Thursday, 22 October 2015

Streatham Road - missed opportunity

Cycling home last night, I spotted this sign at the end of my street:

From a glance this morning, Streatham Road has been re-instated to the original plans.

Every time that a road is re-surfaced like this, it is an opportunity to use latest best practise to improve safety. That requires that our local authorities have joined up thinking and are constantly learning and looking for ways to improve.

It was a suggestion that I made as part of this petition for Mitcham Lane which adjoins Streatham Road. At the last check, there is funding in the pipeline for Mitcham Lane to make the changes.

Would it not have made more sense to do improvements at the same time as the road was resurfaced last year?

I'm fed up with the council and councillors either complaining that they don't have the money, or they don't run the whole council to be able to make things happen. Clearly funds are tight. All the more reason to genuinely look holistically at how they want the area to be improved so that these limited funds can be targeted to get the best outcomes. No council can be all things to all people. The least we deserve is to be given clarity as to the real direction that our elected representatives want to head in.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Failing to deliver for Balham Boulevard

Having seen this consultation go live (technically the bit adjacent to where the Balham Boulevard project is due to happen) it doesn't bode well.

Here are some thoughts/comments below. I'd welcome your comments before submitting my response to TfL.

Balham Boulevard:
- it isn't as it is the stretch basically from Ritherdon Road south.
- however, it doesn't bode well for Balham Boulevard as this would adjoin it, so if this isn't significantly improved then Balham Boulevard will just be the name of the current road with perhaps some more paint on it.

*It is not possible to provide a segregated cycle lane at this location due to access to residential properties being required
- Utter rubbish. The LCDS illustrate how this can be done, and Old Shoreham Road in Brighton is a UK example where this is in place. A road for motor vehicles doesn't pose a problem for access to residential properties, neither does a pavement. Consultations for the Mini-Holland projects in London also show that TfL can do this.

Floating Bus stops or lack thereof
- Again in Brighton, Lewes Road, has a series of floating bus stops that from all reports work very well.

Affecting traffic capacity:
28% drop in motor traffic volumes (2005-2013) along the A24 Clapham South to Tooting Bec (
Providing a real alternative to travelling short trips by building proper cycle lanes along a road this wide would not only give people real choice as to how they travel, but also make it easier for those who need to drive to get around too.

- The central reservation hasn't been touched. This is wasted space currently helping no-one.
- From Tooting Bec heading south there is effectively only a single lane for motor traffic in each direction, and the same goes northbound once you start going through Balham. Smoothing out the narrow points for motor traffic would provide a more consistent travel time for motor traffic and free up significant amount of space to improve the public realm for walking and cycling, as well as the local environment for businesses and residents.

These are some initial thoughts. Please feel free to chip in.

In case you are wondering how this can be put forward given the high quality of other schemes which have gone to consultation recently, the answer is the politics. It is self evident that TfL has the engineering capability &/or sourcing capability to brief consultants to come up with high quality schemes that will deliver significant improvements to all road users. 

In the absence of a strong political steer as to what is wanted, the engineers are being asked to please everyone which isn't possible. This is a huge opportunity to genuinely improve the local area for generations to come. What is currently on the table frankly just isn't good enough.