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Top London hospital tries to block segregated cycle lane

St Thomas's fears floating bus stops will put patients and families in danger...

One of London’s most prestigious teaching hospitals is attempting to block a bike lane across Westminster Bridge, saying the design could put patients at risk.

St Thomas’s Hospital, just across the bridge from the Houses of Parliament, is angering cycling campaigners by saying that vulnerable people are being put in harm’s way near the proposed ‘floating’ bus stops.

But proponents of the route say the bus stop designs are already in use in Whitechapel, near the Royal London Hospital, on the segregated Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) route.

The route across Westminster Bridge will link in with Boris Johnson’s legacy East-West Cycle Superhighwayay, and its success will be seen as a test of new Mayor Sadiq Khan’s commitment to continuing the focus on cycling in the capital.

A change.org petition has been set up against the floating bus stops near St Thomas’s, but had gathered only a few hundred signatures at time of writing.

Sir Hugh Taylor, chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS trust, told the Evening Standard: “We believe that TfL’s plans for cycle lanes and so-called ‘floating’ bus stops on Westminster Bridge pose risks to both pedestrians and cyclists.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact on patients and carers, especially the elderly, disabled, and families with children in buggies and wheelchairs coming to Evelina London Children’s Hospital.”

MP Kate Hoey, whose Vauxhall constituency includes the hospital, called on Mr Khan to intervene. She said: “TfL’s plans for so-called ‘floating’ bus stops are potentially dangerous.

"Every day thousands of patients – many of them elderly, pregnant or with sick children – use the bus stop outside St Thomas’. The present plans ignore this vulnerable population and I do not believe that adequate thought has been given to their needs.”

Cycling blogger Mark Treasure told the Standard: “Guy’s and St Thomas’ position is disappointing principally because cycling is already allowed on the footway in question.

The proposed new cycleway would keep people off the pavement, and actually reduce conflict. Anyone cycling past- or even to - the hospital, young or old, deserves safety, just as much as anyone on foot.”

As we reported last year, according to TfL’s 2013 cycle census, almost a third of morning peak-hour traffic on the bridge is bikes.

TfL say the improvements would open up safer cycle links from Waterloo station and south London to the new East-West Cycle Superhighway, which is currently under construction, and would also give cyclists a high quality route from Waterloo to Parliament Square, the Embankment, Marble Arch, Paddington, Blackfriars and the City.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in autumn 2016 and be completed by January 2018

As the cycle lanes leave the Westminster side of the bridge, they will link into the east-west “Crossrail for bikes” scheme on the Victoria Embankment, which will be formally opened on April 30.

The layout of the Waterloo side will be remodelled, with segregated space for cyclists, separate traffic lights giving cyclists an early start on the roundabout and improved pedestrian crossings.

There will also be a new cycle route along the South Bank as part of the “central London grid”.

Specific cycle-friendly measures in the plans include:

  •     Provide cyclists with dedicated road space on Westminster Bridge, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth Palace Road, Addington Street and York Road; cyclists would be separated from traffic by a kerb or white line
  •     Separate cyclists and motor vehicle movements at junctions; cyclists would have their own traffic signals which would operate at different times to those for other traffic
  •     Widen the pedestrian/cycle crossing by the south end of Belvedere Road and improve the connection between Belvedere Road and Westminster Bridge Road
  •     Convert the pedestrian crossing on Lambeth Palace Road outside the hospital to a pedestrian/cycle crossing so that cyclists can access Royal Street from Lambeth Palace Road. The crossing would be changed from ‘staggered’ (two separate crossings with an island in the middle) to ‘straight across’ (a single crossing)
  •     Provide bus stop bypasses at bus stops D and E on Westminster Bridge Road, bus stops B and C on Lambeth Palace Road and the tour bus stop at the east side of Westminster Bridge so that cyclists could avoid having to mix with traffic. Cyclists would continue behind the bus stops on a carriageway- level cycle track, which would feature a chicane and narrowed track to reduce speeds. Bus passengers would access the bus stop waiting area by crossing the cycle track using a marked crossing points
  •     Widen the footway on the corner of York Road and Westminster Bridge Road to slow down left turning vehicles
  •     Cyclists would still be able to use the northbound bus and cyclist only route from
  •     Westminster Bridge Road to York Road

TfL said that 74 per cent supported or partially supported the proposals. Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “This latest radical redesign of one of London’s most disconnecting and intimidating junctions will bring it into the 21st century to support an ever-growing London.”
 

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9 comments

Avatar
Wolfshade | 7 years ago
1 like

I think my favourite bit is this:
"cycling is already allowed on the footway in question. "

So, we have someone complaing about an "unacceptable risk" which already exists.

I do like the infographic from Bikebot which really shows what the uses of the the bus and pedestrians actually think of these things,  I think the only user group that have been omitted were the bike users.

