Current consultations and campaigns

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Please spare a few minutes to respond to these consultations and support our West Harrow campaign!

West Harrow low traffic neighbourhood campaign

We’re currently campaigning for a low traffic neighbourhood in West Harrow (you can sign up to support it here: https://www.change.org/p/harrow-council-create-a-low-traffic-neighbourhood-in-west-harrow).

Thank you for your support!

Headstone South low traffic neighbourhood survey – deadline 1 Mar 2020

There is a survey for the Headstone South region to find out what the issues are in the area, to inform the design of the low traffic neighbourhood. Please respond here: https://consult.harrow.gov.uk/consult.ti/hscom/consultationHome

Greenhill low traffic neighbourhood survey – deadline 10 Mar 2020

Harrow council is consulting on a possible low traffic neighbourhood in the Greenhill area, east of Station Road. There is an online survey to find out what the streets are like, which will be followed by drop-in events and co-design workshops.

Link to survey: https://consult.harrow.gov.uk/consult.ti/greenhill/consultationHome

Drop-in events:
Saturday 22nd February 3-5pm at Kenmore Scout Hut, HA3 8LU
Wednesday 26th February 6-8pm, Harrow High School, HA1 2JG

After the survey closes, there will be collaborative design events:
Saturday 14th March 2-4pm, Harrow High School, HA1 2JG
Wednesday 18th March 6-8pm, Harrow High School, HA1 2JG

Harrow's health and wellbeing strategy

Harrow’s 2020-2025 Health and Wellbeing Strategy is open for consultation: https://consult.harrow.gov.uk/consult.ti/HWell/consultationHome

Please respond asking for specific measures to improve Harrow’s streets to enable more walking and cycling. The deadline is 17 Feb 2020.

Harrow’s health problems: diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity

Harrow has the second highest proportion of people with diabetes in England – 9.6% (https://www.diabetes.org.uk/in_your_area/london/london-region-news-/new-figures-rise-diabetes). Diabetes is a serious chronic disease which can lead to blindness, kidney damage, amputation, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Obesity and physical inactivity are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. In 2018-2019, 7.7% of Harrow’s population was obese, and this proportion has been rising. As well as diabetes, obesity increases the risk of depression, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

The physical environment is a major factor in causing obesity. Street that are unpleasant for walking and cycling lead to more car journeys and less active travel.

Harrow has the fourth lowest level of cycling in England (Department for Transport: Walking and Cycling Statistics 2018). A high proportion of Harrow’s adult population are physically inactive, 30.1% in 2017-18, which is the fifth highest in London.

Improving Harrow’s streets to help people to be healthy

The design of Harrow’s streets can be improved to help people to incorporate healthy physical activity in their everyday lives. Studies elsewhere in London showed that removing through traffic from residential areas using ‘low-traffic neighbourhood’ schemes resulted in people walking or cycling for 41 minutes more per week after just one year.

Harrow should follow the example of boroughs such as Waltham Forest which have put in place measures to reduce traffic and make streets into healthy places for people rather than dominated by cars. Quiet streets are better for people’s mental health. ‘Pocket parks’ on the street encourage people to socialise and enjoy the streets. People are more physically active because they walk or cycle more, and drive less.

Proposals in Harrow’s strategy

The strategy has a vision for a ‘happy, healthy borough’, and aims to halt the rise in obesity by 2025 through a multi-factorial focus on prevention. The strategy mentions improving the environment to enhance active travel, and improving access to green space and leisure facilities. Regeneration programmes aim to improve walking and cycling routes and access to public transport, to increase physical activity levels.

Our recommendations for strengthening the strategy

Harrow needs to put public health and the environment at the heart of its transport and planning strategy. There are many public health interventions recommended by national bodies such as the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph41).

The strategy should make specific recommendations to improve Harrow’s streets, including:

  • a programme to develop low traffic neighbourhoods across the borough – these are low cost interventions that reduce traffic and increase walking and cycling
  • school streets, to enable children to walk or cycle safely to school and incorporate physical activity in their everyday life
  • cycle tracks along major roads and better pedestrian crossings, to enable people to walk or cycle more
  • a default 20mph speed limit across the borough
  • measures to reduce car use, such as parking charges and road use charges, which could fund improvements to streets

'Northern' cycle route – Feb 2020

Link to consultation website (deadline 14 Feb 2020): https://consult.harrow.gov.uk/consult.ti/northcycle/consultationHome

Harrow proposes to create a cycle route running east to west across the northern half of the borough. Similar to the Metropolitan Route and the Jubilee Route, the actual interventions (cycle tracks or new junctions) are very limited. It is mostly a signed route along busy roads where cyclists have to share with motor traffic.

