Harrow council is proposing to reduce through traffic in the Kingshill Avenue area in Kenton, by making short sections of road one way (with cycling exemption) or closing them to motor vehicles (leaving access for cycling). The consultation is currently open online here (deadline 31 July): https://consult.harrow.gov.uk/consult.ti/kishill/consultationHome
We are broadly in favour of this proposal – this is one of the few schemes in Harrow which actually aims to reduce traffic rather than merely reduce speeds. It will improve the area for walking and cycling. However with some minor changes it could be even better – if the proposed closure of Kingshill Avenue is moved further south it will close off the remaining through route for motor traffic and make the area much better for residents.
Harrow council is proposing to redevelop the Headstone Gardens / Harrow View / Headstone Drive traffic light junction to provide a pedestrian phase. Three out of four right turns will be banned at the junction to enable this to happen, and all pedestrians will cross at the same time (single-stage crossings). However, this route is a desire line for cycling (especially east-west) but cycling is not accommodated in this design – there are no segregated cycling facilities.
We think it is ESSENTIAL that segregated cycling facilities are built through this junction in the east-west direction. This needs to be planned as part of a scheme to enable cycling along Headstone Gardens / Headstone Drive, part of a link between North Harrow and Harrow and Wealdstone station. It is probably most feasible to build this scheme as a two-way segregated cycle track on the south side of the road. Our suggestions are given below in red.
In addition, cyclists should be able to turn right from any junction arm. Surrounding minor residential roads (Headstone South / Marlborough) should become low-traffic neighbourhoods, with measures to prevent rat-running by motorists trying to avoid the junction.
The speed limit on all roads in the area should be 20mph.
With reference to the Goodwill to All junction … we considered including cycle tracks on the footway to allow cyclists to bypass traffic queues at the signals during in the initial design stage of the scheme similar to your suggestion. Unfortunately, the footways along Headstone Gardens – Headstone Drive are not consistently wide enough to do so and therefore this was not feasible. Also, this would mean that the signal heads on Harrow View (south) would have to be relocated further back onto Harrow View, which would adversely affect the signal timing and network performance at the junction which is already operating over capacity at the moment. You will note that advanced cycle stop lines are included in the design and we will consider introducing no right turn except cyclists in the final design.
Harrow Cyclists counter-response 24 Oct
We wrote to the council following the October 2019 TARSAP meeting, at which the junction was discussed and two deputations were presented by local residents. Residents were unhappy with the plans because of potential adverse effects on local shops and the risk of more traffic on minor roads trying to bypass the junction. Respondents to the public consultation disliked the right turn bans and the lack of cycling facilities.
The new junction
design was based on maximising motor traffic capacity while adding
pedestrian crossings. Modelling and traffic forecasts have been based
on continued growth in motor traffic. Data presented at the meeting showed that the option of signalising the existing pedestrian crossings while
maintaining vehicle movements as at present would result in the
junction being 125% over capacity. Banning two additional right turns
as proposed would result in a junction which was 112% over capacity.
There are two approaches to the capacity issue – to reduce motor traffic or to try to increase space for driving. Reducing motor traffic is in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and Harrow’s public health and environmental strategies. This can be achieved by building a cycle network with high quality routes segregated from motor traffic. The east-west route through Goodwill Junction is a particularly important desire line; it is identified in the TfL Strategic Cycling Analysis, is an existing signed cycle route, and was marked as a route to be developed using section 106 money in Harrow council’s 2013 mini-Holland bid (see below). This stated “Junction to be remodelled to improve pedestrian and cycle facilities as part of section 106 funding. This bid will assist in improving cycle facilities”.
However Harrow has
opted for the second approach, with the proposed banned turns and
lack of cycling provision aiming to maximise motor traffic
throughput. This design strategy is fundamentally flawed. Growth in
motor traffic is not inevitable, but it will happen if future roads
increase motor vehicle capacity while failing to provide for cycling.
