Infrastructure

New phase in Milan Open Square project targets school streets

In the past 4 years the city of Milan has rejuvenated 40 public squares and streets, by giving them back to citizens.

Following the playbook used by Janette Sadik-Khan in New York, the transformations were introduced as temporary measures. The typical objections by the usual suspects melt away after a few months, as everyone can see the massive improvements in quality of life.

Before
After

Now the local authority is asking schools and citizens to propose new spaces outside kindergartens and schools.

Coupled with the plan of a 750 km network of cycle tracks in the metropolitan area, the Open Squares programme is transforming the Northern Italian city once famous for its smog.

And for all those cities too timid to reduce car-centric wastelands, please note: Mayor Sala was comfortably re-elected.

Why do Canal & River Trust, Canary Wharf Group and Tower Hamlets Council treat disabled people with such contempt?

The Thames Path at Canary Wharf has been closed for some weeks. A bridge over a lock is in need of urgent repairs, and the Canal & River Trust (responsible of all the inland water on the Isle of Dogs) has locked the gate, put up a sign and … problem solved.

They have not bothered to ask themselves: “If we close this gate, what will people walking and cycling (this is NCN Route 1) do? Is the diversion accessible to people on wheel chairs?” You can see from their sheet that no diversion route is shown.

Here is the diversion: the red line is the natural path one would take if no directions are given; the green line shows the longer, safer, accessible route. Without signs, no one would know it existed.

Let’s see what happens in both directions.

Going North, one meets the sign at A and would naturally follow the red line to B. There the pavement stops.

The first two lanes of the road go down an underground roundabout, a no-go area for pedestrians. The third lane goes up a slipway. One thus has to cross two lanes of fast traffic, with no zebra…

… only to find the slipway has the tiniest of pavements. Imagine you are on a wheel chair or have a push chair with a baby.

If you are walking from the North, you encounter the same issues, with the added insult that there is no warning sign at C that the path is closed.

The NCN signs tells you to go straight, and a big red sign in the middle of the path is just for advertising.

So one ends walking/cycling to D, only to find the path closed, and has to return to C, cursing the sheer incompetence of the idiots in charge.

The three authorities will probably say “Nothing to do with us”. And that is the crux of the matter: they are checkbox tickers, rather than human beings with concern for people with disabilities.

UPDATE 1 OCT – We have received the following from Canary Wharf Group:

Thanks for your feedback regarding the bridge works and accessibility issues. The bridge and signage is the responsibility of Canal & River Trust and the bridge itself is outside of the Canary Wharf estate boundary however, I flagged this with our estate management team when I saw your tweets and they have been to assess and as a result, we will have signage made up to post an alternative route including a safely accessible route. We have also reached out to Canal & River Trust to ask them about the repairs and schedule of works. I hope this eases some of your frustrations.

UPDATE 5 OCT – From the Reclaim Our River Campaign

UPDATE 15th October: Canary Wharf Group has placed a diversion sign on the North side of the bridge (Point C in the map above); however they refuse to put one on the South side, because “it is not their land”

.

UPDATE 25th October: Canal and River Trust has written to us. Effectively, these idiots don’t have a budget for emergency repairs, so they wil do nothing until next financial year, April 2023.

I can confirm that our contractors attended site on the 18/10/22 to scope out the requirements for the first stage of the works. We will start the planning stage over the coming month. A financial provision has been made in our budget for 2023/24 to allow the replacement to take place in April/May 2023. 

Additional signage is being arranged to divert users along the footway to the adjoining road and will be installed at the first opportunity.   

We have been advised by the local authority that the Thames Tow Path is a permissive right of way and not a designated right of way. Following identification of a concern regarding the condition of the bridge, we have acted to manage public safety. We have made financial provision at the earliest opportunity within our planning cycle to undertake the works and are developing the design in to allow us to act as soon as funding is available. 


UPDATE 25th November. Canal & River Trust have finally placed a diversion sign (the one we made and published) on the South side of the bridge

Still treating citizens in Woolwich with disrespect

Thirteen months ago we reported that a diversion on Q14 at Woolwich was disrespectful to people walking and cycling.

