CS2 Safety summit followup #2

thanks for John Biggs attachment but thought readers may like in full if unable to open:

(sorry about formatting)
John Biggs AM City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London
SE1 2AA
Switchboard: 020 7983 4000
Minicom: 020 7983 4458
Web: www.london.gov.uk

Direct telephone: 020 7983 4350/4356 Fax: 020 7983 4418 Email: john.biggs@london.gov.uk
Dear Mr. Mayor,

I am writing to you regarding the Cycle Superhighway 2 Summit I held at City Hall on Thursday 28
November. This was attended by users of the CS2, London Assembly colleagues Val Shawcross AM,
Caroline Pidgeon AM and Darren Johnson AM as well as Chief Executive of the London Cycling
Campaign Dr Ashok Sinha and your Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan.

There was a lot of discussion about how safe CS2 is for cyclists, specifically the section which runs from
Aldgate Gyratory to Bow roundabout. Members of the audience put forward their concerns about the
route as well as suggestions for improving it, which I have included below.

I understand from the Cycling Commissioner that Transport for London is upgrading this section of the
CS2. In its current state, CS2 is substandard. The western section of the route, eastbound between
Vallance Road and Mile End, is in a bad state of disrepair, with faded surface markings. I would be
grateful if you could take the suggestions I outline below into consideration when making changes to
CS2. The people that attended the meeting last week regularly use the CS2 and want a safe and usable
route for people of all cycling abilities.

Bow roundabout

Many concerns were voiced about Bow roundabout at the meeting – an issue I have raised with you
many times. The Cycling Commissioner agreed to look at the early start signals for cyclists at the
roundabout as currently, the time allowed for cyclists to move away before vehicles set off behind them
is too short. I understand that the light phasing is different to what was agreed with Transport for
London and vehicles are constantly jumping the lights. This delays cyclists from setting off from their
advanced start position, despite vehicles chasing them from behind as the lights turn green for cyclists
and vehicles at the same time. Furthermore, bus drivers who have contacted me have said that while
the layout is an improvement, the new design at Bow appears unable to cope with large numbers of
cyclists using the roundabout at the same time.

Recent enforcement of drivers at this roundabout has been useful but because this is a recurring
problem, a regular police presence at this roundabout would be very welcome. I would be grateful if you
Mayor of London
City Hall
London
SE1 2AA
Our Ref: JB/2013-050
Date: 11 December 2013

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could provide me with details of when the early start signal for cyclists will be extended and whether a
regular police presence at this roundabout could be put in place.

We also heard from two cycling instructors who teach people how to cycle safely, as well as teach HGV
drivers about how to share the road safely with cyclists. They made the point that the segregation at
Bow roundabout does not follow the safety standards. Cycling awareness courses teach cyclists that to
remain safe it is best to hold their place in the middle of the lane, but the segregation at Bow
roundabout pushes cyclists to the left and therefore into the danger zone.

The Cycling Commissioner set out various options for how Bow roundabout will be remodelled in the
future. An audience member suggested introducing four toucan crossings on Bow Roundabout to make
it fully segregated and allow pedestrian access. There are no facilities for pedestrians to cross from one
side of the Bow Road to the other. The nearest pedestrian signals are just beyond the church, some
300m to the west. I would strongly support improvements to Bow roundabout that includes pedestrian
facilities, particularly because of the development around the roundabout will mean an increase in the
number of the pedestrians crossing at this junction.

Aldgate Gyratory

There was a consensus that the pace of change for improvements to cycling infrastructure moves
extremely slowly. This is particularly true of the Aldgate Gyratory which I understand from Andrew
Gilligan will be completely remodelled. Participants in the meeting put forward their suggestions that
the redesign of Aldgate should include Bishopsgate as well and extend into the City of London.
Furthermore, in a submission from UNITE who represents bus drivers working along the A11 have said
they feel that this section of the CS2 is particularly confusing and does nothing to aid cycle safety.

Junctions

As Andrew Gilligan pointed out, 85 per cent of accidents are at junctions and 15 per cent happen on
link roads, between junctions. This is the case on the CS2 where cyclists have died at almost every
junction over the past ten years. It was felt that at busy junctions, cyclists need to be given their own
phase on the signals. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to combine this with a
pedestrian phase.

Most road users, including cyclists, are not sure who has priority at junctions, and this confusion is
exacerbated where there is blue paint on the road. I was told by bus drivers along the route that where
blue CS2 markings share bus lanes there is confusion as to who has right of way.