Motor traffic will decrease if more people are enabled to cycle. Dutch experience has shown that a cycle network grid needs to have routes approximately every 400 metres in order for cycling to be the mode of transport of choice. The nearest alternative east-west routes (through the Kodak site or along Marlborough Hill) are over 500 metres from Headstone Drive, and do not diminish the need for a cycle route through Goodwill Junction. Local shops will benefit from passing trade if cycle lanes are installed. We wrote to the council in 2017 urging for cycling to be designed into the plans, and have recently produced a diagram showing how a two-way cycle track could be accommodated on the south side of the junction.
Given that the
current proposal is not popular with either motorists or cyclists, we
suggest going ahead with only the pedestrian crossing signals
initially, and using section 106 money to build low traffic
neighbourhoods in the surrounding area (Headstone South and
Marlborough). The junction can then be redesigned to incorporate
cycle facilities as part of a future project.
Failing to include
cycle provision at this key junction will set a precedent for the
design of future junctions along cycle desire lines (many of which
are just as constrained), and may jeopardise Harrow’s ability to
build a cycle network at all.
Harrow council response 30 Oct 2019
As you will be aware the Council adopted its third Transport Local Implementation Plan earlier in the year and this has a continued and on-going focus on moving towards more travel by walking, cycling and public transport in order to limit and reduce the use of private cars. This reflects the aspirations in the London Mayor’s Transport Strategy that uncontained growth in vehicular traffic is unsustainable and there is an urgent need to promote healthy streets, healthy lifestyles and improve air quality in the city. In Harrow we recognise that cycling is the borough’s weakest mode share and we are dedicating a significant proportion of our resources to improving cycle infrastructure to provide a safe and accessible network of cycle routes that local cyclists can use. However, we recognise that changing travel habits is not something people can be forced to do and is something that will change over time gradually because it needs to be a choice that people make to be more sustainable and healthy. The Council’s role in this is to encourage that modal shift by sustaining a programme of infrastructure that makes alternative modes of travel more accessible and implementing policies that incentivise change.
When we look at locations in isolation, like the Goodwill to All junction, it is always necessary to consider all existing modes of travel and develop proposals that accommodate current and future travel needs and decide on the most appropriate interventions. In this case there is a transport assessment underpinning the planning permission granted for the Kodak site which highlights particular impacts of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the junction and a funding contribution agreed to make changes that can mitigate those impacts. In developing this proposal we recognise that a large increase in pedestrian traffic is likely from the development because of a new school, medical centre, business premises and up to 2,000 new homes. The parking standards applying to the development means that car ownership and use will be kept relatively low and therefore a significant proportion of people are likely to use public transport services and the bus stops at the junction. The inclusion of a pedestrian phase at the traffic signals is essential and will prioritise green time to pedestrians at the expense of vehicles. We are therefore not maximising motor vehicle capacity by doing this.
The other factor to take account of is the anticipated growth in vehicular traffic as a consequence of the increasing population and number of homes facilitated by the development. The introduction of right turn restrictions has been proposed because there is insufficient capacity to accommodate existing vehicular traffic, the additional vehicular traffic from development and the reduction in green time for vehicles at the junction because of a pedestrian phase. The proposed right turn restrictions provides a way of maximising the capacity in this constrained site. I accept that this is an unpopular measure but simply including a pedestrian phase without any other mitigations will cause an intolerable level of congestion and delay for people passing through the junction in vehicles in the future.
Taking account of all these factors it is quite clearly very difficult therefore to also provide dedicated space to cycle lanes when the likely switchable journeys from vehicles to cycling will be quite low and will not contribute to a significant proportion of journeys made through the junction. In this instance the options for including specific cycle infrastructure that take space from other vehicles are not viable or practical in this particular location. The Council has a duty under the Traffic Management Act to ensure the safe and expeditious movement of all traffic and we could not promote measures that would have a detrimental impact on the main modes of travel and result in a wide scale negative impact on he network. However, we have also taken account of the fact that the development will include a dedicated green link through the east and west development sites with a dedicated crossing facility across Harrow View that will run parallel to Headstone Drive and Headstone Gardens. This will provide an alternative route for east / west cycle journeys around the junction in the future.
