Ealing Cycling Campaign
Agenda 21

Local Agenda 21 - Transport Group, Ealing

Report & Recommendations of Cycling Sub-Committee

by Simon Batterbury, Bob Gurd, Ol, Peter Mynors

(comments received from David Knowles, Martin Gorst & Michael Peel)

First version: December 1995

Updated: October 1996


1 Summary (p1)

2 Background (p2)

3 Objectives (p3)

Objective 1. Understanding the problem

Objective 2. Ensuring best practice

2.1 Continued monitoring and improvement of Ealing's cycle network.

2.2 Improvements to cycle routes to make them safer

2.3 Action on traffic calming

2.4 Bike Accessibility

Objective 3. Pilot schemes

3.1 Ealing Broadway and Haven Green

3.2 Uxbridge Road (Cycle Route 24)

3.3 Thames Valley University

4 Other Agenda 21 Initiatives (p9)

Figure 2 - Ealing Broadway Scheme (p10)

Appendix - the National Cycling Strategy (p11)

1 Summary

Cycling could be the answer to many of Ealing's transport problems. The local Agenda 21 Transport Group is realistic about the constraints facing the Council and BRETS in the adoption of measures which positively discriminate in favour of bikes and pedestrians, but we feel these are ideas whose time has now come. The Department of Transport is beginning to permit new ways to calm traffic and promote cycle mobility, and national attitudes are changing.

In response to a survey made of local cyclists in 1995 we proposed three 'landmark' schemes for the next 2-3 years; the overhaul of the controversial Haven Green/Ealing Broadway area to provide north-south and east-west access for bikes; action on dangerous sections of the Uxbridge Road; and a well-publicised project to show the benefits of cycling for health, access, and road congestion at Thames Valley University. There has been significant action on all three of these projects in 1996. These are only 'demonstration' projects, however, which help to perform the essential task of building public awareness. What Ealing needs, if it is to meet the objectives of its TPP for a major shift away from car use, is a comprehensive and integrated cycle network to include dedicated lanes along major commuter routes and throughways. This will serve as an example to neighbouring Boroughs, as well as addressing the needs of cyclists. The rudiments of the network are now in place, but public lobbying by groups such as ours can insure that limited funds are well spent, and that sufficient money is allocated in future years to permit major improvements.

A number of indicators are suggested in the report, including action on dangerous traffic calming measures, steady progress on completing the local cycling network, and satisfactory completion of the three pilot projects. Several objectives set in 1995 have already been met.

2 Background

As set out in the Ealing Borough draft Agenda 21 document, the local Agenda 21 transport group wishes to promote a modal shift from car use to sustainable forms of commuting and mobility such as cycling, walking, and use of public transport. Several members of the Group set out to review the major problems facing cyclists in Ealing in late 1995, and looked at the impediments to widespread adoption of cycling as a cheap, non polluting and healthy alternative to motorised transport. This report updates our earlier findings, and sets some indicators for the future.

Motorised road transport produces over 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other hazardous pollutants (90% of CO and 59% of particulates), encourages quarrying for road aggregates, continues fossil fuel consumption, and creates noise (footnote 1). High car ownership has been shown to reduce the use of bicycles in most areas of the UK (2). Cycling is not the sole alternative, but it has vastly smaller environmental impacts, is much cheaper, and cycle commuters are on average as fit as non-cyclists ten years younger (3). Research on sustainable urban transport is pointing to the improved cycling facilities of northern European countries such as Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, where up to 40% of commuter journeys are undertaken by bike in some cities and dedicated cycle lanes separate the cyclist from busy roads and vulnerable pedestrians. In many cases, cyclists have priority at junctions, and car parks at the major transport nodes have been converted to bicycle parking. Britain, and Ealing, lag far behind these countries on all aspects of cycle awareness and planning but this means we can now learn from the best of these schemes. Despite the recent arrival of a National Cycling Strategy (and a change of heart by the DoT - see Appendix) there is still a feeling in some quarters that cycling is a mere leisure activity, not an efficient and effective way to commute to work and conduct local journeys. Only 3% of journeys to work are undertaken by bike in Ealing (4), a figure which is unacceptably low if the strategic objectives of the current TPP (1996-1997) - to raise this to 15% of trips by 2005 - are to be met (5). For the able-bodied, regular journeys under 5 miles or even 10 miles are feasible by bike, and not substantially slower than by car (6). But at present, a tiny minority considers using a bicycle for local trips.

