We are broadly supportive of the aims of the proposals but have reservations regarding the design and implementation of some components of the scheme.
This is our response to the Cycling and walking improvements between Hackney and the Isle of Dogs proposals, Transport for London, submitted June 2019.
We support the overall aim of the scheme – to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle, as well as making journey times shorter for two key bus routes.
Making it easier and safer to walk and cycle forms a key part of the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy and plan for Healthy Streets. This scheme is essential, and urgent, to achieving the Mayor’s goals of:
- Doubling the number of journeys made by bike by 2022.
- Increasing the number of walking trips by more than one million per day (17%) by 2024
- Reducing by 65% the number of people killed or seriously injured in road collisions by 2022 against 2005-09 levels.
They are also needed to meet the Tower Hamlets aims of doubling the volume of cyclists and reducing by 40% the risk of cycling accidents by 2025.
Meeting these targets will help Tower Hamlets, Hackney and London become a safer, less-polluted, less-congested, healthier city with lower carbon dioxide emissions.
The implementation of this scheme would be a huge improvement for pedestrians and cycles, and an improvement for buses.
The scheme aligns well with existing cycle routes: Q2, CS2, the National Cycle Network, and the proposed new walking and cycling bridge over the Thames. We are hugely disappointed that the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge has been cancelled, and even more so given that this route would have provided an excellent route for south and east Londoners to access the bridge.
The consultation should justify why the section north of Victoria Park could not also be fully segregated, rather than minor improvements on quiet streets.
We are concerned about the quality of the proposals which are “yet to be developed”. Although other changes are being planned in the Bow Liveable Neighbourhood Project adjacent to the route, waiting for the outcome of that project could result in delays to improving some of the most important and challenging parts of the route.
The new route must comply with the New Cycle Route Quality Criteria published by TfL. This is particularly relevant for the non-segregated sections (to the north of Victoria Park) and those for which plans are not yet available.
The changes to the Old Ford Road/ Grove Road roundabout are key to the success of the route, and proposals should urgently be brought forward on this.
Sustrans are the custodians of the National Cycle Network, working with partners to create a national network of traffic-free cycle and walking routes. National Cycle Route 1 runs in the same area as much of the proposed improvements. NCN 1 along this area needs to be improved, and these improvements could be made in association with the proposed improvements in this consultation. In particular, the southern section of the route overlaps with the National Cycle Network, and we would be happy to support the development of the proposals in this section, and in particular with the connection to the proposed Rotherhithe Bridge.
It is disappointing to see that the “journey times” section of the consultation only refers to motor traffic and bus journey time, with the linked PDF also focussing on walking times. Cycle journey times should be a key consideration of the proposals and should be reported. The design must ensure delays to pedestrians and people on cycles are minimised, to encourage the uptake of active travel. With walking and cycling levels set to increase in the coming years, and just 34% of Londoners walking or cycling for 20 minutes each day, the journey times for these groups should be considered in any impact assessment.
Detailed comments on the route, and specific sections of the route
- We strongly support the provision of a fully segregated, two-way cycle track where proposed.
- Strongly support the provision of bus stop bypasses, minimising conflicts between people on cycles and bus passengers.
- Strongly support the introduction of new, 24/7 bus lanes.
- Support the restriction of loading bays to 10am-4pm, minimising conflict with peak cycling flows, although 10am-3pm would be more conducive to making school home time safer for families.
- Strongly support the introduction of 20mph speed limits, and encourage the enforcement of this through ANPR cameras.
- Strongly support the entry and exit limitations to general traffic to the side roads Eric Street, Lockley Street, Agnes Street, Ackroyd Drive, Dod Street, while maintaining access for walking and cycling.
- Support the closure of Grove Road through Victoria Park, with the exemption of buses and cycles. We are disappointed to see taxis being exempt from the closure and for the hours of operations to be limited to 7am-7pm. We would strongly support a 24/7 closure to all vehicles except for buses and cycles.
- Strongly support the banned turns and no entry restrictions proposed.
- Strongly support the provision of all new and improved pedestrian crossings, widened footways and greening.
- Are concerned about the stagger proposed at pedestrian crossings over the cycle track and main carriageway (see Post Office opposite Mile End Park and junctions with Eric Street, Ackroyd Drive, Thomas Road, Dod Street). Crossings should be straight-ahead, minimising delay to pedestrians and maximising compliance.
- Strongly support the proposal that vehicles entering/exiting side road junctions must give way to cycles on the main road.
- Are concerned about that, at all side road junctions, vehicles entering/exiting the side road are given priority over pedestrians travelling along the main road. We would strongly support the provision of continuous footways along quiet side roads, including setting back the give way markings to ensure priority is given to pedestrians. This is particularly relevant for Hamlets Way, Portia Way, Mile End Leisure Centre access, the gated alley parallel to the railway tracks to the south of Mile End Leisure Centre, Thomas Road, the Burdett Road bus-only junction bypass, Beccles Street, Rugg Street and the two adjacent side roads.