The vast majority of comments received to the public consultation expressed concerns about the right turn restrictions as you know and this remains the main issue to be addressed as this project evolves.
While I appreciate that you may be disappointed by this response I would reiterate that we do have a strong commitment to improving cycling as a mode of travel across the borough and we will continue to work with the Harrow Cyclists to improve the uptake of cycling.
Our annual meeting where we will elect the committee to take us forward – please come along if you would like to help with our campaign. Positions available include co-ordinator, secretary, treasurer, rides co-ordinator, webmaster, and council liaison.
We have a couple of major campaigns in which we are liaising with the council – planning low-traffic neighbourhoods in Headstone South and surrounding areas, and developing a Liveable Neighbourhood proposal for central Harrow. Join us and help to make a difference!
The meeting is on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 from 19:30-21:00 at 60 Longley Road, Harrow, HA1 4TH.
We hope that councillors will vote to fund a feasibility study for the Headstone South low traffic neighbourhood and submit an application for a Liveable Neighbourhood (a TfL scheme which provides up to £10 million funding for borough-led walking and cycling proposals). Liveable Neighbourhood funding is currently the only funding stream available that can provide the large amounts of money that are needed to redesign major roads and junctions in order to make them suitable for walking and cycling.
We are campaigning for removal of through motor traffic from Pinner View, the County Roads and surrounding minor residential streets (the area bounded by Headstone Gardens, Parkside Way, Station Road – North Harrow, Pinner Road and Harrow View – see map below).
Click here for more information about the area and our proposals.
The surrounding roads are main roads and bus routes, but there is no reason why people need to drive through the area. We propose closing roads to cars at certain points, which will prevent through traffic, but still allow people to drive to all properties.
We collected 400 signatures from Harrow residents on paper and on our online petition in December 2018 – January 2019, and Emma Bradley presented it to the leader of the council, Graham Henson, on 2 February 2019.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, and we will continue to lobby the council to ensure that they take this proposal forward!
Frequently asked questions
Where exactly are the road closures proposed?
Although we can suggest potential locations of road closures that would eliminate through traffic, at this stage we are not campaigning for any specific locations, because this needs further consultation with local residents. However we want to bring it to the attention of the council so that they can work on a solution.
Won’t traffic just be pushed onto nearby roads?
This would happen if individual minor roads are closed and neighbouring roads are left open to traffic. We are campaigning for an area-wide approach, which will ensure that none of the minor roads are available for through traffic. All through traffic will use the main roads, which are designed to handle such traffic. Over time, the overall amount of traffic will decrease as people are encouraged to walk or cycle for short journeys (similar schemes in Waltham Forest reduced traffic within the zone by 56% without any increase on the main roads that remained open to all traffic).
What about the emergency services?
Emergency services will be consulted about any changes to be made. Road closures will be designed to ensure there is vehicle access to all properties. If needed, removable or collapsible bollards can be used to close roads to cars but provide access for emergency vehicles.
Where else has this been done?
The majority of Dutch towns are designed in this way – minor roads are for access only, and the driving route for short journeys is usually longer and less direct than the walking or cycling route. Over the past few years, a number of London boroughs have created low-traffic neighbourhoods, including Hackney, Camden, Enfield and Waltham Forest. We have taken council officers and councillors on a visit to the Waltham Forest scheme, which has been very successful.
Won’t this divert money from other council services?
The measures to prevent through traffic not very expensive, and the benefits (reduced traffic, reduced pollution, more walking and cycling) far outweigh the costs. We propose that Harrow reallocates money which is already provided by TfL for walking and cycling, but is currently used for ineffective, signed-only ‘Quietway’ cycle routes.
Venue: Royal Oak pub, 86 St Anns Road, Harrow, HA1 1JP (outside St George’s shopping centre)
Come along for mince pies and a friendly chat at the Harrow Cyclists Christmas Social. We welcome anyone with an interest in improving Harrow’s streets – let us know your thoughts about your local area and ideas for making things better!
Please book on Eventbrite to let us know you’re coming.