This response to the consultation is from (Barnet Cyclists), the local borough group of London Cycling Campaign (LCC). We represent the interests of cyclists living or working in Barnet and aim to expand the opportunities for all to cycle safely in the borough.
The draft plan in its current form does not fully address the issues faced by Barnet, in particular the lack of safe space for cycling on direct routes and within neighbourhoods.
Our response identifies further challenges and opportunities, focuses on why the borough transport objectives are not sufficiently robust to achieve the desired shift to walking, cycling and public transport set by the Mayor’s Transport Strategy up to 2041, and suggests further measures and targets.
The consultation was published here: https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/Transport_Local_Plan
Our response focussed on four main topics:
- Strategic Cycle Network
- Liveable / Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
- Behavioural Change
- Additional Targets
1) Strategic Cycle Network (SCN)
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy says, “Walking or cycling will be the best choice for shorter journeys. Seventy percent of Londoners will live within 400m of the London-wide strategic cycle network.” The Barnet LIP is far less ambitious, saying “We will seek to make cycling and walking more attractive for leisure, health and short trips.”
The LIP needs to grasp this opportunity, show the full SCN map and demonstrate how it will meet this need by 2041. Unless journeys are straightforward and not intimidating to cyclists, the uptake from new riders is likely to be miniscule. A network that works for new cyclists, older cyclists and even children is key.
Promoting physical activity
We welcome plans to use green spaces as alternative routes and to link parks, but these will never be enough to provide a network. To achieve significant modal shift to cycling they need to be part of an integrated cycling network, utilising direct road routes, filtered residential areas and lower speed limits. Car parks are being expanded in parks, but people should not feel the need to drive to a park in order to go cycling. The LIP is silent on encouraging eBikes, which are particularly valuable for switching elderly and less fit people onto active travel in hilly areas.
Overall, there is a serious lack of ambition to “Deliver a London-wide strategic cycle network, with new, high-quality, safe routes and improved infrastructure”.
The LIP needs to include annual targets for Km of new and upgraded cycle routes. Barnet Cycling Campaign have published a map, based on local knowledge and TfL’s Strategic cycling Analysis, showing the poor quality of cycling provision on a potentially good cycle network https://barnetlcc.org/safer-cycling-mapped-out/
Space for cyclists
Provide protected/segregated road space for cyclists on orbital and radial routes.
There should be a commitment to London Cycle Design Standards, including no use of ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs.
Alongside public transport, direct, safe, orbital cycle routes are also needed as part of a network to enable a realistic choice to cycle. This is particularly true for orbital routes where public transport is infrequent.
The plan accepts that a relatively high degree of car-based travel will still occur. Plans need to enable cycling to play an important role on orbital routes, which are much less well served by public transport than radial routes, and provide safe routes between developments and key outside destinations.
Town centres and transport hubs
Congested town centres and transport hubs are currently difficult for cycling and should be the first places where on-road cycling infrastructure is provided. The benefits can be explained with evidence, including the recent TfL analysis of the economic benefits of walking and cycling.
Improving public transport facilities here is an opportunity to encourage cycling to these destinations by making them nodes in the cycle network.
Establish bike hubs, with secure parking and services, at centres and at transport hubs, to making cycling to the station the best option.
Connect hubs into a strategic cycle network for the catchment area.
Step free access at stations
The plan should recognise that some people who can only walk short distances use cycles and e-Bikes as mobility aids and want to be able to take them to stations and on public transport.
Work with rail companies serving Barnet to provide easy access to platforms for wheeled bicycles. Steep channels at the sides of steps are not accessible.
Healthy Streets improvements
Healthy Streets improvements to better support bus movements are an opportunity to re-balance the provision of road space to improve facilities for cyclists alongside buses.
Healthy Streets principles need to apply to ALL LIP and Liveable Neighbourhood schemes, demonstrating a significant improvement on the Healthy Streets score.
Walking and cycling routes
Walking and cycling routes are also needed to serve Brent Cross and other development areas and to link them into the wider area.
Require new development areas to not only provide internal walking and cycling routes, but also to link them into the wider area.
Pressure to maximise value to the developer (and hence to Barnet via affordable housing, CIL funds etc.) can result in principles being watered down. It is vital that the main principles are adhered to and form a significant part of any upcoming planning applications as they arise.
