Tuesday, 29 December 2020

New Southall Bridge


On Christmas Day, a giant crane lifted a new foot and cycle bridge into position just east of Southall Station. The 66 metre-long bridge, over the Great Western Railway, will connect Merrick Road to Park Avenue to form part of a new north-south cycle route. It could only be installed on Christmas Day as it required a day when no trains were running. Workers still have to install the stairs, which is expected to take until April. The bridge will have no ramps that you can cycle up, and initially will have no lifts. Instead cyclists will have to push their bikes up wheeling ramps on either side of the stairs. Ealing Cycling Campaign pushed for the design to include ramps, but the planners said there wasn't enough space. The original design only included a single wheeling ramp on one side of the stairs, but after feedback from Ealing Cycling Campaign, the designers have included two - one on each side. Most people push cycles from the left side of the bike, so this will make it easier. It also makes it possible for someone to wheel a bicycle down at the same time as someone is pushing one up. The council has decided not to include lifts when it first opens as the remote location will leave them susceptible to vandalism. However, the bridge is designed so that lifts can be retro-fitted once the area is developed. 

Ealing Council's plans for the Bridge

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New Active Travel schemes

 Three New Cycle Schemes

Ealing Council has won funding for three new cycle schemes: Boston Road, West Ealing; Gordon Road, Central Ealing; and Park Royal. The Boston Road scheme will extend the existing cycle route along Boston Manor Road north towards the Uxbridge Road. It is unclear if the funding will be sufficient to put in more than wands, and if it will also tackle the pinch points along the route. The Gordon Road scheme is part of the Ealing Broadway to Greenford Quietway which has been in development since at least 2017. And the Park Royal scheme will centre on improvements in the area of the so called 'Big X junction outside Central Middlesex Hospital. This area, where Acton Lane, Coronation Road and Park Royal Road all meet was the subject of Liveable Neighbourhood bids in 2017and 2019. The present scheme will be implemented in conjunction with Brent Council and the Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) will take the lead. 

Three Low-Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes

The council has also won funding for three small low-traffic neighbourhood schemes. One on Hamilton Road, which is used by motorists to bypass queues at Ealing Common, one north of Creffield Road and one South of Creffield Road, just to the west of Twyford Avenue. 

These schemes will be funded by the second round of emergency Covid-19 Active Travel funding provided by central government, and distributed by Transport for London. To qualify, local councils had to show that their first-round schemes were making a significant impact to discourage people from driving and to encourage walking and cycling. Unlike the first-round schemes which had to be installed quickly to qualify for funding, councils will be given more time to carry out consultations with the public before they are installed. 

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Monday, 14 December 2020

Uxbridge Road Cycle Lanes

Ealing council has published draft plans to significantly improve the cycle lanes along the Uxbridge Road between Southall and Hanwell. The proposals include 2m wide semi-segregated lanes - separated from moving traffic by wands, and bus-stop bypasses, so that cyclists can pass buses parked at bus stops. The most significant improvements will be at Iron Bridge, where cyclists will have their own lane, instead of having to share the pavement with pedestrians. In another scheme, the speed limit on the road will be reduced to 20 mph. This will be the default speed limit on all borough roads from 8th March 2021. 

Currently, this section of the Uxbridge Road is one of the most unpleasant places in Ealing to ride a bike. The improvements will make a significant difference and open  up the borough to active travel between Southall and Hanwell. 

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Monday, 21 September 2020

New Bike Shop for Ealing


A new bike shop, Messa Cycles, has opened in Dickens Yard, near Ealing Broadway. The shop is a family-run business owned by Andrea Messa and sells bicycles made by the Italian company, Ganna. Andrea started Messa Cycles as an online store during the Covid-19 lockdown but has now moved it into premises in Market Street in Dickens Yard. As well as Ganna bikes, Messa Cycles will sell accessories such as locks, helmets and baskets. They will also service bicycles, but customers will need to book this in advance. For more details see Messa Cycles

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Increased Cycling in Low Traffic Neighbourhood

A spot one-day count in the recently installed Northfields Low Traffic Neighbourhood shows cycling has almost doubled compared to a pre-Covid count taken in 2018. The count, carried out on Salisbury Road three weeks after the scheme was introduced, also showed that the number of motor vehicles on the road dropped to a third of previous levels. This is only a spot count, but it suggests the LTN is working.

An additional benefit of the scheme appears to be a reduction in the number of people cycling on the pavement. In 2018, we recorded six people (including children) cycling on the pavement. In 2020, this figure had dropped to three.

Ealing Cycling Campaign carried out the 2018 count in response to a traffic order that planned to make Salisbury Road one-way. We were concerned that this would greatly increase the number of vehicles pulling out of Salisbury Road into Northfield Avenue at a location where a van driver performing this manoeuvre had killed a cyclist two years earlier.

