'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.

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