We support the objective for a high quality on and off road cycle network based on TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis, but the full SCA analysis needs to be shown rather than only the top and high potential links (LIP3 Fig 7). Previous LIP funding included “Define borough-wide strategic walking & cycling network and improvements needed” by 2020/21, but so far there appears to be only one possible Quietway (North Finchley to Hornsey) and some possible new green routes, to demonstrate commitment.
Quietways have often proved slow, difficult to deliver and poor quality. They have a role, particularly for providing safe crossings of main roads for walkers and cyclists. However, there also needs to be real commitment to safe, direct, comfortable and continuous routes, with space on main roads re-allocated from the general carriageway, not the footway.
In August 2017, Barnet Cycling Campaign provided Barnet Council with a good basis for this planning, based on the locations of schools, shopping, businesses, hospitals and Sports Centres. This was provided as both a Google Map of suggested network and a Schematic Map of suggested network and we are keen to work closely with the council and TfL on this.
The Strategic Cycle Network for Barnet should have been defined already under previous LIPs – we need firmer proposals for delivery here and in Table 8 to 2041. Initial schemes should include protected or semi-protected on road space for cycling on main roads, not pushed onto indirect parallel routes, for:
- A1000 corridor improvements between Archway and High Barnet, taking in the remodelling of North Finchley
- A598 corridor improvements between Childs Hill and North Finchley, taking in improvements in Golders Green and Finchley Central
All main road junctions should be assessed for cyclist safety (real and perceived) as two thirds of collisions happen at junctions. Barnet Cycling Campaign has published a map showing particularly dangerous junctions and other issues. There may be quick wins, such as: removing left-turn only lanes, including early release stages and advance stop lines, that do not need to wait for major schemes.
Work with Network Rail and developers to ensure railway lines allow active travel from one side to another for disabled, pushchairs, bikes and elderly pedestrians.
There are a number of places where steep steps on bridges and tunnels should be replaced with accessible ramps (e.g. New Barnet where access to the new Leisure Centre is restricted by the steps to the railway tunnel).
Identify (including by consultation), review and fix many more dangerous junctions and other problems, such as severance, than those identified in LIP3 items 18, 41, 43 and 44.
2) Liveable neighbourhoods (LNs)
The LIP refers to the benefits of the LNs for Colindale/Grahame Park, funded through the Mayor’s LN scheme, but it needs to recognise the need and opportunity for LNs or Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to cover the entire borough and recognise the challenge of delivering that. The fear of limiting through traffic is often exaggerated, as seen with the extended closure of Hadley Green Road. The neighbouring outer London borough of Enfield has proposals for 36 Quieter Neighbourhoods covering all residential parts of that borough and these can be very popular with residents.
The plan only mentions LNs in development areas (Colindale, Brent Cross and possibly New Southgate). It needs more ambitious targets for rolling out Liveable Neighbourhoods (or at least Low Traffic Neighbourhoods) across the borough for safety reasons. These should have limited points of access for motor vehicles to eliminate through traffic, coupled with free access for cyclists and pedestrians.
Liveable / Low traffic Neighbourhood proposals or similar need to extend to all areas, not just development areas, to implement low traffic, enforced low speed, with limited through motor access, in all residential areas by 2041 or sooner.
20 mph areas
Rather than in limited locations around schools and pedestrian areas, to promote cycling and walking between home and school and more generally for everyone, 20 mph should be the norm for all residential areas and on main roads where there is no segregation.
Whilst there may be concern regarding enforcement of lower speed limits – if authorities properly engage communities from the outset in street design that prioritises people (wider pavements, removal of street markings, addition of parklets etc) then less enforcement will be necessary, as the design of roads will lead to 20mph.
Evidence: Through a safe systems approach to road safety lower speeds have been proven to reduce death and serious injury whilst improving quality of life. The risk of being killed is almost five times higher in collisions between a car and a pedestrian at 50km/h (31mph) compared to the same type of collisions at 30 km/h (18.6mph), reports OECD.
In Bristol a recent evaluation done by the University of the West of England of their rollout of 20 mph found that four fatalities, 11 serious and 159 slight injuries were avoided each year. This equates to a cost saving of over £15 million. There was also an average reduction in speed of 2.7 mph across the city.
School Travel Plans and School Streets
We welcome the introduction of school streets and Barnet’s high levels of cycle training, but without an integrated cycling network and Liveable Neighbourhoods few parents will allow their children to cycle to school.
