15 Cycling Quick Wins for Westminster City Council

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In response to a request from Westminster City Council (WCC) for a list of cycling 'quick wins', Cyclists in the City blogger Danny Williams and Westminster Cycling Campaign have worked together to produce a list of 15 locations where simple improvements can be made quickly to create real improvements. We submitted the list below to Cabinet Member for City Management, Transport and Environment, Councillor Ed Argar, on 07 June 2013.

We have produced lists of cycling 'quick wins' in the past, which WCC has not delivered. However this time we are hopeful that Councillor Argar and his officers want to find ways of achieving these 'quick wins', instead of finding reasons to block them. We will be keeping track of WCC’s progress in delivering these 15 real improvements for cyclists. Please click on the titles to see a map of each location:

1. Vauxhall Bridge Road/Bessborough Street/Causton Street

This functions as a T junction for vehicles (and bikes) as Causton Street is pedestrianized at its junction with Vauxhall Bridge Road. WCC could permit bikes to cross the pavement by installing a drop kerb out of and into Causton Street, with the current pedestrian crossing converted to a Toucan. This would provide a better way for existing quiet-ish routes via John Islip Street, Bessborough Street and Lupus Street to get across Vauxhall Bridge Road than the current arrangement. It means people would not have to cycle over Vauxhall Bridge Road and it avoids the spot of a relatively recent cyclist fatality.

WCC could also consider making Douglas Street alongside Vincent Square two-way for bikes, opening up a safer parallel route to Vauxhall Bridge Road for people on that side of the main road.

2. Horseferry Road/Dean Ryle Street/Dean Bradley Street

Could WCC consider closing Dean Ryle and Dean Bradley Streets to motor traffic at their junctions with Horseferry Road and install a Toucan crossing to enable people on bikes and foot to cross Horseferry Road at a natural desire line (currently served only by an unsignalled pedestrian island)? The closures would cause very little inconvenience to motor access to the areas north and south of Horseferry Road as there are numerous other options and this would have the benefit of appealing to pedestrians first and foremost but have tangible benefit for people on bikes by opening up a new quiet route through here.

3. Blomfield Road (Westbourne Terrace Road to Warwick Avenue) and Delamere Terrace

Two-way working for cycling here was being discussed a decade ago. Allowing contraflow cycling on both roads would open the link between the Grand Union Canal and Paddington / Regent's Park, respectively.

Blomfield Road: overcome this barrier to cycling from the Grand Union Canal to the Regent's Canal

4. Shaftesbury Avenue to Piccadilly

Allowing some cyclists to use the direct route (currently bus only) taken by buses would avoid the busy roads of Haymarket and Lower Regent Street.

5. Jermyn Street

Allowing westbound contraflow cycling between Haymarket and Lower Regent Street would allow cyclists to avoid these busy roads and unlock a longer westbound route.

6. Panton Street

As above, allowing eastbound contraflow cycling.

7. Tavistock Street (Southampton Street to Wellington Street)

Allowing eastbound contraflow cycling would create a valuable two-way cycle route from Trafalgar Square to the Wellington Street cycle track and Waterloo Bridge. It would also make it possible to avoid a large stretch of the Strand which is completely unusable on a bike at rush hour (and means there are no east-west routes through central London unless you’re brave enough to take the Embankment).

8. Wellington Street (where it exits at Waterloo Bridge)

Relocating street furniture and adjusting traffic signal timings would increase the capacity of this busy cycle track, which leads towards Waterloo Bridge. This would benefit all users here by reducing the unnecessary conflict that the current design generates between people on foot and on bikes.

Wellington Street: move the street furniture and adjust the traffic signal timings that choke one of Westminster's best used cycle routes

9. Strand (west) right turn into Lancaster Place (Waterloo Bridge)

For some inexplicable reason, buses can turn right here but cyclists are expected to cycle all the way around the Aldwych gyratory and then turn left on to Waterloo Bridge. Make this a bus and bike-only right turn.

On Waterloo Bridge there’s a real need to remove car parking. As a first step, the yellow lines should be extended closer to the junction with the Strand. At the moment, you cycle on to the Bridge southbound and almost immediately have to veer out to avoid parked cars, directly into the path of buses trying to overtake you. The junction creates deliberate conflict between people on bikes and buses which extends along the bridge.

Waterloo Bridge: remove the car parking that forces cyclists out into busy traffic

10. Old Compton Street area

It would be easy to create two-way cycling in Old Compton Street and the streets north of here (Frith, Dean, Greek). Most people already end up cycling the wrong way up these streets simply in order to try and get where they’re going without massive detours (especially for example the fact you can cycle westbound into Old Compton Street) but cannot legally continue to Wardour Street and up into the rest of Soho. Doing some work in this area also has the benefit of being highly visible to large numbers of people and sets a good pace for change elsewhere in WCC.

