Roads Task Force: what's in it for Westminster cyclists?

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Earlier this year, the Roads Task Force published its report on tackling the challenges facing London's streets and roads. The conclusions may well have important consequences for the way London's streets are managed – not least in Westminster. More specifically, the recommendations for different types of street could help to resolve disagreements between cyclists and authorities about the way cycling is accommodated.

The Roads Task Force (RTF) was set up by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson in 2012. Over the ensuing year, the RTF reviewed international experience, considered the evidence and engaged with a broad range of stakeholders. The RTF report set out a vision for ‘world-class streets and roads in London, fit for the future’ – and what is needed in the short, medium and long term.

The RTF report – with Transport for London's response – comes to just under 30megabytes. For cyclists, the most interesting part is probably the annexes, where there are examples of how the principles expounded in the report could be put into practice in particular streets.

Annex 2 considers the following types of street:

Arterial roads

Definition:
Reliable major routes for large volumes of traffic that mitigate the impact on  adjacent communities.
Case studies / illustrations:
Great West Road, North Circular, Euston/Marylebone Road
Features include:
Improved landscape setting incorporating separated cycle routes and wide footways to improve walking and cycling access in the local area.
Possible examples in Westminster:
Marylebone Road

High roads

Definition:
Reliable major routes through London that provide vibrant, safe, secure and well-maintained urban environments and make shops and services easily accessible.
Case studies / illustrations:
Tooting High Street
Features include:
Superhighways and advanced stop lines for cyclists.
Possible examples in Westminster:
Edgware Road

High streets

Definition:
Provide access by all modes to shops and services, and ensure a high-quality public realm and strong focus for community life.
Case studies / illustrations:
Burnt Oak Broadway, Stoke Newington
Features include:
Generous cycle lane,
cycle racks on median strip to reduce clutter on footways
Possible examples in Westminster:
Queensway

City hubs and boulevards

Definition:
Vibrant focal points for business and culture. They reduce the impact of high traffic volumes while accommodating high pedestrian flows, bus access and essential traffic.
Case studies / illustrations:
Victoria, Elephant & Castle, Old Street?
Features include:
Cycle hire docking station,
High-quality cycle parking,
Wheeling ramps to make stairs accessible to cyclists,
Cycle lanes incorporated into the roundabout layout.
Possible examples in Westminster:
Victoria, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square

Connectors

Definition:
Reliable routes for medium distance and local road journeys, comfortable roads for cyclists and safe and secure routes for pedestrians.
Case studies / illustrations:
Tavistock Place
Features include:
Dedicated two-way cycle lane to provide safe route for cyclists as part of Quietway network
Separate cycle signals as part of high-quality cycling infrastructure
High-quality cycle parking,
Possible examples in Westminster:
Lisson Grove, George Street, New Cavendish Street

City streets

Baker Street

Definition:
Provide a world-class, pedestrian friendly environment while ensuring excellent connections with the wider transport network.
Case studies / illustrations:
Oxford Street, Baker Street?
Features include:
One-way gyratory system removed and lanes reconfigured to reduce vehicle speeds
Lane restricted to buses and cycles only, to improve cycle safety and bus journey time reliability.
Cycle hire docking station
High-quality cycle parking
Possible examples in Westminster:
Oxford Street, Strand, Piccadilly, Regent Street, Haymarket, Baker Street

Local streets

Definition:
Quiet, safe and desirable residential streets that foster community spirit and local pride.
Case studies / illustrations:
Could be anywhere
Features include:
No through-route from road, to ensure usage only by local motorised traffic and prevent ‘rat-running’
Safe routes for cyclists as part of Quietway network
High-quality cycle parking
Possible examples in Westminster:
Many

Assuming that Westminster and cyclists both agreed that these features were appropriate for the different types of street, and assumming that both parties could agree the classification of particular streets, most of the disagreements that have occurred in the past – such as Haymarket / Lower Regent Street – could be avoided. But those are big assumptions!

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