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Cycle Facilities on Burntwood Lane, Wandsworth

kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
edited May 2010 in Campaign
I live near Burntwood Lane, Wandsworth and it make my blood boil. I've just contacted the council to raise my concerns about the crazy facilities on this road. Does anyone else have any strong feelings for or against the road layout?
Dear Wandsworth Council,

I am a cyclist who lives in College Gardens near the top of Burntwood Lane. I have some concerns about the cycle facilities on Burntood Lane which I'd like to share with you. I dislike cycling on this road so much that I try to avoid it at all costs. As a car owner I also see this road from the point of view of the driver. I feel that the facilities on this road do nothing to serve the interests of either group. My main concerns are:

1. The short stretches of green cycle path. There are sections where the cyclist is encouraged to veer off and then back onto the road. These paths are in close proximity to two roundabouts and several side roads. In my opinion, the illusion of seperation caused by these paths is a danger due to creating confusion over who has priority.

2. Artificial narrowing of the road. There are lots of unnecessary islands which create a series of chicanes. There is often no space left for a car to pass a cyclist safely. I assume these are supposed to be used in conjunction with the green paths. This is also dangerous however, as cars veering through the chicanes can come into close proximity to cyclists exiting the paths. I would prefer a clear, uninterrupted path for cylist and motorist alike. If traffic calming measures are required, speed humps would be preferable.

3. The widening of the footpath beside Battersea Ironsides (between Fieldview and Openview). Quite simply; why? This was a perfectly usable section of road before the widening. It is clearly of little use to the pedestrian as it is bisected by a cycle path.

4. The final concern is related to point 1. There is heavy traffic at the top of Burntwood at the junction with Beechcroft Road. This is a very popular area for parents (often with prams) due to its proximity to Wandsworth Common, a number of schools and a nursery. There is no proper crossing other than a couple of traffic islands. The pedestrian has to negotiate the traffic in order to cross the road as well as keeping an eye out for any cyclists who may be using the green paths. Since these appear to be seperated from the road I am very worried about the potentional for collisions between pedestrians and cyclists.

I have created a short clip ( <3mins) on youtube to illustrate my points. I would be grateful if you would review it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyzngZp2X5w

I am particularly interested in hearing your response to the following:

a. What is the rationale behind the installation of these facilities ( particularly the chicanes and stretches of green path )?

b. Are there any plans to alter the layout of this road. The cycle facilities in particular are counter-productive as they actively discourage cycling on Burntwood Lane?

c. Please, please, please can we have pedestrian crossings on Burtwood Lane and Beechcroft Road near the point where they intersect.

Thanks,
Kevin Clarke
<my address here>

Posts

  • weaponsweapons Posts: 367
    They're crazy. How the council actually thought they would make cycling safer is beyond me. When cycling, I try and avoid the cycle lane and cycle as a car would go as it is often safer. Those bits where it goes along side the pavement aren't well thought out, as cars on the intersecting road often pull out onto the cycle lane to move out onto the main road.
  • I don't know this particular road but from your video it looks like a ''good example'' of worst practice. (Excellent vid and letter to the council, by the way!) I'd especially like to see the response from the council, so please, Kurako, would you post up the reply from them.

    I voiced raised concerns on a blog posting (http://deptfordmarmoset.blogspot.com/20 ... f-asl.html) about a busy local road which has seen 2 cyclists killed in the last year - and nothing has been done to prevent this reoccurring. On this post, I lamented the fact that road planners appear to have no personal conception of cycling and that road planners should actually be criminally responsible for roads or cycling ''facilities'' that can contribute to cyclists being injured or killed.

    On Friday I got a couple of very interesting comments from a cycling traffic engineer (for that, apparently, is how road planners like to be called).

    His comments about road design and road designers are too long to be copied here, but the final point in his second comment is the one which I found intriguing:
    ''Final point, under Construction, Design and Management Regulations, a designer does take responsibility for their highway design but it comes under corporate liability of the Council. If you can prove the design is at fault you could win compensation. Sadly, this won't bring any dead cyclists back to life.''

    As councils are apparently corporately liable for road design, this does seem to point towards a way of forcing councils to adopt a more coherent approach to cycle path design. I think your video shows how pinch points present a recurrent problem - while they're designed to calm traffic, it's often the cyclist that feels the squeeze as drivers, instead of slowing down because there's a pinch point, think ''quick, must get there before the bike'' and then cut in. Such a reflex response is the very opposite of traffic calming.
  • bikermazebikermaze Posts: 23
    edited April 2010
    Excellent letter. Direct to the point and very polite. I can't believe they would consider those roads for cyclists. Looks like a cyclists relay and challenge track to me more than anything else.
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    bikermaze wrote:
    Excellent letter. Direct to the point and very polite. I can't believe they would consider those roads for cyclists. Looks like a cyclists relay and challenge track to me more than anything else.

    Thanks. If you read some of the comments on the vid the first attempt was a little more cutting. I toned it down a bit though :D

    Will keep you posted on developments.
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 5,815
    Good luck with the council. I've used that so called cycle lane many times, or the parts possible. Its not so bad going down the hill but up is hard work, constantly looking over your shoulder, making sure you don't get squished. Good on you.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    I got a reply from Wandsworth Council this week. It goes to show you the wheels of government run slowly but at least there is a review coming up and hopefully some improvements will be made. Here's the text.
    Burntwood Lane SW17 - Traffic Management

    Thank you for your letter received in the department on 8th April 2010 regarding the existing layout on Burntwood Lane, particularly the chicanes, road narrowings and advisory cycle lanes.

    The existing traffic management layout was introduced in the 1990s to moderate traffic speeds along this wide classified road and improve road safety. The road narrowings and chicanes were proposed rather than measures such as speed reducing humps, to accomodate emergency vehicles and local bus traffic. Although the measures have been successful in showing a reduction in the number of road traffic accidents, I am pleased to advise that a review of the existsing measures is being undertaken to further improve safety and also facilities for cyclists. Any measures proposed will be subject to public and stakeholder consultation, which will include the Wandsworth Cycling Campaign, and also coucil's committee approval at a future committee. Your comments will be included within this review, particularly regarding the request for additional pedestrian crossing facilities.

    The development of major highway amendments is a lengthy process and I anticipate that at best agreed proposals will be reported to council's committee in the latter half of this year. Meanwhile should you wish to discuss this further, please contact Tony Maher on 020 8871 8210. Thank you for taking the time to write your views.

    Yours sincerely
    .....
    Head of Operational Services
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    The cyclepath at 2.25 is illegal to ride in as it has a keep right bollard next to it. :?
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