Category Archives: Wandsworth

Boris Bikes: A Call for Expansion

The latest call to extend the scheme has comes from Wandsworth. Cycle hire has only recently been introduced in the borough, but is already  a success. Extending south would make sense.

As already reported on this blog, Southwark Council have agreed to their slice of the funding of Boris bikes in that borough. Even more than Wandsworth - Peckham, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth and Camberwell need the bikes.

Usage seems to be up now that the winter is over, and new cycle routes, like the Quietways, are planned. TfL should use this momentum to announce the next phase of expansion of cycle hire. With a new sponsor to replace Barclays maybe?

In other news: expansion of Dublin bikes is planned. And Storey's Gate docking station has opened, bringing Boris bikes closer to St James's Park.

Cycling the Extension – some early thoughts

Despite the bad weather, it seems the extension has been a hit, especially in Hammersmith and Fulham. Though not everyone is happy.

And Boris biking is good for our health. I think the article is useful in pointing out that Boris bikers, despite being portrayed as inexperienced, are no more likely than any other cyclist to be involved in a collision, and that the health benefits far outweigh the small chance of injury.

So yesterday, seizing a gap in the rain, I headed west. Here are some initial thoughts:

Hammersmith and Fulham
I struggled to find a bike at first, as there are few stations in the West Brompton area, and those I did find were empty. Eventually cycling, I enjoyed the streets close to Craven Cottage and the riverside. However, Hammersmith Broadway really needs to be rethought for cyclists. Hammersmith Bridge is currently closed for cycling, so I had to push across on the footway.

South of the River
What a pity no docking stations have been installed in Barnes, though it would need the agreement of Richmond Borough. I cycled along Castelnau, took a shortcut down Rocks Lane, and headed towards the docking stations of Putney via Lower Richmond Road.

Putney has a horrible high street clogged with motor traffic. West of the high street there are no docks. But to the east, they are very high density indeed, which is good, but would have been better on both sides. A number of the streets are one-way - Wandsworth needs to adopt the practice of making streets two-way for cycling, and make better use of 20mph zones. Docking stations are however to be welcomed close to both the rail and Underground stations.

There is still much more for me to see of the new extension zones; any thoughts you might have, please leave a comment.

And I am encouraged that Southwark has confirmed that its financial contribution is available for the extension of the scheme through its streets. We await an announcement from TfL, hopefully soon, on the next phase of extension.

Today is the last day of the initial consultation on the Mayor's inner London cycling grid. While encouraging in some respects, there have been a number of criticisms, most specifically of the routes in Kensington and Chelsea. If done properly, the grid could provide safe, continuous and direct routes for Boris biking within central London.

Southwestern Extension – what will be new tomorrow?

I thought it would be worth posting some information about the new docking stations which will be going live - many tomorrow, the rest by Spring 2014 (so TfL promise).

Hammersmith and Fulham have published this list.

Wandsworth have this information available.

Lambeth don't unfortunately seem to have any updated information online.

TfL have published this map showing the expanded scheme in its entirety.

Around the boroughs – Wandsworth

Story so far: Wandsworth is a blank canvass, having not been a location in the initial phase or the 2012 extension

Coming soon: 60 docking stations will cover the northern parts of the borough, extending the scheme out from Vauxhall in the east as far as Putney in the west. Highlights will include Battersea Power Station and Battersea Park. The largest dock will be at Clapham Junction. The Council has details of all the new docking stations on its website. Due to the expansion north of the river it will be possible to cross Chelsea, Prince Albert, Wandsworth and Putney bridges and find docks on the other shore. Wandsworth does not have fantastic streets for cycling (the south circular for example is pretty scary for anyone on a bike) but hopefully the arrival of Boris bikes will spur the development of new, safer routes.

The future? Cycle hire could be extended into the south of the borough in due course, and the major redevelopment of the Nine Elms area is an opportunity to develop high quality cycling facilities which link in with the extension of the Northern Line.

Boris rating: 5

Boris bikes and bad journalism

Thank goodness few people read the Wandsworth Guardian, because it contains one of the worst pieces of journalism I have ever read. It pains me to give it more coverage than it's due, but here it is.
Boris bikes - a threat to children and blind people? Unlikely

Once you've got over that shock, a few points are worth making. Firstly, at the end of the article Nick Aldworth explains why the power supply has been put in early, and makes it clear that it will be removed if planning consent is not given. The rest of the article is mainly scaremongering. What possible danger can sedately-paced Boris bikes pose to a nursery school, or for that matter, to a blind person? Far less than motor vehicles I can assure you. The loss of six parking spaces is nothing compared to the multiple journeys which will be possible into and out of the area by hire bike. As for the Shrubbery's 'Tudor foundations', has no-one noticed cars have been parking outside it for years? Let me be clear - cars clutter our streets, pollute, and are potentially dangerous. Bikes are smaller, emission free, and safe. My hope for Lavender Gardens is that it will be transformed from a busy motor thoroughfare into a haven for pedestrians and cyclists.

