Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Heathrow Airport Expansion and Cycling

The latest consultation on the proposal to expand Heathrow Airport has just closed. Ealing Cycling Campaign went through several hundred pages of documents to see how it would affect cycling.
The airport has set a target of 6% of employees cycling to work, which seems low compared to Schiphol Airport's target of about 15% by 2024. However, Heathrow may find even that low target hard to meet. Its plans present several obstacles to people who want to commute by bike. The first barrier is the expanded perimeter. Someone who commutes to Terminal 5 from north of the airport would have to cycle about 6 km further to get around the proposed new third runway. An easy 3 km trip will turn into a 9 km commute. The airport is making provision for the M25 to pass under the runway, but there is no similar shortcut for cyclists.
The second obstacle is the lack of direct routes to the places of employment inside the perimeter. The only access to the future expanded Terminal 5 complex (T5, T5X, T5NX), will be from the south west, but most employees currently live north-east of the airport, many of them in Southall. The new Terminal 5NX will be only a hundred or so metres from roads in the north, but people working there will need to travel around the airport perimeter to access it.
Getting to the Central Terminal Area (Terminals 1, 2 and 3) will also be difficult. Heathrow is considering re-opening the cycle tunnel that is currently closed, but it then plans to shut it again to cyclists, and use it instead for a passenger shuttle service from the car park. This will cut off cycle access from the north. The airport has a plan to run a cycle tunnel to the Central Terminal Area from the south, but at the moment this is only indicative. Probably over half of Heathrow's employees will work at buildings inside the perimeter, which will only be accessible via tunnels from the south.
The third problem is the lack of through routes. From west to east the extended site will be 7.5 km long – that’s 4.7 miles. With no cycle way through, this will be one of the largest barriers to north-south cycling in London. Other airports provide transit routes for cyclists. Schiphol has two public cycle paths through it. We would like to see Heathrow do the same.
You can read Ealing Cycling Campaign's response to the consultation here.

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Thursday, 22 August 2019

Ealing Broadway Station Cycle Path

Ealing Cycling Campaign (ECC) has put forward plans to the council for a new two-way cycle path outside Ealing Broadway Station.

Our plan for a Station Broadway Cycle Route. Click on image to enlarge

The path would run from just north of the Mall up to the roundabout with Madeley Road. The scheme is our response to the council's current consultation, and builds on the council's plans. It will transform an area that is currently a barrier to cycling, into a route that even less-confident cyclists will feel comfortable to use.

Detail of Ealing's planned Cycle Network showing Station Broadway as a 'Direct Route'. (from 2013 Mini Holland bid) 

This stretch of Ealing Broadway in front of the station is part of Ealing's Cycle Network - streets that anyone aged eight to eighty is meant to be able to ride along. At the moment, though, it's a scary place to cycle through. There is also no north-bound cycling, so people approaching from the south and east have to detour around the Arcadia Centre and Haven Green.

The need for a northbound cycle route has been recognised for at least two decades; such a route was included in the council’s 2013 mini-Holland bid (above). In that scheme adults and children riding south would still have to use the busy main carriageway; in Ealing Cycling Campaign's new plans they will have protected space for cycling in both directions.

The new cycle path will:
  • Provide a safe route for people to cycle to and from the station
  • Create a calming space between the road and Haven Green
  • Keep the full extent of common land on Haven Green
  • Create two taxi pick-up points immediately outside the station for people travelling south.
  • Enable a future link with the Uxbridge Road 

What happened to the original cycle path?
A cycle path was the council's preferred option in 2013, so why has it removed it from its plans? The answer appears to be down to the issue of cycle parking. When the council completed the Bike Hub in 2012, it wasn't large enough to meet demand, so the council left the 'toast rack' cycle stands on the grass on Haven Green. As the green is common land, these stands are only allowed as a temporary measure. At some point, the council must remove them. Its initial plan was to move the parking to the car park between Haven Green and the railway line. Unfortunately, it hasn't been able to negotiate permission from one of the lease holders. Instead, it now plans to put cycle stands outside the station - in the area where the cycle path was due to run. There are two problems with this:

First, the area outside the station has insufficient capacity to meet the demand for cycle parking. The council's latest plans show just 29 new stands. These would replace the 50 'toast rack' stands on Haven Green and another four already on Station Broadway. The result will be 60 fewer cycle parking spaces.

