15 Cycling Quick Wins for Westminster City Council
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
Allowing westbound contraflow cycling between Haymarket and Lower Regent Street would allow cyclists to avoid these busy roads and unlock a longer westbound route.
As above, allowing eastbound contraflow cycling.
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).
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
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
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.
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.
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 11:11pm 31 March 2015.