Vincent Square: council still opposes two-way cycling

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Westminster council is still opposed to two-way cycling in Vincent Square, one of the requests the London Cycling Campaign put to candidates in May's elections as part its Space for Cycling Campaign

bar chart

The bar chart shows the hourly rates of cycles and motor vehicles using the SW side of Vincent Square that were recorded at the junction with Bloomburg Street the morning of 12th August and the evening of 18th August. In the morning, cyclists far outnumbered motorists. Far fewer cyclists seemed to use the Square in the evening, probably because they chose not to break the law by retracing their morning journey in the opposite direction. However, 40% of the cyclists counted in the evening did so.

Photo of Vincent Square
Vincent Square in the morning peak

The guidance on contraflow cycling given in the Department for Transport's Local Transport Note 2/08 is:

7.6.6 Where the 85th percentile speed is less than 25 mph and traffic flows are below 1,000 vehicles a day, or where the street forms part of a 20 mph zone, it may be possible to dispense with any marked cycle lane.

These conditions are likely to be satisfied around Vincent Square. The guidance does not specify a minimum carriageway width and there are some very narrow streets in the City of London that have contraflow cycling.

Unfortunately Westminster council is still unwilling to exempt cyclists from the one-way restrictions around Vincent Square. In response to the Space for Cycling proposal, Councillor David Harvey recently wrote to the LCC:

[Had] we taken forward the proposals put in as part of space for cycling for Vincent square, there would have been very strong opposition from residents, largely on grounds that we had not discussed merits and demerits with them nor involved them in any process. For instance, as a keen cyclist myself, I do not believe that the case for two-way cycling around Vincent square is clear-cut on a cycling basis, yet alone, taking into account the opinions of those who live on the square, park their cars or use it as pedestrians.

Replies

A particular problem in Westminster is that councillors feel they are responsible to their local residents but not to the large number of outsiders who visit or pass through their wards every day.

It is understandable that Cllr Harvey might not agree to implement two-way cycling without having had the time to consult local residents. Agreeing to evaluate it might be another matter.

Umm, why can't David Harvey and the council just put forward the proposal, and consult residents on it before implementation? 

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