,

I am writing to you regarding the current changes to the street layout at the Beech St/Silk St junction. The aim seems to be to widen the pavement and simplify the pedestrian crossings outside the new Barbican cinema, according to your website; https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/transport-and-streets/traffic-management/Pages/silk-street-enhancement-works.aspx

As a member of the Barbican, I welcome these changes to what has been a very unsatisfactory street layout. It is quite a positive step in creating a more attractive place.

However, I can’t help but notice that the worst bits of Beech St will remain: the ear splitting noise reverberating around the tunnel, air pollution that drips from the ceiling, and pavements so narrow that I am frequently forced onto the road at busy times when walking between the station and gallery. So a while small fragment of the street-scape may become more attractive,  it really seems a missed opportunity for creating a pleasant, healthy, or “liveable” environment

More dispiriting and perplexing though is that the pavement changes come at such a high cost to cycling along Beech St.  Whereas a month ago, people could cycle in their own, dedicated cycle lane all the way to the Whitecross St junction (going east), they will now be dangerously squeezed into the motor traffic as we can see in the picture below.

Beech St Cycle Lane End

So my 60 year old dad will probably no longer be willing to cycle along Beech St – which up to now has been one of only a handful of routes he is happy to use, precisely because he isn’t required to share the road. Having finally persuaded him to get back onto his bike after 30 years of driving, this is a blow to my skills of persuasion and to his health.

This damaging impact on the cycle lane is important. Beech St provides the only east-west cycle route through the city. The Central London Cycling Grid,  London’s vision for a network of quiet, welcoming cycle network really does rely on this route as seen in TfL’s map of the grid.

Grid with Beech St

More bizarre still, is that Beech St cycle lane has been so successful. As Mr Gilligan wrote in 2007, the City won an award for the lane from TfL. And the scheme was improved further in 2012 to much acclaim as seen in this blog and this video .

Indeed, this bike lane has helped Beech St see cyclists make up 20% of traffic and 30% in peak hours (almost certainly understimated), and these numbers would probably be higher if Chiswell St (immediately to the east of Beech st) had any provision for cyclists.

You may have seen that others have criticised your scheme here and here.

Without wanting to add to their flames too much, I urge you to consider a constructive solution. There is a way for the City of London to go beyond these aesthetic changes and create a more environmentally pleasant environment that is genuinely conducive to walking and cycling.

My solution? Keep doing what you are doing right now: keep the road closed.

During the building work, we have all seen how little traffic there is on Beech St and the other roads that spoke out from the junction. Indeed, it was bliss to walk through the tunnel, for the first time being able to hear my friend speaking about the gallery as we walked to the station. Cycling along Chiswell St felt safe and civilised, such was the transformation.

I hope you agree that the benefits of closing the road to through traffic permanently are extensive. Only a bus bollard is needed to let the 153 through, to filter other motor traffic out. The traffic could use London Wall instead, which according to DFT traffic counts, has seen a reduction of c.30% traffic since 2004.

Although this would only be a small change, I appreciate there may be concerns about the impact of traffic displacement from such a modal filtering scheme, but I hope you agree that with the road closed now, we have the perfect opportunity to do a trial and gather empirical evidence for what the effects would be.  My own hypothesis, would be that it would greatly improve traffic flows around Moorgate, Smithfield, and north into Islington which all suffer from too much traffic and high pollution.

I look forward to discussing my constructive proposal to this scheme and other quietways at the City Cycling Forum, 31st July.

Yours faithfully,

 

Tom Harrison, Committee Member for Islington Cyclists

Quietway Consultation is open. Deadline 5 April.

UPDATE

The consultation for the Quietway Route from Bloomsbury to Walthomstow is now live and can be found here

ICAG have had a number of meetings with the council to discuss the plans.

There are some big improvements planned, such as improving Owen St by City and Islington college.

But unfortunately, as it was a pilot route, the council didn’t have the time to develop the more ambitious proposals we feel are needed, such as removing rat running motor vehicles.

The primary benefit of the works will be upgraded signage and improved visibility at some junctions by moving parking.

We would really encourage you to respond to the consultation and request they make the more substantial changes needed for safe cycling when future funding becomes available (eg with the next round of quietways).