At peak demand the cycle stands on Haven Green are full

Already, at periods of peak demand all the current stands are occupied, and people resort to locking bicycles to trees and other objects. In the long term, the new cycleway from Greenford, and the arrival of the Elizabeth Line will further increase demand.
Secondly, and more importantly, placing cycle parking along Ealing Broadway will prevent the installation of any cycle route along it for the foreseeable future.

What is the solution?
A far better solution for all-day station cycle parking would be at a covered location, with scope for expansion. The car park between Haven Green and the railway has long been recognised as an ideal site and its use for this is included in the Central Ealing Neighbourhood Plan. Access to this site should now be dealt with at a high level, and compulsory powers initiated if needed. New cycle parking on this site should be programmed for completion by the time the Crossrail offices are removed from Haven Green, at which point the temporary cycle stands can be removed and the whole common restored to its proper state.

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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Have your Say on the Cycleway

The long awaited East-West Cycle Super Highway from Shepherd's Bush is finally coming to Ealing and the council wants to hear your views. At four side roads with the A40, it plans to ban motor vehicles turning across the cycle path. This will make it much safer for cyclists as it removes the risk of being hit by a turning vehicle. The surrounding streets should be more pleasant to cycle in, as cars and lorries will no longer be able to cut through Allan Way to Saxon Drive - two roads that cyclists are likely to use as they provide the most direct link between Ealing town centre and the the new cycleway.

If you cycle through here and would like to see a safer cycle route, please take a minute to support this scheme by completing the survey.

You can see full details of the consultation here.

The consultation will be open until 2 September 2019

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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Save Cycle Parking at Ealing Broadway!

Ealing Council is consulting on a new scheme for the area outside Ealing Broadway station. Please support our campaign to save the cycle parking (in a new area) and install a long-promised cycle lane.

Cycle Parking
As part of the scheme, Ealing Council plans to remove 59 cycle stands on and near Haven Green and replace them with 29 stands along the Broadway. This will remove parking for 60 bicycles. As Haven Green is common land, the cycle stands on the grass are only temporary. At some point they will need to be removed. Ealing Cycling Campaign has repeatedly urged the council to earmark a site near Ealing Broadway station for permanent cycle parking.  A good location would be the car park along the south side of Haven Green. Unfortunately the council has still not been successful in acquiring the required land, and has not yet decided to instigate compulsory acquisition procedures, or otherwise escalate the process. 

At times of peak demand, the cycle stands near Ealing Broadway fill up, and people lock bicycles to trees and other objects. With the arrival of the Elizabeth Line and the new cycleway to Greenford, the demand for cycle parking at the station will grow. Please respond to the consultation (question 4) to say that the council should not reduce the present amount of cycle parking and that the council needs to acquire a site near the station to provide increased cycle parking in the future. 

Where’s the Cycle Lane?
The new plans don’t include the contraflow cycle lane (below) the council promised six years ago.
For over 20 years Ealing Cycling Campaign has lobbied the council to build a contraflow cycle path to run along the east side of Haven Green (but not on the common) to link the Mall with the roundabout at Madeley Road. This will provide a direct route to and from Ealing Broadway station so people don’t have to cycle around the Arcadia Centre and Haven Green. In 2013, the council included the cycle path in its mini Holland plans. 
However, it has disappeared from the latest proposals. This goes against the council’s transport policy for its cycle network, which states: “Where one-way streets are implemented, the default position will be that contra-flow cycle lanes will be provided.” Please respond to the consultation (question 2) and say that any plans should include a contraflow cycle path from the Mall to Madeley Road. 
Please respond to the consultation here before 27 August 2019.

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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Canal Towpath Improved

The worst stretch of canal towpath in Ealing has been improved for walkers and cyclists.  In the spring contractors finished installing a path on a 1.5 km length of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal between Bulls Bridge and Blair Peach Primary School in Southall. The work was funded by Southall Waterside, the large housing development on the site of the former gas works adjacent to the canal.

It has been years since you needed a permit to cycle on canal towpaths, but remember people walking have priority, so be prepared to slow down, and if necessary to stop – especially around small children who can be unpredictable. Please take care - we have heard several stories of cyclists who have fallen into the canal. For more information on cycling alongside canals see:

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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

