Now For Some Good News: Nine Elms Draft Cycling Strategy

Please take a few minutes to respond to TfL’s Draft Nine Elms Cycling Strategy. It’s closing at noon on Monday morning, and you need to email comments to NESBDesignforCycling@tfl.gov.uk

The Strategy is in my view really encouraging. Some past Cycling Strategies have tended to waffle on about how wonderful cycling is, without suggesting concrete actions to make cycling feasible for the majority. This one is targeted at mass cycling, and creating a network – using a range of measures, from park routes to segregated infrastructure on main roads – to get us there. I was also very happy to see a Strategy that did not constantly hedge its bets with ‘where feasible’ and ‘where practical’.

At a time when much of the news for cycling has been bad, anyone who wants improvements should encourage TfL when they get it right as well as criticising when they get it wrong.

Here is my brief response; thanks to Charlie Holland for two points that I have incorporated here.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Nine Elms Draft Cycling Strategy. There were many things that I would commend here. The Strategy very clearly identifies both the potential for growth, and the key barrier to mass cycling – perceived and real motor traffic danger – setting out a range of ways in which this can be addressed. The clear-headed acknowledgement of current deficiencies is welcome, and gives confidence that there is a real desire to address these and create an exemplary cycling environment.

In particular, I welcome the aim to create a network of routes that is both widely accessible and suitably dense, and the clear aims and objectives related to how this should be delivered. The goal of making the routes suitable for a large variety of people and journey types will, when delivered, lead to a clear step-change in provision and uptake. I was pleased to see the ambition for Quietways to exclude through motor traffic, through filtered permeability, alongside high quality segregation on the main road routes.

There are several questions. One query relates to the Greenways, and whether these are generally intended to be usable as cycle routes year round (i.e. during the darker Winter months), which clearly makes a difference to the overall density of the network. Provision to and from local schools also needs more consideration, given that child-friendliness will be a key test of the network. Finally, timescales need to be clearer even if provisional, to ensure that cycle-friendliness is built in from the start and continues to develop as fast as possible.

Overall, I would strongly support this Strategy and hope to see many more of this quality. It should be used as a blueprint for future such planning exercises.

Rachel Aldred

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