Image taken in January 2021

It is sad to report that the only thing that has changed is a new sign, which fittingly for the world capital of bullshit, is a lie.

Image taken in February 2022

The first sign said work would be completed in November 2020; the second one amended it to July 2021. It is now February 2022 and the cycle path is still closed.

Nothing has been done to make the diversion worthy of Sadiq Kahn aspiration of “world class cycling city”. More like Third World standards:

With four lanes of motor traffic, one would have thought that there is space to allocate one lane to cycle traffic, so that cyclists don’t have to share a narrow pavement with pedestrians.

Incidentally, Transport for London charges businesses who carry out work that involve closing carriageways; should they not do the same to those who close cycle tracks or pavements?

Our question to Transport for London: if the developer in Woolwich had blocked a traffic lane for 26 months (and counting), how much would it had to pay?

Institutionally unwilling to learn

Four and half years ago, Lucia Ciccioli was killed by a lorry driver at Lavender Hill. At the Inquest, the Coroner recognised that the junction layout was a contributory factor and asked Transport for London to rectify this death trap.

Last year we wrote how Transport for London failed to design a safe junction layout in the timescale they had promised.

Gareth Powell [Managing Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London], is taking advantage of a broken system. The Coroner issues a request to fix a life-threatening situation but has no power (and/or interest) to follow up; so the relevant authority plays the game: writes a letter with empty promises and then ignores them.

It seems that our blog post has spurred TfL into action: it has been reported that they have finally prepared a design, although it has not been published.

Caroline Pidgeon, London Assembly member asked this pertinent question to the Mayor:

What steps has TfL taken to identify where other similar layouts are in place on TfL’s road network, so that similar improvements can be implemented?

The answer from the Mayor is appalling (but not unexpected from someone who has no understanding of Vision Zero:

The sites in Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Safer Junctions programme are determined using Excess Harm by applying a weighting to casualties based on severity and annual average daily traffic flows to determine total harm per million passenger journeys for each location. Excess harm is the additional harm observed per road segment compared to expected harm.

TfL has mapped the Casualty Harm Rate and Excess Harm data to highlight the most harmful roads and this information is available to the boroughs. Sites have not been identified where there are similarities to those found at the Lavender Hill / Elspeth Road junction because Excess Harm assessment is better for reducing road casualties. Similarly, TfL works closely with boroughs and encourages them to use a similar evidence-based approach to identifying priorities to reduce road danger on roads they manage.

As an answer to a follow up question, the Mayor adds

I understand that this is an experimental methodology and was used in conjunction with an existing framework to prioritise funding for existing schemes.

You can read a short explanation of TfL’s Excess Harm methodology here. This is the key formula:

In other words, TfL calculates the expected casualty rate on the network, allocates it according to road type, and will intervene only if the KSI rate on a stretch of road is higher than the expected one.

This shows that Vision Zero is NOT really one of the Mayor’s policies. Because if it were, the second part of the numerator would be zero and the methodology would become meaningless.

Let’s summarise:

  • Transport for London still equates casualties with danger: if they don’t see a corpse they will not fix it
  • Transport for London refuses to learn from failure and actively encourages other transport authorities in London to abstain from learning from failure
  • Transport for London adopts an experimental methodology that contravenes the most important principles of its core road safety policy and calls it evidence-based approach

Sadiq Khan is not an idiot; he is an arrogant liar who thinks he can fool Londoners; just like his predecessor.

Sadiq Khan fails to deliver StreetSpace promises

After European countries went in lockdown in March last year, many cities started to implement measures to promote active travel, from widening pavements to converting lanes on busy roads to cycle lanes.

For many weeks there was silence from London’s City Hall. Then finally on 15th May the StreetSpace initiative was launched with the usual “world-beating” exaggerations

So how much has actually been delivered by Transport for London in the past ten months?