- Note that many of the junctions along the route are currently lined with pedestrian guard railing. We would expect that, as part of the Cycleway improvement, all pedestrian guard railing be removed.
- Note that the plans do not specifically refer to the additional provision of cycle parking. We would expect that the scheme would look to provide additional cycle parking at key destinations along the route.
- Ask that the improvements to infrastructure proposed here need to be supported by wider non-infrastructure measures to promote walking and cycling. The relevant supporting measures in the Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Action Plans need to be put in place to ensure the new route is used by the numbers it can be.
- Ask that the Healthy Streets Check and Cycleway Quality Criteria assessments are published.
Comments of specific sections of the route
The following comments relate to specific sections/junctions on the route (from north to south), with reference to the detailed maps provided on each section.
The consultation should justify why this section could not also be fully segregated, rather than minor improvements on quiet streets, but we welcome the improvements which are being proposed.
Sheet 1 of 4: Frampton Park Road / Well Street
- We recommend banning the left turn from Well Street (west) into Frampton Park Road (except for cycles). This would reduce vehicle flows on Frampton Park Road, prevent left hooking at the junction (for cycles travelling west-east) and allow the provision of a bus lane through the junction.
Sheet 2 of 4: Ainsworth Road / Primrose Square/ Skipworth Road
- We welcome the improvements to the filter, and the proposed priority change prioritising north-south movements by people on cycles.
- Further consideration should be given to the impact of these proposals on those cycling east-west through the junction.
- The presence of heavy duty bell bollards indicates a historical issue of non-compliance, therefore camera enforcement should be considered.
- It is unclear why pedestrian crossings will be improved on just two arms of the junction rather than on all four.
Sheet 3 of 4: Victoria Park Road / Skipworth Road
- We strongly support the tightening of the junction.
- We support the provision of the new landscaped area on the western arm of the junction. However, we are concerned that no pedestrian crossing is provided at this location, serving a clear desire line.
- Some consideration should be given to permitting contraflow cycling along Victoria Park Road. As a minimum, these proposals should not preclude contraflow cycling being introduced in the future.
- The potential to change the priorities at the junction in favour of those on the cycleway should be investigated. With the proposed layout, it is expected that some people on cycles may use the Zebra crossing, leading to potential conflicts with pedestrians.
Sheet 3 of 4: Gore Road / Skipworth Road
- It is unclear how the proposals will affect the existing width restrictions. We would support a layout similar to the one introduced on Middleton Road (Quietway 2).
- It is disappointing to see little consideration for pedestrian crossings, particularly on Gore Road. Pedestrian crossings should be provided serving all existing and future (where new footways are proposed) desire lines.
- We welcome the new landscaped area, but are concerned that it may block off some pedestrian desire lines. Paths and crossings should be provided through the landscaped area, to maximise the convenience of walking.
- Consideration should be given to raising the carriageway on Skipworth Road to footway level, to the east of the proposed filter, to create a pedestrian-dominated space.
Sheet 4 of 4: Gore Road / Grove Road
- The daytime vehicle flows through the junctions are expected to reduce due to the proposed traffic restrictions on Grove Road through Victoria Park. However, the right turn from Gore Road will remain challenging, particularly when Grove Road is open to all vehicles. We are concerned that the proposals do not include any facilities to make this manoeuvre easier, and would support the proposals to ban some turns (for example the right turn from Lauriston Road into Gore Road) and the provision of a refuge island facilitating a two-stage right turn.
- Further consideration should be given to tightening the kerbs of the junction, in particular on the Gore Road arm.
- It is disappointing to see little consideration of pedestrian crossings. High-quality pedestrian crossings should be provided on all arms of the junction, particularly when this provision can also facilitate cycle movements through the junction (i.e. refuge island on the Lauriston Road arm).
We fully support the closure of Grove Road through Victoria Park, with the exemption of buses and cycles. We are disappointed to see taxis being exempt from the closure and for the hours of operations to be limited to 7am-7pm. We would strongly support a 24/7 closure to all vehicles except for buses and cycles.
Sheet 1 of 1: Grove Road through Victoria Park
- The reduced general traffic on this section would be a huge improvement for cyclists and pedestrians using the pavements and crossing the road.
- Generally, the gates into Victoria Park are very narrow and create conflict between pedestrians and people on cycles. Consideration should be given to widening these gates.
- Existing Zebras are well-used by cycles. We are disappointed to see that they are not being upgraded to parallel crossings as part of this scheme, to ensure cycles travelling east-west have priority over general traffic. This is particularly important as the National Cycle Network Route 1 runs east-west on a path on the south side of Victoria Park, crossing over Grove Road.
- The waiting restrictions in proximity to the gates need further enforcement, as they are often blocked off by stopped vehicles, including an ice cream van.
The changes to the Old Ford Road/ Grove Road roundabout are key to the success of the route, and proposals should urgently be brought forward on this.
We look forward to seeing proposals on this section of the route. Although other changes are being planned in the Bow Liveable Neighbourhood Project adjacent to the route, waiting for the outcome of that project could result in delays to improving some of the most important and challenging parts of the route.
