We have illustrated the quality of a Barnet cycle network by devising a colour-coded “Tube map”. The idea was originally developed by the Bristol Cycle Campaign, and then built on by neighbouring Cycle Bath. Like the famous London Tube map, these maps use bright colours to depict a representation of the local network.
Unlike the London Tube map, the colours in these maps are used to demonstrate the gaps in the network. The general rule is that blue routes are safe and comfortable; either separated from motor traffic or on quiet, 20 mph roads. Other colours denote varying degrees of danger. The result is a Cycle Network Quality Map for Barnet (PDF 500Kb).
Our map acts as a useful prompt to show local residents and decision makers the quality of the current cycle network and where the gaps need plugging. In doing so, it demonstrates the importance of planning an entire network and helps to establish where investment should be prioritised.
For example, if you look at the map for where you live, is there an entirely blue route going between your home and your workplace? Or between your home and your child’s school? Probably not, which is why so few people choose to cycle for these journeys.
Councils have been asked to plan cycle networks as part of the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and to seek funding to get infrastructure on the ground. The Mayor of London aims for 70% of Londoners to live within 400 metres of a high-quality safe cycle route.
In preparing our map we looked at key residential areas and destinations on this Google map. We examined TfL paper maps showing recommended cycle routes, looked at Propensity to Cycle based on 2011 census data and then connected nodes using reasonably direct routes, based on local knowledge.
We converted this to a schematic ‘tube map’; colour coded it based on safety and highlighted our top priorities. TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis shows similar priorities for mainly radial cycle commuter routes, while our map fleshes this out with more cross routes and local connections.
A key step towards creating safer cycling routes is to make junctions more cyclist friendly. We have identified some of the worst junctions and other problem areas in Barnet on a separate map.
The London Assembly report ‘Hostile Streets – Walking and Cycling at Outer London Junctions’ shows that a change in culture is needed, prioritising people, not cars, on London’s streets.
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 Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy, Proposal 3.