Here is a list of promises made in May:

  • Quickly building a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials and including new routes
  • Some of the largest car-free zones in a capital city in central London.
  • Some streets will be be limited to walking, cycling and buses. This is now planned for streets between:
    • London Bridge and Shoreditch – i.e. Bishopsgate
    • Euston and Waterloo
    • Old Street and Holborn
  • Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge may be restricted to people walking, cycling and buses only

A map was provided at the time of the announcement but it has strangely disappeared from TfL’s website. Instead they point to a map by Sustrans which of course does not show what was promised

Let’s see what has been delivered

  1. Quickly building a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials and including new routes
    • FAIL – No semblance of a network anywhere. a few measures here and there that dump people in dangerous circumstances.
      • Example: protected cycle lane on North side of Euston Road ends suddenly at British Library; no indications telling people how to progress East
  2. Some of the largest car-free zones in a capital city in central London
    • C – Car-free zones in Soho, Covent Garden and the City are welcome. Not enough to make the bombastic claims
  3. Bishopsgate limited to walking, cycling and buses
    • B – The scheme was implemented, but a judge ruled that it was unlawful to ban taxis (under appeal)
  4. Euston and Waterloo limited to walking, cycling and buses
    • No Grade – It is unclear what it was meant, There is already a mediocre quietway through Covent Garden and Bloomsbury.
  5. Clerkenwell Boulevard limited to walking, cycling and buses
    • FAIL – Absolutely nothing done
  6. Waterloo Bridge limited to walking, cycling and buses
    • FAIL – The anti-terror barrier have been pushed to where they should have been set in the first place. Nothing has been done at the danger points at entrance and exit of the bridge. Scandalous.
  7. London Bridge limited to walking, cycling and buses
    • FAIL – as Waterloo Bridge, protected lanes in the middle of the bridge (where danger is least) are rendered useless by no measures at either end. There are clear conflicts between paths of cyclists and buses

We have commented before about the PR (i.e. BS) exercise that was the Park Lane cycle lane.

Dangerous pinchpoint on Theobald’s Road
Clerkenwell Road, at the spot of a fatality and a serious injury. Nothing done
Good luck here, North end of Waterloo Bridge
London Bridge – an “accident” waiting to happen

It is difficult to understand why Sadiq Khan has not been taken to task for such a poor score card.

In our opinion the guy is not to be trusted. Please don’t waste your vote in May; there is a good Green candidate.

Diverting citizens disrespectfully

In Summer 2018 Will Norman opened the Eastern stretch of Quietway 14, which connects the Millennium Dome to the Woolwich Ferry, all along the river.

Then in Autumn 2019, the last two hundred meters had to be closed to allow the construction of a new development.

Some signs were prepared and a diversion set up.

Naturally they couldn’t resist placing their favourite sign.

So Isabelle Clements, founder of Wheels for Wellbeing, and featured in this Department for Transport ad on exactly the same Q14, would not be allowed to use it any longer.

And it gets worse. The diversion follows in parts the four-lanes “murderous Woolwich High Street” (not our words)

There is plenty of space on Woolwich Road / High Street to take a lane out, move the bus stop 100 metres back and create a new temporary cycle lane.

But that was too revolutionary in pre-Covid times.

And so nothing was done and people walking and cycling had to share a cramped pavement.

Then in May 2020 Sadiq Khan announced TfL’s Streetspace programme of reallocating space for active travel. But this is a backwater, not sexy enough for fancy photos like Park Lane. Will Norman has probably forgotten about it and TfL probably does not have a system to mantain the network of Quietways/Cycleways.

And so the active citizens of Woolwich are still confined to a narrow pavement.

The tyranny of space: everyone crammed into 1.5 meters, so that a few can drive at speed.

The building work was expected to end in October 2020, but hey, we know that these are empty promises. The path is still closed.

So, to summarise: lots of time was spent to make fancy videos of the new cycle route, but no money or thought has been spent to ensure that the cycle route is fit for purpose at all time.

This is the consequence of treating citizens with disrespect.

Everyone has different abilities. Don’t discriminate against some of us.

Cycles provide enhanced mobility to all of us, especially now that most types are available also with electric assist.

EazP6XsXgAEG9hT

Amsterdam. By @quixoticgeek

The Beyond the Bicycle Coalition has been lobbying transport authorities, both at local and national level to keep in mind the needs of people who use cargo bikes and specially adapted cycles, when designing road infrastructure and incentive schemes.

