There is an unprecedented interest in cycling and need to enable people to cycle as we come out of lockdown.
The lockdown presents a unique opportunity to reset our transport use and address the issues that stop people getting on their bikes. Public transport will have reduced capacity and fewer people will want to use buses, trains and tubes. Active travel is essential if we’re to reduce air pollution and improve residents’ the health. As lockdown is relaxed, it will remain the case that people should avoid crowded and cramped spaces such as buses and trains. To enable this, Wandsworth council should take this opportunity to improve our cycling infrastructure.
I have asked for feedback from local residents and hosted two zoom discussions. Participants included experienced cyclists, infrequent cyclists, parents of cyclists and non-cyclists. What follows are a series of proposals around which there was consensus amongst the participants.
We are keen to see action before the meeting on June 9th.
- ‘Hearts and Minds’Just as much as infrastructure, the attitude towards cyclists needs to be changed so that cyclists can feel safer on roads. For cyclists, feeling welcomed and seen by drivers instead of in danger would make a very big difference. This was especially noticed by women cyclists and parents of children. This means leadership from the top in our communities to value and promote cyclists and to end the perception that cyclists and drivers’ needs are opposed.
- Segregated cycle linesare important on major roads to allow cyclists to use them safely. Using wands, orcas and planters was suggested to put in light segregation quickly.
- There are some key routesthat put people off cycling but if made safe would enable more people to cycle are Roehampton Lane, Upper Richmond Road and the A3, Putney Hill and Putney High Street. The plans to extend the cycle superhighway from Wandsworth Town to Richmond are strongly supported.
- Safer junctions:separate traffic lighting allowing cyclists to go first at key junctions would be welcome
- Contraflow for bicycles on all one-way roads would easily create lots of safer cycle routes. Roehampton High Street’s contraflow is cited as an example of where this works.
- More cycle parkingin residential areas and town centres.
- Parents requested that cycling for children should be allowed in parks such as Wimbledon Park.
- Trialling low traffic neighbourhoodswith planters that could be removed would encourage new cyclists, particularly children and families.
- Bus driversshould be given more training about reducing risks to cyclists.
- Access to bikes: support reuse schemes such as Carneys, subsidise e-bikes, extend cycle hire schemes.
- Facilitate car sharingwith a council matching app or website so people can find others driving their same route from nearby.
- Creating at least temporary low traffic neighbourhoodsusing planters to enable and encourage local cycling and children cycling to school.
- The rapid response teamis very welcome, and an easy way to feed in ideas such as this website: https://lambethtransportcovidresponsemap.commonplace.is/
- Socially distant queuing outside local shops is going to be an issue on our narrow pavements. We support more use of e-cargo bikes to deliver from our local shops, and the 12 new eCargo bikes from the ‘eCargo Bike Grant Fund’ for Wandsworth are very welcome. Could there be a scheme for local shops to share cargo bikes eg for Southfields shops, Roehampton shops, Upper Richmond Road and Putney shops?
- The Putney BID proposals are supported and plans to accelerate changes to Garratt lane are very welcome.
- Use green infrastructure wherever possible and over the longer term, for instance planters rather than concrete barriers.
Temporary ’school street plan’ for EVERY school as schools return. Social distancing at the school gates is a concern. Wandsworth council should introduce temporary road closures for 45 – 60 minutes every morning and evening to enable safe drop-offs and pick-ups and encourage walking and cycling to school. Other boroughs have managed to do this – Wandsworth needs to catch up.
Putney High Street
This was the most cited danger spot for cyclists from Putney, Roehampton and Southfields and is the top priority. There is a lot of support for the proposals in the Putney BID document, but many are concerned about leaving cycle traffic mainly on the High Street. Several people have given examples of accidents involving buses or taxis on Putney High Street. Pavement widening is viewed as increasing danger to cyclists on the High Street and so is a major deterrent to cycling into central London.
Pedestrianisation is desired but not practical. There should be clearly marked alternative cycle routes on Charlwood Road and Oxford Road.
There could there be a one-way system on the pavements up and down the high street to facilitate social distancing, with more crossing points to facilitate safe crossing.
Putney Hill was cited by some as the most dangerous part of journeys into central London – more dangerous than any part of their central London route.
Bike lanes should be segregated from the rest of the road. They are too narrow to be safe at present and leave no room for faster cyclists to overtake going uphill. Sharing lanes with buses is dangerous.
Turning into Chartfield Avenue is dangerous – going up Putney Hill on the left side and moving into the middle of the road is difficult. This should be improved with better traffic lights to allow cyclists to cross safely.
A cycle lane near the junction at Wildcroft Road would make cycling safer.
The cycle lane is very narrow and dangerous:
The junction between Putney Bridge and Lower Richmond Road is dangerous – wide junction with no demarcations for cyclists leaves them open to being knocked. This could be improved with markings.
Cycling across Putney Bridge itself is frequently cited as extremely dangerous. Could the pavements be cyclists on one side and pedestrians on the other?
Durnsford Road and Plough Lane
Car parking makes Durnsford Road difficult for cyclists and Plough Lane needs cycle lanes.
Pavements are too narrow and should be widened.
A segregated cycle lane along Roehampton Lane would make a significant difference to the likelihood of cycling for a large number of people, particular given it connects Barnes Station, Queen Mary’s hospital, four schools and Roehampton University. Several cyclists said the area is dangerous, but the road is wide enough to have a segregated cycle lane.
The area could also benefit from more cycle parking.
Cyclists were very pleased with the cycling along the Wandle, however, the missing link through Earlsfield on the Wandle Path should be completed as soon as possible.
Upper Richmond Road
The road would benefit from a segregated cycle lane. Thought should also be given to cyclists at junctions – traffic lighting for cyclists could be introduced.
The first modal filter on Oakhill road is very effective. More should be included to make the rest of the road safer. Cycling segregation should be introduced at junctions.
Mill Hill Road
Even before Covid the pavement was too narrow and forced pavement users into the oncoming traffic. It is even more stressful now. It is particularly important as it a well-used route by children going from Putney to Rocks Lane Sports centre.