Piloting School Streets is welcomed and 20 mph limits around schools are mentioned against Vision Zero.
However, to make cycling to school and elsewhere a safer and realistic option for everyone, there needs to be a new objective to propose Liveable or Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in all residential areas, responsive to local demand, with low traffic, 20 mph limits and walking/cycling permeability, linked to the cycling network.
One-way streets can be used to limit through traffic, but should allow contraflow cycling and not make cycling or walking more difficult. This is often used in Continental countries, where sections of opposed one-way working are used alongside other “Home Zone” treatments to create people-friendly residential streets with very low motor traffic levels. This has an effect similar to “cells” of modal filters, and sometimes can have advantages (such as eliminating problems from cars turning in restricted spaces, easing emergency access).
Crossrail 2 to New Southgate
Decking the A406 here was one of Boris Johnson’s ideas, but it is not in the current MTS. While it would be nice to have, should it be in the plan if there is no funding?
Provision in developments
The plan is an opportunity to include Borough objectives on how cycling and other sustainable transport will be made the best option in new developments.
3) Behavioural change
The school run
The challenge of changing attitudes and getting parents & grandparents to stop driving children to school should be included. In a suburban area schools are mostly within cycling and walking distance.
There needs to be a comprehensive programme of publicity and health education towards children (pester power), parents and grandparents to promote a cultural and behavioural change towards active, sustainable travel.
Education and training
We support programmes of Road safety, Education, Training and Publicity. To enable reporting against targets, there should be separate targets for numbers of adults and children given cycle training courses.
A cycle library / loan–purchase scheme, alongside cycle training, is needed to introduce people to different types of cycle, including cargo bikes and eBikes, but not without safe road routes to ride them on.
With housing growth and the increasing population in Barnet with cars, plus more courier and construction traffic, the LIP should model the number of trips by all modes to illustrate the scale of the problem. Will the 72% target for sustainable trips in Barnet (lower than the overall 75% in the MTS for outer London) be sufficient to reduce road traffic? If total trips increase how much of a reduction in the number of trips by motor traffic is expected?
Use of a car
Car ownership is increasing and the plan says that car ownership and the use of a car should not be made more difficult than it needs to be. People will generally take the easiest transport option, so it needs to be easier, quicker and cheaper to use sustainable modes more often.
We welcome car clubs as they can reduce the number of parked cars cluttering the streets and make people think about the cost of each trip they make.
Free, on street parking needs to be restricted to nudge people towards alternatives and to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, freeing up road width for safer cycling and buses.
Allowing parking on alternating sides along the length of a road is also a safety measure.
On street cycle hangars, which can store up to 6 bikes in half a parking bay, are needed to provide secure residential cycle parking.
Cycle hubs are needed at main stations.
Provision of large, free car parks at parks and leisure centres should be reviewed and incentives offered for not arriving by car, e.g. discounted entry.
EVs do nothing to change the mode share, which is needed to reduce traffic, improve road safety and improve fitness. EV charging should not be included in this section (London’s streets will be used more efficiently and have less traffic on them), except in the negative context that pavement clutter can hinder walking and charging points would remove ability to remove parking to provide space for cycling on strategic routes.
Whilst pure EVs cut local NOx and CO2 emissions, there is also growing evidence that, because they may be heavier, electric vehicles can be more polluting than some diesel vehicles. The erosion and breakdown of brake pads and tyres on the road generates very fine particulate (PM2.5) dust, including microplastics that gets deep into the lungs and pollutes the oceans.
We question the practicality and cost of installing sufficient charging points on streets to ultimately serve every parking space. Additional on street charging points must not obstruct footways or cycleways with cabinets and cables.
Raise awareness that EVs also produce particulate pollution from brake and tyre wear and that they are not a sustainable form of transport.
Raise awareness of eBikes, which are far more efficient than EVs and produce minimal pollution.
EBikes should be included in dockless hire schemes and Lime have just launched in London. These are particularly useful in hilly parts of outer London and for older and less able cyclists.
Cargo bikes, including electrically assisted versions, can replace some lorry, van and school run trips. Cycle infrastructure needs to enable and facilitate their use. Provide more funding and raise awareness of current subsidies. Enable freight consolidation with “last mile” delivery by cargo bike. Can council services lead by example?