The meeting welcomed the Cycling Commissioner’s pledge to redesign junctions along the route. It was
felt that junctions should give priority to the most vulnerable users, especially on the A11 which
constantly has large vehicles travelling very fast along the entire route.

CS2 Extension

Most audience members were positive about the extension of the CS2 from Bow Roundabout to
Stratford. However, there were several suggestions for how to improve this section still further. The
raised dividers between the new cycle lanes and the vehicular lanes are constructed out of granite with

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sharp sections which could cause lacerations to anyone who hits it. It has been suggested that standard
hydraulically pressed concrete battered, half battered, or bullnosed kerb would cause fewer injuries.

It has been reported that this section of the CS2 has flooded since it opened a few months ago and this
is not acceptable as it pushes cyclists into the traffic in an effort to avoid cycling through a large
puddle. Also, at the meeting an audience member raised their concerns about the left hooks along this
section and the lack of cycling infrastructure around the Stratford gyratory. This comes back to the
overarching problem for cyclists who use the CS2. TfL is encouraging cyclists to use the CS2 but are
effectively abandoning them at the beginning and end of the route and failing to provide cycle safe
infrastructure at the most difficult junctions.

20mph Limit

The audience were very supportive of a 20mph limit along the CS2. Cyclists who use the CS2 said there
is currently very little enforcement of the speed limit. Londoners who would like to cycle but are often
scared because of the speed with which other vehicles move. This is a policy initiative supported by the
London Cycling Campaign through their Space for Cycling campaign would encourage more people to
cycle and save lives.

HGV Restrictions

The was widespread support at the meeting for a better design of HGVs. The Cycling Commissioner said
that TfL is currently trying to get sign off on lorry cab design from the European Union, which would
allow HGV drivers far greater visibility.

At the meeting we also discussed the possibility of introducing restrictions of HGVS and I understand
that TfL is currently putting together proposals for different options. I would be grateful if you could
send me a copy of this once it is complete as it is a subject that was discussed by a number of
participants at our meeting.

Planning Developments

There were a number of points raised about the development around Bow roundabout and the Aldgate
Gyratory suggesting that the Greater London Authority should incorporate land swaps when approving
planning applications in these areas. For instance, I understand that planning approval has been
granted for a large housing development by IKEA on the southeast corner of Bow roundabout. Would
you consider using your ability to call in planning applications to ensure developments on and around
cycling routes incorporate facilities for cyclists, if appropriate?

International Best Practice

Several audience members raised concerns that current cycling infrastructure is not designed to meet
international best practice. The Cycling Commissioner said if everything was designed to international
then it will take longer to get a solution. However, the general feeling was that establishing consistency
for cyclists is incredibly important. An audience member rightly made the point that because of the lack
of consistency for cyclists in London, let alone the rest of the UK, cyclists can often seem
unpredictable. We need national standards on cycling infrastructure as there is for drivers.

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Timed loading bays along the route cause cyclists to swerve into traffic.
•
Unite London Passenger Section, representing bus workers and taxi drivers is in favour of fully
segregated cycle lanes utilising quiet roads. We also feel more resources should be focused on safe local
routes around local schools, markets and business areas.

Space for Cycling

As mentioned above, the LCC’s Space for Cycling campaign has outlined six policy themes which they
feel will create cycling conditions that would cycling accessible for all ages. They include:
· Protected space on main roads
· No through-motor-traffic zones
· 20mph speed limits
· Safer cycle routes to schools
· Liveable high streets
· More parkland routes

I would be interested in whether TfL will take these themes, where appropriate, into consideration when
setting out the improvements to the CS2.

In conclusion, it is essential that cycling infrastructure is consistent and predictable so that cyclists
know what to expect when approaching junctions and travelling along link roads. Whichever option is
chosen to improve CS2, Transport for London should be mindful that cyclists could benefit from
national standards. The junctions along the entire route have to be redesigned to ensure that
vulnerable road users are protected, including Aldgate gyratory and Bow roundabout. Lastly, I would be
grateful if TfL could implement the measures the LCC has ouotlined in their Space for Cycling
campaign.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

John Biggs AM
Member for City and East London

cc. Andrew Gilligan, Cycling Commissioner
Peter Hendy, Transport for London

CS2 Safety Summit – follow-up

For anyone who’s interested, I just received the following email and attached letter from John Biggs’ office regarding the meeting at City Hall a couple of weeks ago.

