Where is the space for cycling on Broad Lane?

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.)

Broad Lane in Context

Broad Lane in Context

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.

The plans for Broad Lane (courtesy TfL)

The plans for Broad Lane (courtesy TfL)

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.

You can respond as 'Resident, Business, Bus user or Motorist'. But not cyclist. Funny that.

You can respond as ‘Resident, Business, Bus user or Motorist’. But not cyclist.

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.

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8 Responses to Where is the space for cycling on Broad Lane?

  1. Thanks for the alert. Here’s the response I gave:

    1. The maps I have seen and the descriptions I have read do not mention that this proposal involves removing the cycle path on the North-South section of Broad Lane. I had to learn about this from a blogger – you should be telling me! Without this information included, the consultation is pretty worthless.
    2. No separate safe space for cycles seems to be provided for anywhere in the plan. Slowing down cars is good, but on this heavily traveled route it will not be adequate to make the road feel safe to most cyclists (would you let your kids ride on it? Would you want your aged parents to do so?) The currently fashionable (in the UK) design approach of widening pavements and creating pinch points to slow drivers, both evidenced here, actually make roads more difficult for cyclists. I’m a pedestrian more than I am a cyclist, but the pavements generally feel adequate and safe to me while the roadways do not. Look to Dutch or Danish design for use of the highway space.
    3. Your options in question 1. allow me to be a bus rider or a motorist, but not a cyclist or a pedestrian. So the consultation design is consistent with the proposed plan, anyway.

  2. I’m afraid the true story is even worse than this. This is in fact the third consultation (the second was about rerouting buses, so unrelated.)

    The original consultation was a long time ago. That proposed replacing the existing one-way, three lane road, with a two lane, two-way road. At that point, the off-road cycle path remained clearly on the plans – not obviously improved, but not removed.

    So that was all agreed and construction started on the wider gyratory work late last year. One small but early annoyance was that an underpass further north, used by cyclists, was filled in at a very early stage of the project rather than at the time when the rest of the road there was being reconfigured.

    Then early this year, TfL appeared to have quietly replaced the plan document with one that was identical, except that the cycle path was removed. I’m annoyed with myself that I didn’t save a copy of the earlier version (with the cycle path still showing) but the later one is here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/corporate/Tottenham_Hale_Broad_Lane_proposals.pdf – note this is similar to the current consultation, but without the new speed humps. This was done without any announcement or consultation.

    This third consultation is about calming the street to 20mph by adding. As such, the proposed cycling provision hasn’t changed with this consultation, and in fact the removal is happening now. It has just been barrier-ed off in the last couple of days, and the adjoining footpath has just been resurfaced.

    The one consolation is that it is likely that traffic levels will indeed drop a lot. There will be few cars travelling from the west because the junction at the western end won’t allow traffic in to the road from the two main roads to the south and south-west, only from the smaller road to the west. At the other end, cars from the north and north-east roads will likely not use it either, only cars from the east. The retail park has a new entry on its north side (creating an extra hazard for cyclists) so in theory traffic will be more focused there, than on Broad Lane.

  3. p.s. Found the original version of the plans – Wayback Machine saves the day once again – see http://web.archive.org/web/20120816124058/http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/corporate/tfl-tottenham-hale-leaflet.pdf and notice Map D which has the cycle path still there.

  4. Pingback: Broad Lane – the great TfL supertanker ploughs on | As Easy As Riding A Bike

  5. SK says:

    If they widen the pavement and remove the cycle lane then screw them and use the pavement. I live in SW London which is notorious for ignorance towards cyclists and they did just that. They widened the pavement in Upper Richmond Road making the roads more narrow but they still kept the cycle lane – which runs in the MIDDLE of the road at a pinch point!!!!! This country is slowly pi$$ing me off. We are behind most other developed countries in terms of respect for the cyclist. Anyway whatever happens, it appears cycling is on the increase worldwide so something should change here……just let another 20/30 cyclists get killed then maybe Boris will do something useful.

    As far as his comments about banning headphones whilst cycling goes, then ban drivers’ car stereos and ban having car windows because they restrict your hearing of the roads.

  6. Frederick Guy says:

    In addition to responding to the TFL consultation, I contacted (among others) London Assembly member Joanne McCartney about this. The latest communication from her office includes this disheartening bit of information:
    “The London Cycling Campaign, Haringey Cycling Campaign and Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign have welcomed the introduction of the 20mph zone on Broad Lane and significant reduction in traffic volumes and recommended that the off carriageway cycle track should be removed as cyclists would prefer to use the carriageway in such a calmed environment.
    “However, recent feedback from individual cyclists has revealed a conflict of opinions with views previously received, and expressed a preference to retain the cycle track on Broad Lane.”
    I don’t know if McCartney’s office has the facts straight on this, but sadly this letter fits with the fact that I get far, far more information about bad road schemes here, or at Cyclists in the City or As Easy as Riding a Bike, than I ever get from LCC or from the Haringey Cycling Campaign. The anti-infrastructuralist current runs deep.

    • Frederick Guy says:

      PS. Actually, the quote I gave is not from McCartney’s office, but from TFL’s response to McCartney’s query. So that’s what TFL says LCC, HCC and WCC told them about removing cycling infrastructure on a road with substantial HGV traffic. Charming. If this is true, who are these clowns at the cycling campaign?

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