TfL November Board Meeting: Walking, Cycling, the River and the Urban Environment
Championing electric vehicles, car clubs and moving to hybrid buses
Negotiations are nearing completion with Siemens for it to deliver the Pan-London Scheme back-office functions in early 2011. Evaluation of bids for the electric vehicle and infrastructure procurements are complete, and now going through the Corporate Assurance process. Both procurements are on track for contract award in January 2011. The Electric Vehicle brand has been secured, allowing for launch of the Electric Vehicle website and brand in November.
Improving the urban realm
Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Phases 3 and 4
The Mayor’s decision to introduce LEZ Phase 3 in January 2012 was confirmed on 20 September. Work with IBM is well underway to amend the LEZ systems and web information to reflect this. The LEZ operator information campaign, which will reference the simultaneous implementation of Phases 3 and 4, and will target the operators of affected vehicles, is on track to be launched in January 2011.
TfL Design Review Panel
The newly established TfL Design Review Panel held its first meeting on the 1st September. The panel has been established in response to the Mayor’s Better Streets manifesto, which requires all schemes over £2 million to be subject to a design review, to ensure they meet the objective of delivering high quality public realm. The panel will review both TLRN and borough schemes, and includes membership drawn from across TfL and Urban Design London.
The first scheme to be looked at by the panel will be Britannia Junction in the London Borough of Camden. The space is adjacent to the Underground station in Camden Town, and will seek to improve the pedestrian experience, while visibly creating a more cohesive streetscape.
The preliminary works on Pall Mall and St James’s Street for the planned re-introduction of two-way traffic are already underway, and the overall scheme is due to be completed by the end of November 2011. When finished, the scheme will deliver a dramatic improvement in the quality of public realm, and facilities for pedestrians, while also improving conditions for buses and other vehicles.
Preliminary work was started in early September on improvements at Leicester Square, which is one of the Mayor’s Better Streets projects. The scheme, which is partly funded through the Local Implementation Plan Major Schemes programme, will be completed by March 2012, and will transform the quality and accessibility of key streets leading through, and to the Square in advance of the 2012 Games.
Encouraging walking and smarter travel
TfL has produced a short film to promote TfL’s Key Walking Routes initiative. This will be aired on TfL’s YouTube channel to demonstrate the benefits of walking to stakeholders, and other Londoners.
Barclays Cycle Superhighways
Construction work on Routes 2 (Bow to Aldgate) and 8 (Wandsworth to Westminster) started on 1 October, with preparatory work on Mile End Road (on the Bow to Aldgate route) in advance of resurfacing, to provide a smoother journey for cyclists. Kerb improvements at Armoury Way on the Wandsworth to Westminster route have also been undertaken. As well as installing highly visible blue cycle lanes that are at least 1.5 metres wide, other works scheduled on the two routes include:
Introducing 24 new Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) at junctions along both routes;
Making modifications to 30 junctions along both routes to make them safer for cyclists (including the installation of ‘Trixi’ cycle safety mirrors, upgrading traffic signal equipment, and assessing the possible removal of existing left-turn slip roads);
Providing a quicker and safer way for cyclists to travel across the Bow Roundabout, on the Bow to Aldgate route;
Introducing a clearly marked diversionary route, so that cyclists can avoid the busy junction of Battersea Park Road and Queenstown Road on the Wandsworth to Westminster route, and Introducing mandatory cycle lanes wherever possible, including along 25 per cent of the Wandsworth to Westminster route.
As of the end of September, 90 businesses had registered with the Cycle Superhighways workplace scheme, and there have been over 600 expressions of interest in the scheme. The Superhighways smarter travel workstream is also funding the new Certificate of Professional Competence accredited driver training on ‘Safer London Driving.’ This training was launched on 15 September, and 17 freight operators located along the Superhighways routes attended.
Barclays Cycle Hire
Research to measure user satisfaction and attitudes towards the scheme, as well as gain a better understanding of who is actually using the scheme began on 20 September. On 8 October, the 1 million journeys mark was reached on the cycle hire scheme. More recently, the number of registered members has also crossed the 100,000 mark. Service levels at the customer service centre have improved significantly, with all KPIs consistently met since 19 September. Backlogs in e-mails, refunds, and call-backs were all cleared over the course of August and September.
Redistribution continues to be the biggest operational issue, particularly during the morning peak at mainline rail stations. Trials are underway at key rail stations, and around Holborn, to use temporary pens to deal with extremely heavy usage in these areas, and a permanent solution will be agreed shortly. Work to deliver and test the ‘casual users’ functionality is on-track, and this phase of the scheme is expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
Approximately 80 additional planning applications will need to be submitted for extensions to existing sites during October, November and December. The scheme launched with 315 docking stations, and the total number is now 340, out of an eventual total of 400, and the current number of cycles in circulation is over 4,500, out of an eventual total of 6,000.
So far, there have been over 300,000 viewings of TfL’s online ‘Catch up with the Bicycle’ films (which are hosted on YouTube, and also accessible from the TfL website). The films highlight the experiences of cycling in London for both celebrities and regular Londoners.
Cycle Task Force Expansion
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Cycle Task Force, part of the Safer Transport Command, and funded by TfL, added 10 more officers on 29 September to improve cycle safety and crack down those who disobey the rules of the road. Since its launch in June, the team has security marked nearly 5,000 bikes, made nearly 20 arrests for bike theft, and reunited some owners with their stolen bikes.
The unit also ran a six week operation this summer to target road users who disobeyed traffic signals, encroached on ASLs, cycled carelessly or on pavements, or used their mobile phones on the Cycle Superhighways. The operation resulted in:
More than 900 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) of up to £60 issued to drivers and motorcyclists;
More than 400 FPNs of up to £60 issued to cyclists;
Around 300 people attending an Exchanging Places safety education course, and
106 cyclists issued FPNs for lesser offences, who were given the option to have their FPN cancelled if they attended this course, and 50 per cent of them did.
Cycle Hire Thefts
The number of stolen bikes from the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme continues to be very low. Only five bikes have been reported stolen to the police since the scheme launch. Two of the stolen bikes were ‘undocked’ at the time, as Serco was over-providing at Waterloo. Four bikes have been recovered by the police, and five arrests have been made.
A study is being undertaken to examine the feasibility of using the SS Robin (a former freight vessel) and its pontoon as an extension to Tower Pier instead of
building a bespoke pontoon, which, if suitable, would save both time and cost. The results of the study are expected imminently.