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Monday, 3 August 2020

Emergency Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Ealing Council has started installing the first batch of Covid-19 emergency Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods. All ten schemes should be in place by mid September.  The photo above shows the connector (modal filter) on the first scheme to be installed in Adrienne Avenue, Southall. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, space on public transport is severely limited, so many more people will be travelling around the borough on foot or by bike. The aim of these schemes is to make this active travel safer. 

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods benefit all residents by reducing pollution and creating safer streets for children to walk and cycle on. All roads will still be accessible by car, emergency services and delivery vehicles, but on the best schemes, all through traffic is removed. Some journeys by car will be longer, and some motorists are objecting to these schemes, so please let your councillors know you support them. You can contact your councillors here

The ten schemes are:

Acton Central - Due to be installed September 2020

This scheme covers the area north of Churchfield Road.

Adrienne Avenue, Southall - Installed 22 July

A single connector (modal filter) in Adrienne Avenue has removed through traffic from this and surrounding streets. Although a small scheme, it will make it safer for pupils of Greenford High School to access the nearby footbridge across the canal, and the street will be much quieter for residents including those living in the care home.

Bowes Road, North Acton - Installed 23 July

Another scheme with just a single connector, this time on Glendun Road at its junction with East Acton Lane. The benefit of this scheme is less clear, as this doesn't appear to be a rat run to any major roads, but the council has published a map showing the boundary of this scheme as the area around Bowes Road.

East Acton Golf Links - due to be installed in September

We have no information on this scheme yet.

Junction Road, South Ealing - Due to be installed mid August

This scheme should remove rat-running traffic coming off the A4 and cutting through to South Ealing road or Northfields Avenue. It will create a traffic-calmed route for walking and cycling that will link up with Occupation Lane which Hounslow Councils has now closed to motor traffic.

Loveday Road, Walpole - Due to be installed late Aug / early September

Following feedback from the public, the council have improved the plans for this scheme. It now removes through motor traffic from all residential streets between Walpole Park and Northfields Avenue. 

Mattock Lane - Due to be installed mid August

This scheme will remove through traffic from the east side of Mattock Lane. The connector will be installed just west of Pitshanger Lodge - so between the Filmworks site and Barnes Pikle. The no-entry sign at the junction with Culmington Road will become a no-through road sign. 

Olive Road, South Ealing - Due to be installed early August

This will reduce motor traffic on the Olive Road section of the cycle route from St Mary's Church south to Clayponds Avenue. At the moment, motor vehicles heading west on Pope's Lane cut through the residential streets onto South Ealing Road, or across it into Temple Road.

West Ealing North - Due to be installed mid August

This Low-Traffic Neighbourhood won't remove all the through motor traffic. Cars will still be able to head west along Alexandria Road, Felix Road and Eccleston Road. The scheme will reduce traffic and pollution around St. John's Primary school.

West Ealing South - Due to be installed mid August

This is the largest of the schemes in Ealing, and will create a pleasant street park between Boston Road and Northfield Avenue. Before lockdown, some streets had over 1,000 vehicles per day cutting through here. Once the scheme is implemented it's likely that no street will have more than 200 vehicles a day. 
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Monday, 27 July 2020

Controversial Tower's Impossible Parking

Residents of the proposed tower block, 55 West, at West Ealing station would have to climb over other bicycles to reach their bikes and wheel cycles through gaps as narrow as 30 cm to get them out of the building. 

Ealing Cycling Campaign has lodged an objection to the planning application to build 55 West, a new residential tower on Manor Road in West Ealing, because the proposed cycle parking fails to meet planning guidelines. The parking, in the basement of the building, is packed so tightly together that it will be difficult and, in places, physically impossible to use. The arrangement of Sheffield stands, intended for cargo and all-ability cycles, is so cramped that even with standard bikes parked on the stands, there would not be room for a person to walk between them. 

Bicycles superimposed onto the submitted plan show that some bikes could only be removed by climbing over others

A resident trying to take their bicycle from the northern of the two basement stores would have to remove it from a two-tier rack that has cycles parked too closely together, into an aisle that is too narrow, through two doors that are 90cm wide when they should be at least 1.2m wide, then through a 30cm gap between parked cycles, along another aisle that is too narrow and eventually into a lift. 

The proposed cycle parking is so inaccessible that residents are likely to use the ground-level parking at West Ealing station instead. This will be immediately next to the new tower and far more accessible. Evidence from Dickens Yard, which also has basement cycle parking, shows that residents prefer to park at ground level. A check of public cycle stands at Dickens Yard two days apart revealed that 27 out of 32 spaces were occupied by the same bikes, which shows they are almost certainly being used by residents, not shoppers. 

Dickens Yard Public Cycle Parking is mainly used by residents

If the same happens at the 55 West building, there will be fewer spaces for commuters and other travellers to park bikes at West Ealing station, and the council, or Transport for London will have to pay for extra cycle parking to be installed.

Over 1,500 people have objected to the plans for 55 West. The 19-storey building is twice the height of others in the immediate area. Ealing Cycling Campaign's detailed objection to the planning application is available here.

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