Signed cycle routes being built in Harrow 2018-2020. Only the TfL-led cycleway will be on entirely low traffic, traffic-free or segregated routes, but it is indirect. The Metropolitan and Jubilee routes are indirect and are mostly along minor roads which may have large volumes of motor traffic.

We oppose this scheme because it does not meet TfL cycle design standards, it is not a high priority route according to TfL Strategic Cycling Analysis (so other routes in Harrow should be built before it), and cyclists and local residents have not been involved in deciding the route or the design.

Cycle routes are only useful if they are direct, safe, pleasant and provide adequate protection from motor vehicles. This route will not be accessible to children, elderly or disabled cyclists.

This section of the route will have advisory cycle lanes but no segregation – this is unacceptable and does not meet TfL design standards

High quality, localised improvements are much more useful than long, poor quality routes which few people will use.

Specific comments about sections of the route:

  • The Uxbridge Road section needs segregated cycle tracks
  • A cycle route along Headstone Lane should be added to serve Hatch End High School, otherwise it is a missed opportunity to serve this important destination.
  • Cycle and pedestrian crossings (humped parallel zebras) should be provided on all arms of the Courtenay Avenue / Long Elmes roundabout, to enable cycle journeys in all directions rather than just one.
  • The High Road / Boxtree Road / Elms Road zebra crossing is far from the desire line for walking or cycling. The junction arms are flared, which will encourage high traffic speeds. The junctions need to be made tighter, with a zebra on each side on the High Road so that people can cycle across without having to deviate from their route. There should also be segregated cycle tracks along High Road.

Consultation response from Harrow Cyclists / London Cycling Campaign

This scheme is opposed. It will not enable more people to cycle in the area, nor will it fulfil the potential identified in TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) nearby for cycling, nor will it make existing cycling significantly safer.

This scheme as currently proposed likely represents a waste of public funds. Harrow Council should not move forward with it, nor should TfL (if it is planned to) provide any funding for it. Instead, Harrow should start afresh with schemes aimed at fulfilling cycling corridors in the borough as identified in the SCA with direct, comfortable and high-quality cycle routes as a bare minimum designed to fulfil TfL’s new Cycleway Quality Criteria.

Indeed, we would urge Harrow Council to, as a matter of absolute urgency, and particularly considering the council’s declaration of a climate emergency, do the following:

  • Produce a robust climate emergency action plan and new transport strategy alongside, demonstrating how, as a council, it will act to rapidly reduce car use and unleash the potential for cycling (and walking and public transport use) in the borough and for its residents.
  • Update all Highways engineers and officers training to reflect modern approaches to design and enabling cycling, to ensure all Highways schemes are designed to fulfil a re-tooled transport strategy with appropriate mode shift targets including reductions in car use.
  • Ensure all councillors, particularly those in the cabinet, are fully briefed and trained to understand cycling, cycling schemes, the role of motor traffic in a climate emergency.
  • Both councillors and officers should consider visiting schemes elsewhere in London to learn from, such as those in the Enfield and Waltham Forest mini-Hollands particularly.
  • Commit to engaging fully with resident experts and campaigners on such schemes going forward well before public consultation, and importantly, listening to them and taking on board criticisms.

Specific comments on this scheme:

This route is far from any TfL SCA identified corridor of cycling potential. If there is to be a scheme in the area it should fulfil one of these, such as between Pinner and Harrow, or between Harrow and Hendon, or Wealdstone and Edgware.

This route is not direct. And not appearing on the SCA implies that the destinations along the alignment will not enable many people to swap car journeys for cycle journeys etc.
Throughout the scheme there are numerous issues that ensure the route will not be used by those who don’t currently cycle, or likely by those that do. Using gravel paths on isolated cul-de-sacs will remove most of the potential for this route to be used by women and those with children, and will be unappealing to those on road bikes too. Elsewhere fast-moving main roads with high volumes of motor traffic treated with only narrow advisory cycle lanes will put off all but the most confident current cyclists. This latter approach certainly would fall far outside TfL’s Cycleway Quality Criteria, as well as international design guidance on Cycleways.

As well as failing to provide adequate protected space for cycling on main roads, all junction treatments are far below the standard required to be either likely to be used by those who currently cycle here or enable more people to cycle here.

The SCA shows the High Road, Boxtree Road and Elms Road junction as featuring a north-south Cycleway here also. North-south and east-west provision here is entirely inadequate at present and as planned.

