Bromley's mini-Holland wish list

Following a decision by Bromley Council that they would not be applying for mini-Holland status, members of Bromley Cyclists (the Bromley LCC Group), have prepared a cycling wish list ready for submission to the borough's transport department. Report by John Wood.

Norman Park will be at the centre of the routes crossing Bromley Common

In May the Mayor of London contacted all London’s council's inviting them to bid for a share of the £100m mini-Holland budget announced earlier in the year. Bromley Council’s officers, having considered the invitation and particularly the stringent conditions and timescales attached (detailed designs by next April with a view to starting implementation in May 2014), have concluded that they would not be able to deliver such a project within the constraints.

Officers have recommended to elected representatives that time spent on bidding for other Cycling Vision for London budgets available to boroughs was more likely to be productive with a greater chance of a successful outcome, particularly if targeted at Quietways and cycling 'superhubs'.

The borough’s Senior Transport Planner Steven Heeley said: “The spend of some £20-£30m in that timescale is not realistically deliverable by any borough in London, particularly if transformation is to include the introduction of new technology and changes to the road regulations with the Department for Transport, such as eye-level traffic lights and innovative segregation options.”

The decision was reported to Bromley Cyclists at their monthly meeting in June and, after the initial disappointment, they set to work to prepare a proposal to develop a network of borough-wide cycling Quietways funded from other transport budgets.

After consultation with members, group officers have devised an initial wish list to promote two cycling hubs which can be added to in the future. The first proposal is to improve cycling access to Bromley Town Centre by creating up to nine entry/exit corridors to/from a 1.5 to 2-mile perimeter to a linear hub between Bromley North and Bromley South railway stations. Cycling infrastructure actually exists along many of these corridors; the real problem is locating and then following it while riding a bicycle. While no-one is advocating the application of gallons of blue paint as a solution, there is certainly a case for cycling routes to be made very much more visible than is currently the case.

Bromley Town Centre, one of two proposed new cycling hubs

The second proposal is for a network of cycle paths to be opened up across Bromley Common, linking all points on the perimeter of an area bordered by Crofton Road (A232) to the south, Hayes Lane to the west, the railway line between Orpington and Petts Wood stations to the east and Southborough Lane to the north.

Both of these proposals are aimed at getting people to use a bicycle to make a short journey that they would otherwise have made by car.

Bromley Cyclists Co-ordinator Spencer Harradine says: “Benefits will include reduced motor traffic, reduced road congestion, reduced pollution and for those on their bikes a healthier lifestyle and a reduction in transport costs. In many cases it will be quicker for the person on a bike to make their short journey than the motorist; particularly when one takes account of time spent locating a parking space and then walking to the final destination. It is a fact that it is always possible to park a bike closer to the shops or station than a car."

It will readily be seen that these two proposals link to each other; but more importantly they can be linked to other projects in the future. The proposals are going through final consultation within the borough group before being sent to Bromley Council for their consideration.

John Wood, who holds the Transport, Travel & Infrastructure brief for the group, says: “We have deliberately not gone into detail with our requests. We will leave it to the experts to draw up detailed ideas and then report back to us and other stakeholders with their plans.”