Wednesday 3 May 2023

Northolt Active Travel Scheme - "Worse for Cyclists and Pedestrians"

The council's plans to make Church Road and Mandeville Road in Northolt an active travel route could make conditions worse for both cyclists and pedestrians. Instead of providing segregated cycle lanes, most of the route will be shared-use path which will increase conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. 

The scheme is part of the Visions for Northolt proposals funded by a £7.2m grant from the government's levelling up fund. One of the requirements of this funding is that active travel schemes meet DfT standards which state that, “Cycles must be treated as vehicles and not as pedestrians. On urban streets, cyclists must be physically separated from pedestrians and should not share space with pedestrians.”

In its grant application, the council recognised that mixing walking and cycling in the same space was a problem. It said that "Due to safety concerns cyclists use footways, impacting pedestrian safety.” The application also said how this scheme would address the issue: “Road space will be reallocated to create continuous, wider and segregated cycle routes.”  And that this would be achieved by: “Re-allocating road space to cycle and footways along both corridors, in accordance with minimum widths set out in DfT’s Cycling Infrastructure Design Note.” The proposed scheme fails to achieve this.

In places the scheme will make conditions worse for active travel: It will narrow the frontage road of a shopping parade near White Hart roundabout to about 3m between parked vehicles, which won't leave enough space for cyclists to keep safely clear of car doors and pass each other; it opens up two quiet cul-de-sacs to through traffic; it introduces a new right-turn for motor vehicles across a two-way cycle path; and it moves a bus stop from an area which is not shared use to an area with a narrow shared-use path. 

The existing narrow shared path on Church Road

The scheme does have some good sections: the closure of two junctions; the removal of a wall to make room for a cycle path; and new pedestrian and cycle crossings on Church Road. 

Ealing Highways already acknowledges some of the issues and says the design will be amended once all stakeholder comments have been received and reviewed.

Ealing’s draft New Local Plan designates this corridor as a Major Active Travel route, so we hope the reviewed scheme will provide the necessary segregated cycleways. 

The council is consulting on the scheme until  5pm on Monday 8th May 2023. You can respond to the consultation here.