Too many safe routes become unusable when narrow pinch points are built. This is very important now, as the pressure to build fast may lead people not to think about all the details.

Ea8kXCXWAAk3qN7

Courtesy of Ellis Palmer

Sustrans have listened and have embarked on a national programme to remove discriminatory barriers to the National Cycle Network

Coalition member Wheels for Wellbeing has posted a manifesto to ensure transport authorities don’t fall into discriminatory practices. Here are the asks:

We urgently ask for Central Government to:

  1. Engage with Disabled people’s organisations to ensure Disabled people are not locked out of their communities over the long term.
  2. Take measures to tackle the infrastructure barriers to Disabled people’s wheeled mobility:
    • Publish the reviewed national cycle design guidance (to replace LTN02/08)
    • Improve footways safety for all by explicitly allowing the use of mobility scooters in cycle lanes and rename “cycle lanes” as “mobility lanes” or “micro-mobility lanes”.
  3. Take measures to tackle the cost barrier to Disabled people taking up cycling:
    • Extend financial support for electric-cycles, adaptive cycles and cargo-cycles, to Disabled people in self-employment and those who are not in work
    • Support our call for Motability to extend its offer to include adaptive cycles
    • Require (& resource) local authorities to provide cycle training on Electric-cycles/adaptive cycles and inclusive cycle hire centres.
  4. Recognise the fact that cycles are mobility aids for many Disabled people and develop a blue badge for Disabled cyclists
  5. Run a national public education campaign (inspired by RNIB’s call for a Covid Courtesy Code)

Further we ask Local Authorities to:

  1. Involve local Disability organisations in the access-auditing of temporary schemes & in co-production of all permanent schemes.
  2. Prioritise safety and accessibility of all temporary walking and cycling footway widening & temporary Cycling schemes. We recommend the use of TfL’s Temporary Traffic Management Handbook.
  3. Carry out Equality Impact Assessments for all temporary schemes and apply inclusive design principles, referring to our Guide to Inclusive Cycling.
  4. Retain essential car access for pick up, drop-off and Blue Badge parking, including on otherwise car-free streets.
  5. Provide for accessible cycle parking for longer/wider cycles in town centres and on residential streets/estates/developments.

 

Gareth Powell is in contempt of court

Gareth Powell is Managing Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London.

On 25th July 2018 (nearly two years ago) he wrote a letter (pdf) to the Assistant Coroner of the Inner West London Coroner’s Court, to explain what Transport for London was going to do to prevent a repeat of the avoidable killing of Lucia Ciccioli on Lavander Hill in October 2016.

Lucia was killed by a lorry driver who was talking on his mobile phone at the time.

Here is a media clips gallery and here is RoadPeace report of the Inquest

The junction’s poor design was in the Coroner’s view a major contributory factor to the tragedy and TfL was summoned to explain what they would be doing to fix the dangerous design that forces people riding bicycles to merge in front of motor vehicles.

Google Maps0320

Specifically the Coroner wrote:

The narrow aspect of Lavander Hill immediately past the junction places cyclists in a vulnerable position when they arrive in Lavender Hill from the Junction. There is no cycle lane provision in Lavender Hill immediately after the junction.

Graphically this is the problem:

Vision_Zero_-_Ciccioli_crash_map

In his response to the Coroner, Gareth Powell outlined the solution: reduce the number of motor lanes from two to one before the junction and design a cycle lane before and after the junction. It is really not a difficult intervention.

However, in typical TfL fashion, Powell didn’t seem concerned about the urgency of fixing this death trap. He said that it would take 18 months (!!!) to prepare the revised design; a consultation would follow, and construction “could begin in 2020”.

So December 2019 was the promised deadline to show the new design. However December came and went and no announcement was made. We wrote to Stuart Reid, Head of Vision Zero at TfL, asking to see the plans but received no reply. We chased him twice and still no information; so we issued a FOIA request and TfL tried to weasel out citing Covid. We pressed them and finally got the answer:

We do not hold the information you have requested. We continue to work on the design of the junction which, despite our best endeavours, we were unable to complete at the end of last year. The design we are currently working on will be modelled to consider the impact upon things such as bus journey times and the needs of pedestrians in the area. However, under the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, this work has been delayed. Any final design will be subject to consultation.

