It seems to be consultation season. Or maybe it’s just autumn; the days are getting darker and I have more time to give my views on consultations, particularly those regarding cycling. Last week, I answered the rather long consultation on CS9 (Cycle Superhighway 9 from Kensington Olympia to Brentford) and spotted a smaller consultation on “proposed changes to cycling facilities on the A4 Great West Road between Syon Lane and Boston Manor Road” – so small, in fact, that TfL only accept responses directly via email, rather than the usual forms for comments. But I digress. Here are my thoughts on the proposals…
The stretch between Syon Lane and Boston Manor Road is only a 1 km part of the local 44 route, which runs the full length of the Great West Road from Hounslow to Hammersmith over 12 km. As there is not really an apparent alternative route and the existing infrastructure provides suitable width on the side of the carriageway, I believe that this route could be a viable candidate for high quality superhighway-standard cycle infrastructure, depending on cycle demand and taking into consideration the busy nature of the Great West Road. In fact, the TfL Strategic Cycle Analysis (SCA) identifies the road as having top 20% potential cycle flows (SCA, Figure 1.2).
I generally approve of the idea of improving facilities for cyclists and pedestrians on the A4, however I note that this is a very busy road with high traffic speeds, therefore the infrastructure must provide safety for vulnerable road users along the full length of the route, or an alternative route should be suggested.
My specific concerns over the proposed plans are the number of locations where the cycle path is converted to a shared pedestrian and cycle path. To maintain the continuity of the cycle route, I would suggest that a separated footway is preferable to a shared use footway. See right for the descriptions from the London Cycle Design Standards, Chapter 4.
Some additional separation from the adjacent fast-moving traffic, over and above the kerb would be beneficial as the kerb is relatively low over long stretches of the route, giving cyclists little perception of segregation, as can be seen in the street view above. I very much approve of proposed build-outs to reduce vehicle turning radii, however these should be implemented at every side road, not just some, and be accompanied by raised tables throughout.
As mentioned above, the stretch under consultation is only part of a much longer route which would benefit from improvement and as such, a greater view should be taken of the corridor, to ensure both continuity along the route and connectivity with the surrounding area. I hope to see further consultations which build on feedback received to date.
Have you responded to this consultation or similar ones? What is the key thing which struck you about the proposal, either positive or negative?