New Cycle Facilities

Work is under way on two new cycle facilities in the borough. In Acton, construction crews are building the long-awaited cycle path alongside the A40. This scheme was originally part of the East-West Cycle Superhighway (CS10) that was due to run from Acton to Paddington.  In 2015 we successfully campaigned to preserve the space needed for the route at Gypsy Corner, preventing it being used as an access road for the new McDonald’s drive-through. It’s nice to see all our work finally paying off. There will be 1.8km of two-way cycle track running next to the footpath between Kathleen Avenue and Savoy Circus, slightly more than originally planned. This will connect to a 1.6km shared-use footway to be built between Savoy Circus and Wood Lane. The whole route will meet London Cycling Design standards. Curiously, one of the main beneficiaries will be motorists. The A40 west of Savoy Circus will be widened to include another traffic lane, which is predicted to knock 6-8 minutes off journey times for drivers heading west in the evenings. The route is scheduled for completion by Christmas. The original Cycle Superhighway was planned to run on to Paddington using one lane of the A40 Westway, but TfL have abandoned that scheme. Instead, it now plans to run it through Shepherd’s Bush and up the south side of Holland Park Avenue to Hyde Park. 

In the second development Ealing Council is installing a new cycle and pedestrian crossing of Northfield Avenue, which will link Mattock Lane and Dean Gardens. This will significantly improve the quiet cycle way that runs parallel to the Uxbridge Road between West Ealing and Ealing Common. The new crossing will replace the current Toucan crossing which is difficult to use as it requires a detour along a narrow stretch of pavement. The new alignment will provide a direct crossing. 
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Saturday, 1 June 2019

Summer Rides and Events 2019

Saturday 8 June   West Ealing Farmers' Market
From 9am - 1pm join us at West Ealing Farmers’ Market, Leeland Road. Get your bike checked at our stall.

Wednesday 12 June   Sunset Ride

Our annual Richmond Park ride to relish the summer sunset from the hill in front of the Roebuck pub, and catch up with our fellow West London cycling groups. 
Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 6.45pm for a 7pm departure; return to Ealing by 11pm. Don't forget locks & lights! 

Saturday 15 June    Hanwell 

Come by Elthorne Park from 12-6pm and have your bike checked at our stall.

Sunday 30 June   Pitshanger Party in the Park

We will be operating a stall at Pitshanger park from 1pm to 5pm. 

Saturday 6 July   Gears Without Tears
Take our short course (about 4 hours including time for refreshment) on how to make good use of your gears. Each bike and rider is different, so you need to know how to get the best out of your bike and your capabilities. 
Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 9.45am for a 10am start. Make sure that the gears on your bike work (can shift to any combination) before coming. 

Sunday 7 July   Crane Park Island Nature Reserve Shot Tower

A leisurely ride to Crane Park via Osterley Park and the (often fragrant) sewer works, with a stop at Kneller Gardens.
 Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 9.45am for a 10am departure. Expected return by 4:30. 

Sunday 7 July    Ealing Cycling Festival

Free festival with family activities, plus family-friendly led rides exploring green spaces and canal towpaths departing every hour. We will have a booth at Northala Fields, 10am-3pm.

Sunday 14 July    Ealing Cycling Festival
We will have a booth at Pitshanger Park, 10am-3pm 

Sunday 14 July  River and Parks Explorer

A slightly speedier (10-12MPH) ride of around 35 miles through parks and rivers with lunch at Bushy Park. Some surfaces will not be suitable for narrow-tyred bikes. 
Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 9.45am for a 10am departure.   

Saturday 3 August    Feeder Ride to Prudential Ride London Freecycle Event
We will lead a ride into the Prudential Ride London Freecycle where central London streets will be closed to motor vehicles. Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 8.45am for a 9am departure. 

Sunday 4 August    RAF Museum, Hendon

A leisurely ride through Brent River Park, past Wembley to the RAF Museum. Some off-road sections may be uncomfortable for narrow-tyred bikes. 
Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 9.45am for a 10am departure. Expected return by 5pm. 

Sunday 11 August   Gears Without Tears

Learn to use your bike's gears with help from our instructors. 
Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 9.45am for a 10am start. Finish around 1pm including time for refreshments in a local park. 

Friday 23 August   Pedal-Powered Cinema

Enjoy a fine summer evening by coming along to Ealing Council's Pedal-Powered Cinema event in Lammas Park. We'll have a stall there from 6pm, along with other cycling-related organisations, and there will be space for picnics. Stay to watch a family film shown via pedal-power. 

Sunday 1 September    Brentford Festival

We mark the end of summer with a short, family-friendly local ride around the quiet roads, paths, canals and parks of the area, with a refreshment stop at Osterley Park, before riding on to reach the Brentford Festival in time for lunch. You can enjoy all the activities and entertainments at the Festival, including visiting the ECC stall, and make your way home in your own time. 
Meet at Ealing Town Hall at 9.45am for a 10am departure. 

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