Wandsworth Living Streets responds to Quietway 21 proposal

map showing quietly route
Quietway 21 route

Wandsworth Living Streets response to proposals for Quietway 21
(Teddington <-> Wandsworth) in the London Borough of Wandsworth was submitted on Monday November 13 and reads as follows:

13 November 2017

Wandsworth Living Streets is the local group representing the UK charity
for everyday walking. Our primary purpose is to promote walking as a
healthy, enjoyable everyday activity and to enable this by ensuring that
the urban realm across the borough of Wandsworth is safe, pleasant and
inviting for people – whatever their level of mobility. We strongly
support the London-wide ‘Healthy Streets’ approach and our comments are
made bearing this framework in mind.

We note that the brief of the Quietways scheme is stated in Wandsworth
Council paper 15-458 as being:

“Transport for London (TfL) is developing a network of “Quietway” routes
for cyclists, envisaged as high-quality guided routes on low-traffic
back streets and other routes so that different kinds of cyclists can
choose the routes which suit them. Quietways are intended to be direct,
clearly signed, and delivered as whole routes without gaps in difficult
places. Quietways would support the new cycling strategy, on which
consultation has recently closed, which is reported elsewhere on the
agenda (Paper No. 15-457).”

We strongly support interventions to produce high-quality routes for
cycling. We are keen to ensure that meaningful changes are made to our
streets and public realm generally to support and encourage people to
cycle in our borough and thus to achieve the many benefits that will
arise from enabling people of all ages to cycle in safety and comfort.
As a general principle, our view is that interventions should take
highway space (and time) from motorised modes, rather than from pedestrians.

map of Quietway route
Wandsworth Common to Teddington

The map showing the overall route for this Quietway (21) shows a rather
indirect route. There seems no obvious justification for this,
particularly given that there are no proposals for modal filtering.
Will this lack of directness be likely to increase uptake of cycling?

We note that the route shows some links with existing formal cycle
routes, but no connection with CS8 in Wandsworth. This is needed as a
matter of urgency. Making Garratt Lane suitable for all age and
all-ability cycling between Mapleton Road and CS8 southern termination
at Ram Street could, if done well, greatly improve the environment,
reduce road danger for cyclists and pedestrians, enable more people to
cycle to Garratt Lane shops, and contribute to retail vitality in this
part of Wandsworth town centre.

The proposals would be greatly strengthened if filtered permeability
were incorporated. This would hugely benefit both cyclists and
pedestrians. For example, there seems no obvious reason not to remove
through-motor-traffic along Heathfield Road past Wandsworth Prison,
given the existence nearby of Trinity Road. The railway overbridge on
Heathfield Road is a pinch point which highlights the result of allowing
motor traffic to dominate this area, creating an unpleasant and
frequently traffic-clogged environment, with cyclists squeezed on the
carriageway, and no footway on the north side of the overbridge.

Where shared use between people cycling and walking is unavoidable,
potential for conflict needs to be minimised. We recognise that some
measures have been taken to address this, and these are welcome. We
propose more engagement with Wandsworth Housing Department to achieve
this outcome on the short E-W link connecting Borrodaile Road and
Garratt Lane, where hedge height could be reduced, in order to improve
inter-visibility, as an ‘easy win’. Our impression is that there is a
tendency for shared use to be adopted as a ‘first line’ option, rather
than by reallocating carriageway space, notably at Princes Way and
Withycombe Road. We also note here that there is potential for conflict
with people using buses.

The Council’s stance on mini-roundabouts is inconsistent, both within
this Quietway consultation and for Quietways in the borough as a whole.
The proposed introduction of a mini-roundabout on Sutherland
Grove/Girdwood Road is incompatible with a Quietway, and we strongly
oppose this proposal. If the Council insists on progressing this
proposal, at the very least, we would ask for zebra crossings to be
installed on all arms of the mini-roundabout, and not using Quietway
(cycling budget) funding.

We would expect that all roads used by the Quietway will have a 20mph
speed limit, including Telegraph Road as discussed. We suggest that
full use is made of TfL’s 20mph Toolkit in order to maximise compliance
with 20mph speed limits.

In King George’s Park, we suggest that use is made of ‘pedestrian
priority’ signs on the proposed new E-W route, which we note has
relatively low flows of people.

As a general point, we note that off-road provision for cycling needs to
have an effective maintenance protocol. Poorly maintained cycle routes
e.g. lack of sweeping of leaf fall, increases danger to users and can
result in conflict between cyclists and pedestrians as a result of
cyclists trying to avoid surface hazards.

We note that cycling infrastructure can directly benefit pedestrians
e.g. the dropped-kerb link at the western end of Borrodaile Road, which
is well used by people on mobility scooters and with push chairs, as
well as people cycling. This reinforces the need for flush kerbs here
and at similar multi-user locations.

We think that better provision for cycling is needed than that proposed
along Putney Heath, in order to meet the stated brief of Quietways.
Such a solution should not compromise pedestrian safety and amenity.

We welcome the proposed use of ‘early release’ traffic signals and think
that these could be used more e.g. all arms of Heathfield Road/
Earlsfield Road crossroads, and similarly Granville Road/Merton
Road/Brathway Road. These would help increase connectivity of this
Quietway, and hence support its use. We note the proposed removal of a
zebra crossing on Merton Road, in association with the removal of the
mini-roundabout and the introduction of signals. It is important that
delays to pedestrians as a result are minimised.

We support the removal of car parking where this compromises people’s
safety and amenity. We also welcome proposals to ‘tighten up’ junction
geometry in places. We ask that the introduction of Copenhagen
Crossings be considered in appropriate side-road locations, to further
reduce risk to people cycling and walking. We have also noted measures
in a number of places on this Quietway route to reallocate highway space
to cyclists and/or pedestrians and, whilst we would like to see more of
this, these measures are welcome.

We welcome the use of ‘tiger’ (parallel) crossings as ways to assert
‘active travel’ modal priority. Design and associated use of shared
space needs to be carefully designed to minimise potential for conflict.

We are pleased to see proposals to remove guardrailing e.g. at the
eastern end of Mapleton Road. We think that it would be preferable not
to ‘demark’ all of the existing cycle track running N-S on the eastern
side of Garratt Lane nearby, but rather to renew its surface (other than
on the approaches to toucan crossings, where crossing movements of
pedestrians and cyclists will occur), since we are aware that
pedestrians frequently walk on it.

We think that Cycling Level of Service (CLOS) scores should have been
presented alongside the consultation maps, in order to better inform
responses to this consultation. The omission of CLOS scores for a
‘cycling’ budget line scheme, together with the schematic nature of the
plans presented to the public, makes it harder for respondents to assess
the proposals.

1. We have previously raised concerns about the apparent lack of
governance of Quietway proposals in the borough of Wandsworth, allowing
through weak or conflict-inducing proposals (e.g. between pedestrians
and cyclists at Earlsfield Station, in relation to Quietway 4). There
appears to be a lack of meaningful scrutiny of proposals by the relevant
Wandsworth OSC and, further by the Quietways team at TfL. This again
raises the question of who is in charge of quality control on the
Mayor’s Quietway programme.

2. The lack of substantive proposed measures (other than removal of two
bollards) to improve ease of use of a short shared use link on Housing
Department land west of Borrodaile Road suggests a lack of ‘buy-in’ from
Housing Department officers to Wandworth Council’s cycling strategy. We
think that work is needed internally within Wandsworth Council to ensure
that the Wandsworth Cycling Strategy is not seen as sitting solely
within the ‘transport’ brief.