Much of the route is not set to be improved and expects those cycling either to do so on pavements with paving slabs or on hostile roads. Neither option is an acceptable approach to increasing cycle numbers and/or safety. Indeed, such an approach is unlikely to be even perceived as a cycle route by most residents.

The spur on Elms Road appears to have no discernible purpose or destination.

The route towards Edgware stops well before Edgware.

Wealdstone town centre consultation – Feb 2020

This scheme is currently open for consultation (deadline 21 Feb 2020):

https://consult.harrow.gov.uk/consult.ti/Wealstonetcimprov/consultationHome

Harrow proposes changes to the bus routes in order to accommodate increases in the number of buses and to reduce delays to buses. Road and footway surfaces will be replaced, and there is a new short section of cycle track along High Street linking Gordon Road and Canning Road, part of the TfL Wembley to Wealdstone cycleway.

However, the scheme makes no attempt to reduce motor traffic, it makes cycling conditions worse and is poorly designed for pedestrians. We therefore oppose this scheme.

One of the problems with the scheme is that it makes part of the High Street one-way with no cycling contraflow. This is a major problem which will prevent people from cycling southbound or from accessing the High Street from residential roads via Grant Road.

Key locations where improvements are needed to the Wealdstone town centre scheme

The plan above shows key improvements that are needed for the scheme to make walking and cycling easier and safer. If you are responding to the consultation, please mention these five points.

We have taken a more detailed look at the scheme and the surrounding area, particularly with regard to cycle routes between key destinations.

Cycle routes surrounding the proposed Wealdstone High Street scheme. Outline of the scheme limits is shown in black. Red dashed lines show cycle desire lines that are not currently part of the plan, but which need to be included as part of a comprehensive network if cycling is to become a preferred mode of transport.
  • Part of the High Street is one way with no cycle contraflow. This means that cyclists have to take a detour along George Gange Way, which is dangerous for cycling. A segregated contraflow cycle lane needs to be provided on the one-way section of High Street.
  • Some of the cycle routes are shared with pedestrians, but this is not appropriate for busy town centre. Busy cycle routes should be segregated from pedestrians.
  • Some of the pedestrian routes do not have crossings along desire lines. Continuous footways should be used across minor accesses on the High Street, and zebra crossings should be provided wherever people are likely to want to cross busy roads, such as at the Canning Town / High Street junction.
  • Car parking and loading bays on the High Street are positioned in locations that will prevent space being available for cycle lanes. The location of parking and loading bays should be revised, with some of them moving to side roads in order to prioritise space for walking and cycling along the High Street.
  • The plans assume that motor vehicle routes and traffic volumes will remain as they are. Harrow council should investigate ways of reducing car traffic through Wealdstone town centre, such as road user charging or closing certain roads to cars. We suggest closing Masons Avenue to cars to enable it to become a high quality walking and cycling route.
  • The scheme provides only a limited selection of safe, high quality cycle routes, whereas many more direct routes are available for motorists. As shown on the map, we need cycle routes between:
    • Harrow and Wealdstone Station and Headstone Drive (for access to the Kodak development)
    • Harrow and Wealdstone Station and Harrow Leisure Centre (a direct route that avoids the detour through the town centre)
    • High Street and Grant Road (a minor road which provides access to residential areas to the north-east of Wealdstone)
    • Local links between Harrow and Wealdstone Station and the High Street, and between the station and the proposed cycle route over the bridge

Harrow Cyclists / London Cycling Campaign response

We submitted a set of detailed suggestions along with the summary response below.

This scheme is opposed. It will not enable more people to cycle in the area, nor will it fulfil the potential identified in TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) nearby for cycling, nor will it make existing cycling significantly safer.

The scheme may deliver benefits for buses and bus passengers, and improve the public realm in the area, but by failing to adequately tackle motor traffic dominance at this location, the scheme will fail to deliver the best outcomes for anyone.

We would urge Harrow Council to, as a matter of absolute urgency, and particularly considering the council’s declaration of a climate emergency, do the following:

  • Produce a robust climate emergency action plan and new transport strategy alongside, demonstrating how, as a council, it will act to rapidly reduce car use and unleash the potential for cycling (and walking and public transport use) in the borough and for its residents.
  • Update all Highways engineers and officers training to reflect modern approaches to designing for and enabling cycling, to ensure all Highways schemes are designed to fulfil a re-tooled transport strategy with appropriate mode shift targets including reductions in car use.
  • Ensure all councillors, particularly those in the cabinet, are fully briefed and trained to understand cycling, cycling schemes, and the role of motor traffic in a climate emergency.
  • Both councillors and officers should consider visiting schemes elsewhere in London to learn from, such as those in the Enfield and Waltham Forest mini-Hollands particularly.
  • Commit to engaging fully with resident experts and campaigners on such schemes going forward well before public consultation, and importantly, listening to them and taking on board criticisms.

