An appalling, terrible, borderline-criminal proposal from Westminster Council

I’ve just seen the proposal from Westminster Council on a section of the Quietway Grid in their patch from Covent Garden to Waterloo Bridge. A patch, lest we forget that’s used by a lot of bikes:

Cyclists on Waterloo Bridge waiting to cross the Strand (CTC/Roger Geffen)

I’m really pushed for time this week so I won’t write a detailed post on this. In short it is terrible. Virtually nothing proposed at all, and what little there is is for pedestrians, not cyclists! Loads of car parking retained, no modal filters.

Worst of all, on Waterloo Bridge and the Strand junction itself there is nothing, absolutely nothing to protect cyclists. A line of paint on the road is all that’s going to protect you from busses, lorries, coaches and cars. This is 2015, not 1995. The council are mad.

This is the absolute centre of civic life in London and if there isn’t a case for pedestrianising large swathes of it (allowing black cabs to some bits, and perhaps loading/deliveries outside peak hours), then I can’t think where in the UK it would be appropriate to pedestrianise.

As I say, I’m in a mega hurry, so here’s my pasted consultation response:

What on earth is the Council doing? These are appalling proposals. The Council seem to have utterly disregarded the LCDS2 and LCC recommendations for Quietway provision and instead decided to do virtually nothing. Where money *is* spent it is on pavement widening to benefit pedestrians, not cycling. There is no reason whatsoever why these streets, right in the heart of London, should be accessed by private cars. Taxis, yes, deliveries/loading yes (at prescribed times) but all private cars, all the time? Madness.

Unless additional permeability measures benefit bikes, and modal filters discourage cars, they will struggle to create a cycle-friendly network that encourages cycling as an everyday activity.

Furthermore lots of car parking and loading bays *are* retained which (contrary to stated on the plan) create pinch points and encourage car use. Instead the spaces should be inset to the pavement if they are to be retained at all.

Section 1 (Bow St etc) – there is hardly anything here proposed to comment on. No modal filters, nothing. Strongly oppose.

Section 2 (Covent Garden etc) – again nothing for cycling to comment on at all. The gain of raised tables will be more than offset by retained car parking and to include footway resurfacing as part of a ‘cycling scheme’ is laughable.

Section 3 (Strand) – the only element of this proposal that is genuinely welcome is dropping the junction across the Strand to carriageway level. The rest of the section propsal is nonsense (again, why are private cars to be allowed to drive and park outside the Lyceum, exactly?!) and the unprotected central feeder lane on Waterloo Bridge n/bound is utter madness. It belongs in the 1990s and will be incredibly dangerous – encouraging some novices to the centre of the traffic whilst providing zero protection. If a traffic lane can be lost then why not provide a fully segregated facility on this incredibly busy bridge?

Section 4 (Waterloo bridge northern end) – this proposal is so close to criminally liable I’m amazed the Council even let it out into the public domain. Given the documented incredibly high cycle mode share on this bridge, to protect cycle traffic with a **single white line of paint on the road** eg a mandatory on-road cycle lane, when there is a central reservation present, is beyond belief. This won’t do anything, *at* *all* to improve safety.

TO call this a cycling scheme is wholly disingenuous and the Council should consider seriously whether they have opened themselves to a judicial review by doing so.




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