To whom it may concern:

Thank you for attending the CS2 Summit on Thursday 28th November. It was extremely useful to hear your suggestions about how to improve the Cycle Superhighway 2. I’ve included the comments people made at the meeting in the attached letter which I have sent today to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, with a copy to the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan (who attended the meeting) and Commissioner of Transport for London, Sir Peter Hendy.

As soon as I have a response I will share this with you. In the meantime, if you would like to contact me my email is john.biggs@london.gov.uk.

 Kind regards,

 John Biggs

London Assembly Member for City of London, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Barking and Dagenham

JB CS2 2013

Met Police on CS2

IMG_2469

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been handed one of these this week.  Whilst I applaud the fact that the Met are out there trying to make CS2 a safer place to cycle – I can’t help feeling that if TFL needed to produce these leaflets to explain how the early start system works, then it really isn’t doing the job very well.

CS2 Safety Summit

Last Thursday I attended the CS2 ‘Summit’ at City Hall, organised by John Biggs (Assembly Member for East London and Labour’s mayoral candidate for the next London mayoral elections). Forgive me if this is a bit disjointed – I scribbled a lot of notes!

The panel consisted of:

  • Darren Johnson (Green Party AM)
  • Caroline Pidgeon (Lid Deb AM)
  • Valerie Shawcross (Labour AM & Chair of the Transport Committee)
  • John Biggs
  • Ashok Sinha (Chief Exec of LCC)
  • Andrew Gilligan (Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner

Both Councillor David Christie & Richard Lewis were in the audience from Newham.

Each member of the panel gave a brief introduction of who they were and what their positions were in relation to CS2.  Mostly this involved agreement that it was ‘not good enough’ ‘dangerous’ ‘just blue paint’.  All had historically told the Mayor that changes were needed – in some cases in great detail.  It was generally agreed that the Mayor/TFL’s policy of ‘smoothing traffic’ was a barrier to reallocating road space to cyclists.

Valerie Shawcross said that there was a strong cross party feeling within the Assembly that London is ready for a cycling revolution – that people really understood the benefits of cycling (environmental, health, economy etc).

Caroline Pidgeon reminded everyone that Boris had promised a review of junctions 2 years ago and this has not happened.  She repeatedly stated throughout the evening that things just weren’t happening quickly enough.

Darren Johnson said that the ‘idea’ of Cycle Superhighways was a good one – but that they needed to be properly thought out.  He said that CS2 gives a false sense of security. He was also supportive of a 20mph speed limit in London.

It was then Andrew Gilligan’s turn.  He started controversially by stating that “not even the best engineering in the world could have stopped the deaths at Bow”.  This comment was not received well by the audience or by Ashok Sinha, who later stated that there were no issues with ‘left hooks’ in Holland.

Gilligan admitted that CS2 was ‘not good enough’ and that the Bow-Aldgate section really was ‘just blue paint’.  He also said that everyone in the room wanted the same thing, it was just a matter of how it was achieved and at what speed.  An assessment of traffic at Bow had shown 1900 cyclists and 4500 motor vehicles (of which 1500 were buses).

He then went on to outline the 3 options for improvement to the Bow-Aldgate section of CS2:

Option 1: Fully segregated 2m cycle lane, one way in each direction (similar to the Stratford-Bow section).  This would involve removal of bus lanes in some stretches and partial removal of footways.  It would also mean the removal of 7 mature trees and would need to deal with 57 ‘unsignalised’ side roads.  Although he was somewhat vague about the timing on this, he eventually said that it could be done by late 2014/early 2015.

Option 2:  This was the most radical of the options and involves the creation of a central track for cyclists. It would go over the flyover, taking out the need to negotiate the Bow roundabout and would mean less issues with buses and remove the issue of the side roads.  However they had not yet worked out how to get cyclists on & off it!

Option 3: The simplest and quickest option involved semi-segregated cycle lanes – widened bus lanes with traffic ‘wands’ and inset bus stops.  This could be achieved in 6-7 months.

All options include a full set of ‘cyclised’ junctions as well as the segregation of the Aldgate Gyratory. There were also plans in place for a parallel ‘Quietway’ running from Old Montague Street to the Olympic Park, but this needed input/approval from Tower Hamlets council and was not yet finalised.

Once the session was opened to the floor, some interesting comments and suggestions were made.  People were very passionate – understandably so, given what’s at stake.

