[Below are the noteworthy extractions from the Commissioner’s Report – MWM]
Making Walking Count
On 29 January, TfL unveiled a new West End walking route which has benefited from £2.4m of public realm improvements, funded by TfL. TfL has worked with the London Borough of Camden, the City of Westminster, and the Corporation of London to deliver the wide-ranging pedestrian improvements.
At the heart of the new walking route, which runs from Covent Garden to Holborn Circus, is a newly created public space at Great Queen Street. The existing space has been greatly improved by increasing footway space and removing traffic signals, guardrail and street clutter from the area. The key retail street of Long Acre has seen pavements widened and re-laid using high quality materials and new street lighting. The historic square of Lincoln’s Inn Fields has been restored with new footways, finished in characteristic materials and features accessibility improvements including drop kerbs and tactile paving. New cycle parking has been installed, as well as an electric vehicle charging point, while High Holborn has been de-cluttered with improved crossing facilities for pedestrians and more cycle parking. Great Queen Street will also host a cycle docking station as part of the Mayor’s new Cycle Hire scheme and has car club parking facilities.
The improvements are part of the Mayor’s policy of ‘Making Walking Count’ and have been designed to encourage more local walking. The improvements also include facilities to encourage cycling and greater use of electric vehicles.
Smarter Travel Sutton
On 4 March, the three year Smarter Travel Sutton pilot won the ‘Most Influential Transport Achievement’ award at the London Transport Awards. The Smarter Travel Sutton programme was delivered in partnership with the London Borough of Sutton and achieved a six per cent reduction in the share of resident car trips and a 75 per cent increase in levels of cycling. The award was in recognition of the initiative’s contribution to demonstrating a new and cost- effective approach to demand management which has the potential to be replicated by other boroughs in London.
TfL, in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), City of London Police, British Transport Police, Greater London Authority and other key stakeholders, is developing a Cycle Security Action Plan. The Plan will be launched in May as part of the Mayor’s cycling revolution. It will set out action to reduce cycle theft and criminal damage to bikes in designated public places across London.
TfL has a range of activity underway to promote cycle security. This includes an increase in cycle parking spaces to 66,000 by 2012; marketing campaigns to improve locking practice by cyclists, and measures to reduce the risk of theft and criminal damage to cycle hire bikes. TfL is assessing the benefits of different bike marking and registration schemes. The outcome of this assessment will feed into a forum being established by the GLA with bike manufacturers and retailers. A series of local events led by the Safer Transport Teams, engaging with cyclists on preventing cycle theft, has also commenced.
On 9 March, TfL launched its Cycle Safety Action Plan (CSAP). The final version of the CSAP outlines all the measures TfL is taking with its partner organisations to address cycle deaths and serious injuries in London, with a specific emphasis on collisions with goods vehicles, and how TfL can improve conditions for cyclists. A draft action plan was first published in October 2009, and this final version takes into account the feedback received from expert groups and members of the public. The plan prioritises the measures that will address the main causes of fatal and serious cyclist collisions, and lays out a comprehensive action plan for TfL and its partners during the next 12 months.
Alongside this publication, TfL has also launched its new cycle safety advertising campaign, broadcast on television, cinema and radio. The campaign focuses on four bank robbers and their meticulously planned heist, with the message that the more you look out for something, the more obvious it becomes.
Cycle Hire Scheme
As of 12 March, 485 planning applications have been submitted to the nine host boroughs of the scheme, of which 386 have been approved – an approval rate of 83.2 per cent. Work has also commenced on resubmissions which have been required where detailed design by the contractor has identified the need to alter the site layout or move the site. Negotiations continue with boroughs regarding street furniture design changes. Construction work began in December 2009, with the installation of the Cycle Hire docking station foundations. As at 8 March, the foundations of approximately 60 sites had been completed.
On 15 February, works commenced on the two pilot Cycle Superhighway routes. Work has started on the Barking to Tower Gateway route, with resurfacing work near Westferry DLR station. On the Merton to City route, TfL is now trialling new continuous blue cycle lanes through three junctions. The purpose of the trials is to test the behaviour of cyclists and other road users in response to these lanes through signal-controlled junctions.
The DfT has approved the use of a Cycle Superhighway on-street symbol, and a special sign design, with some amendments to TfL’s original proposals. In addition, an application has been made to the DfT for a trial of 50 convex safety mirrors at traffic lights, to improve drivers’ visibility of cyclists.
On 5 February, the GLA hosted a meeting with London boroughs to discuss the bidding process to host two outer London Skyrides in 2010. Applications had to be submitted to the GLA by 22 February, and the successful boroughs were informed by mid-March. The Skyrides will then take place between June and August, before the Mayor’s central London Skyride event in September.