11. Wardour Street (southern side) where it meets Shaftesbury Avenue

This is a no vehicles zone for much of the day. This could easily be made no motor vehicles just by changing the street sign. That would open a way for people to cycle safely from Soho towards Trafalgar Square without having to use the much busier Shaftesbury Avenue and also provide a way to cycle towards Covent Garden. It would only require a sign post change. Likewise, one cannot see any genuine reason why Lisle Street is a no vehicle, rather than no motor vehicle zone. There's plenty of space and there are identical street layouts in the City of London which work very well as pedestrian and cyclist only, especially given the lack of kerbs so people can easily move out of each other's way.

12. Air Street

Air Street has been pedestrianized. If people could cycle through here, they could access Soho from Piccadilly through quiet streets, rather than having to run the gauntlet of Piccadilly Circus and up Shaftesbury Avenue. Could this be made no motor vehicles rather than no vehicles?

Air Street: make this a route for considerate cycling from Piccadilly to Soho

13. Leicester Square

Replace the bike racks that were removed in the redevelopment of Leicester Square. Also add bike racks somewhere near Marshall Street baths. There is a woeful lack of bike parking in this area, which is the more noticeable given the presence of the leisure centre.

14. Great Marlborough Street

WCC recently removed the advanced stop line corner of Great Marlborough St/Regents Street. Simple to reinstate it.

15. Pall Mall

A number of people have pointed out that many of the manholes have started to collapse so only place to cycle is either immediately in the door zone (right next to parked cars) or to cycle along the right hand side. Neither is very sensible. Could the manholes be repaired?

This post was edited by Westminster Cycling Campaign at 10:00am 14 March 2016.


Excellent list!

If it were longer there are plenty of other places where contraflow cycling would be really useful, including most of Mayfair and Marylebone. 

However, top of my list would be contraflow cycling on the network of one-way streets south of Covent Garden and north of the Strand, giving an alternative to the Strand itself (which is nightmarish!).

Although closing the Dean Ryle Street/Dean Bradley street junction with Horseferry Road to motor traffic is an excellent idea, I'm not sure a traffic light controlled toucan is such a great idea. This is a part of London that is mercifully free of traffic lights - let's try and keep them out, if possible!

Why not put in a raised table here and bigger central island, wide enough to accept several bikes, perhaps with a zebra and informal cycle priority crossing? If the changes to Lambeth Bridge go ahead this will mean traffic levels will have to be reduced on Horseferry Road, meaning that crossing this road (preferably on a table) will become easier.


I'd add an ASL westbound at the junction of the merger of Westbourne Bridge and Harrow Road with Lord Hills Bridge. This is a horrible area to cycle westbound. Traffic speeds through the Harrow Road tunnel/underpass which forces westbound cyclists on a detour of Bishop's Bridge Road and Westbourne Bridge, which then merges in the fast lane with the speeding traffic emerging from the tunnel (often in low light conditions) of Harrow Road - horrendous! And there's not even an ASL to allow cyclists to get into the slow lane to continue along Harrow Road should the lights fortuitously be red.

This area really is a danger blot on the cycling landscape with no easy way through it without miles of detour.

Perhaps LCC should ask each of the local councils in London to cycle their borough during Cycle Week? This should include all local council members and be without a police escort so that the councillors understand the impact of their decision making on an ever growing section of their electorate. This could be co-ordinated by the local LCC cycle group. LCC could keep 'score' on the local council members and their willingness to take part. It might help the councillors to develop London into a city with a modern, civilised transport system and allow a move away from the motorised-vehicle obsession of the previous century.

Number 10. Definitely need some streets in Soho that are made 2 way for cyclists. I find it really hard getting round there, and end up pushing my bike half the time along narrow crowded pavements because I don't want to cycle the wrong way down a one way street.

And number 8. When you cross at those lights and head towards Waterloo Bridge, you immediately come to another set of lights outside Pret A Manger which are always on red at that point. Half the cyclists go through those. I don't but it does annoy me that they aren't timed to give cyclists a non-stop journey from Wellington St onto Waterloo Bridge. That would be a quick fix surely.

  • By u9ge at 1:35pm 5 July 2013

There is an obvious one missing here, coming from the west there is no safe route from Mayfair, the main cycle route being along Brook Street (from which you are encourage to use from the Brook Street Hyde Park exit) into the are North East of Oxford Circus, you are made to navigate through Hanover Sq and Cavendish Sq along with Cross Rail traffic.

The simple solution is allow left turning at the Hanover Street contraflow with Regent St (but please let them resurface that!) and allow right turning at Oxford Circus.


Great list. Would be excellent to see these and similar changes happen quickly.

A good list, the points regarding the Strand & Waterloo Bridge area are particularly important from my point of view - I work there!

3. Blomfield Road. I use this street to get from Paddington Station to Regents Canal on Lisson Grove and at the moment I ride on the pavement to get through it. Would this help speed up an 'except cycles' solution? http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/blog/2013/01/08/view-drawing-board-exempting-cyclists-traffic-regulation-orders
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