Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pedal Power review of Cycle Hire and superhighways from London Assembly Transport Committee

The  London Assembly Transport Committee has released its report, Pedal Power and an accompanying set of survey highlights, on the topic of TFL's Cycle hire (aka Boris/Ken bikes) and the TFL superhighways.

Kennington gets a mention under the "initial issues" of the Cycle hire section on p18:Hopefully we should see improved service in Kennington if Lambeth Council are successfully granted planning permission for the new docks around Albert Embankment, Cleaver Square and Kennington and Oval tube stations etc.  Thanks to Prince's Ward Councillors, who've provided full feedback from Dawn Rahman and a comprehensive review of the suggested docks in the area, and comments upon whose suggestions were taken forward.  Unfortunately, a number of suggested docks were outside of the current zone (although it's unclear where the boundaries lie).  Considering the lack of tubes further south in London, I hope we'll see the scheme extended in the future. Oval/Vauxhall seems an arbitrary cut off and demonstrates a lack of interest by the Mayor in South London infrastructure.

The Pedal Power report, also reviewed the Cycle Superhighways (CS7 runs through Kennington/Oval), and rather alarmingly states:
"Although the cycle superhighways are designed to provide safer cycling routes, it is not clear the pilot routes are achieving this." p27
"Whilst in some places there are full advance stop lines of 5 metres depth and mandatory cycle lanes of 2 metres width, elsewhere there are just narrow ‘ghost’ lanes (sections of blue paint without any legal status). However, it is most concerned that there are virtually no measures to reduce motor traffic volumes or speeds." p27
I was very excited about the announcement of the Cycle Superhighways, but despite my initial enthusiasm, back in May 2010, I noted that "the Superhighways are rather rash ideas when they do not give cyclists the room they need to co-exist with buses and cars on trunk routes".

And indeed, on p28, Sustran conclude of the two initial pilot superhighways (CS7 and CS3), "the greatest barrier to Londoners cycling, or cycling more, is fear of traffic yet the cycle superhighways generally follow busy arterial roads and provide no or minimal segregation from traffic. It therefore concludes that in their current form the cycle superhighways have limited scope to facilitate an uptake in cycling, particularly by new cyclists."
"There has been a lack of bikes and available docking points in certain areas, particularly at peak periods. The Committee’s survey revealed [ac lack of bikes and was a particular problem in Covent Garden, Holborn, Kennington, Westminster and Waterloo. One respondent commented: "There is a shocking lack of available docking points in Vauxhall and Kennington. Twice I had to cycle further than I had to travel from where I picked the bike up. Once I was told to take the bike home. Not fun to carry up 4 flights of stairs. I was charged £50…and told to wait 5 days for a refund.""

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