Category Archives: Kensington and Chelsea

Can’t stop the Bikes

Good news coming from Kenisngton and Chelsea, where planning for the new Boris Bike docks is at an advanced stage.

The crucial decision over Lavender Gardens in Wandsworth borough is due next week.

And though this blog was set up to comment exclusively on cycle hire issues, I would draw your attention to the work a number of us have been engaged with in the Regent Street / Haymarket area. This part of town is quite dense with docking stations, yet a nightmare of conflict between traffic and cyclists. Let's hope for a resolution which benefits us all.

And maybe Westminster are eventually seeing the light on cycling. This article in the Evening Standard suggests they are starting to take safety seriously.

New docks in Kensington and Chelsea

The Royal Borough has kindly sent me this map of potential new docking stations in the borough. Some have already been determined, 11 are currently in process. Note they fall in two clusters, to the northwest and southwest, filling in those parts of K&C not already covered by the scheme.

New docks for Kensington and Chelsea. To view the image in greater detail right click on the picture and click 'Open Link in New Tab'

Together with the map of docks in H&F and the list of sites in Wandsworth (see earlier posts) we are starting to get some clear picture of how the new zones will look.

The proposals for K&C look good, but only if they get permission for all the sites. There is still time to submit comments on the 11 sites still being decided - go to the Planning page and search for 'cycle hire'.

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.

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.

Preparing for the Bikes to Go West

On Sunday I met up with fellow blogger George (Two Wheels Good) and we took Boris bikes from Notting Hill down to the Fulham Road via Brompton Cemetery, then back through The Boltons and Kensington Gardens, eventually docking on Campden Hill. It was a warm afternoon, and cyclists were out in force.

"I love Boris Bikes": George of 'Two Wheels Good'
This area is right on the border of the current cycle hire area (some of it part of the mini western expansion to Westfield back in April). The 2013 expansion will, all being well, take in the rest of Kensington and Chelsea and push out to Hammemsith and Fulham. It is a beautiful part of London, and has some good streets for cycling. I have no doubt Boris bikes will prove popular in this part of west London.

K&C borough are currently consulting on increasing the permeability of more streets. Often it's as simple as adding an 'except cyclists' sign under an existing no entry sign. Bigger streets require a little more work, but it can be done. To maximise the benefits of cycle hire in K&C and elsewhere, this is an important development, allowing access to docks from both directions, and maximising the journeys which can be made by Boris bike, both in terms of shortening routes and avoiding busier roads.

It's easy to get your view to the borough, simply email [email protected]

Iconic west London: St George's on Campden Hill
You could suggest individual streets, but I suggested a bolder set of principles: all smaller streets to be two-way by use of the 'except cyclists' sign; an ongoing programme of opening up larger streets starting with those most used by cyclists; all roads containing docking stations to be earmarked for immediate two-way access.

The expansion of cycle hire in K&C and beyond is good news, but we need infrastructure on the streets to allow as many people as possible, both experienced and novice cyclists, to get the most out of it.