Cyclists deserve better near work sites

February 14 2018   | Region: London

Cyclists deserve better near work sites
Greater priority must be provided to cycle and pedestrian movements on roads passing beside construction sites in urban areas, a member of the London Assembly transport committee has said.
 
Caroline Russell (pictured far right) told TP Weekly News on Friday: “Far too often we see the needs of construction and the needs of vehicles prioritised and that is just not good enough.
 
“If a city is going to work and if it is going to be a healthy city, you have to make sure that at the most dangerous time – when construction is going on – the needs of pedestrians and cyclists are put first.”
 
Examples of good practice do exist in London, she said. “I cycle through the City every day past a massive construction site which has been exemplary, with banksmen and very good traffic management. I had never before felt scared cycling through there.”
 
But she added: “Since the collapse of Carillion there are now four different companies working on that site and there doesn’t seem to be any co-ordinated traffic management, with huge lorries operating in very confined spaces. It feels absolutely terrifying.”
 
Caroline Russell made her comments while cycling through central London during a tour with colleagues from the capital’s transport committee, organised as part of an ongoing investigation into cycling infrastructure such as ‘Quietways’. After the group passed a large lorry blocking a cycle lane beneath the Barbican, Caroline commented: “Loading is what makes Quietways fall short. If we don’t design in loading properly and reorganise deliveries to reduce the number of vans and lorries in the first place, then Quietways will not enable people, who are not yet cycling, to get on a bike.”
 
Transport committee chairman Keith Prince praised the introduction of designed Quietway routes, which he says help to encourage more casual users of bicycles to use the roads. “The biggest deterrent to using bikes is safety, so clearly something that makes people feel safer has to be a good thing,” he noted.
 
But he also called on London’s Mayor to give more detail about his long term plans for promoting cycling and walking. “The London Plan has a target of 80% of all journeys being sustainable by 2041, but there should be some incremental targets and there also needs to be a breakdown of modal share. While the target is aspirational, it needs to be more practical.”
 
Deputy chair Caroline Pidgeon said that the Mayor clearly has a vision for cycling, but expressed concern that it may face pressure from Transport for London’s squeezed budget following the removal of central Government funding, a freeze in fares and falling revenue from commercial activities.
 
She welcomed the sight of ‘dockless’ bicycles which have started to be seen around the capital to complement London’s established ‘docked’ cycle hire scheme. “These dockless bicycles offer a potential solution to getting more people in the outer boroughs cycling, especially for those who cannot afford bikes and don’t have secure parking,” she said.
 
London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman, also on the tour, was asked if dedicated cycling infrastructure was key to getting more people into the saddle. “It is absolutely essential, but is not the only thing that needs to happen,” he replied. “We also need to reach out into communities to encourage people to cycle and feel confident through training.” He pointed out that schools programme in particular are very important, “as they set behaviours early in life, for life”.
 
He added that at least 100km of Quietway is set to complete this year across London. In addition, a recently opened section of Cycle Superhighway 3 past Buckingham Palace and the Royal Parks is proving popular with visitors. A north to south cycle superhighway from Farringdon to King’s Cross should be finished, he continued, by the end of the year.
 
♦ Also this week, the committee published a report on ‘Future Transport’, which warns that dockless cycle schemes need to operate across the capital rather than in the confines of individual boroughs to be effective.
 
It therefore recommends that the Mayor, TfL and the Government should examine whether to introduce a London-wide licensing regime for dockless cycle hire.
 
The report also predicts that connected and autonomous vehicles will not be on the capital’s streets until at least the 2030s, and when they do arrive they may add to congestion.

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