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Pedestrian crossings and painted bike logos on asphalt: Westminster's latest "Quietway"

While campaigners welcome Westminster City Council's intention, the detail is found lacking...

Westminster City Council's latest Quietway designs have been released for consultation, intended to "benefit all people who want to cycle in the area".

While campaigners welcome Westminster City Council's latest stab at two Quietways, designed to be peaceful routes on low traffic roads, in many cases drawings show little more than cycle logos and new pedestrian crossings on busy roads with heavy traffic.

One 2km Quietway route will run parallel to Marylebone Road, between Edgware Road and Fitzrovia where, despite there being 10,000 traffic movements on some streets, very little cycling infrastructure is proposed, simply "way finding" bike logos painted on the ground. While much of the second route, running from Covent Garden to Waterloo Bridge, also relies on painted bike logos, it will see some street clutter and parking removed, and an advisory bike lane replaced with a mandatory one.

The London Cycling Campaign's Rosie Downes said the charity supports Westminster's Quietway schemes in principle but more needs to be done about traffic levels on the routes, some of which is "very high".

"We’d like to see more done to make cycling on these proposed Quietways genuinely quiet, and to make them great routes for cyclists of all ages and abilities," she said.

"Currently motor traffic levels are very high, and measures to reduce traffic volumes or create protected space on these routes are much needed. But while the proposals are far from perfect, we absolutely support the principle of having safe routes through Westminster, so we’re encouraging people to respond in support of the proposals before the consultation deadline."

Although Downes points out much of the Marylebone route already exists, proposals will remove a current detour around a one-way system by making Carburton Street two way for cycling, with a kerb-protected bike lane, and introducing a Northbound contraflow cycle lane on one-way Great Portland Street, which is part kerb protected.

 The Marylebone route, which Westminster council calls a "key cycle route for people to cycle parallel to Marylebone Road" will link up with a Baker Street route, improvements to which were criticised for totally lacking cycling provision when they were released for consultation earlier this year.

Downes says the Covent Garden route's main improvements are the removal of street clutter and widening of a cycle track to 4m at a junction with Waterloo Bridge, a popular commuter route where tourists often wander onto the bike route. Car parking restrictions on Waterloo Bridge itself will also be tightened to keep the bike lane clear.

This week Westminster City Council released this cycling video encouraging cyclists to yield to pedestrians at zebra crossings (

While a Twitter account was recently started highlighting a lack of cycle parking in the City of Westminster

You can respond to the Edgware-Fitzrovia consultation here:

And the Covent Garden-Waterloo Bridge route here:

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Paul M | 8 years ago
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Although I thought the proposals were woefully inadequate in so many ways, I responded to the consultation to support the proposals because frankly they are better than nothing, and I am sure Westminster would happily dump even the little they have proposed to do if they could show much of an opposition to them.  And to be sure there will be opposition, from groups such as the LTDA, chambers of commerce, and individual retailers in the area who consistently overestimate the importance to their trade of car-borne customers and therefore their capacity to park.  One TfL survey after another (notably Waltham Forest and Southwark recently) have shown that the proportion of respondents using foot, bike or bus to access their local retail centres greatly exceed what retailers believe them to be, and motorists fall greatly short.  This is evident even in rural or suburban areas where car ownnership is much higher but in Westminster, about the riuchest borough in the country, car ownership is amon the lowest - even wealthy people can't see the point of owning a car which they can barely use and which costs an arm and a leg to keep.

But these quietways, however inadequate or otherwise, barely scratch the surface of Westminster's hostility to cycling.  The borough is a traffic-choked, fume-sodden hellhole of labyrinthine and impenetrable one-ways, with almost no contraflow arrangements and way too much on-street parking.  The area around Soho Square is particularly nasty, not only because of the impact of the Crossrail works.  And even if we do get a couple of navigable cross-town routes, this doesn't address the local loop, the final few hundred yards to your destination.  Whenever I ride in Westminster i inevitably find myself having to walk a few hundred metres at some point so that I can legally pass through one way systems.

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