Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ealing Cyclists win case against McDonald's

The planning inspector has dismissed McDonald's appeal to allow an access road to cross the path of the East-West Superhighway. The ruling, on the planned drive-thru restaurant on the A40 at Gypsy Corner, is a significant victory for Ealing Cycling Campaign. We're delighted that the inspector has put the safety of cyclists first, with his statement that “allowing cars to cross the path of cyclists, when there is no need to do so, is not a good idea.” More details in this report on the LCC website.
Read More »

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

McDonald's Drive-Thru Inquiry

The McDonald’s drive-thru planning application went to a public inquiry last Wednesday, 16th September. The night before the inquiry Ealing Council’s planning department and McDonald’s did a deal on the basis of a compromise scheme (shown above) with an access road off the A40 that would cross the proposed Cycle Superhighway. Ealing Cycling Campaign opposes this compromise. It has some improvements - a dedicated cycle path instead of a shared use path, and priority maintained for cyclists - but in all important respects it has the same problems as the  scheme councillors rejected in March. There is still the left-hook turn that brings motor vehicles into conflict with cyclists, and although in theory cyclists have right of way, to be safe they will need to stop to check for vehicles. At the inquiry, Peter Mynors, our council liaison officer who is also a transport engineer with 50 years' experience, presented our case to the inspector. Andrew Gilligan, the Cycling Commissioner for London attended the hearing and supported our case  – which we feel is a good one. We expect to hear the inspector's decision in mid November. If he agrees with us, then the compromise scheme won't go ahead. Instead, the restaurant will have access from Leamington Park - which we consider the safer option.

From the mass of Transport for London emails, released after a Freedom of Information request from McDonald’s, we’ve been able to piece together the inside story of this planning saga.  Astonishingly, it appears that, until we pointed it out to them in February this year, neither the McDonald’s planners nor the TfL team they liaised with knew that TfL planned to run a Cycle Superhighway past this site - despite TfL publishing a map of the route in a widely publicised consultation in September last year. 

Because of this, the initial safety audit was carried out without knowledge or consideration of the Cycle Superhighway.  

The emails also indicate that McDonald's were prepared to pay TfL, who owned the land, more for the site if it came with access directly from the A40, and less if the access was from Leamington Place - McDonald's think they will get more customers if the access road comes from the A40.  In the end they agreed a fee of £23 million, based on access from the A40, and the high price they have paid is probably the main reason they have persisted with their appeal. 

To make the access road safe for motor vehicles, the planners realised that they needed to install a deceleration lane running up to it. Unfortunately this took up land that could have been used for pedestrians and cyclists. To fit in the deceleration lane, TfL planners recommended squeezing the cycle route and pavement down to a shared-use path - rather than taking away parking spaces from McDonald's car park. The email trail shows that this shared use path now became a dumping ground for street furniture that TfL could no longer fit elsewhere. “The lamp column will require relocation to the cycleway”, explained a TfL planner in an email to McDonald’s. 

Eventually, when they realised that a Cycle Superhighway would run past the site, the emails show that the TfL planners agree with us -  access from Leamington Park would be safer.  “in safety terms", wrote TfL's Rob Edwards on 4th February,  "I think this is still preferable to the in arrangement off the A40 --- especially given the upgrade of pedestrian and cycle facilities and anticipated growth in numbers.”

Despite this, Ealing planners agreed to the compromise scheme. They say they were not worried about having costs awarded against them, but were concerned that if they lost the appeal, they would be saddled with McDonald's original scheme which they felt was unsafe. 

We now wait for the inspector's decision. 
Read More »

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cycling Survey - Council Response

In May we carried out a survey of Ealing cyclists to find out what you thought would be the best way for the council to improve cycling in Ealing. We passed the results on to the council, and it sent us its response. Below are the proposals - in order of votes - with the council's response in italics. 

1. Provide a link to the Cycle Superhighway
Complete a scheme design for a borough cycle route to link Ealing Broadway to TfL’s East-West Cycling Super Highway in Acton and secure funding to install it at the same time as the Cycling Super Highway.        
"The Council fully supports this proposal and our earlier mini-Holland work has identified a preferred route. (Madeley Road, Queen’s Drive, and Saxon Drive, to link up with the A40 at Allan Way - Ed.).  This will be developed further during 2016/17, subject to the outcome of our Quietways funding bid with TfL. Ealing has been pressing TfL for a response to our bid."

2. Extend ‘No parking in cycle lane’ regulations along Uxbridge Rd to 8pm / or convert to mandatory cycle lane
The Uxbridge Road is a key commuter route for Ealing cyclists. At the moment, vehicles can park in the cycle lanes in Acton after 6.30pm. 
"Ealing is committed to achieving consistent waiting and loading restrictions along Uxbridge Rd that operate up to 7pm (as a minimum) during 2015/16. During 2016/17, we will investigate the scope and feasibility study for increasing this up to 8pm. It is worth noting that mandatory cycle lanes are to be implemented along Uxbridge Rd as part of Corridor 1C during the next 12 months between Hanwell & West Ealing and wider cycle lanes between Lower Boston Rd and Boston Rd. Along Southall Broadway, the new layout prevents obstructive kerbside parking and loading 24/7. A similar approach using inset parking and loading bays has been used elsewhere along Uxbridge Rd (between North Circular Road and The Vale)."