Cycle route planning in Ealing began in 1988, assisted by local cycle groups. By 1996 Ealing received more money for cycling than any London Borough and many early schemes had finally been implemented (7). Ealing already has around 61km miles of signposted cycle routes, and is viewed as 'relatively cycle friendly' by local cycle groups in comparison to its neighbours (particularly Harrow and Hounslow) (8). Ealing is committed to realising its portion of the London Cycle Network (a 1,000 mile network of strategic cycle lane crossing the capital). It has made progress towards installing additional cycle routes (the Ealing Cycle Network, ECN, which preceded the LCN and overlaps with it) and enhanced bike parking in the major commercial centres. Some £172,000 was spent on cycling in Ealing in the 1995/6 year, mainly on improved crossing points, signs, racks, and the signposting of a north-south route. The TPP for 1996/7 contains several commitments to cyclists including the better coordination of cross-Borough routes, addresses the air pollution issue, and proposes new ECN cycle routes be constructed should funds permit. More schemes are planned for 1997/8, including major works in Greenford, although air pollution targets are dropped from the report. Also, the Council's Environmental Charter (1996) supports a phased programme of cycling education, training, lane-building, and improved bike parking. The Draft Transport Strategy for Ealing document was well received. A new Cycle Map of the Borough was printed in 1996, and several successful activities were carried out as part of Green Transport Week and the Don't Choke Britain Campaign in June.

3 Objectives

Objective 1. Understanding the problem

"It is often forgotten that most, if not all regular car drivers learned their primary road skills as cyclists......." (9)

No action on cycling is possible without understanding why this mode of transport is adopted or rejected, what cyclists themselves think, and how the road network and dangers are perceived.

Ealing suffers all the pressures of an 'overheated' local economy. It has a busy and frequently over-burdened network of road, rail and underground services. Road congestion and air pollution have reached unacceptable levels in many locations, particularly along the major trunk roads and in the town centres of Greenford, Hanwell, Southall, Ealing, and Acton. There are many who avoid cycling - even for short journeys - due to lack of knowledge, inertia, road dangers, poor facilities, or fear of thefts.

These issues are well known, but less often consulted are the feelings of regular cyclists who have to contend with these problems daily. A survey of 57 active cyclists, all members of the Ealing LCC, was carried out in October-November 1995 in order to gauge their views.

55% of respondents are regular commuters and many (31%) never drive.

The majority rated the availability of dedicated cycle routes, and the quality of advisory cycle routes (like the Uxbridge Rd) as "very bad".

The greatest need identified was for more cycle lanes, and action on air pollution.

53% specifically mentioned the Uxbridge Rd as a hazard to cyclists ("a deathtrap"), requiring action. Hanger Lane, Argyle Rd, and South Ealing Rd were also mentioned as hazardous.

40% complained about cars parked in cycle lanes, or lack of action by the authorities on this. Debris, glass, and poor maintenance are also problems.

13% wished for better access or facilities at Ealing Broadway station and 15% better parking at shopping centres, particularly Ealing Broadway.

This small sample survey is just a start in understanding the problem. In addition, a survey of 326 members of Thames Valley University was carried out in May 1996 as part of the Cycle Challenge project (see 3.3 below). This revealed bike security and parking to be a major concern. Interestingly, most respondents regard cycling in a positive light, and associate it with health, fitness, and environmental responsibility. There are many other issues not raised by these surveys, most not unique to Ealing. For example, regular cyclists tend to keeps their bikes accessible, but for many thousands of households the inconvenience of a bike locked away at the rear of the dwelling condemns it to use for occasional trips on sunny days. Its convenience value is lost, and people prefer to have cars which sit right outside their house ready for immediate use.