Specific comments on this scheme:

The scheme continues to provide multiple routes for private motor traffic through Wealdstone town centre. The High Street north-south alignment should be made bus, cycle and pedestrian only (with loading either via side streets or only at certain times). Private motor traffic should be redirected to the A409 entirely. This approach, or one like it would vastly improve public transport here, create a far better shopping environment and enable far more people to walk and cycle through the town centre and to/from it.

The current scheme materials state one aim of the scheme is to “make improvements to the quality of cycle routes in the High Street area and make accessing the town centre easier and safer for cyclists”. The changes proposed to cycle routes are so disjointed and partial that they provide no overall improvement, and by removing the option for people to cycle southbound along the High Street they actually make the town centre less accessible by bike.

Specifically, the short sections of cycle track fail to connect to each other or even safely cross any junctions, including side streets. They will therefore not enable anyone who does not currently cycle here to start, nor will they be well used or confer significant safety benefits to those who do cycle here currently despite deeply hostile road conditions.

TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) highlights several routes that should be prioritised for much higher cycling levels in the area, including a north-south route from Harrow Weald to Harrow, Harrow to Pinner, Wealdstone to Edgware and Harrow to Kingsbury and Hendon. The SCA also highlights zones where there is the highest potential to grow cycling. to the west of Wealdstone and Harrow is one such area, while to the south east of Wealdstone is also an area of highest current cycle demand. This scheme does not appear to coherently engage with these corridors and zones. It should.

Reducing through motor traffic in the town centre, particularly in consideration of the zones the SCA highlights, implies strongly that the areas around the town should also be considered to remove the option of through motor traffic displacing onto residential and other non-distributor streets, using “low traffic neighbourhood” principles.

Walking is also poorly provided for in a scheme that fails to include necessary crossings in some locations, uses staggered crossings, and crossings away from the desire line in other locations.

Public meeting 28 Jan 2020

Date and time: Tue 28 January 2020, 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Venue: The Lodge, 64 Pinner Road, Harrow, HA1 4HZ

Link to minutes of meeting

This meeting was open to anyone interested in improving street conditions for walking and cycling in Harrow, and we were delighted to be able to welcome a large number of environmental and voluntary groups.

Healthy Streets addresses many of Harrow’s problems by changing the way we move around and enjoy our public spaces. It addresses poor health by reducing air pollution and noise, and increasing physical activity. Walking-friendly streets are sociable and help to improve community spirit. Fewer cars and less driving means a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

We outlined what we do as Harrow Cyclists – encouraging people to try cycling by organising free bike rides, liaising with the council on cycling schemes and having a seat on the Traffic and Road Safety Advisory Panel.

We launched the ‘Healthy Streets for Harrow’ brand to appeal to a wider audience, as the improvements which are needed for cycling benefit everyone, especially pedestrians.

Discussing ideas to improve walking and cycling in Harrow

We would like to work with community groups to help to make Harrow’s streets more people-friendly. We plan a follow-up meeting in May.

Campaign for a low traffic neighbourhood in West Harrow

Low traffic neighbourhoods are created by preventing through motor traffic from using minor residential roads. They reduce the overall amount of motor traffic (without increasing traffic on surrounding streets), and encourage people to walk and cycle more.

Last year we successfully petitioned for a low traffic neighbourhood in Headstone South. The council listened to us and has committed £25,000 towards traffic counts, feasibility studies and resident workshops to develop a scheme.

Now residents in West Harrow also want less traffic and healthier streets. Please support our petition (please sign only if you are a Harrow resident): https://www.change.org/p/harrow-council-create-a-low-traffic-neighbourhood-in-west-harrow

Thank you for your support!

Harrow Cyclists meeting 19 Nov 2019

Tuesday 19 November, 7.30pm

Venue: East End House, Moss Lane, Pinner, HA5 3AW.

Directions: In a private road off Moss Lane opposite Chiswick Court. 10 minutes’ walk from Pinner Underground or bus stops H11, H12, H13 or 183. Secure cycle parking. Phone 02088663024 in case you need help finding the venue on the day. 

Agenda

The agenda will include feedback from our meeting with Will Norman and Harrow Council on 4 Nov 2019, and discussion of our future campaigns.

One of our key campaigns is for a low traffic neighbourhood in the Marlborough / Greenhill area, so if you live in that area please come along!