Air quality audits and measures arising
Air quality audits should extend beyond schools to high streets and play areas. In addition to schools, there are play areas next to major roads, e.g. in Basing Hill Park next to the A41, where Barnet Cyclists assist with cycle training. Shopping streets must also be included in pollution reduction measures.
We need to raise awareness that pollution is highest inside vehicles.
This is not mentioned, but we need to raise awareness of pollution from illegally idling engines, particularly at stations, taxi ranks and bus stands https://idlingaction.london/. We support the call by Mums for Lungs asking councils to work together and apply jointly for funds to:
- set up and run a joint, centralised website and text message number where anyone can report idlers who will then be sent a letter informing them of the impact and illegality of idling and the more general impact of driving on their and other people’s health
- change the current idling policies to ensure greater enforceability in a consistent way across large parts of London with fines appropriate to the harm it is doing to residents’ health
- deliver a dedicated communications campaign, for example, by sending each household a leaflet on idling, driving and air pollution in the Barnet First magazine or with the council tax bill in 2019.
Raise awareness that pollution inside vehicles is relatively high and that allowing an engine to idle is illegal and polluting.
Through planning permission and Section 106 agreements, we recommend that Barnet Council comply with the MTS Direct Vision strategy by 2020 and should:
- oblige all HGV operators to use vehicles designed to comply with the Direct Vision Standard and conform to the CLoCS (Cycle Logistics and Community Safety) standard
- stipulate the routes lorries must take
- require that construction sites are suitable for vehicles fitted with safety features (e.g.: sideguards)
- insist that all drivers are given cycle awareness training
Average speed cameras are needed on roads where reckless driving is a problem. Currently, Barnet Council has very few speed cameras (one?) and focuses on enforcing school zigzags, banned turns, no-entry, bus gates and yellow box junctions.
We would like the council to lobby DFT / GLA for:
- mobility scooters to be allowed to use cycle lanes and tracks
- Turning the Corner – British Cycling campaign
- powers to enforce speed limits
- increased powers to stop idling engines
- more policing in Barnet of speeding and close passes
- promote ‘Dutch Reach’ in driving tests
4) Additional targets
All targets should cover short term (current 3 years), medium term (~2030) and long term (2041), with regular (annual) reporting.
Individual modal targets
Separate individual targets are needed for cycling in order to justify investment and measure results. The overall target of 59% by 2021 and 72% of trips by 2041 to be by walking, cycling or public transport is too general to guide the investment in physical infrastructure and cultural change required for achieving it.
We notice that the previous LIP cycling target of 4.3% of trips by 2026 has been omitted. Targets for 2021, 2030 and 2041 should include:
- overall mode share of cycling
- percentage of pupil journeys to school cycled
We suggest the 72% (lower than the 75% MTS target for outer London) should not count leisure trips unless these directly replace motorised trips.
The plan needs to include projected targets to show how the percentage of people within 400m of a cycle network can increase from 4% in 2021 to 70% by 2041. To meet that target smoothly it needs to be 10% by 2021 rather than 4%.
Annual targets for Km of new and upgraded cycle routes to achieve this are needed.
Targets needed for percentage of population living in Liveable Neighbourhoods & Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
Targets needed for % of borough roads with an effective 20 mph speed limit.
Solid targets for X schools in next 3 years, by 2030 and by 2041.
As well as the number of spaces, the target should be the percentage of people with somewhere to keep their cycle securely, including at or near home, on street and at transport hubs, to achieve 100% by 2041.
Because walking and cycling should increase, KSI numbers should be compared to miles or numbers of trips to show how the rate is changing.
The plan should include projected KSI targets for 2041 (Table 13 goes to 2030).
A target is needed for the percentage of required pedestrian / cycle crossings on the strategic walking / cycling network that are provided, rather than just the number of crossings.
Percentage of signalised crossings with max. 60 second delay and immediate activation when not used recently.
Traffic reduction targets
A reduction in traffic of about 5% seems a low target. With a reduction in modal share from 45% to 28% for motor traffic, the number of trips would have to increase by 60% to have the same volume of traffic by 2041.
Expenditure per mode targets
Plans need to be costed and a target is needed for the percentage of the transport budget spent on cycling annually.
Rather than focusing targets on numbers of people trained (pedestrian skills, cycling skills, etc.), targets should be set for the percentage of (a) adults and (b) children requiring training who have received trained.
Healthy Streets Quality targets
Targets are needed for the degree of improvement required in Healthy Streets score for a scheme to be approved.