3. Ealing Council to formally adopt the new London Cycle Design Standards 2014 as the default borough standard when designing facilities that affect cyclists
Adopting the new Cycle Design Standards will prevent the installation of the poorly designed infrastructure we have sometimes seen in the past.
"We have already adopted these standards in our work. For example they are being applied in the development of the mini Holland plans."

4. Construct a circular quiet route for cyclists
Ealing has some great off-road and quiet routes for cyclists. We would like to see sections of them linked together to form a circular quiet route that families and leisure riders will be able to enjoy.
"Ealing has identified 9 Quietway routes and funding is awaited for the first tranche from TfL for 2016/17. The Quietways will facilitate circular quiet routes in combination with sections of the canal towpath that is being incrementally improved, both with Ealing LIP funding and Canal River Trust funding."

5. Remove non-sinusoidal speed humps from cycle routes shown on the London Cycle Guides and, where necessary, replace them with sinusoidal humps.
Sinusoidal humps, with their gentle initial slope, are smoother and easier for cyclists to ride over, but are just as effective at slowing down motor vehicles.
"Whenever roads with round topped humps are resurfaced, they are systematically being replaced with sinusoidal humps. For example, during 2014/2015, 26 roads were resurfaced and 73 non-sinusoidal humps were replaced with sinusoidal. The resurfacing programme prioritises roads that are in greatest need and hence this delivers double benefits for cyclists ..... a new smooth surface along the whole length of the road and sinusoidal humps. There is insufficient funding available to remove sinusoidal humps on cycle routes in addition to the resurfacing programme. However, when the 2016/2017 transport deliverables plan and budget is being prepared, an amount could be set aside to deliver hump improvements  on one or two high priority cycle routes."

6. At road closures replace barrier gates with a single foldable bollard.
Roads closed with a gate for emergency vehicles have gaps on either side for cyclists. Often these gaps are blocked by motor vehicles. Replacing the gates with a single foldable bollard in the centre of the road will allow cyclists to pass through the gap on a straight line, maintaining a safe central position on the road.
"A few of these types of gates have been improved in the past and it is proposed to seek out funding in 15/16 to improve another location (for example St Kilda Rd TBC). In future years, a small amount of funding will be allocated to improve other gates as part of a rolling programme. Details of the programme to be developed by the end of the year."

7. At subways with pairs of barriers, remove at least one of the barriers to allow cyclists to pass without dismounting
In cycle-friendly Europe, barriers are rarely used. Where they are, a single barrier is sufficient to improve sight lines and prevent collisions.           
"Most of these subway barriers are TfL's infrastructure and changes will require further negotiation with TfL who have, to date, been resistant. Ealing will take this further over the coming months and report back."

8. Key routes across parks to be clearly signed as permissible for cyclists
Cycling is legal in Ealing parks, but can attract hostility from people who don’t know this. Research shows that where shared use is signed as permissible, the presence of cyclists is more readily accepted.
"Erecting shared use cycle signs along footpaths through parks would not be suitable because of the visual intrusion and cost (every path would need to be signed because otherwise the absence of signs on any path would imply cycling is not permitted). However, the Council can use other means to communicate this to pedestrians and cyclists alike such as information in Around Ealing, the website. In addition, when park signs are being improved or replaced, transport officers can work with Parks dept to include this information." 

9. Produce guidelines explaining the type of front garden bicycle storage that will be acceptable without requiring planning permissionStrictly speaking, you require planning permission to erect a bicycle shed in your front garden. We would like the position clarified so home owners can install them without fear of prosecution.
"Work is in hand to produce this guidance."

Read More »

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ride to Central London Freecycle

Come and join us on Saturday 1st August for a great day out as we ride to the Prudential Ride London Freecycle where you can enjoy cycling on central London streets closed to motor vehicles. This year's Freecycle features a new route in central London, and lots of fun along the way. We will meet at Ealing Town Hall at 8.45am for a prompt 9am departure. Our ride to the event will travel along quiet back streets and is suitable for all ages. You can either make your own way home, or join our ride back to Ealing in the afternoon, leaving at 3pm.
There is no need to register to take part in our ride. You can find details of the main event on the Prudential Ride London website.

Read More »

Thursday, July 16, 2015

West Acton Primary win Big Pedal

Congratulations to West Acton Primary School on winning the Sustrans Big Pedal 2015 competition in Ealing. 
Big Pedal challenges schools across the country to make the most journeys by bike or scooter during a set period. The school that makes the biggest shift, in proportion to its size, wins. The aim of the competition is to encourage more children and parents to leave their cars at home; reducing congestion and car emissions. 
In total, 10 Ealing schools took part in the competition. West Acton Primary School came top after achieving 1,680 journeys by bike or scooter over 10 days in March. The competition, along with a travel plan put together by the council and the school, has produced some permanent changes. Now 16% of children cycle to school (previously 7%) and 43% are never driven to school (previously 15%). The council want to encourage more schools to take part next year. If you would like your school to get involved, there is more information on the Sustrans Big Pedal page.
On 7 July 2015, the children at West Acton Primary received their prize - a stunt display at the school from the MAD cycle display team.

Read More »