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.