Many of these issues must form the basis for continuous monitoring of attitudes and impediments to cycling in Ealing. Monitoring must involve local cycle groups, the Council, and other agencies such as the Environmental Health Unit and Thames Valley University (10). The key indicator to monitor is the percentage of all trips made by bicycle in Ealing. We wish the commitment to 15% of all journeys by bike to be re-instated in the 1998-1999 TPP, in line with current government policy.

Objective 2. Ensuring best practice

2.1 Continued monitoring and improvement of Ealing's cycle network.

The sign "cyclists dismount" should be illegal on cycle routes - you don't see a sign saying "car drivers get out and push"!

Many cyclists seem to want to get from a to b quickly despite being exposed to traffic. In this, they are no different to motorists. They need the cycle equivalent of "primary routes" for commuting and regular journeys, following the example of many European towns and cities. But there is no 'typical' cyclist - others cycle for pleasure and prefer backstreets and lanes. Research has shown that a piecemeal approach to cycle routes, adding in sections when funds allow, has no real effect on the numbers of cyclists. (11) Only a continuous, coherent network of routes offers any prospect of encouraging a modal shift. (12) We need a range of cycle routes, from direct routes for speedy commuters (largely the LCN), to the quiet segregated lanes away from traffic for leisure readers and children cycling to school. Unfortunately, good cycle routes are more expensive to design and build than the usual road infrastructure. Therefore we and other organisations (eg the LCC) need to lobby that the majority of routes improvements being considered by the Transport committee and advised by BRETS are on or alongside the major routes that people actually use, and be linked to adequate bike parking arrangements at the major nodes including shopping and commercial areas and stations. We are fortunate in having some funding available (hopefully over £100,000 each year for the LCN, a share of £400,000 for the Transport funds released in 1995, and money from planning gain agreements). Should we putting in safe back-street routes? Or allowing cyclists their own space on the carriageway and trunk roads that motorists use? These are issues that need more debate in the Borough, which has moved towards integrated transport schemes and away from funding cycling in isolation. (13) Along quiet backstreets, elaborate cycle lanes and markings are not required, since the accident risk and speed is less. Key indicator: rising quality of cycling facilities and consumer satisfaction as revealed by regular surveys. Secondary indicators: percentage of LCN and ECN completed (remember this is an inadequate measure on its own - quality matters too). Adequate funding for cycling available (currently good at around £200,000 per year).

2.2 Improvements to cycle routes to make them safer

"Cycle Routes along the A40 are hopeless when cyclists have to stop every few yards to allow cars access into office blocks etc. I find them more nerve- racking than cycling on the actual road"

It could be argued that the real casualties from low cycling and walking rates are "invisible" to most of us; the victims of poor health and lack of exercise, for example. Nonetheless, the official Borough accident statistics reveal Ealing does not have a major problem with bicycle accidents, although there are significant injuries each year. There are several innovative solutions to poorly designed cycle routes that will make them safer and more attractive to users. We would like to encourage the Council and BRETS to consider the following in its planning, and to implement them

Advisory or mandatory cycle lane markings where a cycle route along a main road meets a side access road. Cars leaving the side road tend to block cycles wishing to go straight on, opening up the possibility of accidents (this applies to the A40). This has arisen because, by law, motorists must have sight of main road traffic: but as usual, the cyclist suffers. -

The lesson from successful schemes in northern Europe is that cycle lanes need to be 'dedicated' (with solid white lines) on very busy roads, and this includes those in dense urban areas where carriageways are wide enough and tough action is taken on illegal parking. We have an enormous aversion to this in Britain. Segregated routes (both single and contra-flow) raised an inch or two above the road surface (see Figure 1) are successful elsewhere and dominate cities like Copenhagen and Odense. Cyclists on them must give way to the disabled and those with prams. The DoT is aware of such schemes, and may now permit them. (14) An example may be seen in Kingston town centre. The Draft Transport Strategy for Ealing (Mar 1996) does mention that these designs will be considered, "borrowing space from the highway where necessary", which is encouraging.

