Remodelling of Streatham Hill
Lambeth Liberal Democrats welcome the ambitious plans for remodelling of Streatham Hill (Sternhold Avenue to Holmewood Road) to make this stretch of road safer for pedestrians and people on bikes.
We believe that everyone should have the right to breathe clean air, but unfortunately the A23 continues to be one of the most polluted roads in the UK. We welcome all progress towards reducing air pollution on our streets. Streatham has been left behind in terms of bike safety infrastructure, and it is encouraging to see plans to construct Streatham’s first ever protected cycle lane.
The current pandemic has given all road users, from pedestrians to cyclists and vehicle drivers a brief opportunity to rethink how we use our roads and we should take this opportunity to permanently improve our roading network for all users.
We have a number of ideas and concerns that we will put forward, not least extending the lane to Brixton proper.
1) Bike lane design
Onward connections to Brixton and Oval
The plans are a significant step in the right direction but we are concerned that usage of this stretch of cycle lane will be limited given it is not connected to any other transport hub. It is essential that this scheme is quickly followed by plans to connect Streatham Hill station to Brixton tube station, and eventually onwards to join up with the existing cycle infrastructure at Oval. Brixton Hill is an extraordinarily dangerous stretch of road for cyclists and pedestrians, as once again demonstrated by the tragic death of a pedestrian on 20th February in a hit-and-run collision. We are aware that there is an ambitious plan to remodel Brixton to reduce traffic and increase pedestrian and cycle friendliness, but we have not seen any evidence that the two schemes have been designed in tandem and that there is a clear and coherent plan to join the two in the near future. The Streatham-Oval route is a top potential strategic cycle connection. As part of its commitment to make 80% of London journeys by active transport or public transport, will TfL commit to extending this scheme to Brixton tube station by 2025?
We call on Lambeth Council and TfL to do their utmost to access that funding to allow Brixton Hill to be remodelled within the next 5 years.
Reduction in road crossings
It is unfortunate that the cycle lane design has to cross the road twice, as this may decrease usage due to inconvenience. It is crucial that the traffic light sequencing on this stretch allow for a smooth ride with as few stops as possible, ensuring a green light when cyclists arrive at crossing points.
Connecting bike lanes with 24 hour bus lanes in Oval
The current changes in usage at different times of the day are dangerous to cyclists who use these bus lanes due to lack of protected infrastructure. We ask that TfL makes the bus lanes connecting this bike lane to the next protected infrastructure in Oval 24 hour bus lanes.
2) Air pollution
Residents are sceptical of the scheme’s ability to reduce air pollution in the area if traffic is slowed down by the scheme. We call on TfL and Lambeth Council to work together to install air pollution monitors along this stretch of road that actually work as soon as possible. The monitors should have both the ability to measure the current baseline to work from and the capability to measure PM2.5.
Zero emissions buses
We further call on TfL to ensure that all buses operating on the A23 route are zero emissions as promised by the mayor when he announced the introduction of a clean air bus corridor on this route.
3) Greening Streatham Hill
We were dismayed to see that no thought has been given to landscaping the area to increase the level of greenery, given the Mayor’s commitment to planting 2 million trees. While planting trees is one option that TFL should consider, we call on TfL to consider all possible options to green Streatham Hill. Cooperation with organisations such as Trees for Cities should be considered to ensure that the right expertise is available, and inspiration can be taken from areas such as in Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly where the council has worked together with start-ups to use the latest available technology to combat air pollution.
4) Bus stops and lanes
Decreasing the number of bus stops may be desirable to speed up bus traffic, and it is true that at the current time some bus stops are very close together. But we have received concern from elderly residents about the implications for those who are less able to walk longer distances. We call on TfL to ensure that they take into account the journeys that older people or people with disabilities need to make prior to reducing bus stops.
5) Cycle permeability
We note that some side roads are being made entry/exit only. We ask that TfL ensures that all side roads are usable in both directions by cyclists, with a marked contraflow lane, to increase the cycle-friendliness of the scheme further.
6) Parking bays
Cooperation with local business
Local businesses and residents have expressed concern about the reduction in parking bays on Streatham Hill and the impact that this may have on local businesses. We call on TfL to work closely with local businesses to better understand the potential impact of reducing car parking bays on their customer base, and on the shopping behaviours of local residents. While we agree with TFL’s aim to reduce the number of short journeys that are made by car, TFL must ensure that adequate provision is made for those who are less able to walk to the shops.
Electric charging points
The parking bays that are made available on the route should have electric charging points, as a step towards the future we want to see.
7) Cycle parking and cycle rental
Increase in parking spaces
What will TfL do to ensure that increasing bike riding in Streatham is not impeded by a lack of cycle parking? Lambeth Council received very little funding for cycle parking in TfL’s latest announcement of funding for this infrastructure. We would like to see parking spaces increased in particular at local schools as well as outside local businesses.
Extension of Santander cycle docking stations
Furthermore, Streatham does not currently benefit from Santander Cycles docking stations. We call on TfL to install Santander cycle docking stations at Streatham Hill station to make it easier for those who do not yet own a bike to test out the bike lane on a rented bike. This would support an aim we all share - to increase the number of people riding bikes - by allowing those who do not yet own a bike to try out the bike lane on a rented bike.