Several people commented on the Stratford extension not being perfect – in particular the left turn at Warton Road was mentioned.  A Bikeability instructor also pointed out that in places, cyclists were forced into ‘secondary position’ on the left of the road, rather than being able to take primary position. AG said that the Warton Road junction was being addressed (as are the flooding/pooling issues in the areas around the bus stops).

Rick Andrew  from LCC talked about how the elimination of ‘left hooks’ needed to be a priority and that this had no impact on traffic flow.

Gerry from TH Wheelers talked specifically about the light phasing at the Bow roundabout, the cyclists needed longer.  AG said that this was something that could be rectified quite quickly.  Gerry also requested that the blue paint be removed as it was just making things worse. [Note – on the roundabout, the blue paint has now been removed – not sure whether this is in response or not!]

Generally:

AG said that 20mph limits were being put in place in ‘some locations’.  He also admitted that currently bike lanes are the last thing to be cleared in snow, but that new maintenance standards were to be put in place.

Valerie Shawcross said that the culture of Highway Engineering is still based on creating space for cars.  She pointed out that Dutch style roads are not ‘rocket science’.

John Biggs pointed out that as well as infrastructure, it was about behaviour and education.  He also said that the idea of a central cycle lane on this route terrified him. This is something completely new and he suggested that it should be trialled elsewhere, rather than on this dangerous piece of road.

Rhiannon Redpath (organiser of the 38 degrees petition – sign it here if you haven’t already: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-cyclists) stated that we (cyclists) are not asking for fast or ‘panic’ changes – we are just asking for changes and we want to know when those changes will happen.

Readout from November 2013 Meeting

News:

In the past month

  • Our suggestions for Henniker Rd and Oxford Rd in Stratford have been taken up by Newham Council.
  • LCC have submitted objections to the cycle facilities in and around the new Chobham Manor development in the Olympic Park, which dispay the usual tendency of developments in the Olympic Park to provide the minimumcycle provision required by planning guidance and dress up poor quality facilities as something good for cyclists.
  • We have participated in a post implementation audit of the CS2 extension which picked up lots of small points where the provision is unecessarily sub-optimal. These will be recorded for future reference but the main priority was seen as improving CS2 from Bow to Aldgate (including the Bow flyover).

Coming up;

  • Karena is attending the seminar on Thursday hosted by our London Assembly Member, John Biggs, on CS2. We disussed our main bugbears, but if you have any you would like to draw attention to please post them on this site for Karena to take up.
  • The Bike Jumble Sale at the view tube will also have bike marking. There are still some spaces if you would like to have a stall there.
  • Our annual meeting will be on 31 March 2014.

Rides 2014:

  • We will be looking to run Newham Rides on 15 March (linked to Velodrome event); either the beginning or the end of Kike Week (whihc is 15-22 June), 8 July (the day after the London stage of the Tour de France) and 20 September (the Waterfront Festival). Planning will continue on these and longer rides over the winter. Possibly also a ride linked to WWI commemorations.
  • In addition to co-ordinating with Tower Hamlets Wheelers next year we will publicise the Hackey Cyclists series of social rides.

The website

  • This was our main item of discussion. The experimental pilot is going well. If you would like to see it, the current temporary address is

http://newhamcyclists.robideas.com/

Please bear in mind that this is the exprimnetal site as is the existing content, which is not to be relied upon. All feedback on the layout of the site and what you would like to see covered by it gratefully received.

  • We thought we had progressed enough to obtain a propoer domain name and go live in the New Year. Watch this space.

November News Headlines

It has been an eventful time.

On 22 October a group from Hackney , Newham, Tower Hamlets and LCC headquarters carried out a ride around the Olympic Park and Westfield. A depressing exercise which confirmed the points we have been making throughout the planning process: the cycle provision could be much better; it rarely improves on the minimum laid down in planning guidance; and at times fails even to meet even these standards. Unfortunately the obduracy or Westfield and the complacency of the Olympic Delivery Authority (now transformed into the London Legacy Development Corporation) will result unnecessary expenditure of further public money bringing these brand new area up to standard. it should not have happened.

On 27 October we ran our last ride before the winter sets in – a leisurely and mostly off road ride to the RSPB site at Rainham Marsh and then up the Ingrebourne Valley to Upminister. The weather was pleasant and even the stiff breeze seemed to give us a helping hand whatever direction we cycled. We are now planning our rides for 2014.

