Harrow is consulting on its new transport Local Implementation Plan.
(deadline 26 Oct)
We are preparing a formal response, so please let us know our thoughts so that they can be included. Our initial thoughts are as follows:
The document has broadly the right intent, based on the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, the London Plan with the aim of improving public health and transport in London. It is good to see reference to Vision Zero and Health Streets.
The document does not acknowledge why Harrow’s existing policies have failed in the past (i.e. that there has been a reluctance to cause inconvenience to motorists, as well as lack of funding), and does not make any assessment of quality when describing Harrow’s cycle network. It thus fails to explain why Harrow has such a low level of cycling despite a 41km cycle network. Most of Harrow’s cycle network is unsafe as it consists of narrow intermittent advisory cycle lanes on busy road, and the small sections that are segregated are inconvenient because they give way to minor roads and accesses. Harrow has the second highest rate of cycling casualties in London.
There is a lack of evidence-based, cost-effective, specific concrete proposals to achieve the objectives. Evidence is available from numerous research studies in the Netherlands and in Waltham Forest, on how to create an effective walking and cycling network, and its effects on public health. The draft LIP as it stands contains very little in the way of new interventions compared to what Harrow is doing already, and is therefore unlikely to achieve the desired improvements.
Removal of through traffic from minor streets is the most rapid and cost-effective intervention to simultaneously discourage car use for short journeys, make walking and cycling safer and more pleasant, and improve air quality and quality of life throughout an area. This should be a key policy in the LIP.
|Problem||Current intervention, as in current LIP||Desired intervention, with evidence of benefit, as seen in the Netherlands and Waltham Forest|
|Through traffic on minor roads, making them unpleasant for walking, cycling and living||Traffic calming (may reduce speed but not volume of traffic, streets remain unpleasant)||Point closures of roads to entirely exclude through motor traffic from a network of minor roads, creating a 1-2 sq km low-traffic neighbourhood|
|Low levels of physical activity, high levels of car use for short journeys||Encouragement (not effective, as people choose transport modes based on availability, cost, and comfort)||Low traffic neighbourhoods, with direct routes not available to motor traffic, discouraging car use for short journeys.|
|Cycle routes are unsafe, unpleasant or indirect||Signposting minor roads as ‘Quietways’ (but may not be direct, and some minor roads have too much traffic)||Segregated cycle lanes along major roads, to be incorporated in all new road schemes, and funding sought to create a comprehensive network.|
|High traffic speeds||Expansion of 20mph zones||Area-wide default 20mph speed limit, except on specific major roads where a higher limit is safe and appropriate.|
|High car ownership||Car club in Harrow town centre and other new developments||Comprehensive availability of car clubs throughout the more urban, denser parts of Harrow. Comprehensive cycle network to make cycling an option for many journeys.|