Regain the opportunity already lost to install commuter cycle lanes along Red Routes, where car parking is less of a problem.

Promote the installation of advanced stop lines (ASLs) at busy junctions (as in Hounslow), linked into advisory or dedicated cycle lanes, which aid the inexperienced or nervous cyclist in particular. BRETS has drawn up plans and begun consultation on these at dangerous junctions on the Uxbridge Road, and the LCC supports this move. (DONE in 1997 - ed. )

Continued installation of Toucan crossings at key points.

Figure 1 - Raised Cycleways

(figure n/a)

Key indicators: Reduced accident rates. Construction of ASLs along the Uxbridge Road, as requested in the TPP 1997-1998 (acheived). More widespread use of solid line cycle lanes on busy roads, shared use and dedicated paths, and installation of cycle priorities at key junction points on A40. Construction of Toucan crossings.

2.3 Action on traffic calming

We would like to move towards more cycle-friendly routes in the borough, and 22% in our 1995 survey mentioned this. Ealing has the opportunity to overcome one significant problem - poorly designed speed humps and traffic calming, usually left over from the 1980s and installed to calm streets and neighbourhoods. Typical comments received in the 1995 survey were very heated:

"the Council's gone berserk on these..." "There should be a bypass groove for bikes..." "too fierce..."

Traffic calming (which is often prominent on cycle routes) needs to consider cyclists, who ask for humps with small gaps for bikes away from the kerb and parked cars, and accessways to avoid being nudged into the path of vehicles at pinch-points. In Ealing, inconsiderate traffic calming is a serious problem, resulting in regular damage to cycles, occasional accidents, and long diversions by cyclists. As DoT-sponsored advice suggests, "Where cyclists have felt danger and discomfort has been increased, they have tended to divert onto untreated parallel routes...and the potential compatibility of cycling and traffic calming has been lost".(15) There is very slow progress on cycle-friendly traffic calming as yet, except in isolated cases (eg Lynton Rd in Acton). Disappointingly we have not seen much progress at all in 1996, despite a mention in the Draft Transport Strategy for Ealing (Mar 1996).(16) The streets behind TVU are always mentioned as dangerous and inconvenient for cyclists; the speed humps are huge and only need their forward edges grading a little (or a cutout for bikes made) to allow cycles better and safer access. This has not been done, or even programmed, yet it is an easy way to improve the cycling environment (Fig 2).

Fig 2 Ways to deal with dangerous old speed humps cheaply.

They are constant source of complaint, particularly from women cyclists.

Examples of speed cushions are numerous elsewhere, for example between Barnes and Wimbledon, and address these problems while still slowing the traffic. Unfortunately these require special DoT authorisation. Ealing needs to push ahead with pilot schemes, in cooperation with local residents and road users. Many traffic calming measures are planned as part of the Area Transport Plans over the next few years. Large speedhumps will deter cyclists; accessways or grading will encourage them.

Key indicator: grading or redesign of dangerous older speedhumps. Adherence to current best-practice guidelines in new schemes.

2.4 Bike Accessibility

A positive move the committee can make is to encourage the design and make available via BRETS a range of devices to suit the needs of dwellings where bike parking and access is difficult. Compost bins and other environmental products are promoted by the Environment Committee, and made available to the public at discount. But how about also providing a selection of small sheds and locking attachments for suburban front gardens, unobtrusive but effective against thieves? This would insure ready access to the street for bicycles. Key Indicator: Availability of suitable products.

Objective 3. Pilot schemes

Three high-profile pilot schemes should be supported in the Borough to raise awareness of cycling issues, and to help meet the above objectives.

