Second update (November 2013) – good news, I have heard that a track will be put back on Broad Lane. Thanks to everyone who sent in their comments to the consultation. Details to be announced by the Mayor’s Office.
Update: please see the excellent and detailed post by As Easy as Riding a Bike, which shows that the cycle tracks in question are actually being removed right now, leaving people the choice between illegal pavement cycling and mixing with large numbers of HGVs. This on a link marked as an off road part of the London Cycle Network.
Only a short post, this, and another consultation. This time, Broad Lane, Tottenham, which promises to ‘make the area more accessible for those walking or cycling.’ Strangely enough, nowhere does the consultation mention removing the existing cycle track along part of Broad Lane, although pavement widening, speed cushions, and tree planting are all name-checked.
Now I’m not defending this cycle track. It was poorly designed; an insufficiently wide bidirectional track. The pavement alongside is too narrow, which means that when you use the track – which I have on a few occasions – you have to regularly slow down and negotiate pedestrians on the track. But it forms a segregated link in the local cycle network, getting cyclists across the Overground tracks without having to detour around by the river or brave Tottenham High Road. There are onward connections to quiet streets in Hackney heading Southbound. And I’ve always found this unsatisfactory track, bad as it is, a much better option than riding on Broad Lane itself, with – according to DfT – a daily flow of 37,147 motor vehicles, including 1,935 HGVs (meaning perhaps one HGV every fifteen seconds, at peak.)
The plans involve removing the gyratory and lowering the speed limit to 20mph, both laudable aims. This, we are told, will reduce motor traffic volumes. But reduce them to what? To levels that are low enough that it’s worth abolishing the segregated space previously provided, rather than improving it? I doubt it – that would be an enormous reduction, necessitating radical measures (e.g. closing the road to through private motor traffic, or to all through motor traffic). Under the current plans, I believe this is likely to remain a busy road. For one thing there’s an entrance to a large retail park with lots of car parking, implying high levels of motor traffic and contiuned HGV delivery traffic. I haven’t seen the predicted motor traffic flow, as this is not included in the consultation (it should be), but I can’t believe it’s going to be low enough to make cycling on-road a pleasant proposition.
Let’s go back to the plans. A lane of motor traffic is being removed along Broad Lane. Surely, that provides space to provide high quality cycle infrastructure, especially along the N-S part of Broad Lane where there’s already inadequate cycle provision. On the part where there’s already a cycle track, losing a lane of motor traffic should mean there’s room for proper cycle tracks plus some extra space for pedestrians. On the E-W stretch, it may be harder, but it’s still important – making that part of Broad Lane cycle-able could open up good Westbound connections where they don’t currently exist.
Yet there’s no real thought for cycling shown here. Despite the claims to have considered walking and cycling, the real story comes through in the consultation, where it’s clear the views of cyclists (or indeed pedestrians) are not being sought, despite this being a signed part of the cycle network.
Please respond to the consultation, if you care about cycling. It feels like cycling is winning the occasional battle, but losing the war, as so many other schemes make things slightly or much worse for cycling. I have seen so many of these kinds of schemes I am starting to feel like I could set up a blogging bot to respond to them. We need change.