We need a shift in perceptions. One of the reasons given for rejecting a docking station on the Mall was conservation. Yet that street is a busy dual carriageway, with a car/coach park down one side. I hope Wandsworth, and other councils, will see through this sort of nonsense and embrace cycling as a safe, clean and healthy mode of urban transport fit for our future. I look forward to docking in Lavender Gardens soon.

Construction starts on new docks

Work has begun to build the new docking stations which will extend the scheme south and west. They look set to become operational in the autumn.

Details of the docks being planned in Wandsworth are available here.

Other boroughs included in the extension are Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, and Kensington and Chelsea. Plus there will be a few new docks in the existing zones.

Some useful background is provided in this TfL paper.

Wandsworth wants more Boris Bikes

As part of the 2013/14 expansion, TfL has announced a major expansion of the scheme southwards and westwards. Only parts of Wandsworth borough are covered however, and campaigners, especially in the south of the borough, are pushing for bikes across the entire borough. They also urge the bikes to be installed at Clapham Junction.

If you have views you can email them to transportation@wandsworth.

I wholeheardedly support the Clapham proposal. It seems idiotic to leave it out, when bikes close to stations (think of Waterloo) are among the most popular. In my own response to the plans for the borough, I also identified Battersea Park as a major omission, as leisure cycling would benefit from a station there, and help new users build confidence before they head out onto London's busy streets.

The campaign for bikes in the rest of Wandsworth also has merit, but with so many other boroughs actively campaigning for the bikes, it's a matter of allocation of resources. Southwark, another central London borough, has been woefully neglected so far. In Lambeth, Brixton will remain a Boris bike desert.

All this makes me wonder why the mayor is bringing forward plans for a new road tunnel in east London for cars and lorries. At the cost of millions of pounds, we will get increased congestion and more pollution, when if the money were instead invested in cycling, everyone would benefit from cleaner and greener streets - a real cycling revolution for London. I've responded to TfL's consultation opposing the plans and calling for investment in sustainable transport - maybe you can too.

Western Extension – the Roadshow

Yesterday I went to the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith to view TfL's plans for the future of Boris bikes, namely the extensions into Wandsworth and Hammersmith and Fulham, plus some new areas of Kensington and Chelsea and Lambeth.

The exhibition wasn't at all high tech - in fact it consisted mainly of one map showng new possible docking locations - but the staff were friendly and I had some excellent discussions.

The extension is ambitious, and will put about 200 new docking stations around London. Most should contain 25 or more docks - TfL now concede the smaller ones put in as part of phase 1 are difficult to manage in terms of bike flow. Of these 60-70 will be in each of Wandsworth and H&F. There will also be new docks in the rest of K&C taking in North Kensington, and Lambeth through Nine Elms and Stockwell - not quite as far as Brixton sadly.

In the central area, new docks will be constructed on sites where permission has already been given. This will include docks near St Thomas' Hospital, Blackfriars station, Cannon Street and Westminster Central Hall. The redistribution problems at King's Cross remain an issue, and a new site there is being investigated. It is a little alarming that further new sites are not being sought centrally; increasing commuter flow continues to cause problems with availability which can only be eased in the long term by new and extended docking stations.

I queried why no dock is proposed within Battersea Park, as parks are a good place for novice cyclists to start off. Also, Battersea has good tracks for cycling. I still have no satisfactory answer - the need for 24hr access is not a reason as there are docks within Kensington Gardens which are not available at night.

Issues remain with the relationship between TfL and the Royal Parks - the latter being broadly negative in their attitude towards new docks. If you haven't already, sign our petition for a new dock on the Mall in St James's Park, to push for a new dock in this poorly served area.

I think the staff who look after the cycle hire programme are genuinely enthusiastic and committed to the scheme. But they are hampered by a lack of joined up thinking on cycling in London. The need for a body to devise and implement a London-wide cycling strategy is greater than ever. Otherwise the potential good of new Boris bikes will simply be negated by poor road safety, lack of high quality routes, and dock locations being blocked by competing agencies such as Royal Parks or obstructive councillors.

If you have a chance to go to the roadshow - it's running at several further locations this week.

The Mall – Time to Act

I wrote in a recent post about the need for a docking station on the Mall, to increase cycle hire access for tourists and workers in Westminster, to plug a gap in an area whch has too few docks, and to improve the provision of sustainable transport in a historic part of Westminster.

Today I received a reply from TfL to my query - the Mall is indeed being considered as a possible location for a dock. So this is the moment to make the voice of Boris bikers heard - please sign a petition (supported by this blog and Two Wheels Good) calling on TfL and Royal Parks to work towards a Mall docking station. In my previous post I gave details of how to write in support of a dock here. If you have 5 minutes, please do.

In other news ...

The proposed docking locations in Wandsworth have been revealed, to a mixed reception. A series of roadshows will be held in the coming weeks. Go if you can, and support the docks.