3.1 Ealing Broadway and Haven Green

An obvious reform is to Ealing Broadway station (a place where cyclists actually go frequently), which comes up time and again as a blackspot for accidents and access. The liberation of substantial new transport funds in 1995, if not already accounted for, gives us the opportunity to revise access to this location, where more use would be made of the British Rail and Underground station if access and bike parking were improved.(17) The Group has worked successfully with the Council on an improved design for Haven Green and surrounding streets which considers bike access. We support a cyclists 'contraflow' on the Broadway, passing from the Mall to the station. This is a controversial high profile scheme, which would be a well-used accessway to the Station and beyond (see figure 3). It would permit cyclists to travel against the one-way car traffic, and avoid a long detour around the one-way system. As all recognise, bike parking at the station is inadequate, and more provision is proposed as part of these measures. North-south access to Ealing Broadway, coupled with improved east-west routes, are supported by cyclists and would form a potential 'landmark' scheme in a prominent location.

The 'contraflow' proposal was drafted by BRETS and submitted as part of a package of measures to the Government Office for London in early 1996; it was costed around £25,000 and the Council will meet this cost. (18) It was also prepared for Committee, but faced minority opposition and never received a vote. Although the package bid was declined for funding and the plans need to be redrafted, we encourage the Council to re consider the scheme on its merits. It has, in fact, been incorporated in the 1997-8 TPP (p27), as part of the LCN submission.

Key Indicator: Realisation of cycle contraflow (with improved design) and improved bike parking at Ealing Broadway station by October 1999 (ie, three years).

3.2 Uxbridge Road (Cycle Route 24)

"I think that the present cycle routes along main roads are not enforced and are lethal"

There is great disquiet about the Uxbridge Road, which is managed by the Traffic Director for London. Some 53% of 1995 survey respondents saw this as the major inconvenience or source of danger to Ealings' cyclists. Several years ago when the advisory cycle lane markings were put in, this was only done by the Council and cycling groups working together to pressure the Department of Transport. This needs to happen again; initially by tackling the real danger areas such as Popes Lane Acton, Iron Bridge, and Hanger Lane. Unfortunately, the major redesign of Hangar Lane done in mid 1996 is very unsatisfactory since it incorporates no cycle gains at all! The Iron Bridge scheme is now partially complete, and an ASL is planned in Acton, although not at the most congested junctions. Several more ASLs may grace the Uxbridge Road by next year, and in this regard we feel our objectives have been partially achieved. On-pavement lanes have been built at Ealing Common and Iron Bridge; these need to be monitored because currently they are too constraining for use by fast cyclists and there is a major conflict with pedestrians at bus stops. We still recommend a dedicated (solid line) cycle lane along dangerous sections, and advisory lanes only on wide carriageways without parked cars. The 1997-8 TPP and LCN submission goes some way to supporting these measures, but tends towards treating the easiest sections of the Uxbridge Road, not the most congested, dangerous or costly ones.

The Uxbridge Road remains heavily polluted in its built-up sections, and the road surface used by cyclists is often poor. One effect of the ASLs will be to improve the surface at junctions and keep cyclists away from exhaust fumes. Key indicator: Promotion of ASL's and adoption in Council policy - achieved. Progressive realisation of ASLs, junction treatments, dedicated cycle lanes.

3.3 Thames Valley University

Local employers are beginning to recognise the health and other benefits of a shift to cycling by their employees. Thames Valley University has experienced a 50% expansion in student numbers based in Ealing over the past few years coupled with a small increase in staffing. A May 1995 survey shows the percentage of staff and students choosing not to commute by car is between 20-35% depending on the season, and daytime parking and cruising for parking spaces is a major concern to local residents who are pushing for a Controlled Parking Zone around campus (see Parking subgroup report). Many commuters park on the surrounding residential streets. Because of TVU's accessible location by car there is no necessity to use public transport or walking/cycling; the 'convenience factor' favours the car as a means of getting to campus. The Group produced a bid to the Department of Transport's Cycle Challenge initiative to significantly improve cycle parking and access on TVUs campuses, to increase awareness of the benefits of cycling among staff and students through public meetings and reports, and to encourage a modal shift to cycling by means of training, bike repair, a win-a-bike competition, and press coverage. This bid was successful, and these measures are now being implemented with £19,750 of government funding; one of the rare examples of a Local Agenda 21 Group obtaining government money in a competitive bid. Progress on the project was slow but has picked up; cycle racks were installed in September 1996, surveys have been done, and information leaflets for students are in hand. Monitoring and publicity will continue into 1997. TVU has expressed its commitment to further improve cycling facilities on campus, and is now considering applying for more research funding on transport issues. It has now anounced cycling on official business will attract a 5p per mile allowance, which we hope will be raised to a more realistic level in future.