Did Gareth Powell write to the Coroner apologising for breaking his promise? Did he write to the family of Lucia Ciccioli to apologise that he has not done what he promised to do?

We doubt it. Powell is taking advantage of a broken system. The Coroner issues a request to fix a life-threatening situation but has no power (and/or interest) to follow up; so the relevant authority plays the game: writes a letter with empty promises and then ignores them.

This is England: systems designed to fail so that the elites cannot be taken to account. A fantastically corrupt nation in denial.

A monument to Bullshit London

UPDATE 26.05.20 The work to extend the cycle lane to the whole length of Park Lane and to link it with existing cycle tracks is underway. It is promising that the bus stops bypasses are built in asphalt.

It is also good to see that the speed limit has been lowered to 30kph. It now needs to be enforced.

The main point of article stands: to open a half finished cycle track next to the fastest street in Central London for publicity purposes is very foolish, against Vision Zero principles, and characteristic of our Mayor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

London is the world capital of two things: recycling dirty money and bullshit. It is a stinking place of foreign thieves and local lying politicians.

Londoners seem to be happy to pinch their nose and carry on. After eight years of the King of Bullshit, they were happy to elect an ex-lawyer, who says that building a massive tunnel under the Thames for motor traffic is carbon neutral.

Khan’s idea of planning is

  • make an announcement of an ambitious scheme
  • covertly encourage someone to oppose it
  • blame the opponent for not allowing him to be of service to Londoners

Just look at his various steps over the saga of the Oxford Street pedestrianisation.

There, the virus has effectively done what Khan was afraid to do.

Khan is not having a good crisis:

  • In early March while the virus was quickly spreading in the capital and Ireland was readying itself to lockdown, Khan announced that the St Patrick’s Parade would go ahead (he was later forced to backtrack),
  • At the beginning of the lockdown, he had evidence from cities like Milan and Barcelona that the number of public transport passengers would plummet to 5% of normal. He could then forecast almost to the day when he would run out of money. On day 2 of the lockdown, he should have gone to the Chancellor and said “either you give me £x billions or I need to shut down tube and buses”. He didn’t and he ended up being humiliated by the Clown,
  • Most seriously, under his watch, dozens of bus drivers and tube workers perished as they were asked to work without proper protection (follow this scandal here),
  • As the media reported on myriads of interventions in all continents to make walking and cycling safer, not one word from City Hall or Palestra House. The optimists were hoping that staff were beavering away on some phantasmagorical plan.

When Schapps and Gilligan announced that the Government was providing funding for urgent interventions, a week passed and still nothing from Khan,

Then he gave the cheerleaders what they wanted. A big ambitious plan. “Wow” “amazing” “game-changer”.

These people had learned nothing in the past four years. If one counts the cycling schemes that he axed or that he manouvred to be opposed, Khan’s tally of newly designed AND built cycle tracks is negative.

To give Khan the benefit of the doubt is a losing bet. To prove his mendacity, one just has to look at the short stretch of cycle track that has been built on Park Lane.

IMG_20200514_192048

One needs to overtake the bus to reach the start of the track. Obviously five lanes are insufficient to build a by-pass

There is a strong argument to intervene here: the N-S cycle track in Hyde Park is too busy and has been ruined with humps by the asocial sadists at the Royal Parks; Park Lane, the parallel route, is a no go Mad Max zone with drivers confident that speeds of 130km are tolerated.

So what did TfL do? they built a totally pointless track for a few hundred metres half way up Park Lane.

park-lane-simon-still.png (572×753)2217

What is Khan’s equivalent of “taking it on the chin?” Image by Simon Still

Why there? Because it is the only spot that they could find that met these criteria

  • somewhere recognisable by the world media
  • somewhere central (Khan had heard that Paris was shutting rue de Rivoli to cars)
  • somewhere with no bus stops

IMG_20200514_190840

Did you like that? Good now, enjoy racing with the Lamborghinis, and don’t forget to kiss Khan’s ass

So Khan found his stretch of few hundred meters where he could crow how much the “best big city in the world” was doing.

