Category Archives: Hammersmith and Fulham

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.

Better Boris biking

City University students have presented their findings on improving Boris bikes, including integration with Oyster, upgraded docking stations, and better access to information. The article is worth reading, though several of the recommendations sound expensive. Vending machines for bike equipment sound positively impractical.

Last week we had the news that Boris bikes would be 'going electric', though the truth is not quite what the headline indicates. This would be a separate system for hiring electric bikes in north London, which would not be integrated with Barclays cycle hire. I wish the scheme good luck, as long as it doesn't draw funding away from the improvements and extensions which the Boris bike scheme still needs.

The extended Superhighway 2 has opened, prompting a flurry of new policy announcements from the Mayor. However, there are no docking stations along the new segregated section. A glimmer of light is that Boris has promised the existing section from Aldgate to Bow (where there is no shortage of Boris bikes) will be upgraded with better junctions and more segregation.

And back to the southwest extension, the first 14 docking stations in Hammersmith and Fulham are ready to go in December, it is reported.

New docking stations taking shape

26 docking points recently installed on Addison Rd
I took this remarkable picture yesterday morning on Addison Road outside Cardinal Vaughan School (just off Holland Park Avenue), showing one of the new docking stations fully installed and ready for operation. Nearby the groundwork is complete on Holland Park Avenue near Princedale Road and workers are also busy installing docks right outside Holland Park tube station. For this part of London, currently right on the edge of the scheme, this marks significant intensification, and further docks are also being installed across an extended zone reaching west into Hammersmith and Fulham and northwards across more of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

And there is news of yet more docking stations being approved, after a dispute over planning.

Redistribution Promises

I have just returned from Paris, where the Velib rules the city's streets. Paris is a fascinating case study to compare to London - the streets are wider and have more cycle lanes, but there is still a real problem with congestion and intimidating vehicular traffic. On my short trip I noticed a lot of Velib traffic, though less people using their own bikes. Paris, like London, is making a start but has yet to embrace the bicycle fully.

So back to London, where we are now assured a new contract means we will see better bike availability for us all. It's certainly a step forward. But note Bob Crow's comment: 'If it is not to become an embarrassment to the Mayor, the Boris bike scheme needs more docking stations, more bikes and crucially more and better paid staff'. Mr Crow has a point; the success of the scheme means central London in particular needs more bikes and more people to help manage them. In central Paris the docking stations come thick and fast - compare to London where major destinations such as St James's Park are devoid of docks, and rail stations struggle to meet demand.

In his latest transport vision, the Mayor sees cycle hire as the norm rather than the exception (p38). But the Mayor issues a lot of visions - we need to see a few turned into reality. There is a lot of work still to do. But the direction of travel is encouraging.

In other news ... controversy over the siting of a docking station in Hammersmith and Fulham. We've seen this before of course. For what it's worth, I agree with Mr Aldworth.

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.

Boris Bikes and Bad Politics

Controversy in Hammersmith and Fulham as it is reported that Labour councillors are seeking to block the expansion of Boris bikes into the borough.

The views expressed are irritating on many levels. In Brixton for example, Labour councillors are leading the way in calling for Boris bikes to come to the area. It seems to me that these H&F Labour councillors are driven by nothing more than politics in opposing the bikes. Is £2m really a lot to spend on a sustainable transport option available across the borough? Are the bikes unpalatable simply because they originate from a Tory administration in City Hall?

Cycle hire should transcend politics - parties should be working together to make our city cleaner, greener and healthier. I hope these Labour councillors will see the light and vote to invest in cycling in their borough.


See here the report in Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle

And a good commentary on the ConservativeHome website

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.

Boris bikes going south and west

TfL has today released further details of the next phase of expansion of the Boris bikes scheme. Read all about it here. Late 2013/early 2014 is a little later than I think most people were anticipating, but it is still good news.


A map of the expansion area is available here

A map of proposed locations in Hammersmith and Fulham is available here

If anyone has further details, please post a comment