Newcycling (Newcastle’s cycling campaign, 1,400 members, volunteer organisation, constituted, formed in 2010) would like to respond to your request about views on the draft version of the London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS). Our interest in this is that we want to bring high quality cycle infrastructure to Newcastle, and we believe that a good set of (national) design standards (amongst political and ministerial will, national and local) would help achieve that.
Standards are important. Comparatively to cycle-friendly countries, like the Netherlands, the UK is lacking behind in succeeding because we are still failing to focus on designing for people (over vehicle movements). We appreciate that London is taking the lead in the UK in outlining and attempting to find and define cycle infrastructure standards.
Owing to decades of exclusively designing roads for motor vehicle traffic flow, it is particularly important that cycle infrastructure design solutions in London – and the UK – must be totally unambiguous and be made intuitive for the (first time) user. We must rather “over-design” quality than use timid half-hearted interim solutions. There must be great ambition in any standard and design, and learning from elsewhere, included in the LCDS.
The LCDS (draft) is currently lacking in designing for the desired outcomes. It is still too focussed on prescribing what are intermediate design steps, at best, and making them the final solution, for example a great deal of paper space is afforded to explaining the design of ASLs when very little space is given to outlining good and innovative junctions and traffic light designs. Without a clear focus on sustainable safety principles (more people cycling, in safe conditions – linking cycle modal share increase to design solutions), the LCDS runs the risk of failure from the start.
In more detail, we are especially worried about defining good solutions to traffic light phasings, junction spaces and safe turning manoeuvres, and believe that the current draft could go much further on these subjects. There are good design details and aspirations described in the LCDS (draft) but these are overshadowed by the general mistake to concentrate on “space availability” and “traffic flow” when the prime desire and focus should be on designing safely for ‘people flow’: people walking and cycling. The ‘left hook’ has not been designed out in many layouts presented in the LCDS (draft), and floating car parking must also become much more of a default in the designer’s tool kit. Misunderstanding of sustainable safety principles are apparent when outlining design principles for pinch points layouts.
Many design ills can be rectified by using car restrain measures such as reducing and controlling traffic access, speed and limiting car parking, unbundling modes networks, zoning and mode filtering. We are not convinced that the LCDS (draft) dictates the use of these traffic / network management solution sufficiently strongly so the design engineer can demand these solutions from the transport planner in advance of street level designs.
It is worrying also that a distinct lack of objectivity has now entered into the LCDS with the loss of importance of data collection and analysis (speed, volume, type of traffic) by a place-movement matrix. We are concerned that the CLoS as outlined in the LCDS may not make up for that loss.
We are sure that we all want cycling to be a success in London, and beyond. The current LCDS (draft) does not go far enough and, we believe, would not be successful in achieving safe conditions for all cyclists in an inclusive and deserved manner.
Finally, we agree with CEoGB’s assessment and response, in their broad terms and in detail too. The above should complement their submission.
We can provide more detailed information on our statements above, if this would be helpful.
Katja Leyendecker, chair