But if these users don't have an issue with it, why does some MP (who probably doesn't actually use these modes) think that they are dangerous, I mean simple research and you can move an uniformed position to an informed one.

Avatar
JimKillock | 7 years ago
0 likes

The design seems pretty well conceived, in that the zebra crossing is behind the bus stop, so cycle flow would be periodically stopped for bus users.

Also worth remembering that Sadiq Khan will be open to reviewing decisions right now, so everyone opposed will be hoping to get him to stop or change things right now. It’s a very critical time, as so many schemes are in the pipelines from the flurry of activity that Boris, Andrew Gilligan and TfL pushed forward.

Avatar
LegalFun | 7 years ago
3 likes

The bit I find funny about the petition is this line:
"We have serious concerns about the risks TfL’s plans pose to the safety of vulnerable road users"

Yep... they are concerned that vulnerable cyclists wont be forced under the wheels of cars and lorries.

At the end of the day it would cost them very little to put in a zebra crossing from the pavement to the floating bus stops and they could even raise it up to pavement level like a speed hump.
 

 

Avatar
bikebot replied to LegalFun | 7 years ago
2 likes
LegalFun wrote:

At the end of the day it would cost them very little to put in a zebra crossing from the pavement to the floating bus stops and they could even raise it up to pavement level like a speed hump.

Like the ones in the design.  

Along with the existing toucan crossing, which will be widened and spans the whole road before the bus stops so that it halts all the traffic including the bike lanes.

Yeah, they should definitely do that  3

Edit: yes, I missed that you expliciitly said zebra.  I would support that, using a bit of paint to stop people moaning would be a very TfL solution. Though it won't stop them moaning. RNIB seem to be in the loop as well, so it's the "bikes are bad, mkay" argument.

//consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/westminster-bridge-south/user_uploads/wbs-visual-1-roundabout.png)

Avatar
I love my bike replied to LegalFun | 7 years ago
0 likes
LegalFun wrote:

The bit I find funny about the petition is this line:
"We have serious concerns about the risks TfL’s plans pose to the safety of vulnerable road users"

Yep... they are concerned that vulnerable cyclists wont be forced under the wheels of cars and lorries.

At the end of the day it would cost them very little to put in a zebra crossing from the pavement to the floating bus stops and they could even raise it up to pavement level like a speed hump.

 

So how many pedestrian deaths & serious injuries have there been so far, for example on the new super highway along the Embankment, with similar crossings for pedestrians?

 

Avatar
LegalFun replied to I love my bike | 7 years ago
2 likes
I love my bike wrote:

 

So how many pedestrian deaths & serious injuries have there been so far, for example on the new super highway along the Embankment, with similar crossings for pedestrians?

Not sure how many, but by putting in a zebra crossing over just the cycle lane, pedestrians will feel that they have more control over the cycling traffic and hopefully stop them moaning.

 

At the end of the day, we seem to have a culture that perceives cyclists as a nuisance, partly due to the actions of a minority but mostly down to the fact people would rather sit on their arse in a car or bus.

Avatar
bikebot replied to LegalFun | 7 years ago
1 like
LegalFun wrote:

Not sure how many, but by putting in a zebra crossing over just the cycle lane, pedestrians will feel that they have more control over the cycling traffic and hopefully stop them moaning.

Image below, survey results on the floating bus stop in Stratford. They've already got them outside the Royal London Hospital on CS2.  

There's a small set of groups that are arguing vociferously against these and other designs, ignoring their history abroad. I'd put money down that we're going to see some survey of how dangerous they are, along with horror stories of near misses soon. St Thomas isn't acting in isolation.  

LCC helped digged this hole with the Judd St/RNIB farce a few weeks ago. I'm waiting to see if they've got the balls to do their job or will wuss out again.

Source Jono Kenyon of Hackney Cycling Campaign.

//pbs.twimg.com/media/CiU-xZOXEAEE0sl.jpg)

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... | 7 years ago
6 likes

I guess they are worried about a reduction in custom for their A&E and cardiac departments.

Kate Hoey is weird. As an MP for an entirely urban constituency that includes Brixton, she seemed to spend all her time worrying about the interests of country folk, gun-owners (a few of them in her constituency I guess), Ulster Protestants, and fox-hunters.

Avatar
bikebot | 7 years ago
5 likes

Kate Hoey is often described as "independently minded", which is a tactful term for someone who is at least one third kipper.

Pro hunting (formar chair of the Countryside Alliance), pro brexit, and pro compulsory registration, insurance and (ahem) road tax for cyclists. To put it mildy, she's a bit of an oddball in her own party. She wrote a rather notorious piece in the Daily Mail (!) over a decade ago, which is almost the template for todays trollumist crap complete with "lycra louts".

Just type Hoey into the search box above for some of her history. With any luck, retirement can't be far off, maybe with a bit of encouragement if she needs it.

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