Key indicator: Funding of pilot scheme - achieved. Achievement of targets set out in project proposal by mid 1997 (largely achieved)

4. Other Local Agenda 21 Initiatives

The Cycling Group within the Local Agenda 21 process supports the adoption of

a) an annual Green Transport Week, funded by the Council but with significant local Agenda 21 and community involvement. This proved very successful in 1996.

b) Significant action on air pollution. At least two Group members have commented officially on the DoE draft Air Quality Strategy (DoE, 1996), which has particular implications for cyclists and addresses many of the valid concerns of the local Agenda 21 Pollution Group. Putting into place many of the route suggestions outlined in the sections above will allow cyclists to avoid some of the worst pollutant concentrations in the short and medium term.

c) the Brent Shared Use Path, also developed by the Group, as a cycle/pedestrian leisure route also forming part of the London Walks network. This proposal was at pre-committee stage in October 1996 and looks set for approval.

Figure 3. New routes around Ealing Broadway and the contraflow proposal (figure n/a)

Appendix - Details on the National Cycling Strategy


(1) Local Agenda 21 and the National Cycle Network. Routes to Local Sustainability. Sustrans, Feb 1996, p6.

(2) Transport Statistics Report: Cycling in Great Britain. Department of Transport. HMSO 1996. p16.

(3) Local Agenda 21 and the National Cycle Network. P7

(4) 1991 Census of Population. Cycling to work in Outer London was lower (at 2.5%) than for GB as a whole (3.8%), but the Outer West sector is always higher than other sectors. Transport Statistics Report: Cycling in Great Britain. Department of Transport. HMSO 1996. p21, 22.

(5) The TPP 1996-7 states that "the Council will seek to increase cycle use ...to 15% of all trips within ten years" (p27). Amazingly, in the 1997-1998 TPP, this has become "Overall, the Council will seek to increase cycle use....to 6% of all trips within ten years" (p16). As a Group, we question this 60% reduction in targets!

(6) Mean Outer London journey times for trip averaging 2.3 miles: car 17.7mins, 13.2mph, bike 20.3 mins, 9.7mph. London Journey Times Survey, in Transport Statistics Report: Cycling in Great Britain. Department of Transport. HMSO 1996. p24.

(7) The London Cyclist, Aug/Sept 1996, p24

(8) In terms of length of purpose built cycleways as a percentage of total road mileage, Ealing comes out eighth of all local authorities in Britain with 10.5km purpose-built @ 2% of all roads. Top of this measure are Salford (4.2%) and W Glamorgan (3.2%). Transport Statistics Report: Cycling in Great Britain. Department of Transport. HMSO 1996. p26.

(9) All quotes are from Ealing cyclists.

(10) A small study of pollution exposure for cyclists was carried out in June 1996, with the Environmental Health unit of the Council supplying carbon dioxide monitors to cycle commuters. This showed high CO2 levels in several locations, notably Acton High Street.

(11) Mynors, P & Savell, A. 1994. Comparisons of Cycle Provision in Four North European Countries. Transportation Planning Systems 2(3) 59-67

(12) AA (1993) Cycling Motorists: How to Encourage Them. AA Public Policy paper, available free.

(13) See Environment Group Committee Report, 23 Nov 1995, for example, and the current round of Area Transport Studies. See also the Draft Transport Strategy for Ealing (Mar 1996).

(14) See Cycle Friendly Infrastructure - Guidelines for Planning and Design DoT/CTC/IHT/Bicycle Association, 1996.

(15) Cycle Friendly Infrastructure - Guidelines for Planning and Design DoT/CTC/IHT/Bicycle Association, 1996. P23

(16) "Urgent consideration will be given to modifying the conventional road hump to make traffic calming schemes more cycle friendly".

(17) See LBE's Cycle Challenge Bid