The CS2 extension along Stratford High Street has opened (although has not yet been completed). Not perfect but one of the better cycle provisions in London. This progress was sadly marred by the tragic death of another cyclist at TfL’s ill thought through scheme at the Bow Flyover. On 15 November a group from LCC headquarters and ourselves made a post implementation study. The results will feed into our ongoing discussions with Newham Council on its excellent mini-Holland bid (for TFL funding to transform cycling in pilot areas of outer London) and no doubt into the wider Cycle Superhighway upgrading proposals.

In connection with mini-Holland bid we carried out a ride with the Council to study possible routes between Canning Town and Stratford. Whilst the crossing the District and C2C railway lines represents a real problem, the exercise demonstrated the huge potential for permeability in urban Newham – which is a key element of the bid.

We have further provided input into cycle schemes provided for Henniker Rd and Oxford Rd, Stratford; these received a sympathetic reception. We also opposed extending parking on the pavement in Katherine Road, East Ham and have been told this scheme has been abandoned.

It is evident that Newham Council, with its new approach to cycling, is working hard on the details of its mini-Holland bid. We wait in hope as success carries the prospect of transforming cycling in Newham.

Girls Love Bikes Too! ‘Intro’

The pic says it all really. I love cycling and I love my bike but often feel underrepresented by the cycling fraternity at large.
The majority of street cyclists are male and despite the impressive achievements of the British women’s cycling team (and female cyclists in all fields) cycling can still be viewed as a big boys’ club.
Girls Love Bikes Too! is a blog for anyone who experiences the childish joy of riding your bike for no other purpose than peddling around in circles. For those who remember a time when we were unencumbered by bewildering techno jargon, unflattering clothing and safety concerns.
Warning: Girls Love Bikes Too! is a hi-viz, Lycra and gadget free zone!

28 Oct 2013 Evening Meeting

Location and time
View on Yahoo Groups
Author: Arnold, Co-ordinator.
The Rainham ride on Sunday saw a party of 6 enjoy excellent weather before the storm. In fact the blustery wind was behind us most of the way, which was just as well for the two of us who had only limited use of their gears. Large off road tracks along the Greenway, CS3, the old A13 and Rainham marshes saw us get to the RSPB cafe. After refreshment back up the Ingrebourne Valley (again off road) to Upminister to catch the train back to West Ham to batten the hatches.

Richard updated on the mini-Holland bid. The deadline for the full bid is 13 December. The Council have set up a proper governance arrangement (including political input). We have started a “snagging list” of any possible cycle improvements, particularly those that would increase permeability in “urban Newham” – however large or small, from wrong signage to the possibilities of new cycle paths. This will complement the “snagging list” for the Olympic Park and Westfield which is being started with assistance from LCC HQ, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, all of whom participated in a ride around the area last week. If you have a suggestion on how the cycle provision can be improved please let me know and I will add it to the list. A photograph would help. A list will be going to the Council by mid-November at the latest as part of our input to the mini-Holland bid, and thereafter we will keep the list updated as a point of reference. There appears a real opportunity to translate good ideas into practice.

Rob demonstrated the pilot edition of our new website, which looked very attractive and user friendly. We will play about with this and upload some content between now and Christmas. It is, of course, absolutely essential that we keep this up to date when it goes live after this. To this end we have started a rota of volunteers who will look each month and update the news page If you would like to be on that rota (which would involve updating the news page not more than three times per year) or if you have any articles that you would like to see published on the website please contact me in the first instance.

We confirmed that our ride programme for next year would comprise about 4 “Newham Rides” linked as far as possible to cycling events and starting at the View Tube, plus one per month more extensive weekend rid, plus contributing to rides organised by Tower Hamlets Wheelers, e.g. by organising a pick up point or feeder ride. For the moment we need to fix the dates for the “Newham Rides” so we can maximise the publicity. There will of course be a rides section on our website.

Good news on the Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels, on whose “Friends Group” (FOGWOFT) Mike has been representing us. It looks like Greenwich Council will now put lifts into the Woolwich Tunnel and they are prepared to deep clean both.

We have been consulted by the Council

on early consideration of a good cycle route from Canning Town to Stratford. If you would like to participate in this or have any good ideas let me know.
on changes to Katherine Rd which involve more parking on the pavement. In view of the opposition of Members to this I will be submitting an objection (again) unless I hear otherwise.

The LCC campaign focus next year is on the Local Elections. I have already circulated their call for local ward champions. If you would like to do this please let them (and me) know. I can provide further info if needed.