Did he think of linking his little track to the existing tracks? If he did, he must have been too busy designing and affixing his beautiful sign “StreetSpace for London”

park-lane-streetspace-london-04

The monument to Bullshit London (Photo by Road.cc)

Did he think that Vision Zero would suggest not to open the cycle track until it was ready, rather than opening it as the death trap it is now?

You are having a laugh. This is politics; the track’s purpose is to make Khan look good, not to help Londoners.

Don’t let the Covid crisis go to waste

We will have to live with the virus until Summer 2021 at least. The next twelve months are a golden opportunity to transform our cities. Many mayors around the world are grasping the moment. Alas, Khan has so far been silent.

This is an evolving post.

The main reason to transform our cities is that in the UK in 2019 more people have died because of air pollution that the probable death toll from Covid19.

Initiatives around the world

Berlin

Coronavirus pandemic gives cyclists more road in Berlin – DW

53118667_303

Pop-up bike lanes help with coronavirus physical distancing in Germany – The Guardian

3500

Bogota

22km of temporary bike lanes

Brussels

Centre of city – priority for people walking and cycling. 20kph speed limit – Le Soir

b9723261556z.1_20200420190049_000govfterf7.1-0

Dublin

Parking spaces blocked to increase space for pedestrians. However not enforced.

London

  • For latest updates read this report from RDRF
  • TfL – Mayor announce StreetScape initiative: BikeBiz
    • Strategic cycling network using temporary materials, building new routes
    • Traffic lights are being altered to reduce the time Londoners must wait to cross
    • Some roads may be restricted to bus lanes and bikes only at certain times of the day.
    • More space will be given to pedestrians to reduce crowding at busy transport interchanges
    • UPDATE 15.05.20: Details and map published. Report by LCC
      Emerging London Streetspace Plan for Cycle Routes1612
    • UPDATE 19.06.20 £22m allocated to Boroughs for emergency interventions like strategic cycle routes, school streets, low traffic neighbourhoods and pedestrian space in town centres – Road.cc
  • **City** – Plans to pedestrianise main streets around Bank – FT
    EX6PBzKXYAEIJey
  • Croydon – Several residential streets closed to prevent rat running – Council
    EX6mLceXgAAwtly
  • Greenwich – Widening footpaths in town centres and around Greenwich Park filtering more residential streets to reduce through traffic, creating more School Streets bringing forward plans for the Greenwich to Woolwich cycle route – Council
  • Hammersmith – Pavements in King Street and Uxbridge Road are to be temporarily widened to help with social distancing, by reducing two-lane roads to single lanes
  • Hackney – After Councillor Burke’s plans for extensive temporary filtering has been blocked by the Chief Executive of the Council (allegedly following legal advice), Burke and Mayor Glanville have written a letter to DfT Secretary Shapps to ask for clarifications
    • UPDATE 29.04 The Council has decided to widen pavement at seven sites near supermarkets and to close Broadway Market to through traffic
  • Lambethreleased £78,500 to enable immediate changes to the highway to allow physical distancing to take place at high priority locations

Milan

Milan announces ambitious scheme to reduce car use after lockdown – The Guardian

2560

Copenhagenize likes it, with one exception:

New York

Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Carlina Rivera to Introduce Legislation to Open City Streets During Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic – Press Release

New Zealand

New Zealand has become the first country to provide funding to make tactical urbanism into official government policy during the coronavirus pandemic – Forbes

Paris

Mathieu Chassignet on Twitter_ _[Thread] Liste des collectivités françaises, par ordre chronologiq

As well as many other French cities:

Philadelphia

City Announces Closure of Martin Luther King Drive, in the interest of facilitating social distancing among trail users. The 24 hours per day closure will last until further notice. – Municipality

Vienna

Several streets pedestrianised – Map

Birgit Hebein (@BirgitHebein) _ Twitter23

Rome

Rome Mayor @virginiaraggi pledges to build 150km of cycle lanes during Phase 2 of Covid response. BikeItalia

UK

Cycling UK is mapping various initiatives

  • For latest updates read this report from RDRF

See also this comprehensive spreadsheet