Sheet 1 of 1: Grove Road to Mile End Road
- It is concerning to see that no segregation for cycles is provided on the northern approach to the junction. We would recommend replicating the layout present on the western approach to the junction, which provides a segregated lane for cycles and holds left-turning vehicles, preventing left hooking.
- It is concerning to see no segregation on the northern exit arm of the junction. We expect segregation be provided as part of the Liveable Neighbourhood proposals.
- It is concerning to see segregation ending on the southern approach to the junction. As above, a segregated lane should be provided until the mouth of the junction, with a dedicated signal for left-turning vehicles ensuring no left hooks.
- The crossing distance for cycles is very large. The duration of the early release signal must be sufficient to allow all users on bicycles to clear the junction (the model should account for a long queue of cycles).
- Given the large area occupied by the junction, consideration should be given to providing a full Dutch-style segregated junction, segregating all cycle movements from general traffic.
Section 4 to Section 7 - general comments
Sheet 1 of 1 of Section 4 to Sheet 1 of 1 of Section 7: Burdett Road (from Mile End Road to St Paul’s Way)
- Strongly support the entry and exit limitations to general traffic to the side roads proposed in all sections of the scheme.
- Consideration should be given to providing all the loading bays as inset bays, as is done on the east-west cycle superhighway.
- The carriageway width on certain sections of the road appears unnecessarily wide. Consideration should be given to reducing the carriageway width to 6.4m, allowing extra space for planting, greening and SUDS.
- We are concerned about the inconsistency in the treatment of crossovers: some have blue paint while others don’t. We recommend a consistent approach which clearly indicates to all road users the presence of a cycle track.
- We are concerned about the size of some of the gaps in the segregation, providing access to side roads / accesses. The gaps should be as small as possible.
Sheet 1 of 1: Burdett Road
- The depth of the refuge island on the Hamlets Way-Burdett Road parallel crossing must be sufficient to accommodate people on cycles.
- Burdett Road / Bow Common Lane: the depth/ lack of the waiting area on the southern approach and on the transition from bidirectional track to with-flow tracks appear insufficient to accommodate the expected number of cycles. Abundant stacking capacity needs to be provided, minimising cycle journey time and ensuring compliance.
Sheet 1 of 1: Burdett Road
- The Eric Street pedestrian crossing (Section 6 Sheet 1 of 1) does not appear to be on the desire line from the path in the park.
- We recommend a Toucan crossing be provided fronting Mile End Leisure Centre, allowing people on cycles direct access to the segregated track on the opposite side of the road.
Sheet 1 of 1: Burdett Road / St Paul’s Way junction
- It is disappointing to see staggered pedestrian crossings being provided across the junction. Every effort should be made to provide straight-ahead crossings, which maximise the convenience of walking and minimise exposure to air pollution.
- Careful consideration must be given to the cycle green time, to ensure that the delay to cycles is not greater than that to general traffic. If this is not the case, people on cycles will leave the cycle track and use the general traffic lane.
- On St Paul’s Way, are the traffic flows sufficiently low to justify the mixing of people on cycles with general traffic, according to the Cycleway quality criteria? If not, consideration should be given to providing a single general traffic approach lane to junctions, and reallocating road space to segregated cycle infrastructure.
Sheet 1 of 1: St Paul’s Way/ Turners Road junction
- The ASLs should be accompanied by early release cycle signals.
Sheet 1 of 1: Burdett Road (St Paul’s Way to East India Dock Road)
- The lack of facilities connecting Agnes Street to the cycle tracks is concerning. Consideration should be given to relocating the proposed new uncontrolled crossing across Burdett Road on this desire line, and ensuring the refuge island is wide enough to accommodate cycles.
- The cycle connections between Pixley Street, the cycle track and Thomas Street are not sufficient. Further consideration should be given to locating the crossings on the desire lines (including a Toucan) and permitting cycling on the footways.
- A safer connection between the cycle track and cycle parking at LIDL should be provided.
- It is disappointing to see the removal of the northbound bus lane, but we note the space constraints.
Sheet 1 of 1: Burdett Road/ Commercial Road/ East India Dock Road junction
- Commercial Road junction: further consideration should be given to all cycle movements, in particular the right turn from East India Dock Road into the segregated track, and the left turn from the West India Dock Road into East India Dock Road.
Sheet 1 of 2: West India Dock Road
- It is concerning to see such a large stagger in the Toucan crossing to the north of Grenade Street. Every effort possible should be made to maximise the convenience of walking and cycling over general traffic.
Sheet 2 of 2: West India Dock Road/ Garford Street
- We strongly support the proposed connection to Cycle Superhighway 3.
- We are concerned about the poor pedestrian provision at the Westferry Road junction, which requires pedestrians to cross the road in four stages. We expect this to discourage walking, increase exposure to air pollution and encourage non-compliance. However, we note that it is an improvement on the existing situation.
If you require any clarifications or further information on our response, please email Ollie.More@sustrans.org.uk Policy Officer, London at Sustrans.