If you live near the route, and would like to help get more improvements, please get in touch with tom(at)icag.org.uk

We would particularly like to hear from people who currently don’t cycle to get their views on the current conditions, so do send them our way.

Getting the Quietways underway for a more liveable Islington

 

The junction of two quietways. Amwell St and River St. There is so much potential to create something that benefits cyclists and the Amwell village residents.

Those of you who were at our ICAG meeting with Andrew Gilligan, or heard him speak at the end of the London Cycling Campaign’s Big Ride last month will be eagerly awaiting a new network of quiet routes. Aimed to attract a more comfortable, less lycra intensive cycle style across the capital.

As the grapevine buzzes with speculation about what we can expect from these “quietways”, we wanted to share what we know so far in order to start a discussion around what changes we want to see to attract “inclusive cycling” and ensure the proposals benefit all residents, whether or not they are regular cyclists.

Before diving into the detail, it’s worth bearing in mind a few extra principles:

  • Transport planning like this poses a wonderful opportunity to add value to the wider public realm than just being cycle friendly: by re-routing traffic, we can make streets quieter, create public spaces in the heart of residential areas, reduce pollution. With the right measures, streets can become nicer for everyone, especially local residents, cafes, pubs, and shops. In short, with the right imagination, these schemes aren’t just for cyclists, but promise to create more liveable streets for all Islingtonians.
  • It would be good if we can get to the route: far more people can benefit if the “quiet” route can be comfortably accessed by streets not directly on the route. We therefore need to think not just about the route itself, but the area surrounding it too – often known in the jargon as a “cell.”
  • We, as members of The London Cycling Campaign recognise that for a cycle route to be adequate it needs to be separated from other traffic, either by kerb segregation, or by reducing the amount of traffic on streets.

So, what’s the plan so far?

There are two routes that we expect to be developed first. The first, currently called “Quietway 38” is set to run between Southgate Rd/Northchurch St in the east to Calthorpe St in the west.The second, (as yet untitled) will go between Finsbury Square and up through Penton St.

No detailed plans have emerged so far, but initial suggestions from the council were for

  • traffic signal alterations
  • traffic management improvements
  • cycle facility upgrades
  • surface repairs
  • cycle contraflow lanes

A map of the the first route is below:


View Quietway Route 38 in Islington in a larger map

We’ve colour coded where we think the priorities are for changes to make the routes acceptable.

  • Red shows streets which dont need any change.
  • Light Blue denotes the route is pretty good but could be better.
  • Dark blue shows where there is currently too much traffic and changes are required.
  • Green highlights where other desire lines or planned routes intersect Quietway 38, such as on Amwell St for the route from Finsbury Square.

Since there probably isn’t the space to install segregated tracks, a few strategic “filters” or planters to close through traffic would be all that is needed make a much more pleasant walking and cycling environment. This approach is tried and tested already along the route, helping De Beauvoir to be one of the most pleasant places to live and travel through in London.

 

Image borrowed from Vincent Stops, http://cycleandwalkhackney.blogspot.co.uk/2013_03_01_archive.html
London’s most famous and successful 4 way road closure creates bliss for residents, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. This scheme in Hackney is also part of Quietway 38, and we could do something similar in Islington.

For more detail on what changes we suggest are made, click on the link for the larger map. If you agree or disagree , please get in touch and join the debate.

Two really exciting, innovative changes for us are the potential to create public squares in the heart of both Amwell and St Peters. By installing cheap bollards, “pocket plazas” can quickly appear, as recently occurred in Exhibition Row (pictured below). What’s more, done correctly, traffic does not need to be pushed onto other residential roads.

 

Closing small sections of streets to through traffic allows a liveable public area to grow as happened here in Kensington.
Could this come to Amwell St and St Peters St? Closing small sections of streets to through traffic allows a liveable public area to grow as happened here in Kensington.

Best of all for Islington Council, are proposals are incredibly cheap: TfL have allocated £1m/mile for the quietway network, which works out at £1.5m for Quietway 38 in Islngton. But our measures would probably cost less than £50,000.

We would love to continue the discussion, with cyclists and “non cyclists” alike, so please get in touch by commenting below, or through facebook or twitter @IslingtonCycle